The Walking Dead: Clear (Re-View-Cap)

Michaela Murray

This week’s episode of The Walking Dead, titled “Clear,” shows just how dark things have gotten since season one. In this episode Rick, Michonne and Carl leave the prison to try and find more guns. Their search takes them back to the police station where Rick used to be Sheriff, and the town that he and his family used to live in. While there, they are shot at by a masked man who turns out to be [SPOILER (actually this whole review-cap is a spoiler)] Morgan! The rest of the episode splits between two storylines. The first is a compare and contrast between the world Rick knew when he first woke up in the hospital, to the death stained world the characters now inhabit. The other storyline is that of Michonne and Carl—two characters known best for doing nothing, actually manage to make a pretty awesome team.

In the Rick/ Morgan storyline, we see a dramatic change in the brave father who saved Rick’s life in the first season. In one year that has elapsed between Morgan and Rick’s last meeting, Morgan’s life has descended into a mess of booby-traps and writing on walls, in which his only way to process the world around him is to mark people and places as “clear” or “unclear.” At first Morgan is so lost that he doesn’t even recognize Rick and stabs him in the chest while yelling “You don’t clear! You Turn! You just die!” When Rick finally forces Morgan to remember who he is, we learn what made Morgan lose his mind: Duane turned.  Even though we don’t see Duane die in this episode, Morgan’s description alone puts it in the running for the saddest death The Walking Dead has ever had; And Morgan becomes the most tragic character.

At the end the first episode of The Walking Dead, Morgan is in the upstairs window of his and Duane’s “temporary” home with one of Rick’s rifles. It is suggested that this was when he shot his wife, who he hadn’t been strong enough to kill before she turned. Two seasons later, in Morgan’s description of Duane’s death, we find out that he didn’t shoot her. Instead she killed Duane right in front of Morgan, effectively ending any hope that Morgan had in life and making him a shell of his former self. This loss of hope is the propelling theme with Morgan and Rick’s story, and while it’s not the return anyone wanted for Morgan, the payoff is substantial.

While Rick tries to save Morgan, Michonne and Carl work together to try and retrieve a family picture from a local restaurant for Carl to give to Judith. Neither Carl or Michonne have had a significant amount of dialogue before this episode, with each other or to other characters (unless you count silent angry stares as dialogue), but this subplot turns out to be one of the most endearing so far this season. While it is pretty weird to see Michonne getting lines, there is no questioning the fact that Michonne wins this episode. Not only does she get some awesome one-liners, but she also does what no one in the history of The Walking Dead has ever done: she gets Carl to listen to her and wait where she says.

This episode ends on a sad note for Morgan, but a happy one for Carl and Michonne.  For those fans worried about showrunner Glen Mazarra’s departure next season, worry not.  “Clear,” written by Mazarra’s replacement Scott Gimple, was an episode that was great on character development, but didn’t skimp on suspense or action.

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