Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Walking Dead S3E12 "Clear" 3/3/13

Rick, Carl and Michonne are making that run, out to find more weapons and ammunition.  It's tense inside the car: Michonne is driving and glowering, per usual; Carl is sulking in the back; Rick is trying to keep the crazy reined in.  As they go, they blow by a hitchhiker with a big orange backpack.  The guy screams desperately for them to pick him up: "I'm begging you - pleeeeeease!" Michonne doesn't even touch the brakes - that's cold, even for this crew.  A little ways down the road, they have to drive on the shoulder to get around a wreck, eventually getting the little car stuck in some mud.  Suddenly, the car is surrounded by walkers.  Rick, Michonne and Carl seem bored by this more than anything.  Rick cracks his window, sticks out his pistol (not a euphemism) and tells the other two to cover their ears.  Cut to an exterior shot of the car surrounded by dead zombies.  That's awesome, that the show doesn't feel the need to show us the carnage: it just happens.  Rick and Carl find some stuff to put under the car's wheels for traction, Carl bitching about why Michonne had to come on this run.  Of course, she can hear everything they say because the windows are down.  As they get the car unstuck and take off again, the hapless hitchhiker comes around the corner and screeches at them to wait for him.  They don't.

They pull into a town - which happens to be Rick and Carl's hometown [here I have a geography quibble: how long have they been driving?  The group was on the move for months over the winter and yet the prison is only a short drive from Rick's town?  Maybe the drive for this supply run is much longer  but nothing indicates an overnight (or overnights) trip].  They immediately go to the sheriff's office, finding it completely stripped clean, although Michonne does find one bullet that she gives to Rick.  He says that there used to be some guns at some of the bars and the liquor store so they decide to check those places.  As they walk through town, there's a lot of graffiti warning people away, plus a pile of charred corpses in a vacant lot.  When they turn onto the main street, they are surprised to find it transformed into a gauntlet, a zombie kill zone set up with barbed wire, spears and booby traps, baited with live pigeons and rats in cages.  They walk through carefully and get a chance to see how the gauntlet works when a zombie tries to follow them in.  The zombie gets caught in the barbed wire and then, before they can do anything about it, its head blows apart. They turn to see a man on a rooftop, wearing a helmet and waving a rifle at them.  He tells them to leave their guns, their shoes and Michonne's sword.  So then everyone starts firing at each other.  The guy comes off the roof and manages to pin Rick down, almost gets him too, until Carl pops up and shoots the guy in the chest.  He goes down hard and they check him out, discovering that he's wearing body armor and is still alive.  When they pull off his helmet, Rick recognizes him: it's Morgan from S1E1, the guy who saved Rick's life when he didn't know anything about the zombie apocalypse.

They take Morgan back up to his second floor rooms, dodging the booby traps he's set up: a knife-filled pit under the welcome mat, trips wires that spring nasty axes right at head level.  His rooms are filled with all the guns and ammo from the sheriff's department (plus a lot more, it's a frickin' arsenal) plus stores of food and crazy writing covering the walls - like CLEAR and THE DOORKNOB YOU HAD THE KNIFE and EVERYONE TURNS and, sadly, DUANE TURNED, etc., etc.  Rick puts the unconscious man on his cot, tying his hands, and the three of them start bagging up weapons.  Rick finds the walkie he left with Morgan back in the day and gets a pang of guilt, telling Carl and Michonne that they're not going to leave until he wakes up.  Michonne is not enamored of this idea, saying Morgan is crazy and dangerous.  Rick: "I know him."  Michonne: "He wasn't like this then."  Carl finds a map of the town that Morgan has drawn on the walls; there's a notation saying Rick's house, and the surrounding neighborhood, are all burned out.  "It's gone," Carl mutters.  Michonne helps herself to some snacks.  When Rick is all, "we're eating his food now?", she replies "Mat said welcome."  Heh.

Carl announces that he's heading out to the baby store around the corner because he wants to get a crib for Judith.  Rick doesn't love that idea but Michonne says she'll go too.  Carl is not enamored of that idea but he can't keep her from following him.  He tries to give her the slip out on the street but she finds him, gone right past the baby store and looking in the windows of a cafe.

Back at the apartment, Morgan wakes up, in full crazy mode, stealthily pulling a knife from under the cot and launching himself at Rick.  They struggle and fight, Rick hollering that Morgan knows him.  "I don't know anyone anymore," Morgan shouts, shoving the knife into Rick's shoulder.  Rick throws him off, "You know me, you crazy sonofabitch!" and aiming his gun at Morgan's head.  Morgan collapses, crying, "Please kill me."  After the commercial break, Rick bandages up his shoulder and reminds Morgan of what happened when Morgan saved his life.  It takes some doing but he finally gets through to the other man.  Morgan remembers, remembers how he kept waiting for Rick to call him on the walkie: "You were not there!"  Rick stammers that he had people, was trying to keep them safe, kept getting pushed further out into the country.  Morgan:  "Did your wife turn?"  Rick says no, she died.  And then, heartbreakingly, Morgan tells him about what happened to him: how he was unable to kill his wife with the gun Rick left him, and then later, when he and his son Duane were out scavenging for food, his zombified wife cornered Duane, and then she was just on him, and then Morgan had to kill both his wife and his son.  Lennie James knocks it out of the part here - he's so good.  Rick sits and listens, and you can see on his face that it's slowly starting to sink in for him:  that he's in much better shape than he could be, better than Morgan is, and that maybe he should start pulling himself together and counting himself lucky because it could be so very much worse.  Morgan: "The good people always die, and the bad people too, but the weak people, like me, we have inherited the earth."

Michonne is all, why are we here and not picking out cribs?  Carl: "I want to get Judith something from here first."  They peer into the cafe and see that it is full of quiescent zombies.  Carl says he's got a plan and she can't stop him.  Michonne: "Well, you can't stop me from helping you."  They get a couple of the caged rats and some skateboards, strapping the cages to the boards and quietly rolling them into the cafe.  While all the zombies pigpile on the cages, trying to get at the tasty treats inside, the humans sneak into the cafe.  Carl climbs up on the bar, pulling down a framed photograph of himself, his mom and his dad in happier, pre-zombie times.  A hidden zombie grabs his ankle but Michonne silently stabs it in the head.  They are almost safely out when one of the rats gets out of the cage and scurries towards them, drawing all the zombies with it.  The walkers chase the humans and they barely make it out, slamming the doors behind them.  But Carl has dropped his picture and is furious when Michonne won't let him go back in for it.  "It's the only one left!" he cries, remembering that his house is all burned up. Michonne's all, cut your bullshit and stay here, and this is how we'll get it done.  While Carl sulks at the front doors, she disappears around the corner of the building.  An unrealistically short time later, she comes back and hands him the photo.  Carl smiles up at her, thanking her and saying that he thought his sister should know what her mom looked like.  Michonne shrugs and says it was no big deal.  "Beside," she says with a straight face, showing him a gaudy, rainbow-striped papier mache cat that she also grabbed, "I couldn't leave this behind.  It's just too damn gorgeous."  Carl looks at the cat and looks at her, just barely concealing his smile.

Rick and Morgan talk some more, Rick trying to convince Morgan to come back to the prison with them.  Morgan refuses, noting that Rick is taking an awful lot of guns back with him, and correctly surmising that someone is trying to take what Rick's got away from him.  "You will be torn apart, by teeth or bullets, you and your boy."  He says that he can't go through it again.  It's horrible here but he knows what he has to do: "I have to clear."   He's staying put.  A frustrated Rick doesn't argue anymore but grabs up his bags of guns and leaves.

Down on the street, Rick meets up with Michonne and Carl, who are toting a playpen between them, while Morgan "clears" the dead and entangled zombies from his gauntlet.  The three of them walk past him and Michonne quietly asks Rick if Morgan is okay.  Rick: No, he's not.  Carl pauses to tell Morgan that he's sorry for shooting him.  Morgan:  "Hey, son, don't ever be sorry."  They get the car loaded up and Rick asks Carl if everything went okay with Michonne out there.  Carl smiles and says, "I think she might be one of us.  Everything went okay."  When Carl gets into the car, Michonne comes up to Rick, who is gazing off into the distance, and says, "You see something?  I know you see things, people.  I used to talk to my dead boyfriend.  It happens."  Rick shrugs: "You want to drive?"  Michonne says yes.  Rick:  "Good, 'cause I see things."

Things are less tense in the car on the drive back.  When they get back to that wreck, there's a godawful mess on the side of the road: meat and guts and shredded clothes and lots of blood - all that's left of that poor hitchhiker.  They do pull over and pick up his untouched backpack, just in case there are any supplies in there that they can use.

Now THAT is how you do a goddamn Walking Dead episode!

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

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