Last night I watched Sunday’s ep of TWD (The Walking Dead- not to be confused with TVD or The Vampire Diaries… Keep it straight, will ya Peeps? Geesh).
The episode, titled Clear, was so emotionally moving and interesting that I almost didn’t miss sweaty dirty Daryl Dixon. (Mmm… Daryl…) One sec:
Whew… okay. I’m good now…
This day in the zombie apocalypse found Rick on a supply run with his bad-ass little boy Carl, and the even more bad-ass Michonne. The title of the episode came into play almost right away when they passed a hitch hiker on the road and didn’t even slow down. Their compassion for strangers clearly gone. See what I did there? Ha. They didn’t even blink as he yelled for help, begging, pleading. No reaction. What a difference a year makes.
They pass a typical zombie car pile-up, and, in trying to avoid the wrecks, Rick gets the car stuck in the mud. (or was Michonne driving? Gah… I need to start writing stuff down.) Anyway, they have to kill a handful of walkers and then get out and use a really ugly dress and some rocks to get the tire clear of the mud. See…. again… I’m tellin’ ya. There’s a nice father/son moment where Rick shows Carl how to get out of the mud, and it’s almost normal. So many dead zombies around, but there is still father/son time.
Eventually they make it to town. Now, I have no idea how I missed this, if it was discussed beforehand, but the town they go to is the one that Rick, Lori, Shane, and Carl all came from. This seemed really deep and heavy to me. I would not want to go back. It would break my heart too much. Ugh. Imagine… Oh there’s where we went for ice cream after Carl lost his first tooth. There’s where Lori and I had our first date. There’s where Shane and I used to pick up chicks… All burned down, crumbling, or run over by zombies. I’d rather keep my memories intact.
They head to the police station for weapons and ammo to find the place has been cleared out. I’m not even trying anymore, it just keeps happening, I swear.
So they start walking to get more supplies and find a block of the town all jacked up like some crazy mouse trap. Spikes and pulleys and cages of rats and pigeons… They snake their way through, and nearly get killed by a masked gunman on a rooftop. After some sneaky quick Michonne maneuvers, Carl ends up shooting the masked man in his wooden bullet proof vest and knocking him out somehow. This part wasn’t clear. I totally did that one on purpose you guys. Rick takes the mask off and its… drumroll please… MORGAN!!!! Gah!!! We’ve been wondering what happened to him since the first season. Yeah!!! Morgan was the first person Rick found when he woke up from his coma to find the world was ending. Morgan saved his life. Rick has so few good memories these days. Morgan represents the first hope he ever had during the series.
Michonne & Rick argue for a minute, but he convinces her to help carry Morgan up to his apartment. Not sure exactly how they found his place, but I’m thinking it had to do with all the color coded arrows and warning messages leading to his lair. Before crossing the threshold, they cleverly avoid the dagger pit under the Welcome mat. Smarty pants.
Once there, they lay him on a cot and start looting his place for weaponry. Michonne takes a chip break. “The mat said ‘Welcome'” she snarks between crunches. Love it. She’s a woman of few words, and that was an amazingly funny line.
Eventually, Carl whines enough about being sufficiently kick ass to go on a run on his own. Michonne goes with him. Mostly because I think Morgan’s crazy wall writing is causing her more than a little concern.
All over the walls, he’s written words and phrases about doorknobs and knives and guns and so-and-so turned or this-guy cleared. This is where I start to think, hm… What could Morgan mean by Clear? Does this mean he saved the person from the walkers, like he’d saved Rick all those many moons ago? Or something not so heartwarming…? I’m thinking the latter.
Michonne and Carl leave and of course he tricks her and runs off, or tries to. I was glad to be able to finally utter last season’s catch phrase, “Wait… Where’s Carl?” *Drink*
Michonne is, like, ninja fast, so she catches up with him and is all, “What the eff, little dude…”
He sort of gets all Rick on her and basically tells her she’s not one of them, and that he doesn’t need to listen to her or need her bad ass sword wielding help- neener neener. She doesn’t take his shit and just shrugs and keeps following him. “You can’t stop me from helping you.” Neener neener.
It was actually a pretty great scene. The interaction between them in the entire episode is fantastic.
Back at Morgan’s lair, Rick is reading the psycho wall and realizes that Morgan’s son Duane was turned. He’s wracked with guilt when he finds Morgan’s walkie talkie. Ya know… the one he gave him and told him to turn on every day at dawn so he could help keep Morgan and Duane safe… yeah, that one. I don’t remember Rick using his walkie talkie since they left the CDC. Do you? Nice going there, Sheriff. Dammit. I blame Shane. Why? I dunno. Just because.
Anyway… I’m getting bored recapping this so thoroughly. How do those folks at TWoP do it? Pffttt…
Three more big poignant moments:
1. Morgan goes all apeshizzle on Rick when he wakes up. He stabs Rick in the collarbone shouting something about how he will “clear him”. This is when I am certain that Morgan means that dying without coming back as a zombie is “clearing”. He intends to not only kill all the walkers, but kill all the people he sees in a way that they cannot turn. They will die clear. He also snaps back into reality enough to realize who Rick is and to share what he’s been up to since they parted. His son was killed by his Zombie Mom. He’s hella bitter that Rick never had to see Lori or Carl as walkers. That he has been cleared of that burden. See, so many meanings you guys… Rick tries to talk Morgan into coming back to the prison. Morgan looks at all the weapons they are looting and is like, Um, no… I’ll pass. Thanks… Besides, it’s his destiny to clear. Right? See? He intends to keep killing people and destroying zombies until he can’t anymore. Clear the world. Scary and sad and poignant and telling. All wrapped in one. This part of it really got to me, as a person who suffers from depression. Wait, hold on… I don’t want to murder anyone. But, sometimes you feel so lonely, so lost, that all you know how to do is clear the day. Whatever it takes to just get back to sleep. I can really relate to Morgan’s isolation, his fear, his pain. I think Rick does too, and realizes that he’s not quite that far gone. That he has more to live for. That was really powerful to me too. So many layers, TWD, so many layers… 😉
2. Carl’s whole mission is to enter some walker-ridden cafe to steal a snapshot on the wall of Rick, Lori, and Little Carl from happier days. He says it’s for Judith, so she knows what her mom looked like, but I suspect it’s also for himself, and for his crazy ass Dad. Michonne is actually wonderful and not only doesn’t tell him he’s taking a foolish risk, but she helps him retrieve it. Once by setting rat zombie traps to distract the walkers on the way in and hacking their way out with her swordiness. Then next by using those sneaky quick Michonne moves to slip back in to get the pic and a cat sculpture while Carl kept the zombies attention at the cafe door. It was pretty sweet. Not just like sa-weet, but like, awww…. how sweet. I think Carl and Michonne are gonna be BFFs.
3. On the way outta crazy Morgan-ville, Carl stops and apologizes to Morgan for shooting him. Morgan tells him to NEVER be sorry. (Um… Carl… back away from the crazy man, mmkay? Good boy.) No, really, I get what Morgan was saying. It’s kill or be killed out here. And Carl has made it farther than many many adults. He should never be sorry for having mad zombie apocalypse skills. But my favorite part of this episode came next. Michonne is helping Rick load the last of the supplies into the trunk, and she confronts him for his Crazy-Lori’s-Ghost-Chasing-ness. She says it’s ok, she used to talk to her dead boyfriend. It’s the new normal. He smiles and asks if she wants to drive. “I mean, I see things…” They chuckle. Aww… Rick’s making friends! Yeah!! Everyone has mental problems!! You are not alone!!! See…
At the end, they pass what remains of that hitch hiker at the beginning. They back up, stop the car, and someone hops out to get his back pack. That shit is free and clear… See?
Ahh… I can stop now. 😉