The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 12: “Clear” TV Episode Review
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Scott M. Gimple
2013, Rated TV-14
Episode premiered on March 3rd, 2013
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes
Chandler Riggs as Carl Grimes
Danai Gurira as Michonne
Lennie James as Morgan Jones
Russell Comegys as Unnamed Hitchhiker
Warning! This discusion contains spoilers for this episode.
Steve Pattee: This week’s episode followed Rick, Carl and Michonne as they took a trip to Rick’s old hometown in the hopes of gathering some weapons in preparation for the upcoming war with The Governor. Rick met an old friend and Carl made a new one in Michonne.
Let me start off by saying shame on AMC for the ‘previously on The Walking Dead’ bullshit spoiler. Was it really necessary to show Rick talking to his old pal Morgan in this piece? Because once they did, they completely blew the surprise. Nice job, AMC. Why did you even bother to attempt to keep the identity of the guy on the rooftop secret, when you effectively spoiled it for us before the episode started? Jesus Christ. Honestly, cut these altogether. If someone isn’t up to date, that’s their problem. Don’t punish those of us who have been diligently watching. And if you must insist on doing these flashbacks, try to use a little common sense in the future, okay?
Now, with that out of my system, Let’s talk The Walking Dead. So, TGM, are you still on Team Rick? Before I get into the awesome that is Carl and Michonne, let’s discuss Rick, shall we? And what an amazingly pisspoor leader he is? Seriously, he sucks. He thinks of himself and his guilt first, at every opportunity, and this episode is a prime example of that. They hit town, get shot at by someone who is obviously insane, and what does Rick do? “Oh, he’s my pal. He’s okay. I’m going to put you guys at risk so I can assuage my own guilt on leaving him behind.You guys are cool with that, right?” Of course they are, Rick.
And let’s not forget the traveller they ignored on the way into town. Think about it; they are preparing for a battle with The Governor, they know they are outnumbered, so what’s the best course of action here? If you see a potential fighter for your side, ignore them and keep driving. Makes perfect sense. Rick has got to step down. He is useless.
TGM: Well, I will admit that it was pretty damned heartless with how they treated that hitchhiker fellow. Especially the final scene with them doubling back to pick up the backpack. I am still on Team Rick, barely, and will concede that it is getting tougher each week to defend his actions. Rick had the opportunity to buttress his army significantly with Tyrese et al, and again with Hamburger Helper Henry Hitchhiker, and failed to do so each time. He obviously has trust issues. I’d be suspicious of folks too, especially if I had a son to look out for, but he is starting to take things to the extreme. Speaking of sons, Carl continues to be a badass. Funny how Carl went from “Damnit Carl, stay in the house!” to “Thanks for saving the day, AGAIN!”. I like the dichotomy that exists with Carl at this stage of the game. He’s equal parts rash impulsivity and steely Terminator-like vengeance. Did the actor grow about two feet since the start of this season? I swear he looked taller in this episode. Then again, he could simply be standing on his huge set of brass balls.
SP: That’s a nice observation of Carl. He’s still doing things that seem rather impulsive (as seen last night in his quest for Judith’s gift) and it should be expected as he is, after all, 12. But because of the world he lives in, he also must have that sense of awareness your average pre-teen won’t have. He’s a much more disciplined Carl than what we saw in the first two seasons, made quite evident by not only how quickly – and without thinking on it – he shot Morgan, but his complete lack of reaction immediately following. The kid is a borderline sociopath.
I really enjoyed the parts with him and Michonne. Hot damn am I quickly warming back up to her. She’s been more vocal these past few weeks and it’s truly helping her character. One of my favorite moments in this episode was when Rick was making a (bad) leadership decision and he asked her if she had a problem with it. While vocally her response was quite submissive, her eyes told a different story. She provided the answer that he wanted to hear with her voice, while her glare pretty much said she’s wants to gut him. I also really loved her discussion with Carl on why he needed her help with the crib he planned on picking up for Judith. It was condescending and teasing and wonderful.
TGM: Yeah, Michonne is starting to finally grow on me as well. Before I forget, can I just say that Lennie James acted the FUCK out of that scene between Morgan and Rick? He really made that dialogue his bitch. It was downright chilling. I’d love for Morgan to get his act together and become a regular, but I doubt that is going to happen. His mind seems a bit too far gone. Besides, it’s apparent that The Walking Dead can only have one major African American character at any given time.
All-in-all, despite zero Daryl screentime, it was a very solid episode, although I’m a little confused about the geography. In my mind I thought they were hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from where they started in Season 1, Episode 1. Apparently they’ve only gone about 15 miles, in what, a year? Who's driving that Hyundai anyway? My grandmother?
SP: I’m glad you brought up Lennie James’ performance, because I know exactly the scene you are talking about. He was terrific throughout, and he would be a much welcomed addition to the series. And, yeah, I think America can now handle multiple non-white actors on the screen at once. (Well, most of America, at least.)
I too questioned the town’s location, but they may have been travelling for an indeterminate time. Remember, Rick told Morgan something along the lines of, “We found a prison.” So that tells me they may have been on the road for a bit. I don’t know about you, but I know where all the prisons are around my way.
I too think this was a solid episode. It is definitely one of the saddest ones I’ve seen to date. The whole thing was a downer. From the very start where they blew by that poor traveller to Morgan’s tragic story on what happened to his son to Carl screaming to Michonne “THIS IS THE LAST ONE!” demanding they go back and get the picture of him with Rick and Lori for Judith. Hell, it even ended on a depressing note with them on the way home and passing (what was left of) the hitchhiker’s body. I did get a chuckle over them passing the bloody mess, only to reverse and pick up his backpack, though.
(I should also mention the songs they’ve played the past two weeks at the end of each episode have been amazing and fitting – not to take away from Bear McCreary’s always fantastic score.)
TGM: This was a nice change-of-pace episode, and perhaps one of the best in many ways since season one. No clichés, no gimmicks, just people trying to survive. Its level of honesty was refreshing in this season of over-the-top characters (caricatures?) like The Governor, Merle, and to some extent Michonne. It’s nice to see these people have a little taste of victory, no matter how small, every once in awhile. Carl got his precious family photo off of the Applebee’s wall, so all is right with the world. Basically, I saw this particular episode as somewhat of a cleansing of the palate in anticipation of the the thick and juicy main course soon to come.
PS - Andrea is still a major douchebag. I know she wasn’t in this episode, but I’m convinced that she was doing something off camera somewhere making herself seem more useless and unlikeable than ever.
SP: I couldn’t agree more. We are coming to the final part of the season and I suspect it will be nonstop action, tension, and Andrea hate until we get to the final episode. I think we have to enjoy this breather because it will be the last one we see for a while.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a TV episode.
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