Since the last episode of “The Walking Dead” had fans worried about its storytelling pace, this episode hopefully can put those fears to rest as we are getting closer to the war between Woodbury and the prison. This episode, entitled “Clear,” was written by Scott Gimple and directed by Tricia Brock.
SPOILER ALERT: Do not read any further if you haven’t watched the episode yet. This is a recap with specific details from this episode. Continue only if you have already watched it.
The episode opened with a handmade sign along the road from a J to Erin as the trusty Hyundai Tucson product placement zoomed up. Ladies and gentlemen, remember to buy this car in order to survive the zombie apocalypse! Michonne was driving with Rick and Carl, but they refused to stop for a lone survivor trying to hitchhike. They did slow down when several vehicles blocked the road. When the trusty Hyundai got stuck in the mud, a horde of walkers swarmed the car, including an “Erin”. The trio didn’t even flinch. “Cover your ears,” Rick warned before rolling down his window slightly and dispatched of a walker.
After the off-screen carnage, Rick showed Carl how to loosen the car from the mud with gravel and sticks. Carl, acting for the audience, asked why Michonne was with them considering that she separated from the group while they were at Woodbury. Rick explained that he didn’t want Michonne to be at the prison without Rick and with Merle being there. Michonne patiently listened at the driver seat.
As they were almost done, the hitchhiker from earlier ran up yelling from the horizon. They just got in the car and drove off. Will there be another encounter?
The trio arrived at an abandoned town and continued on foot. They first stopped at the local police station and found an empty weapons locker. Rick was this town’s sheriff! Next stops were local bars and liquor stores, places where Rick had signed the weapons permits for. Rick and Michonne had a tense exchange but they got over it quickly.
Exploring the town, they found a barricade of sorts with warning signs. A walker tried to follow them but got trapped in the barricade before it got shot by a helmet-wearing sniper on a nearby rooftop. Gunfights ensued. The sniper almost pinned Rick down but Carl managed to shoot the sniper, knocking him unconscious. He was wearing body armour and turned out to be Morgan from the pilot episode!
Wading through the booby traps, the trio carried Morgan inside and found a huge weapons stash. Like kids in a candy store, they started collecting weapons and ammunition when Rick found a walkie-talkie, bringing back nostalgia of less sad days. Despite Michonne’s protests, Rick demanded that they would wait for Morgan to awake. As a precaution, Rick bound Morgan’s hands.
Carl noticed a drawing of their neighborhood on the chalkboard including a note that Rick’s house had burned down. Rick realized that Carl wanted to come with them to see their home. Their trip down memory lane was interrupted by Michonne’s eating. “We’re eating his food now?” “Mat said ‘Welcome’,” retorted Michonne.
Carl wanted to go on a run for baby stuff. Rick only relented after Michonne offered to go with him to help. Outside a wandering walker distracted Michonne while Carl tried to run off. He wanted to do something on his own first before the baby run. Michonne just followed behind.
Back inside, a deranged Morgan woke up and attacked Rick and even managed to stab Rick during the shuffle. “Please kill me,” begged Morgan when Rick finally got the upper hand.
The bound Morgan finally remembered Rick and the walkie-talkie promise that Rick broke. Rick tried to explain that he kept moving farther away because he had to. More coherent now, Morgan described in vivid details what happened to his son. Someone give Lennie James an Emmy (or at least a nomination) for this scene alone!
Carl tried to enter a cafe but was stopped by Michonne. Despite his protests, Michonne helped by rolling some caged rodents into the cafe to distract the walkers while they snuck inside. Carl got on the bar top to get a photo frame. A walker from inside the bar grabbed his leg but was quickly dispatched by Michonne’s katana. Trying to sneak out, they ran into a rat out of its cage, chased by a couple of walkers. Retreating, another walker blocked their path. After Carl shot it, the horde started on them as they made their way outside but Carl had dropped the photo frame.
Carl wanted to go back in but Michonne talked some sense into him. She would get the photo frame only if he waited outside. He agreed reluctantly, and she retrieved it successfully off-screen, saving us, the audience, some unnecessary tension. It was the only picture left of Lori, Rick and Carl in happier times. Carl wanted the picture to show baby Judith what their mom looked it. In a light moment, Michonne showed off the colorful ornament that she grabbed along the way and smiled. Wait, Michonne can smile?
Rick tried to get Morgan to return to the prison with them, but Morgan refused. He asked validly why Rick wanted that many guns. “Coz if you got something good, that just means there’s someone who wants to take it.” Morgan didn’t want to see any more loved ones die. Rick tried to get Morgan past his issues, but Morgan insisted he didn’t need to because he had the “clear”. Giving up, Rick walked out with his weapons stash.
As Rick brought out his weapon bags, Michonne and Carl returned with a baby crib. Carl stopped to apologize to Morgan for shooting him and the trio left. Loading the Hyundai, Carl endorsed Michonne, giving Rick a rare chance to smile. Michonne told Rick she understood what he was going through because she used to talk to her dead boyfriend, too. Rick asked Michonne to drive. Seems like all is going to be fine now. Driving out, Rick realized he was not alone in his mental issues after all.
On the way back, they passed by the body of the earlier hitchhiker… or what was left of him. Pragmatically, they stopped to pick up the backpack he left behind and drove home.
What do you think of this episode? We learned a little bit more about Michonne and even saw a couple of smiles. And what a great performance by Lennie James, right? Did you miss any of the other characters?
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