The Walking Dead: Clear


by Jonathan Pilley (@omnicomic)

Like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead is adapted  from previous source material. This review is not meant to compare similarities  and differences between the show and comic. It’s meant to be read purely  as a take on the episode as it stands. That being said, SPOILERS AHEAD.

“Hey son–don’t ever be sorry.”

The Governor is hellbent on making Rick’s life even more miserable  than it already is. He’s fired a return salvo in the burgeoning war;  a salvo that Rick realizes is just a glimpse of the full onslaught the  prison is about to face. To that end, Rick finds it necessary to venture  out and ammo up with the hopes of finding enough to even the odds. Joined  by Michonne and Carl, the three of them set out to Rick’s old town,  hoping to find some semblance of ammo stockpiles for their war against  Woodbury.

Most of the episode focused on Rick’s reunion with Morgan. Obviously,  a lot has happened since their paths last crossed. Rick has gone down  a path where he’s had company almost the entire time, whereas Morgan  has gone down a path of solitude. That solitude turned him into someone  similar to Rick in terms of coldness, but with zero compassion. Rick  and Michonne are especially cold to the possibility of innocence in  the world they live in. They’ve been burned one too many times, which  has hardened their compassion into something better resembling self-preservation.   That being said, Rick still finds it in him to wait for Morgan to awake  since they share a past. In essence, Morgan is a downtrodden, pessimistic  mirror image of Rick as they exist in the world full of walkers.

The conversation between Rick and Morgan is very, very telling. Morgan  is shattered and broken, forced to confront his wife attacking his son,  thrusting him into a depressed, psychotic spiral downwards. Morgan felt  a sense of loyalty from Rick stemming from Rick’s promise regarding  the radio; a loyalty that Morgan feels Rick failed. The fact is that  the world intervened, causing Rick to break his promise in a sense and  further push Morgan away from society. Morgan is remorseless and almost  heartless, accepting of the new world he lives in and showing little  desire to have any impact at all.

It’s great that Carl is getting more dialogue and becoming less of  a liability. It doesn’t make sense though why Rick is still trying to  shield him from the terrors of the world. It’s wholly possible that  it’s just Rick’s fatherly instinct taking over or maybe Rick has just  been so out of it he hasn’t noticed Carl growing up. He wants to go  out on his own, returning to his childhood stomping grounds for Judith,  much to Michonne’s babysitting chagrin. Carl has grown a lot over the  course of three seasons, a growth that hasn’t necessarily been readily  obvious to viewers.

Pairing Michonne with Carl was actually quite refreshing. All season,  Michonne has really been a mistrusting warrior with a sword, but pairing  her Carl humanized her a bit. Carl was mimicking the sentiment of Rick  in saying that Michonne has a common interest. Michonne flipped the  script on that a bit though by legitimately offering to help Carl get  the picture he was after. Sure, she could be playing at some other end  game, but Michonne hasn’t really been that type of character.

Sure, she’s proven she’s more than capable when it comes to combat.  Other than that though, she really hasn’t had much time to allow her  personality to surface. On separate occasions with both Rick and Carl,  facets of her personality do come through, affording the viewer a glimpse  into someone who fits in perfectly with Rick’s group. She’s lost like  they’ve lost and she finds joys in little things in life as well. Having  the survivors warm up to Michonne makes her more of an integral part  of the operations at the prison; a part who clearly has value.

The episode opened and closed with a hitchhiker. Those two scenes  probably offer the most succinct worldview currently held by Rick. He  no longer trusts strangers, yet are perfectly willing to take advantage  of others when they’re no longer a threat. What’s more is that the entire  episode didn’t feature the big bad in the Governor, but the episode  still held its own. Morgan proved his point to Rick that death would  come by bullets or teeth merely due to Rick’s resolve; what he failed  to mention is that solitude can be equally as fatal.

Nothing is pleasant in <I>The Walking Dead</I> and “Clear”  made that abundantly, well, clear. Rick and the survivors continue their  march towards Woodbury, newly armed and now replete with ammo. Morgan  continues his march towards a complete psychotic break, but hey, Rick’s  been there before. The episode was really more of one that helped advance  the plot forward, with the added benefit of giving Michonne and Carl  some time to show off their growth as characters. It positions everyone  for quite a face-off with the Governor, which kicks off next week.

For this week though, “Clear” provided the ever so stark reminder  that life is a shell of what it used to be before everything fell apart.  Families are ripped apart, yet friendships manage to form. Rick and  Morgan are two men who were in very similar positions at the start,  but ended up on opposite ends of the spectrum in the present. Carl proves  he’s making emotional decisions and can protect himself when necessary.  And Michonne gets a chance to actually talk and just ups her awesomeness  quotient. All in all, one of the best (and most poignant) episodes of  the season.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

    One Comment

  1. Chuck and Firefly fanMarch 5th, 2013 at 2:31 am

    Just started watching The Walking Dead last week and caught up with it within 5 days. Its an awesome show. This is the first eisode i got to watch on time.
    Anyway i loved this episode. It had a new setting and took us away from all the mayhem (i cant spell) that is taking place with The Governer and the prison. This episode almost felt like the calm before the storm cause i’m pretty sure next weeks episode is going to be shooting killing and guns.
    Also i liked the episode cause it showed us alot about Michonne and Carl as well as a character development to Rick. Morgan was a nice touch to this episode. This review hit the nail in the coffin when it said this episode shows how 2 people who were the same took seperate paths yet still became cold and alone in this walker infested planet

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