by Sarabeth Pollock:
The Walking Dead Recap: “Clear”
Original Air Date (AMC): Sunday March 3, 2013
Season 3 Episode 12
The sign on the road says “Erin: We tried for Stone Mountain.” It really got me thinking. If there was a zombie apocalypse, I would think you’d see more signs like that. Littering the streets, really. Like a makeshift Twitter. People still need to communicate, right?
Michonne, Rick, and Carl head out on their supply run. Michonne is at the wheel. On the road they pass a man who begs desperately for them to stop. Michonne accelerates. The poor guy falls to his knees as they drive by.
Ahead, the road is blocked by a number of cars. A Walker struggles to free himself from underneath a bus. The trio takes in the sight around them, happy to be safely inside their car…until the tire gets stuck in the mud…and a swarm of Walkers surrounds the car. One of them is wearing a bracelet that says “Erin”; looks like she didn’t make it to Stone Mountain after all. Rick tells them to cover their ears while he shoots them. Once they’re clear of them, Rick picks through the cars looking for anything useful to help them out of the mud. Carl is upset that his father allowed Michonne to accompany them. Rick explains (while Michonne listens from the car, mind you) that they share common goals, and he couldn’t leave her back at the prison with Merle. As they finish talking, the man they passed on the road comes around the corner, shouting for them to wait for him. Rick taps on the car. Michonne drives forward out of the mud. They get in and leave. Once again the man is left behind.
They drive to a deserted town. This is the town where Rick and Lori and Carl lived. They’ve come full circle. Naturally, the first place they search is the jail. To Rick’s frustration, the ammunition locker is empty save for one solitary bullet that Michonne finds on the ground. Rick says there are other places they can look, such as behind the counter in the local grocery store (he signed their permits). Michonne looks skeptical but says nothing. When Rick asks her if she has a problem with that plan, she holds his gaze with a steely look of her own and replies, “No, Rick, I don’t.” It’s interesting to hear her tone. She sounds more feminine than ever. I think she knows that she can now start trusting Rick’s group, especially now that her ties with Andrea have been severed. My thought is that she knows that if she doesn’t start playing well with others, they might turn her away.
After they leave the jail, they pass the church yard where a pile of charred human remains is stacked in the open for all to see. There are also green arrows on the ground. Follow the arrows and you come to a street littered with makeshift “mines” to keep people away. The signage is pretty clear. “Turn around and live.” What do they do? They walk in. Of course, there’s a Walker behind them that appears out of nowhere. She trips the wire and is immediately shot dead. A man on the top of a nearby building shouts for the trio to drop their weapons. Michonne tells Rick that they need his assault rifle and that she thinks she can get up to him and take him out. Rick tells them all to run for cover, and he opens fire. Soon he’s down to one bullet, but when he goes to take the shot, the man is gone and Michonne is up there with no sight of him. However, that’s because he’s down on the street already, and he fires openly at Rick. Before he gets too close, though, he’s taken out at close range…by Carl, who defied orders and hid in the nearby shop. Rick asks if he’s ok, having just killed a man. Carl stoically nods. As it turns out, though, the man isn’t dead. He’s wearing body armor. Rick is glad that Carl didn’t actually kill him, and when he pulls the facemask off, he’s doubly glad—it’s Morgan Jones, the man who rescued him in Season One. Talk about full circle.
Rick and Michonne carry Morgan up to his rooms, making sure to avoid the booby traps he has laid out. By now Rick has remembered that Morgan also had a son, Duane. But where is he? When they get to his room, they find that the place is a weapons cache. He has been able to find way more weaponry than what was at the jail (which, in retrospect, Rick gave him access to). Michonne and Carl waste no time stuffing ammo into their bags. Rick starts looking at the writing on the walls around them. As he kneels and looks into one of the boxes of ammo, he finds the walkie-talkie that is the mate to the one that Rick used during his journey back in Season One. Morgan had been listening after all. Suddenly, Rick tells Carl and Michonne to stop loading weapons. They’ll wait until he wakes up. Michonne protests, pointing out that he’s the one who fired on them, and to their credit, they didn’t leave him out for the Walkers. She argues that he doesn’t need half the guns, and besides that, he’s clearly crazy. Rick may have known him, but she doubts he’s the same man Rick knows. He’s dangerous now.
Carl wanders into another room while Rick ties Morgan up with cable ties. There is a map on the wall. It’s a map of their neighborhood. Morgan has “Rick’s House” crossed out with the words “Burned Out” written beside it. Rick asks if that’s why Carl wanted to come. Carl dismisses this and says that he wants to go on a run to the baby store around the corner. They need a crib. Michonne speaks up, pointing out that he’ll need help with the box. Rick sees that she’s making an effort, and he agrees to let them go.
Outside, Carl tells Michonne she didn’t need to go with him. She insists she is there to help. While she takes out a Walker caught in the trap, Carl tries to give her the slip. She catches him and points out that he passed the baby shop. He admits he wants to get Judith something else. Of course he does, because that’s how he gets into trouble. Does the kid ever learn?
Back in Morgan’s apartment, Rick studies the writing on the wall. He apologizes to Morgan for what’s happened to him. Little does Rick know, Morgan is awake and he has a knife in the mattress. As Rick surveys the room, finding the rifle he gave Morgan early on, Morgan attacks. There is no recognition. Morgan’s eyes are wild as he tackles Rick to the ground. Rick tries to make him see that it’s him, but Morgan keeps going on about Rick being “clear.” He stabs Rick and Rick pushes him to the ground, aiming the gun at Morgan’s head. Morgan begs Rick to kill him. What has happened to this poor man?
Rick has restrained Morgan once again. He had dressed his wound, all the while talking to Morgan to get him to remember who he is. It’s when Rick holds up the walkie-talkie that recognition passes through Morgan’s face. “Rick?” he asks. Rick wasn’t there, he yells. He turned the radio on every morning at dawn, but Rick was never there. Rick tries to tell him that he kept getting pushed farther and farther out into the country. He found his wife and son, and they had a group of people. But Morgan isn’t listening. He asks if his wife is alive. Rick says that she died, and so Morgan reminds him about what happened to his wife. Staying alive was always about food. They were always looking for food. And then one day Morgan went down into a cellar and left Duane upstairs. When he went back up, his Walker-Wife was standing in front of Duane, who had his gun aimed at her. But he couldn’t pull the trigger. He called to Duane, and his wife was on the boy at once. Only then did he pull the trigger, after it was too late. Morgan asks if Rick’s son is alive; when Rick says yes, Morgan tells him that he won’t be for long. It always happens to the good ones. He’ll lose everything. But the weak people, he says, the weak people like him, have inherited the earth. That’s pretty deep, really.
So you already knew that whatever Carl had up his sleeve, it probably wouldn’t go according to plan, right? Well, he leads Michonne to King County Café, the local eatery. Inside is a group of Walkers who seem to be passed out from lack of food. Carl goes to open the door when Michonne stops him, preventing him from going into the path of almost certain slaughter. He stalks off, angry that she stopped him. He tries to throw his father’s words back at her, that she’s not there for any other reason than their common interests. Michonne stops him, pointing out that he can’t stop her from helping him. Next we see the pub door’s open and some rat cages roll in on skateboards. The rats bring the hungry Walkers to life, and as they descend upon the cages, Michonne and Carl sneak in. As Carl climbs on the bar to fetch a picture, a Walker grabs his ankle. To Carl’s credit, he doesn’t flinch or cry out. Michonne takes the Walker out quietly enough so that the other Walkers don’t even notice. Just as they’re about to escape, one of the rats comes toward them, making an escape of its own. They make their way to the back of the café while Walkers come out of the woodwork. Just as they get outside, Carl realizes he dropped the damn photo on the ground inside. Of course he did. He’s ready to go back in, arguing that it’s the last photo they have, but Michonne stops him. She says that he doesn’t know her, and she doesn’t know him, but she’s asking him to do one thing for her, and that’s to wait there. No bull shit. She leaves, and returns almost immediately, photo in hand. Carl gets a little choked up at the sight of his parents hugging a much-younger version of himself. Baby Judith should know what her mom looked like. Michonne smiles. They have bonded. As they walk away, she reveals a multi-colored cat sculpture that she couldn’t leave behind. They both laugh.
Rick doesn’t believe that the answer lies in killing Morgan. He wants Morgan to join his group. They can heal together. Rick’s group has taken over a prison that keeps the Walkers out. They’re safe there. But Morgan doesn’t understand why Rick needs guns, not unless someone is trying to take his prison from him. I don’t know why Rick doesn’t talk more about what’s going on, but Morgan holds fast to his decision to stay, and so Rick gathers his bag and leaves.
Carl and Michonne meet up with Rick outside. They’re carrying a crib, so Rick doesn’t realize what they were really up to. As they pass through Morgan’s defenses, Michonne notes that he’s ok. “No, he’s not,” Rick replies. Morgan continues to make repairs to his defenses while the trio leaves. Carl stops and gets his attention. He apologizes for shooting him, making sure that Morgan understands that he had to do it. Morgan stops reflectively and looks at Carl, telling him never to be sorry for shooting someone. He returns to his booby traps and Rick and his crew return to the car.
As Rick loads supplies, he asks Carl how things went with Michonne. Carl smiles up at his dad. “I think she might be one of us,” he replied. Rick is astonished that his son has bonded so well with her. Carl gets into the car and Rick pauses reflectively. Michonne approaches. She knows that Rick can see spirits, and she admits that she talks to her dead boyfriend. They understand each other. He gives her the keys and they leave, passing Morgan once again as he gets rid of bodies at the church.
They head back on the same road, and once again they encounter the traveler. This time, however, he’s splattered all over the road. They stop this time to collect his backpack. Then they continue on their way home.
Well, fellow fans, what did you think of tonight’s episode? It was rather insular, given that we have no idea what’s going on at the prison or at Woodbury, but I think that all in all, it was a great episode. How awesome was it to see Morgan? Do you think we’ve seen the last of him?
As always, I welcome your comments below. Next week’s episode looks to be incredible, and it’s getting to be the time that the proverbial shit starts hitting the proverbial fan. The stage is set. It’s time to battle.
See you next week!
[Photo Credit: AMC]