My initial impulse with this The Walking Dead recap was to go the usual snarky route and make the whole thing about what a shitty father Rick is for taking his son with him on a road trip through the Zombpocalypse to find guns. I mean, story-wise, I understand why the writers wanted Carl there; but, character-wise, why did Rick want Carl there? To ease some of the palpable sexual tension between Rick and Michonne?
But then the episode had to go and be all good and stuff, giving us a really great Children of Men vibe. I've been waiting and waiting for this show to really address what happens to the people, the living people, once all hope seems lost (I don't usually count our Zeroes as people, because they're essentially not). Do the survivors barricade themselves behind booby traps and guns, like Morgan has? Do they try to form a new society, like Woodbury? Do they keep wandering from place to place, like the people caught on the road? The show started to really get into some meaty stuff with the Governor and Woodbury, but then our Zeroes had to show up and ruin things by existing.
"Clear," however, is a quiet, small episode that makes use of only four characters, none of them Andrea, and I think it's one of the show's best. For the past several weeks, we've been stuck behind the prison walls, watching Rick's descent into madness and Glenn's descent into being kind of a tool and Daryl's descent into having awful lady hair, and it's nice to get outside and smell some fresh, zombie flesh-tinged air for a change.
The episode follows Rick, Michonne, and, for some reason, Carl as they traverse the Zombpocalypse looking for weapons. Carl wonders (rather loudly, while Michonne is sitting five feet away from him in a non-sound proof car) why Michonne had to make this trip with the father/son team. Rick says (also rather loudly, since apparently Michonne has no ears) that he doesn't trust her back at the prison with Merle. Why Rick should be so concerned with Merle's safety, I cannot speak to. Why Rick wouldn't get excited by the possibility of Michonne taking Merle out, I can't speak to either. If he had left her back at the prison and she killed Merle, not only would he have gotten rid of Merle, but Michonne, too, because he'd have to send her packing. Two birds, one stone, Rick. Use your noggin.
Anyway. Rick, Michonne, and Carl pass a lot of dead people on the road and a lot of signs directing said people to more, probably dead, people. This is where I really got the Children of Men vibe. One of my favorite moments from that movie is when the train passes a bit of graffiti that says, "Will the last person to die please turn off the lights?" It's a bit of humor, a bit of "we're all in this together"-ness, and the graffiti is used in the same way in this episode.
Our trio of Zeroes finally arrive at their intended destination -- the town where Rick used to act as deputy sheriff. This threw me, I must say. Have the Zeroes been this close to Rick's old town this whole time? Also, how do they keep having enough gas to make these long car trips? But, whatever, the town is there, and now Rick, Michonne, and Carl are in it.
And so is somebody else, it seems. The town has been booby trapped as if by Data from The Goonies on a coke bender. There are rats in cages to act as appetizers for the zombies. This whole thing reminded me of a dog trying to get a treat out of a Kong. It won't keep them occupied for as long as you'd like. There are spikes and barbed wire and axes. And there's a guy on a motorcycle with a gun, whom Carl shoots in the chest because Carl's a bad ass.
The guy turns out to be Morgan, Rick's first black friend (though not his BEST black friend. T-Dog, NEVER FORGET). Michonne and Carl want to leave him there to die, but Rick wants to save him, because he's Rick and he'll leave a hitchhiker on the road, but he'll work to the death to save a crazy man who wants to kill him, whom he met that one time several years ago.
Michonne and Carl go off on their own little adventure, looking for a pack-n-play crib for Judith, because apparently Little Princess is suddenly too good for a mail crate. Carl has other plans though, and he tries to ditch Michonne, who won't leave him alone because she's a better mother than Lori ever was. He takes her to a zombie-ridden diner in town, where he wants to rescue the last known picture of his mom. The two Zeroes fight like hell to get the photo, which Carl drops on the way out. Michonne tells him to stay in front of the diner and wait for her. She emerges two seconds later, unscathed and with the picture, because Michonne is magic. Don't question the logic of this show. Your brain will eat itself.
Back in Morgan's crazy, A Beautiful Mind-style hovel, Rick and Morgan are having some real talk. Morgan considers himself a coward. He can neither leave his barricade to rejoin society, nor kill himself. He's stuck waiting to die. And, considering the way he has himself protected behind all the booby traps, his theory of the good and bad people dying while the weak survive, could prove true. He begs Rick to kill him, but Rick won't do that. He wants Morgan to come back to the prison with him. Morgan refuses. This is his life now, a hermit, who leaves wall messages for people who may never arrive.
Rick takes the guns and runs, heading back to the prison with his son and Michonne. Michonne and Carl are now best friends and I predict a Season 4 storyline where Carl orchestrates little date situations for Rick and Michonne, in the hopes that she might become his new mother.
Bits and Bites:
- Loved the welcome mat booby trap. Morgan may be a coward (according to himself), but he's a cheeky trap setter.
- Help. What was in that orange bag Rick and friends pick up on the side of the road at the end of the episode? Do we know what was in there? Did I miss something? Entirely probable.
What did you think?