The Walking Dead: Clear

Rick: “We’ve got common interests. Right now we have the same problems. Maybe we can work on them together.”

This was my kind of episode and I really enjoyed it. That seems to be the pattern in this last part of the season. We get a great episode and then one that I can’t decide if I like it or not. I was expecting blood, gore and tragedy and while we did get tragedy it was low-key and all the more heart-felt because of it. We finally catch up with Morgan again and in many ways I wish we hadn’t. I don’t think Rick forgot about him but he put him at the back of his mind as someone still out there struggling to survive. Morgan is beyond broken though, he has lost all hope and just lives each day to clear as many zombies from the town as he can.

This episode was about character development and struggling with the big questions - the two things I love about this show. We finally got to really meet Michonne. She is kick-ass but she is also still there as herself, with her own code. She goes along to “help” Carl not just to get into Rick’s good books but because she could tell he had something else going on and she was worried about him. She refuses to let him go off on his own and when the zombies attack she puts him behind her. She admires and cares for Carl. Most amazingly, she still has a sense of humour. My favourite part of the episode was when she walked out of the bar with that hideous cat.

We also got some time with Carl. In the first and even the second season we had characters, Carl included, who represented innocence. No one is innocent anymore and that was clear with Carl. He didn’t flinch when they drove past the single hiker, begging them to take him in. He pulled the trigger on Morgan and matter-of-factly told his father that he had to do it. Still, there is a little bit of kid in him as he is willing to risk his life to get a picture of his mother for Judith. He doesn’t cry at the loss of his home and neighbourhood but he is determined to keep that little piece of his past. It’s funny, in the first season and some of the second I found Carl annoying. He was always screwing up and not listening. He still isn’t listening but I’ve come to admire him.

Poor Morgan. I think like Rick, I was hoping at some point they would reunite and Carl would at least have a friend in Duane. Instead, Duane has been killed and turned by his own mother. Morgan obviously cannot forgive himself for not shooting her and must now “clear”. His zombie traps were ingenious but he wasn’t just after zombies. He had booby-trapped for humans as well and the blood on the axe showed that there had been previous visitors. Morgan did try the walkie talkie but by the time he did, Rick was too far away. Rick forgot about Morgan and now has another thing on his conscience. Rick tries to drag Morgan with him. He needs Morgan to have hope, to join them but Morgan refuses. I’m not sure how this will impact Rick who needs hope to stay afloat and keep everyone alive. As Morgan says, he will have to be ready to watch many more people die if he wants to keep hoping. Morgan just can’t do it anymore.

Bits and Pieces

Many poignant moments in this episode. We see the sign for Erin and then we see the “Erin” bracelet on one of the zombies that attacks the car.

The single “hitch-hiker” was a symbol of how much they have all changed. They don’t even hesitate to leave him out there alone and by the end of the episode he is dead. They even back up to pick up his backpack. It felt utterly callous to me. Morgan gets better treatment because he saved Rick’s life but also I think because he represents a past life where Rick was different.

Some of the messages spray painted in the town - Away with You - No Guilt You Know That - Turn Around and Live - Just Listen - Same Ending - No Shitting You. It was confusing. There were arrows that would lead people to his traps but also warnings.

The zombie traps were awesome. I hope they satisfied those who watch the shows for the zombies because there wasn’t much for them in this episode.

The group has conveniently found a motherlode of weapons. It looks like we will have that war.

Things I could live without. Funnily, nothing. Either I am getting immune to all the gore or there just wasn't anything as horrific as usual.


Rick: “He’s alive.”
Michonne: “Do we care?”

Michonne: “He tried to kill us and we didn’t leave him for the walkers. He’s had a good day.”

Rick: “I know him.”
Michonne: “He wasn’t like this then.”

Rick: “We’re eating his food now?”
Michonne: “Mat said welcome.”

Morgan: “YOU... DON’T... CLEAR.”

Michonne: “Psst. I can’t stop you but you can’t stop me from helping you.”

Carl: “I just thought Judith should know what her mother looked like.”

Michonne: “I was going to go back in anyway. I just couldn’t leave this behind, too damn gorgeous.”

Rick: “You can come back from this, I know you can. You have to. This can’t be it, it can’t be, you’ve got to be able to come back from this.”

Morgan: “You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets.”

Rick: “Everything okay with her.”
Carl: “I think she might be one of us.”

Rick: “You want to drive?”
Michonne: “Yeah.”
Rick: “Cause I see things.”

Morgan: “People, like you, the good people, they always die and the bad people do too but the weak people, the people like me, we have inherited the earth.”


HellBlazerRaiser said...

I'm shocked!!! SHOCKED!!! This episode ROCKED!!!

Finally some character development for Michonne and more than one sentence of dialogue.

Andrew Lincoln is still a bloody buggery awful actor. When the writing it strong, though, it trumps his bad acting.

The episode served to set up a way that the prison can be secured if Rick, Michonne and Carl adopt Morgan's boobytraps.

I'm holding out hope for the show -- once the drama with Woodbury is over -- now that Scott Gimple (writer of this episode) is the new show runner.

Billie Doux said...

Loved this one. The actor who plays Morgan (I'm blanking on his name) was just terrific (and so was Andrew Lincoln, IMO, HBR!). Michonne got some wonderful character development, and if she hadn't gone along, I bet Carl would have ended up like Duane. Absolutely loved the cat. And I loved Rick telling her to drive because he's seeing things. This was my kind of episode, too.

Jess Lynde said...

Definitely a strong episode. Lennie James was fantastic, and Michonne getting to be human, caring, and funny was the best. And that photo of Lori, Carl, and Rick just killed me. They looked so happy, sane, and normal. That image, even more than the mess that Morgan has become, demonstrated just how badly this world has damaged our crew. Carl and Rick were barely recognizable. They were different then.

That said, I think finding Morgan and seeing how far gone he is, was a bit of a wake up call for Rick. Maybe Morgan can't come back, but Rick still can, even though it is only because he still has something left to lose. I think he was trying to reopen himself to the world again at the end. Joking with Michonne about his damage and asking her to drive (definitely a great moment, Billie).

Plus, he seemed to feel a bit a remorse at seeing what had become of the hitch-hiker, whereas in the beginning, he really didn't give a shit about the guy and just wanted to get as far away from him as possible. After getting a much needed reminder of what a stranger once did for him, I think he might have actually been willing to pick that hitch-hiker up if he'd still been alive. But since he wasn't ... no sense wasting the resources in the backpack.

TJ said...

I dropped The Walking Dead about a year ago as I thought it was too violent in an unnecessary way and just plain baaad.

Well, I thought I'd give it another chance...because the raving reviews kept coming, and everyone was saying that this show is fantastic.

So, I had a lot of eps to catch up, and now I am up to date.

What do I think now? The show is even worse than I thought before!! I think this is probably the ultimate show for exploiting bad taste.

What am I missing? I am clearly a minority here. People love this! And I just don't understand it...

There's a lot of talk of character development, can't see that. All I see is one-dimensional superficial characters that I would never want to meet in the real world. In fact, this show reminds me of the stupid shows we use to have in the 80s, when acting skills wasn't a requirement for a role in a TV show.

I'm not getting it. What is there that other people get??

Can someone please explain? And please don't tell me that zombies are cool (they're not), and the characters - if there is a remotely chance of an interesting character, please tell me.

Could it be that people like this show just for the sake of seeing heads explode? Or children firing guns? Is NRA sponsoring this show?

Sorry, I've tried, but I'm soo dropping this show again.

Nadim said...

Hi TJ.
I guess if you've seen this much of the show and you're still not convinced then it is best if you drop it and watch only shows that you find yourself intrigued by. I'm impressed you stuck with it and watched three seasons! I'm guessing there must have been SOMETHING that you liked because I could never watch three seasons of a show I find bad! I couldn't even watch Zero Hour's second outing.

As for myself, I LOVE the show. I watch a lot of different series: The Good Wife, Mad Men, True Blood, Scandal etc...
But I feel like The Walking Dead provides me with something NO other show does: it unsettles me.
Every week when I sit down to watch an episode, I find myself transported to this crazy apocalyptic world and it just feels so REAL to me. I fear for the characters' lives and I've grown extremely attached to them. This season in particular I've felt was extremely harrowing and gripping. A lot of times I see myself in the characters' places and I wonder how I would react in certain situations when all hope is lost. I'm always captivated by the fact that they continue to fight for survival even though a lot of times they have absolutely nothing to live for. It's sad that you don't see these things in the show but I guess that's what makes people love different shows for different reasons. I can only speak for myself and I find it immensely compelling.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this episode a lot more than the last one although I missed some of the other characters. And I liked it although it left me wondering why our group is living in a prison when they are so close to a place some of them already know? And why did they not earlier go there for supplies?

I think the writers didn`t think that entirely through but wanted to wrap up the Morgan (awfully acted this time) storyline.

At least we get a glipse that Carl is still a kid and can be not so annoying when he wants to. Loved Michonne in this episode. Hopefully the brooding and scowling all the time is over now.

The hitch-hiker moments were tragic and quite funny at the same time. And I think Jess´opinion on this storyline is absolutely correct.

@TJ: I can totally understand your point. I don`t love TWD either but it`s decent entertainment for me. It´s for sure not one of the best shows on TV and I also don`t see the big character development. But that is not what I expect the show to offer anymore. I think it all depends on the premise with which you want to watch the show (we had the discussion some episodes back).

Anonymous said...

P.S.: I found it interesting that Carl could do what Andrea could not (well, the Gov was asleep, but he is also dangerous and she knows what he´s capable of).

@Nadim: They basically don`t have something to live for at all not only at times. The world is a mess, they are basically all doomed and there is no cure or hope for that at the moment. And they are not really doing something to change that. That is something that annoys me additionally to some other rather stupid actions of the characters.

Anonymous said...

Fuck that, you are all over thinking it. Just enjoy the show for what it is. Man people think way to much into entertainment these days. And Andrew Lincoln's acting? Get the fuck out, there are much worse performances in the world than that, Man some people need a life.

TJ said...

Well, Anonymous #2, you're saying "enjoy the show for what it is". And what IS that? That was my question from the start, some kind of explanation what makes the show worth watching. Because for now this show just represents a gold medal in tastelessness for me.

to be honest, the TWD seasons are not fully 22 eps long so it wasn't that many episodes I was behind. As for Zero Hour, still struggling with that one...haven't given up yet:)

I didn't mean to stir things up here, but I am genuinely interested in what make people watching this show. That's all I'm asking.

I have one mystery that I don't get - ballet! Can't understand this form of art at all, and I've tried and tried. Maybe this is just another mystery for me - TWD.

Hmm...come to think of it, maybe it's the same mystery? Ballet is TWD? TWD is Ballet? The mind boggles...

Billie Doux said...

Wow! This is a bit testy.

We've gone through this "explaining why we like The Walking Dead thingy" several times now. It's reminding me of the lengthy arguments about Spike and the sixth season of Buffy. Some people loved it passionately, and others simply couldn't get it, and constantly posted that they didn't get it, explain it to me. And we did, and we did, and we did. Oh, well.

The thing is, the show is a monster hit, pun intended, and you don't get a monster hit if there isn't something that is resonating with viewers.

I thought Nadim's comment put it very well. There is something about this apocalyptic world of horrors and this small group of depressed, weary survivors that speaks to me. I care about whether they live or die.

For me, it's not about the walkers. They're a story device, and to be honest, I sometimes cover my eyes. When we were doing a rewatch and we got to Otis's death, I had to leave the room. The fact that a horrible death is out there everywhere is a big part of what makes the story work. We could lose any one of the characters at any time, and we're always waiting for it.

And I'm done.

Nothing much to say about ballet. :) I think Gunn on Angel said it best.

"No. No! This is not Mahta Hari. This is tutus, and guys with their big-ass packages jumping up and down."

Jess Lynde said...

But didn't Gunn end up loving the ballet in spite of himself? :)

I agree with Anon about the geography thing. I guess we don't really know how much time passed on the road, but it sure seemed like they were running to Rick's hometown and back all in one day. Was it really that close all this time? Why not try for it before? Were the roaming walker herds blocking them, and if so, where are those herds now? It just seemed odd to me that the King County Sheriff's Department was so freaking close all this time.

To add some more to the "why do you like this?" discussion (sorry to possibly repeat myself from a few weeks ago) --- I find it fascinating to watch these characters struggle with how to survive in this world, what it takes, and why they should bother. I've grown to care about many of them, and I think we've seen a clear change in most of the characters since we first met them. This world, the people they've lost, and the things they've had to do to survive have affected every single one of them. Not necessarily for the better, but their trajectory has been interesting to watch, nonetheless.

And the frustrating, stupid decisions are part of that. I can't imagine being able to always make rational, clear-headed, moral decisions under those circumstances --- grief stricken, sleep deprived, hungry, stressed --- so it rings true to me that they'd keep screwing things up and often give into their worst impulses.

We've often talked about how some of the characters are suffering from PTSD, but I read a review the other day that noted it isn't necessarily an apt diagnosis because there is no "post." It's just all traumatic stress, all the time for these folks. We shouldn't really be expecting them to behave rationally.

Sorry the show isn't for you, TJ, but I certainly appreciate your effort to understand what it is that so many people find appealing in it.

Billie Doux said...

Jess, you're right. Here's what Gunn said after he had become a ballet convert:

Wesley: "So what are we thinking? Vampires?"
Cordelia: "Well, they're not a deeply tanned bunch."
Gunn: "That would explain the precision and the athleticism. I mean, some of those jumps were... (the others look at him) You know, I was cool before I met you all."

(For you guys who aren't Angel fans, we're quoting the episode "Waiting in the Wings", written by the master, Joss Whedon.)

HellBlazerRaiser said...

It's reminding me of the lengthy arguments about Spike and the sixth season of Buffy. Some people loved it passionately, and others simply couldn't get it, and constantly posted that they didn't get it, explain it to me.

I loved BUFFY season six (my BUFFY season order from best to worst -- 5 & 2[ they're tired for me], 6, 7, 4, 1 and 3) and the Buffy/Spike affair was one of the highlights of the series for me. Their whole arc – from Spike waking from that dream in season five right through to Buffy holding Spike's burning hand -- I adore it. I still get a lil' hot under the collar thinking about their….well….I'll leave it at that….

Paul Kelly said...

Hey, TJ. I don't think there's any explaining it, is there? You either like the show or you don't. It's a question of taste. You can't explain how delicious tomatoes are to someone who hates them. Their tastes are different and they'll never get it. (Stupid, tomato hating extremists!) I've loathed some (apparently) quality shows over the years. Meh! I'll live.

I don't think anyone's going to be able to convince you The Walking Dead's worth watching this late in the day. You've watched it and disagree. You tried, you think it's crap, end of story.

Just don't start being one of the tomato hating people, okay? I've got no time for those evil bastards. No time at effing all!

TJ said...

I too think that Nadim's comment were quite satisfying. And Paul Kelly, you're right, I've tried it, it didn't work out, end of story, time to move on...

Thanks for your input guys.

Time for a "Waiting in the wings" rewatch, and some ballet lessons...:)

The Fearless Freak said...

It seems like they would be fairly close. He made the trip to town, where he met Glen in season 1, in one day, partially on horseback. They didn't get very fair from Atlanta when they ended up on the farm and it doesn't seem like the prison was all that far from the farm site. Probably a solid day's drive there and back but not a cross country excursion, either.

As a recent TWD viewer, I sort of go in waves with this show. I started watching it because a friend from work suggested that I would like it. I watched two episodes of season one and went back to him and said "this show better pick up and in a hurry or I'm done with it" He insisted I watch until at least the CDC, when it would get "so much better". I did and the shows did get at least watch ably better. I did comment that if I was watching it on TV and had to wait almost a year to get to season 2, I wouldn't have come back to it.

I can honestly say, I don't know why I like it. I don't like most of the characters (although Carl is finally growing on me a little this season) and the show is full of epic stupidity (I commented to my husband, who watched it after I did, during the episode when Sophia disappeared "you are about the encounter possibly the dumbest thing to happen in a show driven solely by dumb choices").

However, something is there because I keep coming back, week after week to see this little band of basically unlikable people struggle to survive in this gruesome world.

Jess Lynde said...

I was just chatting with a friend and realized another reason I enjoy immersing myself in the world of The Walking Dead --- perspective. No matter how stressful or sucky life gets, at least I'm not dealing with the zombie apocalypse. :)

Anonymous said...

I hope the zombies get scarier again. At the moment I don`t see the big deal with them anymore. The group knows how to kill them, they do it quite easily. Somehow and unfortunately the zombies developed into a sideline of the series.

Nick said...

I never thought the walking dead was about the zombies (both the show and the comic). They're kinda like hellmouth was for Buffy; it only highlighted the human condition.

No, I watch TWD because it's an entertaining look of how humans cope with the apocalypse and death and despair, etc.

And TJ, you said that you couldn't see any character growth or changes, but I disagree. There's a lot of changes to the characters; you can just look at the last episode. Would they have left the hitchhiker in Season 1?

BTW, I used to know a TJ back in Are you the same person?

TJ said...

Hey Nick!

No, I don't think I am the same TJ as the one back at Although I have been hanging around there a lot, that name has always been taken already...

I won't go into any further discussions about this show as it seems to be a bit of a sensitive subject. But I can tell you that I have never been with a show this long before I drop it. I think it's Buffy's fault actually! Everyone knows that Buffy's first season and a half is a bit below par. So lesson have to give a show at least a 20-eps-something chance? A TJ-rule I will look over and revaluate a bit now, I think.