Walking Dead: Season 3, Episode 12 “Clear”
Last episode focused primarily on Andrea – the worst character on the show. This episode of The Walking Dead can only be an improvement. While this episode didn’t do much to advance the season’s plot, it did play to the show’s strengths. It wasn’t great, but it was as good as The Walking Dead gets.
The episode follows Rick, Carl and Michonne on an away mission. During the road trip, they pass a hitchhiker who begs them to save him. They don’t even slow down to consider picking the guy up. This mirrors Rick’s current trust issues which will be a focus of the episode.
When the car gets stuck in the mud, Rick and Carl have a chat about Michonne. Rick makes it clear that his acceptance of the silent loner is temporary and borne of convenience. He says all of this in earshot of Michonne once again displaying Rick’s brand of inept leadership.
Just in case we forgot about the hitchhiker, he shows up just as they get the car unstuck. Once again, they don’t hesitate to peel out and leave the poor guy to fend for himself.
At the end of the episode, the hitchhiker’s fate is revealed. But really, he had a fighting chance. There were several cars on the road. Rick and company had just cleared the area. Odds are pretty good he could have started one of those cars and taken off on his own.
Rick takes the group back to his police station looking for guns. Most of them aren’t there. So Rick decides to hit a few locations where he knows permits were filed. It’s a bit odd that he didn’t mention checking in on Morgan seeing as how he showed Morgan the weapons locker a year ago and promised to check back on him.
The group finds warnings to turn back as well as low tech booby traps. When they ignore the warnings, a lone gunman takes them on. A gun fight breaks out and Carl takes him down. It would have been a fatal shot if not for Morgan’s body armor.
Rick takes Morgan back into his booby-trapped home. The traps and spray-painted messages make it clear that Morgan has lost it. He also has ALL of the guns. Not just the ones from the weapons locker. All of the guns in town and probably some he picked off other survivors who stumbled into his block. As Rick says, “He’s been busy.”
Rick feels an obligation to wait around until Morgan comes to. Morgan saved his life approximately a year ago (as always, the time line is fuzzy at best). Plus, Morgan could make a good ally against the Governor.
While Rick waits, Carl wants to go find a crib for his sister. Rick allows it on the condition that Michonne accompany him – which is a bit odd given Rick’s mistrust of her. No real reason is given for Rick’s mistrust or for his softening.
Of course Carl doesn’t go to the baby store like he claimed. Instead, he goes to a bar where a picture of his family hangs on the wall. From the outside, the place is clearly a deathtrap. But with Michonne’s help, Carl retrieves the picture. Hey, maybe Michonne would be useful, ya think?
Meanshile, Morgan wakes up and tries to kill Rick. Wouldn’t you have restrained Morgan while he was out cold given that he’s clearly crazy and already tried to shoot you? Not Rick. It’s a wonder this guy is still alive.
Rick and Morgan catch up. Morgan tells Rick how Duane died at the hands of his mother. He confesses that his son died because he couldn’t kill his zombified wife when he had the chance. Since then, he has been clearing out zombies to atone for his weakness.
The scene works largely because Lennie James just kills it. It’s a shame he rejects Rick’s offer to join the group. But then again, James is too good for the show.
I have to wonder why Rick didn’t opt to move his group outside of the prison. Morgan seems to have a pretty good set-up. They could relocate there or somewhere similar without much fuss and leave their troubles with Woodbury behind them.
Oh well. Morgan stays behind. Carl tells Rick that Michonne is “one of them”. Too bad no one said the same thing about Tyreese. Or maybe suggest that they should give that hitchhiker a chance. Because on the trip back, they find a bloody smear and his backpack on the side of the road.