The Blah-king Dead: The Walking Dead Recap: Season 3, Episode 12 “Clear”

So, this week, it’s a Michonne, Rick and Carl road trip. They’re of in search of more guns. And, they’re all we’ll see this time out, no prison, no Woodbury. Just Carl and Michonne’s new buddy comedy and Rick in the prison Morgan created for himself out of guns and spray paint and batshit crazy.

Michonne, Rick and Carl are ridin’ along in their automobile, passing the debris of those who came before them, including signs left for people left behind. Signs that aren’t so unlike the ones they left for Sophia just last fall. They also speed past a lone man who is screaming, begging for them to slow down. This whole scene is an incredible illustration of just how far they’ve come, or perhaps fallen, there was a time when Rick would have done anything to help someone in need, however cautiously done, now he just rolls on by with barely a look back. Carl’s the only one who seems to care.

They come upon a bunch wrecked cars, one walker is still flailing, trapped under one. Michonne slows down enough looking to get stuck when the car is swarmed. We see a bracelet baring the name “Erin”, which matches the sign a few miles back. Maybe she got lost just like their Sophia did. Rick coolly rolls down the window, tells the others to cover their ears and pops the nearest walker in the head. No muss, no fuss.

And somehow, they took out all of the swarm, because the next scene is so mundane, dad advice that it’s almost ridiculous. Rick shows Carl how to get traction under the car tire with  an old dress and some sticks. He might as well have been telling him to keep some kitty litter in the trunk for when it snows. Carl’s just pissed that Michonne got them stuck. He wants to know why Rick brought her along, he didn’t want to leave her behind with Merle. I guess a Merle murder would cause some dissension in the ranks. As the hitchhiker from before runs down the road, screaming for help, they once again drive on and leave him behind.

They arrive in, what do you know? Rick and Carl’s old town. They’re looking for weapons, but the police storage locker has been cleaned out, so they start a search of the other places in town Sheriff Rick knew there were weapons. Before they head out, there’s a lovely little scene in which Michonne hands over a bullet she found on the ground, almost sadly telling Rick she doesn’t have a problem with his leadership.

Walking down the street, they pass a bunch of burned bodies, and follow arrows down a sidewalk. Strange things are clearly afoot at the Circle K, my friends.

Around a corner, they come to walker fortifications, basically pikes surrounding small animals in cages in a fenced-in area. Michonne rightly observes that someone clearly has made this place theirs. Making their way down the street, a walker approaches, and gets shot by someone on a rooftop. He wants them to drop their weapons, and their shoes. Carl and Rick throw their hands up, Rick wants Carl to head for the car, Michonne says they need that rifle, and she can get up to the guy and take it from him. So, they decide to take him out. Rick covers as Michonne and Carl run, but the guy comes down off the roof, and it’s Carl who shoots him, stepping out of a store front. Turns out they guy was wearing body armor, so he’s just knocked out. They take of his mask and it’s Morgan! Remember Morgan (Lennie James)and Duane from the very beginning of season 1? He totally saved Rick’s life and nursed him back to health. Welcome back Morgan, the show needed a new black guy to kill.

Rick won’t leave Morgan laying on the street, so they maneuver through some more booby traps and get him up the stairs to his room. Which is filled with weapons and crazy wall writing. You guys, crazy wall writing is NEVER a good sign, this is no exception. Morgan has amassed quite an arsenal, the gang starts looting it until Rick sees the walkie-talkie he gave Morgan. The walkie-talkie he told him to turn on every morning at dawn and Rick would find him. Suddenly, Rick wants to wait for him to wake up and make sure he’s okay. Michonne isn’t into waiting, she thinks Morgan is dangerous, she reminds Rick of his own words that Morgan wasn’t like this when he knew him. Carl sees a map on the wall, it’s of their old neighborhood, Rick’s house is marked as burned out. Michonne is eating Morgan’s food, Rick chides her for it, Michonne responds, “mat said ‘welcome'”. Duuuude! Michonne’s got jokes!

Carl says that he wants to get a crib for Judith, that a baby place that one of Lori’s friends ran is right around the corner. I think Michonne caught a whiff of bullshit, cause she offers to go with him, saying that cribs are heavy. Rick agrees and stays behind with Morgan. While they were in side, more walkers have gotten themselves walker-trapped. Carl essentially pulls a “Hey, look! Over there! Walker!” on Michonne. Aw, Carl, Michonne’s brighter than that, and faster than you. She catches up quick. Carl passes the baby place, saying he wants to get Judith something else first.

Rick’s reading the crazy writing on the walls, which is not at all a visual metaphor. He sits down next to Morgan’s cot and apologizes to him, we see that Morgan is reaching for a knife. We also see that Morgan has figured out that everyone turns, regardless of bite. When he comes at Rick, they fight, Morgan saying that Rick is “people wearing dead peoples faces”, as he yells about clearing things, he stabs Rick in the chest. Somehow, he still gets the upper hand and Morgan begs Rick to shoot.

(Sidebar: Does black & white make the show that much dramatic, really?)

Morgan continues to beg Rick to shoot him, Rick takes him on a quick trip down memory lane. He reminds Morgan of the walkie-talkie deal, which brings Morgan around. Morgan wants to know why he didn’t come. (My god! Lennie James should seriously get an Emmy for this episode. He’s incredible.) Rick explains that he kept going further away. Morgan wants to know what happened to Rick’s wife (dead, walker food) and tells him what happened to his own wife and son. While clearing a basement, and told Duane to stay upstairs. When he went back up, his wife was was there, and killed his son. I can’t even convey the emotion here, sweet Jesus, this guy’s amazing. He then asks about Carl, if he’s dead, and says he will be. That the good people die, and so do the bad ones, but the weak ones, like himself, have inherited the Earth.

You guys, I can’t.

Will it ever be okay to laugh again?

Outside, Carl and Michonne approach an adorable little cafe. Well, I’m sure it was adorable before the apocalypse and all the dead people inside and what not. Michonne won’t let Carl go in alone, he dresses down Michonne about “common enemies” saying she can’t stop him. Yeah, well, he can’t stop her from helping him. They send a small animal in to distract the walkers while they go inside. They’re sneaking about and Carl shinnies up on the bar to retrieve something, but misses the walker quietly lying in wait beneath it. Luckily, Michonne is right quick with the sword.

They try to sneak out, but their little friend has ratted them out, so off running they go. What they were getting was a picture, the very last photo of the Grimes family, and Carl dropped it. Damn it, Carl! He wanted it for Judith, so she could know what their mom looked like. Damn it, Carl, stop being all sweet. Michonne makes him wait outside while she goes back in for the picture. The doors of this place must be incredibly strong, because a whole passel of walkers can’t push through them to get at Carl.

Michonne returns really quite quickly with the picture and and hilariously bad cat sculpture that she says was “just too damn gorgeous”. Jokes! Also, remember my theory that Michonne was a kindergarten teacher pre-apocalypse? I’m upgrading that to nursery school, because that’s some papier mache that only an early childhood education major could love. Am I right, Kutztown? Fellow graduates or attendees of other education-focused universities? Ahem, you know I am.

Back in crazytown, Rick tries to get Morgan to come back to the prison with them. But Morgan is sharp enough to realize that that many guns spells real bad news. Morgan refuses to watch anyone else be torn apart by teeth or bullets. He also admits that his ritual of clearing is what’s keeping him sane-ish. Rick wants him to be able to come back form this insanity, maybe he wants Morgan to come back so he knows that he can come back, right? Rick starts walking the guns down the steps.

(Look! 6! On Talking Dead! I miss Friday Night Lights, y’all. And Coach Eric Taylor. And Principal Tami Taylor. And Taylor Kitsch being in watchable things. And snug jeans. And cowboy boots. And Crucifictorius.)

Outside again, Morgan is strapping dead walkers to a gurney. Rick shrugs off his injury. Michonne asks if Morgan is okay, he is clearly not. Carl apologizes for shooting Morgan, who tells him never to be sorry, garnering a long WTF face from Rick. As they’re packing up the car, Carl tells Rick that Michonne might be one of them. Michonne tells Rick that she knows he “sees” people, but lets him know it’s okay, because she used to talk to her dead boyfriend. He asks her if she wants to drive because he “sees things”. Jokes! Jokes all around!

They drive back to the prison, making it uneventfully through the car crash area, and eventually passing a bloody smear on the side of the road with an orange backpack next to it. So, that’s the hitchhiker. The throw it in reverse and grab the bag.

Seriously, what is with my shows putting out these amazing capsule episodes? This was one of the best, most emotionally-charged episodes of The Walking Dead yet. Between the sadness, the utter shell of Morgan and the revelation of Michonne as someone with a personality and a past, I loved this episode so hard. And, I’d really like to thank everyone involved because I was shitty at yoga tonight, had a triple gut-punch of emotional songs (seriously, if song 4 hadn’t been cheeseball Red Hot Chili Peppers, I may have had to pull over and cry) and I have a very early doctor’s appointment tomorrow that I have vaguely bad feelings about, so getting to rewatch and write about this episode was pretty much the high point of my day. And possibly my tomorrow. I could barely muster up any snark. I was snarkless.

Next week, Governor/Rick sit down-show down. Andrea will probably have to choose a side and we’re inching ever closer to the inevitable showcase showdown where either the Sheriff or Phillip will walk away a winner. Any way you slice it, this shit’s going to be bananas. B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

In closing, I’d like to humbly ask all of the animated gif making people of the internets to please spell and grammar check your shit. I can’t do anything with something that says “to gorgeous” instead of “too gorgeous”. Well, I could, but it would have to be addressed to Daryl.

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