‘The Walking Dead’ Recap: ‘Clear’ Brings Back A Familiar Face

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This episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead opened up with Michonne, Rick, and Carl driving down the road in the old reliable Hyundai SUV. A hitchhiker emerges from the side of the road and chases after the car, begging for help. But Michonne keeps on driving and Rick doesn’t even bat an eyelash. Carl watches the man as they pass with minimal curiosity.

The post apocalyptic world has changed each of these folks. A year ago, Rick Grimes was sure to help a stranded individual, now the risks outweigh any chance of that happening.

The goal is for the group to find the arsenal at Rick’s old police station and get enough guns to defend themselves against the Governor and the citizens of Woodbury. For a moment Michonne accidentally gets stuck in some mud with the SUV and Carl questions his dad as to why she was invited along for the outing. Rick tells Carl that they have a common interest and that he couldn’t leave her back at the prison with Merle. But honestly, Rick has to know that Michonne is a badass and an asset when it comes to dealing with walkers.

The police station has been raided and the guns are no where to be found. Rick decides to look at a few places in town where he issued permits to a few citizens who had guns at their place of business. But instead, the group comes across arrows, signs, graffiti, and eery traps that someone has set up to scare others away. The elaborate nature of the traps include cages with live animals, placed in between stakes for impaling and barbed wire for catching walkers. The group also sees a pile of burned bodies where the captured corpses are lit aflame.

Michonne isn’t too sure about entering this mine field of traps, but Rick assures her that the people who built this are probably done for by now. However, a masked armed man emerges from the roof and aims for Rick. Grimes tells his boy Carl to get back to the car and flee the scene while Michonne tries to get onto the roof and disarm the assailant. Am I the only one that feels Michonne’s powers of climbing are super human? She popped up on that roof lickety split, but not in time to catch the gunman.

Rick hides behind barrels as the gunman appears on the street and continues to fire at him. Just when we think Rick might be in some real trouble, Carl shows up and shoots the man point blank. Rick is pretty surprised at Carl’s ease in the situation, but focuses on inspecting the masked man. He is wearing a bullet proof vest and although he was hit by the bullet, he is only bruised and has been knocked out. Then Rick takes off the mask to reveal a familiar face. It’s Morgan from season one and Rick immediately gains a little hope.

Morgan helped Rick when he was very ill after getting out of the abandoned hospital. Rick had yet to find Lori and Carl at that point and parted ways with Morgan after staying with him and his son. Morgan had trouble killing his wife who had recently turned walker. Rick left him with a walkie talkie and promised to talk every morning at dawn so he could stay updated. The problem is that Rick never kept up on that task. He spoke to the walkie a few times, but became distracted by more serious situations and never heard from Morgan.

When Michonne, Carl, and Rick enter Morgan’s booby trap ridden freak show apartment, they realize that he has changed significantly since their last meeting. Writing scours the surface of the walls in illegible jibber jabber that can’t be understood. Morgan has created a map of the small town which shows Rick’s house and the destruction which has come of its citizens. It also shows that Morgan’s son turned walker and died.

There is also an arsenal of many guns and amo that tripled the size of what Rick was hoping for. Michonne begins taking what they need, but Rick feels guilty and suggests they wait until Morgan wakes up. Michonne isn’t happy about this, but goes along with it. Carl wants to go to the nearby baby shop and pick up some things for Judith. Michonne decides to go with him. But Carl doesn’t really care about baby stuff. He wants to go to the local cafe and grab a family photo off the wall above the bar so Judith has a photo of what her mother looked like. According to Morgan’s map, Rick’s home was burned down.

There are a pack of dormant walkers in the cafe, but Michonne and Carl throw in some of Morgan’s caged live rats to distract them. While Carl attempts to get the photo down from the bar wall, a massive giant walker grabs his leg and Michonne quietly and with the precision of a surgeon slices through its brain. As they are trying to escape the cafe, the walkers notice them and swarm around them. Carl drops the photo and the two lock the walkers inside the cafe empty handed. Carl had reservations about allowing Michonne to help him get the photo in the first place and wants to go back inside. Michonne orders Carl to stay put and goes to grab the photo successfully and yet again, like a ninja.

Back at Morgan’s place Rick finds the walkie and realizes that he may have let his old friend down. Morgan awakes and they begin to scuffle before Rick gets stabbed in the shoulder. Morgan has lost it and for good reason. Rick finally shakes him into remembering who he is and then Morgan tells him that he never had the guts to kill his walker wife until it was too late. The wife attacked his young son, turning him walker and then Morgan had to kill both of them. Now his goal is to ‘clear’ everything. This has multiple meanings which are up for interpretation including the clearing of walkers, clearing of bodies, clearing of the earth of evil, clearing of Morgan’s mind or his soul and so on. Take your pick.

Grimes attempts to give Morgan hope and convince him to come with them back to the prison, but Morgan refuses. He has nothing to live for and wants to stay alone. Rick is surprised that Morgan has given up and in that moment seems to awaken to his own turmoil. Rick has been giving into his demons lately and nearly lost hope himself. I think his seeing Morgan really showed him that he does have a lot to live for. It also reiterates the theme of this season which is that no one can truly survive on their own.

Rick, Michonne, and Carl leave Morgan, but before they do Carl apologizes to Morgan for shooting him. Morgan tells Carl never to be sorry for anything in this world. As they walk away, Morgan collects walker corpses from the traps and carries them to the burning yard. It’s what he has been doing for presumably the past two years and God only knows if he’ll ever stop or how long he’ll last. Rick admits to Michonne that he sees things and she says that’s okay. She opens up and lets him know that she used to talk to her dead boyfriend.

The group comes back across the point in the road where Michonne got the SUV stuck and where the hitchhiker tried to get their help. It seems he has been attacked, killed, and eaten by walkers. Grimes seems more remorseful after having seen Morgan, but the car only stops to pick up the hitchhiker’s backpack and move along. Perhaps Rick is realizing a middle ground. No one can be trusted, but no one can survive alone. Rick might be able to screen people more efficiently now and allow them to enter the group. After all, he will be regretting his rejection of Tyreese very soon.