The Walking Dead

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The Walking Dead Review: Who We Are

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The Walking Dead took a nice breather from the intense war between the prison and Woodbury this week, as well as from the "Andrea Makes Really Bad Decisions" aspect of the show.

Instead, "Clear" was essentially a one-off episode that took a step back to really look at just how much has changed since the zombie apocalypse began and Rick first discovered his world was turned upside down in the pilot.

Rick, Carl and Michonne

Involving only Rick, Carl, and Michonne, the trio traveled to Rick's town in King's County for supplies and guns. While I enjoyed venturing back, it did make me think about the distance between all the locations on the series and not only how far away the prison was, but also how Rick hasn't really gone that far in his journey.

If anything, the small distance is nothing compared to the large changes that have occurred to the characters themselves. Would the Rick, Carl or Michonne from before the walkers have saved the man on the road? Or even stopped to help him out?

There's a certain coldness to these characters in particular that's overcome them, and at the same time the way they handle taking care of the walkers outside their stuck vehicle was more like getting rid of an annoyance that happens from time to time. And I loved the way Carl gave that dirty look of "Are you kidding me?" when Michonne got the car stuck.

Yet, it was the fantastic return of Morgan, who had first saved Rick in the pilot, that really opened up a wonderful mirror for Rick to look at about the potential his character could turn into if he let the crazy and negatives of the new world take over.

I loved how Morgan had set up a wonderful trap system and managed to survive alone in the town. He was loaded with an intense arsenal, as was his copious amounts of chalk writings on the wall.

Which was really a part of the most interesting aspect of the new Morgan, a broken man still surviving, but completely upset with everything that happened.

Especially being alone for so long (I'm shocked he didn't have some beach ball with a bloody hand that he talked to), it was no surprise that he broke down on Rick.

His son Duane was killed by his walker mother, the same mother that Morgan couldn't get himself to shoot when Rick gave him the chance to do so. Ironic and tragic.

And it was great to see Rick, who he himself has transformed dramatically, trying to convince Morgan to keep going, have a sense of hope and believe that everything would be okay in the end. In a way, it was almost as if Rick was trying to convince himself too.

So, was I disappointed that Morgan decided to stay behind and "clear?" Yes, I really wanted him to join up with the group at the prison, and maybe sometime down the road he might, but I understood him needing to work out his issues by himself. If anything, he served a purpose for Rick's character moving forward.

At the same time Rick was having his character exposed, Carl was desperate to retrieve a photo of his family.

It totally made sense, as much as it was ridiculous for him to risk his life in the walker infested building, because I think we often forget that Carl is still a kid. Sure, he's a great shot and he's come into his own as a member of the group, but Carl isn't an adult. He wanted that piece of his past, of his complete happy family, if not just for Judith, but for him as well.

And yes, Michonne was actually enjoyable this episode. While she revealed a little about seeing her dead boyfriend, it was watching her try and be more than just someone fighting a common enemy that worked. As much as she's been a loner, there was a sense that she does want to be a part of the group.

Michonne smiled, cracked jokes, kicked ass, stuck with Carl to get him that photo, retrieved her own odd piece of memorabilia and had a friendly banter with Rick about seeing dead people. She's totally got the potential to be a fantastic character, and if she can keep up this growth and personality, I'm on board and excited to see her really team up with the prison team.

But it was really the final scene of the episode that solidified that dark and grim atmosphere that the world has turned into, with the car stopping to pick up the pack of the guy they had ignored at the start of the episode who was now dead and a bloody mess. The world isn't about making Facebook friends, real friends, hanging out a bar, going to school... but rather surviving and learning to adapt with everything that's happened.

It's cold and cruel, and hopefully the people living in it can maintain some semblance of humanity and morality despite all that's changed.

It was a great bookend for the episode - and while many could argue it was complete filler, it really explored the characters and the dark tone of the world. Let's just hope Rick can keep it together and not turn into a broken man like Morgan, but rather lead the group to victory against the Governor.

Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.5 / 5.0 (125 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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Come on people. So many stupid decisions were made on this episode. I will NEVER understand why these people are so cruel to OTHER people. Zombies are what they should be scared of, but instead they leave helpless hitchhikers for NO REASON! And then the other guy just started shooting for no reason. And then Carl is just putting himself in danger for NO REASON! It's all just so stupid. Do they realize what's happening? There is a zombie apocalypse. These characters act as if there is a Civil War... not a world overrun by zombies. There's no reason for these characters not to trust anyone. I just don't get it.

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I just started this episode and literally paused it to reflect on the opening scene with the helpless hitchhiker. That is probably that saddest I've felt for anyone on this show and I don't even know a thing about the hitchhiker. This truly highlights their transformation... they have completely lost their former sense of humanity. Not even a word was said when they passed him... god that was hard to watch. He was so desperate

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My heart kept breaking whenever Rick, Michonne, and Carl passed that poor soul with the backpack. It's not just physical death that's fearful; it's emotional, psychological, and spiritual death that truly turns us into zombies - imprisoned in survival mode, operating on auto-pilot, heartless. We saw it with Morgan... and we saw it with Rick, Michonne, and Carl whenever they ignored the screaming, helpless backpacker...

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FEAR THE LIVING AND KILL THE DEAD! FOR THEM NOT HELPING THE HICTHHIKER IN THE END SHOWS THAT THEY DON'T TRUST NOBODY ANYMORE. W/ ALL THAT HAS BEEN GOING ON WOOODBURY AND THE GOV. THEY BECAME 'HOSTILE' AND THEY HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO BE. IF THE THAT WAS A KID CRYING YEAH 100% THEY WOULD PICK HIM/HER UP. BUT THAT'S WHAT THEIR WORLD HAS COME TO NOW.

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How do I reply to a comment in order to get a conversation going? do I need to post my own comment and if someone wants to reply they would need to post another new comment?

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On another show this ep may've been filler but not on TWD.It added even more depth to those 3 characters and we FINALLY got to see what happened to Morgan and Duane. So tragic. I really can't add much more than what's been posted already. But I do like Andrea still and hope there's a reunion with her and her real friends in the near future. This show is fantastic but the short season is frustrating. Minor quibble tho.

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I found this episode very disturbing due to all the same reasons other comments have made. the deterioration of mankind, civilization, society, kindness, neighborly helping hands. Leaving the begging guy on the road with just a glance over their shoulder. A year ago would have been different and that scene was to show us just how taxing the year as been to survive. It was hard to sleep after that episode.

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Este episódio para mim foi um divisor de águas. Para o Rick lindinho aceitar que "vê" pessoas mortas e tirar daí forças para seguir em frente com seu grupo que esta cada vez mais homogêneo com pessoas diferentes, que em tempos normais no mundo de WD jamais se encontrariam ou fariam parte de um grupo. A menina dos dreads foi aceita pelo Carl e com certeza será aceita pelo grupo e deixará de ser "a emburrada". A minha primeira reação quando o trio encontrou o rapaz pedindo pelo amor de Deus para pararem e não pararam foi de indignação, como não ajudar? mas é assim que o mundo de WD é, sobrevivência com um pouco de egoismo, temperado com indiferença e uma pitada de desconfiança.

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@Fauve I haven't read the comics but my understanding is that they are telling the story somewhat differently than in the comic book. Darryl is not even part of the books. I know Andrea is an important part of the story in the book but so is Michonne and we know how under-developed her character has been all season long. Many fan comments, here and in other blogs, suggest that they like episodes where Andrea is not included. My question: Where else can her character go? She's not with the prison gang, nor with the Governor. At least if she dies saving somebody she would have had some kind of purpose, even if it's at the end.

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@ukchris: Basic human nature stopped when the walkers took over the world. People are now doing anything and everything they can just to survive another day, even if it means taking a life. It's either yours or theirs. Trust is also slim pickins' these day and maybe a year ago, Rick would have reacted differently. This is the now though, and there's too much blood on Rick's hands. The people he has grown attached to are dying or making too much of a change in themselves. (Like Carl.) He's lost his wife as well. They are running out of ammunition and food for the faithful few that are still around. Maybe that one guy could have helped, but he also could have done harm. Rick doesn't have time for 'maybes' and taking unnecessary risks. He is learning from the past.

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