The Walking Dead Recap: ClearMarch 3, 2013
This weeks episode of The Walking Dead was nothing short of heart-wrenching with an old friend making an appearance; unfortunately for Rick the reunion is bittersweet. (FULL SPOILERS AHEAD)
“The mat said ‘Welcome’.” – Michonne
Realizing that they are outnumbered and outgunned by the Governor and his men, Rick takes Michonne and Carl on a run to get weapons. On their way they see a man carrying a pack of supplies, screaming for their help as they pass him by with barely a second glance. Whatever their motives are for this, whether Rick has become cold or from their standpoint he’d be just another mouth to feed is up for debate.
Their first stop is Rick’s old stomping grounds, including the police precinct and the old city center, which has been fortified now with booby traps for the walkers, including large, sharpened wooden spikes, barbed wire and small animals in cages to help lure the attention of the walkers. Along the crosswalk an ominous message is scrawled, “Turn Around and Live.”
The three encounter a man armed with a rifle and intent on keeping them out of the town he’s fortified for himself, but Rick is insistent and they need the weapons, so he opens fire. Ultimately though, it is Carl (who now won’t go back to the car, forget staying in the house) that takes the attacker down with a gunshot to the chest. The bullet, however, is stopped by the man’s bulletproof vest and he’s only knocked unconscious. Rick unmasks him and comes to find it is an old friend, Morgan Jones.
We haven’t seen Morgan since the very first episode of season one in the episode “Days Gone Bye”. The man has since built an arsenal comprised of 26 assault rifles, 1 sniper rifle, 22 hunting rifles, 10 shotguns, 48 grenades, 1 crossbow, 10 semi-automatic handguns, and 4 hunting long bows. With enough weapons and ammunition to spare, Michonne tries to convince Rick to just leave the man behind, saying he probably isn’t the man he knew a year ago.
Carl finds a chalkboard drawing of the entire neighborhood, including their old home with the words BURNT OUT scrawled under it; everything that was before the dead walked is now gone and the realization seems to hit Carl that nothing will ever be the same again. This motivates Carl to go looking for a photo of him and his parents in a cafe; Michonne in tow. They find the cafe, filled to the brim with walkers, and barely make it out with their lives, all for the last known photo of Rick, Lori and Carl. While his motives are obvious, wanting to show the photo to sister Judith when she’s older, his choices are poor. Still, he’s doing better than his father…
When Morgan awakes, we find out that Michonne couldn’t have been more right. His first instinct is to attack Rick, stabbing the man through the shoulder with a blade. Morgan begs for death when Rick points his gun at him, seemingly relieved that someone is here to finally take his life. Instead, he’s bound with zip ties so Rick can maintain control, trying to talk some sense into him, using the radio he found among Morgan’s personal affects to bring him around. Morgan remembers, and then becomes angered that Rick went silent on him, though with the message on the far wall that reads “They All Turn” seems to say he was still paying attention and hearing Rick when he sent the message about what he discovered at the CDC.
Morgan tells Rick of the fate of Duane, his son, at the hands of his mother. Too weak to kill his own wife, Morgan let her live and it became the biggest mistake he’d ever made. Leaving his son behind while he ventured into the cellar for food, he returned to see his son with his weapon drawn and his own mother opposite him, but he was unable to kill her. Distracted by Morgan’s calling to him, he’s helpless as his mother attacks him. Now, Morgan is alone, unstable, and unwilling to go with Rick. Clearly a broken man, Rick leaves him behind, but at least knows where to find him should he ever feel the need to check up on him again. The conversation between the two seemed to have affected Rick; in which way it’s hard to tell yet.
The ending is a somber one as the three drive past the brutalized corpse of the hitchhiker they refused to help, ripped apart on the side of the highway. They stop long enough to grab his pack and leave; after all, no sense in leaving it out there without knowing what goods the man might have had on him. We see what may be a look of regret in Rick’s eyes, but it’s there one moment and gone the next.
An episode with minimal characters echoing the first episodes of season one, “Clear” is one of the most moving episodes of The Walking Dead I’ve seen so far. Scott M. Gimple takes writing credit on this episode and as the new showrunner for the upcoming season, has given me hope that we will see more character building because I already know one thing; he knows how to tug heartstrings.