THE WALKING DEAD Episode Recap: “Clear”

     March 3, 2013

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Last week’s episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead was a bit on the dull side, but tonight’s ep really made up for it!  New locations to experience, interesting relationships to explore and even a surprise reunion.  While it wasn’t the most action-packed of episodes, there was just something about tonight’s hour that took the franchise to a whole new level.

Starring Andrew Lincoln, David Morrissey, Chandler Riggs, Melissa McBride, Laurie Holden, Danai Gurira, Michael Rooker, Norman Reedus, Steven Yeun, Lauren Cohan, Scott Wilson, Dallas Roberts, Emily KinneyChad Coleman and Lew Temple, AMC’s The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9.  Hit the jump for my review of “Clear.”

walking-dead-season-3-michael-rooker[Spoiler Alert: All reviews and recaps come with a general spoiler warning from this point onward.]

Tonight’s episode departed from this season’s pattern of splitting the story between characters in Woodbury and characters in the prison.  In fact, we only get scenes with Rick, Carl and Michonne for the entire run, with an additional surprise character thrown in for good measure.  We don’t even get to see Woodbury or the prison, which came as a welcome breath of fresh air.

Instead, Rick takes Carl and Michonne for a jaunt back to his home town to scare up some weapons and ammunition.  Finding the police station and other familiar haunts picked clean, they happen upon a strange stretch of road decked out in creepy phrases and booby traps.  Who’s waiting for them on the other side of the barricade?  None other than Morgan (Lennie James), the man who saved Rick from certain death in the first episode!  It’s been a long time coming for the reunion of these two and it was certainly worth the wait.

“Clear” was one of those strong character-building episodes I’ve been longing for this season.  There are a few bits of action scattered about, but even our heroes appear to be bored with the same old method of dispatching the undead.  What was really interesting were the dynamics between the characters, be it Rick and Michonne, Rick and Carl, Michonne and Carl or, most interesting of all, Rick and Morgan.  While the things that happened to Morgan are every bit as gruesome and debilitating as the events that have befallen Rick’s group, Morgan had no support group to catch him when he fell and has since descended into a bit of nihilistic madness.  At least he has a shitload of guns that he’s more than willing to give away!

While Carl is walking the line between upstart teenager and outright douche, I appreciated his sentiment to make sure that little Judith at least grew up knowing what her mother looked like.  I’ll only dock this episode a point for that bit of the story coming across as a little more silly than sweet, but Michonne finally gets to shine a bit more this time around.  And that callback with the hitchhiker at the very end?  A perfect touch!

Rating: 9/10

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Zombie Kills: 8

Casualties: 0

Human/Enemy Deaths: 1 hitchhiker

Best Kill: Michonne’s backward katana stab.

Best Effect: A tie for set design between the car crash scene and the booby-trapped domain of Morgan.

Musings and Quotes:

  • Sign: “Erin, We tried for Stone Mountain. -J.” I loved the little touch of seeing a Walker wearing an “Erin” bracelet.  There was just something about this episode, perhaps the attention to detail, that jumped the dramatic level up another notch.
  • There was a nice bit of father/son conversation between Rick and Carl in this episode that never felt forced or contrived.
  • Away with you. / No guilt, you know that. / Just listen.
  • “Keep an eye out for booby traps.  Looks like he’s been pretty creative so far.” – Rick on Morgan
  • “Carl! Watch the wire!” – Rick.  Carl was about a half-step away from getting his skull split.
  • Rick to Michonne: “You think he’s crazy?” Michonne: “I think he’s dangerous.”
  • “You said you would turn on your radio every day at dawn and you were NOT THERE!” – Morgan
  • Morgan’s story of how he lost his family was absolutely heart-breaking.
  • Did Carl and Michonne return to the same place that Rick shot the little girl in the first episode?  Or was that at a gas station…either way, it looked familiar.
  • Using those rats for Walker bait was much smarter than how the gang dealt with the Well Zombie, even if they did steal the idea from Morgan.
  • There was a welcome bit of levity between Carl holding the door, Michonne doing whatever to get that picture back and then coming out with that hideous looking cat statue or whatever it was!
  • “I just wanted Judith to see what her mom looked like.” – Carl
  • “You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets, you and your boy.” – Morgan
  • “I have to clear.” – Morgan
  • Michonne on Morgan: “He’s okay.” Rick: “No, he’s not.”
  • Happy to see Michonne being welcomed into the fold, especially because she wins over the Grimes boys in one fell swoop…which probably means she’s going to die soon.

Be sure to tune in next week for our continuing recaps of AMC’s The Walking Dead.

And if you missed our recap of the Paleyfest Walking Dead red carpet, click here.  We got some new info on season 3 and 4.

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