The Walking Dead: Clear

Posted on March 04, 2013

We argued about this episode. We suspect, going on twitter discussions and early reviews, that our argument was repeated on couches throughout the land last night. If you are someone who’s sick to death of all the freaking standing around and talking, and if you’re someone who doesn’t think they can handle one more TWD+S3E12+2scene of a character doing something incredibly dangerous and stupid for no good reason, then you probably hated this episode. On the other hand, if you wanted to see a little bit more world-building and perhaps a scene where Michonne acts like an actual human being instead of a snarl with a sword attached to it, or if you wanted to take a breather from all the dreariness of the prison and simply see some decent character work all around, then you might have found this episode enjoyable.

It’s easy to forget, from the comfort of our couches, as we rest our hands or our drinks on our full bellies, that the psychological effects of living in the zombie apocalypse would be long-term and highly damaging over time. Imagine if every day was September 11th and you were stuck in lower Manhattan, trying to build a life in the rubble. We yell at Rick and Co. for their constant poor decisions and reckless actions, forgetting that, in comparison to our own lives, every single person we’re yelling at is irrevocably damaged to the point of being pretty much clinically insane. It’s post-traumatic stress disorder written on a societal scale, except no one ever reached the “post” part of the equation; suffering instead through an endless, ongoing trauma.

Rick has had an especially improbable task throughout this story because, unlike the rest of the main characters, he’s not fighting to build a life for himself in this world; he’s been fighting to build a life for his family. That he’s failed so spectacularly isn’t necessarily an indictment of his efforts, but it’s good for the story to be reminded of the toll his failures have taken on him. Granted, they tried that with the “Rick goes crazy and sees ghosts” story line and it didn’t really work at all, mainly because it was tonally so faTWD+S3E12+5r off from the rest of the story. It’s one thing to show a character in the throes of a breakdown in this world; it’s quite another to put Lori in a white nightgown and have her wander around the prison like it’s a haunted house attraction. If you’re going to depict insanity in this stark, horrifying world, then stay away from the silly visions. Enter: Morgan.

The writing kind of lost its subtlety early on in this episode, so the point that Morgan is a “there but for the grace of God” mirror image of Rick, complete with regrets over bad decisions and lost family members, was hammered home perhaps a bit too forcefully. And yes, it was difficult to watch Rick make another series of strategically very stupid decisions for reasons that didn’t hold a lot of water or make a lot of sense. But for once, an episode of The Walking Dead did a good job of underlying a set of themes and this week, the theme was the irresistible pull of nostalgia in a world you no longer recognize; the value of remembering where you came from as you try to figure out where you’re going next, and finally, the high cost of living in such a world: the loss of your own empathy.

Rick wants to stay with the unconscious Morgan, against Michonne’s well-stated wishes. On the surface, it makes no sense, but Rick, who is pretty much batshit crazy after the loss of his wife, just wants to rewind back to a point when he still had hope; a time when his wife and son were out there waiting for him to rescue them and there still existed in his mind the possibility of things returning to normal; a time before all of Rick’s mistakes. In Morgan, we see a man who made a different set of mistakes. He held on to the past too long and wound up drowning in it because he couldn’t make the hard decisions the new status quo required.

Meanwhile, Carl is taking his new badass self out on the town, confident that he can take a stroll down memory lane, even as it’s populated with hungry undead. Like Rick, he’s taking an unneccessary risk born out of a desire to recapture the past and some part of himself from a time when he wasn’t so cold-blooded and damaged. Michonne takes this moment to suddenly sprout a personality and the ability to string entire TWD+S3E12+6sentences together. Nothing in this entire episode was more welcome than that development. Turns out? She’s not just a crazy, badass bitch. She is, in fact, as damaged as anyone else in this world, but still has enough empathy to see that both Carl and Rick need her help in different ways.

In the end, Carl got his piece of nostalgia and it was a good thing for him to hold onto, Rick realized his nostalgia (not to mention his insanity) was going to get more people killed and handed the wheel over to someone else, if only for a little while. It’s the first real growth we’ve seen in the character since … well, ever. And finally, Morgan is stuck in a hell of his own making, pinned to the ground by his own mistakes and his inability to move on from them. It’s not exactly a happy ending for anyone – especially since the show went out of its way to show how cold and cruel our heroes are, refusing to slow their car down for a stranger in need of help, but willing to do so to pick up his backpack from the smear of blood he left behind. The world is cruel and hard. Despite Morgan’s insistence that the weak are going to inherit this earth, all three people in that car are now bonded in their commitment to staying harder still – and looking out only for each other.

 

 

[Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC]

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  • Paigealicious

    As one of my Twitter friends said last night… “Carl’s death was sooo close, and yet so far away. Sigh.”

  • Sobaika

    I loved this episode. Sure, a lot of talking, but the difference for me was, this was talking that I was interested in and that felt necessary, organic, and natural. I’ve been wanting Michonne to get lines, I’ve been wanting to touch base with Morgan FOREVER.

    From the very beginning with the screaming hitchhiker, this episode was so atmospheric and chilling. I dug it.

    • Mismarker

      Could not agree with you more.  I saw somewhere that they had been trying to get the actor that plays Morgan back for a while but he was busy with other work.  

      The image of the bloody carnage and the orange backpack on the side of the road was incredibly chilling! 

      • Sobaika

        Yeah, they mentioned this on The Talking Dead. He is an amazing actor and they gave him good stuff to work with. When he started wailing about how Rick wasn’t there for him and how he’d tried the walkie I began bawling like a newborn.

        • MilaXX

           Until they mentioned it on TTD I didn’t realize he was in Snatch

      • aeb1986

         totally agree. that last scene was so captivating

    • Sobaika

      Forgot to add, I think it also helped that this followed only a single storyline and a few select characters. Made for a great capsule episode.

      • tessasouthworth

        I totally agree with all of your points. Tom & Lorenzo, thanks for such a beautifully written analysis.

      • Allyson Wells

        Exactly. I would love this show to mix more episodes like this, where you get to understand the world and just a few characters better, with the action-packed episodes… and with fewer episodes like last week’s where you see everyone doing a whole lot of nothing.  I really enjoyed this episode. Nice change of scenery too.

      • Topaz

        Yeah – I don’t mind an episode with a lot of talking when it doesn’t solely involve lots of shouting and no listening, where people might actually come out of it with a deeper understanding of one another. These are the sorts of things that we would expect that the core group did together regularly while on the road between seasons 2 and 3, that have led to them being such a tight and efficient team (at least in episode 1). It’s good to get a sense of that process of them coming together in that way.

        But the guy with the backpack. They guy with the backpack. Totally believable, totally devastating. Made me think of The Road.

  • ChiliP

    I really, really enjoyed this episode. For once, the standing around and talking actually led somewhere, rather than rehashing stories we already know (and don’t care about). Rick saw his mistakes reflected in Morgan, and it was heartbreaking to see him try to reconcile his worldview now versus when they originally met. Carl made the inexplicably dangerous decision to wander through zombie town alone, but again, it was for a stronger purpose (to keep the memory of his mother alive, both for himself and his baby sister) rather than out of sheer stupidity. And Michonne- finally, FINALLY, some character development with her. I’d venture to say this was one of the best episodes of the season, if not the entire series.

    • The Hedonist

      Carl’s dangerous decision was a great reminder that he is still just a kid – same with his apology to Morgan for shooting him. I loved how this episode brought back all three from the one-note characterizaitons they have been.  Carl was a brooding klling machine, Rick was bananas, and Michonne was a snarling grunting ninja.  Now, we see Rick starting to get some humanity back.  And even though we never knew a personable Michonne, we had a sense it was there.   Great character-driven episode…

  • Mismarker

    I loved this episode.  No one survives this world alone.  You’re alone? You either go crazy (Morgan) or you die (lone man on the road).  Excellent work by Lennie James and Andrew Lincoln.  Nice to see softer almost maternal side of Michonne.  Can’t wait for next week’s meeting between Rick and The Governor!  

    • Topaz

      Loved her ridiculous taste in household ornaments too. I hope she starts a shelf.

      • Mismarker

        Yes! That thing belonged on Regretsy.

      • http://twitter.com/dianasof Diana

        or a little prison craft corner.

  • appliquer

    Great episode.

  • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

    I don’t think the response to this episode will be as divided as you predict it to be.  I can imagine that most that watched craved a little character development and some smaller moments, rather than the bang them out zombie killing that has been happening too much lately.  I love episodes like this where they take a small number of characters away from the main “action” and let them shine. It was good to have the adventure with Michonne and Carl (Although why the crib was not filled with baby formula was beyond me.  Are we supposed to believe that with one visit they got enough formula for the next year?).  Also if they were back in their hometown, maybe they should just go back to their house for a picture or an album or two.  Aside from those implausible moments, I loved it from start to finish.

    • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

       Their house burnt down, along with most of their neighborhood.

      • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

        Was that on the TV show or the comic book?

        • Sobaika

          On the show (don’t know about the comics). In Morgan’s cave wall scratchings he had mapped the area and it included notes that said RICK and BURNT and drawings of houses. Rick comments on it when Carl wants to visit the house.

          • SassieCassy

            what was interesting is that it said ‘taken’ and then it was crossed out to say ‘burnt’

            meaning that morgan has been really making himself busy, not just the booby traps.

        • http://www.tomandlorenzo.com/ Tom and Lorenzo

          Last night, in the episode. Carl saw a map of the town Morgan had drawn on the wall and noted that their whole neighborhood had been marked as burnt down.

          • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

            Uh oh…I need to pay better attention.

          • Mismarker

            It was easy to miss if you looked away for a moment! I missed the significance of the the sign to “Erin” in the beginning of the episode.  One of the zombies that crowded in on the car had a bracelet on that said “Erin”.   

          • http://twitter.com/FunButNutz John Spodick

            I saw that one!

          • cornpicker73

            Hmm, I noticed that. Now I wonder if the hitchhiker was Erin’s buddy. 

        • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

          It was on Morgan’s wall/map of the town. “BURNT OUT” on the map, with “Overrun” (or something similar) crossed out. 

      • The Hedonist

        I seem to recall in the first couple episodes Rick and Morgan in Rick’s house.  MOrgan had pointed out that there was hope Laurie and Carl would be alive because someone packed and took the keepsakes – as opposed to them being dead and the house looted.  So maybe Carl knew all the pics from home wouldn’t be there?

        Or maybe I’m overanalyzing and should stfu?

    • tessasouthworth

      While watching, I too was wondering why they didn’t grab more supplies, like formula. But then I saw them load a ton of bags into the car and I concluded that these bags held said supplies.

    • MilaXX

       That was an ice cream parlor or some family eatery. That’s why the zombies were frozen at the tables. Look like they had pictures of locals on the walls.

  • Angela_the_Librarian

    One of the best episodes of the season. It was a good change of pace to get away from the prison and I loved that Michonne finally had some lines and we were given a slight hint of a back story. I really want to know how she managed to get the picture and the cat statue out of the restaurant (my husband thinks she must have been a ninja). I found Morgan’s story to be so chilling and so believable…there is only so much most people could take before they would wall themselves off from everyone and simply go into survival mode. Great thought-provoking episode!

    • MilaXX

       It was heartbreaking to hear his guilt over the fact that his son was killed by his zombie wife because she couldn’t bring himself to kill her.

      • Audrey Mozdzen

        One of the writings on the wall was something like, “Duane turned” so after killing his zombie wife in that red haze he then had to kill his son out of that haze after he turned. Made the backstory that much sadder for me to contemplate.

    • cornpicker73

      She’s a total ninja. That’s what I kept saying. Surprised she didn’t grab a stale cookie for the road. 

  • Sheila Luther

    Just like Jack said on Lost – “live together or die alone”.

    • PrunellaV

      I thought the same thing last night. “Lost” goes through my head a lot while I watch this show.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/XPWSQ2BDU5XJIA23AMYVBRWZBA Eric

    I agree with you – great to get a little bit of a smile from Michonne.

  • quiltrx

    I was SO happy we found Morgan (my husband had JUST brought him up)…then SO sad when I saw what he’d become.  That guy is a terrific actor.

    The discussion at my house was the geography.  They’ve been gone, on the road, all this time…but where we started was just a short distance away?  We need a map LOL.

    But most of all…I LOVE this episode for the tie in to “The Last Man on Earth”–one of my favorite Vincent Price movies ever!!

  • MilaXX

    I liked the episode. It may have been more standing around talking, but for a change it felt like standing around talking with a purpose. I have to admit it was hard watching them ignore that backpacker, but even harder knowing that he yelling and the pans on his pack clanging were only going to attract walkers.

    I forget his name, but I read that the person who directed this episode will be the showrunner for next season so maybe there’s hope for the show.

    • Mismarker

      Scott Gimple, the new showrunner, wrote this episode.  It was directed my Tricia Brock.  Scott Gimple also wrote the Sophia in the barn episode, “Pretty Much Dead Already”, and a handful of other episodes.  I think this show will definitely survive Glen Mazzara’s exit!

      • Sobaika

        I don’t really keep up with the behind the scenes shenanigans, but isn’t this the third new showrunner they’ve had? What is the deal?

        • Mismarker

          Yes, Frank Darabont, Glen Mazzara, and now Scott Gimple.  Maybe things get complicated when the creator of the comic book series is also an executive producer.  Lots of creative differences.  I believe one of the reasons Glen Mazzara left is a thought that season 3 was moving too quickly.

          • http://twitter.com/janedonuts Jane Donuts

            Scott’s been on board since the beginning. He’ll do fine.

          • Mismarker

            He came to TWD at the beginning of season 2.  I agree, he will do fine!

          • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

            Pffft. Mazzara was behind the Farm “let’s hang laundry forever” episodes, I assume?

          • Sobaika

            I actually don’t know the precise time in filming Darabont left, so that could have been him as well. I do remember reading interviews where Mazzara talked about scrambling to figure stuff out after Darabont and the actor who played Dale left, all during the second season.

          • Mismarker

            Ha! The first half of the second season was all conceived by Frank Darabont even though Glen Mazzara had taken over as showrunner between the first and second seasons.  Honestly, I will chalk all the boredom of season 2 up to the show’s budgetary restraints.  They literally did not have the money to do anything but walk around the farm and talk!

  • dress_up_doll

    This was definitely one of my favorite episodes. Lennie James totally sold the role of Morgan. I hope he returns. His performance was heart-wrenching. However, with all of the melancholy and sadness, there was a nice balance with the lighter more humorous touches.

  • VermillionSky

    Backpack guy was very sad… the saddest part of the episode for me.  I know why they left him but I think they are making a mistake, just like turning out Tyreese’s group.  They need more numbers to survive long term, and in the upcoming battle with woodbury.    I think those decisions will come back to haunt them.

    • Nice_Shirt

      Backpack guy broke my heart.  I was so hoping they’d pick him up alive on the way back, but I knew what they’d find.  My daughter was so angry she actually started shouting at the TV.  

    • Scoobydrew

      I don’t pick up hitchhikers now, I certainly wouldn’t do it in the zombie apoc. At this point they are in survivor mode.  Remember those guys in the bar? They didn’t seem so dangerous at first, but they were a pack of rapists, killers and thieves.  There is no way to know who someone is …sure you could be picking someone decent – but they also could be picking up someone incredibly dangerous. And do you risk your little group with that action.  When you are facing so much, I imagine it would be hard to take on what could very possibly be another danger.  I think that the fact that they stopped to pick up his pack proved exactly what Rick said awhile ago, they are the walking dead as much as the zombies are.  

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

         Oh, I don’t pick up hitchhikers now, but I definitely would in the zombie apocalypse — you need as many people as you can get.  Without numbers, there is no society and mankind loses its greatest weapon.

        • Sobaika

          I might – if it were a woman or a child. Totally get why they didn’t help this poor sap out, but still… it hit me in the gut to hear him screaming and then to have the gang go through his backpack.

          • Scoobydrew

            yeah, I’d probably sucker out for a woman or a child. 

          • Audrey Mozdzen

            I was wondering if they’d have slightly considered picking him up on the way back? They had a mission on the drive out and didn’t have time to deal with some newbie. Ah, well. 

        • Scoobydrew

          …and with the zombies you know what you are getting, human monsters are far worse.  I don’t think Maggie and Glenn feel so good about the “we need every person  we can get” plan when they look at Merle, and I don’t blame them.  And again those guys they met in the bar seemed okay in the beginning… Perhaps I’m jaded, but men like the Governor, Merle etc … are far more dangerous. 

          • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

            But then how do you bring in more people?  You keep losing people, and you have to replace them.  A single guy walking is far less of a risk to you than a group of people.

          • Scoobydrew

            …exactly what C.Thomas Howell thought when he picked up Rutger Hauer in the Hitcher. We know how that ended. :) 

  • mjude

    i loved this episode.  i found it tense, sad, with a small dash of humor.  i was so happy to see morgan but then….CLEAR.  how do you even find one bit of happiness in this new world? 

    • SassieCassy

      it was such an impossibly bleak episode

      • mjude

        true, which is one of the reasons i love this show. 

    • girliecue

      I liked it too. This episode drove home the point that in a post-zombie apocalyptic world, happiness is pretty much out of reach. You’re just relieved to have a day where every moment of it doesn’t totally suck.

  • hippy chk

    Didn’t Laurie take the photo albums when Shane helped her get out of town?  

    • Mismarker

      She did.  Rick finds the photos gone when he returns to his home in the pilot episode and determines Lori must have gotten out of town.  That photo album must have gotten lost or left behind somewhere along the way.  Or it was in Dale’s RV and and went up in flames at the end of season 2!  

    • TropiCarla

      They did say that. But they did not have time to grab all their stuff when they were fleeing the farm. When things get extra crazy, non-essentials get abandoned.

  • OhSayNow

    I really enjoyed this episode. The ‘stand around and talk’ felt purposeful and actually led to some much needed character development for Michonne. If this had been season 2 there would have been a three episode arc of them discussing the hitchhiker and what to do about him.

  • http://twitter.com/AveryFlynn Avery Flynn

    I loved this episode for showing just how far the group has strayed from their humanity and the social contract. The fab Mr. Flynn (who normally refuses to watch this show with me) sat through the beginning asked what the guy had done and why they wouldn’t stop for him. Had to explain that being that hard was the only way to survive.

  • erinbinek

    Loved this episode- I think I laughed more last night than I usually do during an episode of SNL.

    • Sobaika

      There’s a small moment when Carl shoots Morgan and they’re all just standing there in shock, and Rick is looking at his like he’s never seen him before and it’s hitting him that he has a nutcase on his hands.

      Longest belly laugh I’ve had in a while.

      • EEKstl

        I actually interpreted it as Rick looking at his son with a mixture of shock, respect and relief.  Being a badass in a zombie apocalypse is definitely going to serve Carl well, and I think Rick was relieved that he’s on the road to being able to take care of himself.

        • PaulaBerman

          Also, I think Rick figured he was screwed until Carl intervened.

      • SassieCassy

        i laughed when rick first held lil asskicker. he was staring at the baby like he didnt know what he was holding.

        i hate rick but andrew lincoln does good work.

    • Mismarker

      Re: laughable moments…that moment in the very beginning just after Michonne got the car stuck. Carl’s face as he stared at her from the backseat was freaking priceless!

  • Inspector_Gidget

    There were a few head-smacking moments, but overall this was a welcome respite from all the prison/Woodbury ping pong. That Lennie James is an awesome actor helped tremendously. In fact, it’s nice to be reminded that all of these people can act when given something to work with. Love that Michonne is bonding with Rick and Carl. In the books she is pretty much the only person that can pick up Rick and shake him out of whatever delusions he’s suffering. I cheered at the “No more bullshit” line. And hey, it was an excuse not to see Andrea making googly-eyes at the latest serial killer for a whole episode. That’s gold in itself.

  • http://gabyrippling.tumblr.com/ Gabriella M

    I don’t know why, but I found it so strange to realize that they were so close – driving distance – to Rick’s original town, and presumably the hospital he started in too. For some reason I’d sort of forgotten they were in Georgia at all, implausible though that may seem (possibly because I don’t recall anyone in Woodbury having an accent at all). Having read the NewsFlesh novels where the protagonists travel all over the country, it seems weird to think that so much has occurred and been built in probably a couple hundred mile radii from key points. It’s interesting. I feel like it also serves to show how tantalizingly close the old, pre-zombie world must seem, and yet so far from their present. 

  • dickylarue

    Last week I criticized the writing of the show for pulling me out of the show questioning why they are doing and not doing specific things that would make the show more emotionally satisfying.

    This week? I didn’t question anything. The re-appearance of Morgan, who I was hoping was the guy on the roof, was welcomed. I can’t complain about this episode. They took care of a lot of my issues by letting Michonne actually be human, letting Rick see a mirror image of himself that allows him to go back to being Rick so we can get past this “Rick’s crazy” subplot that flopped completely. 

    Of course we almost had a where’s Carl moment, but Michonne was on his ass so that didn’t get any legs. Last season, Carl would’ve disappeared into the town and Rick would’ve found him in their old house trapped by zombies that would’ve killed at least one of the people trying to help Rick get him out. So we’ve made some progress. 

    As for Morgan, that man is an actor. He’s phenomenal. Lennie James makes you believe more than any other actor on this show what he’s gone through. I’m hoping against hope that he somehow finds his way to the prison and the group but I know that his reappearance will most likely be his last. He’s going to clear that street until the day he dies. That’s part of what’s unsatisfying about this show – Rick scaring Tyreese off. His not being able to get Morgan to come with them. Stuff that may work in the comics (haven’t read them) doesn’t work as well in TV.

    That being said, I thought it was a great episode. Morgan telling how his zombie wife killed his son and he had to kill both was pretty spectacular. Kind of wish we got to see it. 

    • MilaXX

       Actually I like the impact of Morgan telling the story. If it was filmed it would have been another Sophia in the barn moment. We’ve seen too many zombie killings for it to have much impact. Morgan telling it and seeing how broken it left him hits harder.

  • ChelseaNH

    Re: bad decisions
    This finally reminded me of a point from brain science.  The brain has an executive center which makes decisions, and it has limited stamina.  The more you force people to make decisions, the worse their decisions become.  (Sociological implication:  Poor people have to decide how to prioritize and accomplish tasks which are automatic for people with more resources,  leading to poor decision making from mental exhaustion.)  In this environment, where every single thing has to be figured out (what am I having for breakfast this morning?) and every single option has possible consequences, it’s not surprising that people have a hard time functioning at any kind of rational level.

    • sk8tfan

      That makes sense. I’ve wondered too if these people aren’t so physically exhausted that they can’t process well enough to make sensible decisions. I know what I’m like after going without sleep for a day or two, and these people haven’t had decent sleep in a year or so.

  • SpillinTea

    Give Lennie James ALL the Emmys, because he put it down this episode. He acted circles around everyone on that show and broke our hearts at the same time. 

  • http://twitter.com/TheRealSandraOh Sandra Oh

    This was the best episode so far this season.  Amazing.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000905542323 Rhonda Shore

    I really liked this episode, particularly the Michonne angle.  I loved how she ate the bag of chips and said “the mat said welcome.”  I wondered if Daryl would have stopped for the stranger in need, like he stopped to help the woman in the car.

    • PaulaBerman

      Daryl would at least have mentioned it as a possibility.

    • MilaXX

       Like the SNL skit

  • Allyson Wells

    I’m looking for some opinions here… why exactly didn’t they pick up the hitchhiker? Immediately a few things came to my mind- no room in the car, guy could be dangerous/crazy, don’t need one more mouth to feed.  But then I thought maybe he could have been an asset, giving them one more person on their side for the Woodbury/prison confrontation. Although, I guess that’s not a priority since Rick sent away Tyreese and his group. Just wondering what everyone else thought.

    • dickylarue

      Allyson – In my house the debate ranged on the things you mentioned and also that they don’t know who could be a spy from Woodbury sent to infiltrate and gain intelligence. They know from Merle that The Governor is extremely cunning and I’m wondering if they are on lockdown re: people they don’t know, until the conflict with him is resolved. 

    • SassieCassy

      simply too dangerous. you cant trust people in this zombieland AND an extra person is extra baggage. it means extra food extra guns extra burden.

      • Mismarker

        These were my thoughts as well.  As upsetting as it was to see them encounter and deny this guy TWICE (and then to later see his entrails on the side of the road), I can understand why they did it.  Extra baggage.  Also, the dude seemed like a zombie apocalypse newbie, didn’t he? Clanging pots hanging off his pack, screaming? He looked like he was merely lost while camping.  Not desperately trying to survive in a lawless, dystopian world.  

        The more I think about it, this episode should have been called “Sucks To Be You”. 

        • PaulaBerman

          How could he be a newbie? Lori was able to get through an entire pregnancy. Nobody is a newbie at this point.

          • Mismarker

            Just an observation.  You’re right, nobody would be a newbie at this point but his sheer amount of gear, clanging pots, and screaming make him look like a newbie.  A survivalist does not need to carry around that much shit.        

          • bd73

            only a survivalist would know that. the rest of us would think we need more. and how much did he have? probably spare clothes, a blanket, first aid, food. did he have much more anyone in tyreese’s group? seemed like he was well outfitted. and probably only recently had his own companions demolished/dispersed the way tyreese’s group had suffered.

          • MilaXX

             Dumb luck. Remember how unskilled the prisoners were at killing zombies when Rick and co. first meet them?

          • PaulaBerman

            It was a little silly in that instance, too. You couldn’t survive a whole year in ZombieLand and have no idea how to kill zombies. Bad writing, in both cases IMO. It was an effective and disturbing image in this case, but could have made more sense.

          • bd73

            the prisoners were isolated from the walkers. that’s completely different. they were locked in by a guard. never had a chance to confront them.

          • PaulaBerman

            Right, I thought you meant Tyrese et al. But they didn’t see all that confused about killing walkers.

      • http://profiles.google.com/shannonlstewart Shannon Stewart

         I disagree.  If you’re not going to trust anyone you don’t know, your group is going to get worn down by attrition eventually, so you’ll need those extra people.  It depends on what your end goal is: do you want to survive or do you want to rebuild? 

        • shelley514

          In this world, you don’t trust someone who needs help.  You trust someone who helps you.

    • MilaXX

       The last 2 times they stopped to help someone things turned out badly for them. As cold and uncomfortable as it was to it’s just no longer worth the risk for RIck. This guy obviously had no survival skills. That pan clanging on his back pack was a dead give away.

    • bd73

      why bother? their problems are pretty huge. no food and a war brewing. what good are they to him right now? what good is he to them? just ’cause he’s alive doesn’t mean he wants to get into a gunfight with woodbury and it’s tank. they don’t need newcomers. they need allies with martial skills and equipment. everyone else should just keep it movin’.

  • EEKstl

    This was my favorite episode of the season, for all the reasons you so eloquently discussed above.  

  • BaddestMotherEver

    I loved getting to see Carl develop in this episode, and I thought the mirrored shots of him in the backseat on the way to town and returning later were powerful.  In the first, it seemed he was trying to suss out his crazy ass dad and the strange silent woman.  But after he got to be “tended to” by Michonne and respected by her, the final shot showed him looking both more like a kid because he could trust his adults, and more like an adult because he had gone on a mission and succeeded.  LOVED IT.  

  • PaulaBerman

    I’m a Carol/Daryl ‘shipper, but now also maybe a bit of a Rick/Michonne ‘shipper…

  • Zippypie

    This was definitely more like it.  This was talking that moved both characters and audience forward, not just rehashed a bunch of bs over and over again.  Morgan’s story and the mirror he provided for Rick was extremely powerful.  As well as the bonding between Carl and Michonne and then between Rick and Michonne at the end.  Excellent review, boys.

    The only gripe I had this week and have mostly every week is the combination of scene writing and editing.  The writing was good; however, the arcs of the scenes were pretty choppy so then the editing into an abrupt commercial break was jarring.  This has been an ongoing problem with this show.  There’s this high emotional building and then poof! cut to commercials.  The writers know what time blocks they work with for scene length.  It needs to get better because the emotional impact gets lost and that just sucks in a potentially powerful ep like this one.

    I hope we see Morgan again.

  • Nonmercisansfacon

    This was the best episode of the season IMO. In terms of character building, almost on par with the pilot. And quite frankly, Carl’s decision, while reckless, didn’t seem that crazy to me. Sure he risked his and Michonne’s lives but the sentiment behind it (wanting a picture of his mom, for Judith and also, for himself) was human. Wanting to conserve a piece of the past, a piece that reminds you why you are fighting so hard for survival, a piece that can remind you of your humanity, is the most understandable thing (robot) Carl has done. 

    • MilaXX

       Exactly, Carl’s going for that picture actually shows he still has a tiny bit of hope left. He wants Judith to know what her family looked like in happier times and probably he wants that picture to hold onto for himself as well. I think in an odd way it makes him a tiny bit less traumatized than everyone else.

  • http://twitter.com/poptartsjen Pop Tarts Jen

    This episode got a thumbs-up from me. There was a lot of talking, but things went somewhere. And I TOTALLY agree about Michonne – they FINALLY gave her some lines. It was also nice to have a standalone episode with just 4 characters. It was a welcome break from flashing back and forth between so many different plots. 

  • baxterbaby

    Lennie James.  Great acting.  That is all.

    • shelley514

      He is superb and overlooked actor.

  • Donald Hite

    I thought this was a great episode.  A much needed break from the prison drama.  And for the first time, I genuinely want to know more about Michonne (rather than just screaming “saying something bitch!” at her through the TV).  

  • shelley514

    This review nails the dynamics of that episode.  Good job!

  • http://twitter.com/Goldielox73 Goldie

    Did anyone else wonder why they didn’t take more guns?  Morgan had a shit-ton stockpiled in that room, more than he could possibly need and they only grabbed a couple of duffle bags?  Also, grenades!  They would be excellent in Woodbury.  Throw them over the fence and BOOM!

    Also, they kept showing previews of this weeks black and white episode with Andrea’s sister.  I’d mostly forgotten what she looked like other than that she was blonde but I kept thinking she looked so familiar.  She’s Emma, Anne’s daughter, on Dallas!

  • Leah Burns

    I like the Lori hallucinations. It fits with him and his Lori phone (can’t remember if that was on the show yet, but it’s in the comic). The difference is we are seeing it from the inside of his head instead of from the outside like Morgan. Crazy tends to get a little trippy.

    • http://profiles.google.com/melantha.chimera Eileen Duffy

      The phone was in the show, too.  I agree; I have no problem with Rick being off his rocker in a way we can see, and the fact that he knows that he is is a good thing.

  • BigShamu

    I’m trying to remember?  Has Rick ever saved/helped a stranger?  Like Morgan did with Rick?  Like Daryl just did with the people with the baby?  Or like Hershel did when he took in their group?  Or like Glen did getting Rick out of the tank?  Even Michonne saved Andrea.  Am I missing something?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Nick-Covill/100000616962898 Nick Covill

    I kind of hated this episode.

    First off, I was really uncomfortable with how Michonne was handled.  Her driving while Rick sleeps in the backseat, Rick and Carl telling her she isn’t one of them (when, at this moment, she is the only black person in the group), Carl being a brat to her as she basically babysat his stupid ass when he wandered away from the group just like Sophia did last season (and yeah, Hope and Family and whatever, but he didn’t warm to Michonne until she put a memento of HIS family ahead of HER life), and Carl’s stupid  “She may be one of us.”  All of this with two white male characters towards a black female character.  And in the same episode an older black male telling the young white male to never apologize for anything.  It made me really freaking uncomfortable, given how the female AND black characters on this show have been handled.

    Secondly, the hitchhiker subplot was amazingly unnecessary.  I was complaining about the show at work (this episode was kind of my breaking point, much like The Spanish Teacher for Glee), and when explaining this plotline to a coworker who hadn’t watched anything other than the first episode, he exclaimed “The HERO did this?”

    I can understand it being a hard world, but we still need to root for these characters, and cold-bloodedly leaving another survivor to be eaten by zombies because Fuck Other People isn’t a good way to make me root for them.  And I say this as someone who bitched about the Shane/Rick feud being stupid because Shane was right in the majority of the situations.

    Obviously, YMMV, but this was the nail in the coffin for my Walking Dead viewing (no pun intended.)

  • andreawey

    my favorite part was Carl’s face when Michonne got him the picture, he almost looked like a kid again 

  • Swiftlytiltingplanet

    Wait. What?  How did we come back to Rick’s hometown?  Did he not know the prison was close to his town?  Did he not realize that they were…and why has he been so silent on the area and…just WTF?!?

    Sorry if this has been mentioned before – I haven’t read the whole thread.  I’m just watching the episode, and this was the first thing that came to mind when he said “I was the police” here.

    And when did Morgan paint everything with chalkboard paint?

  • Lucyintheskywithdiamonds

     Your post highlights a lot of critical facts about this
    world that Rick and Co are living in now. It’s easy for us to “yell at the TV”
    about the stupid things characters are doing but who’s to say that we would do
    things any different under similar circumstances. I really liked how we got to
    know Michonne a little better in this episode and that she’s not just an
    efficient killer with a katana strapped to her back. She’s actually pretty
    personable which is surprising. I was telling my co-workers in my office at
    DISH that if something doesn’t change with her soon Rick will put her out as he’s
    been saying all along. However this week it looks like she really bonded with Rick
    and Carl. Good for her I say. I don’t get to see the newest episode of The
    Walking Dead the night it airs because I’m usually at work but thanks to the
    Hopper and DISH Anywhere I can catch up on the show on my iPad anytime I want.