'The Walking Dead' recap, episode 312: 'Clear'

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) knows crazy when he sees it. And writing all over your walls in multicolored chalk is definitely crazy.
Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) knows crazy when he sees it. And writing all over your walls in multicolored chalk is definitely crazy. (Gene Page/AMC)

Good God this show is depressing.

It's fun to look at dead bodies and blood and guts a little bit, but then you throw in all the nihilistic conversation and abandoned long distance hikers and by the end of the episode you're just like ._.


This episode was kind of a departure from the norm because it didn't really address the Woodbury-Prison storyline at all, and it really only featured four characters: Rick, Carl, Michonne and ... Morgan! Oh, and that hippie hitchhiker guy.

Spoilers alertz!

We can finally scratch "Where are Morgan and Duane?" off of the "Lingering questions" list!

Answer: Duane was the victim of zombofilicide and Morgan has gone off of the deep end.

Morgan did look pretty cool wearing that body armor and tinted motorcycle helmet though.

OK, for the more casual viewers out there: Morgan and Duane Jones met Rick Grimes in the very first episode of the entire series. And we haven't seen him since then ... until tonight. So it's kind of a big deal.

This episode was a little heavy on the dialog side, but I was kind of digging the riffing going on between Morgan and Rick.

I could imagine a community college philosophy professor sitting in the background on a desk just nodding and nodding like "Yes you guys! Yes!"

Morgan basically says that life is sh!t and Rick offers to bring him back into the fold even though they tried to kill each other. I don't want to speak for Rick, but you could kind of see what was going on in his dome this episode. Reuniting with Morgan gave him a little link to his non-insane past, and he also saw how insane Morgan was ("You were wearing dead people's faces!"), which told him that maybe no one has their kaka totally together, and maybe that's normal.

Or as Seal so eloquently put it: we're never gonna survive unless we go a little....

Anyway, Morgan politely declines Rick's invitation — cleverly deducing from his old friend's gun lust that a dangerous brawl was about to go down — and goes to incinerate zombie carcasses on his killing floor.

With all that fun stuff going on in King County, can you really blame him for not wanting to go hang out in a prison?

P.S. King County is the town that Rick and Shane lived and worked in before all the trouble started. I didn't realize they were still that close?

The entire episode wasn't just about Morgan and Rick's reunion.


Michonne and Carl also go on a little sidequest for Carl to get some presents for baby sister Judith.

During the trip, Michonne uses her ninja skills to nab the Grimes family photo and some garish cat sculpture, and in the process ingratiates herself to little Carl.

Carl later tells Rick "I think she might be one of us."

I read that as "I want her to be my new mommy" so now it's time for Rick to start macking.

As Rick, Carl and Michonne head back to the prison in the Hyundai, they pass the mutilated corpse of the screaming man who had been trying to flag them down at the beginning of the episode.

They wouldn't stop for him then, or even acknowledge his existence, but now they'll stop: to pilfer his Jansport.


One of the strangest attempts at humor ever on The Walking Dead

When Michonne does her little stealthy ninja bit to retreive the Grimes Olan Mills photo, she also produces this unusual, rainbow wooden statuette thing of a cat arching its back.

And then, as a way of explaining that her motivation wasn't entirely to do Carl a solid, she says that the hideous cat statue was "just too damn gorgeous."

WTF!? What is she going to do with that monstrosity? Anything other than lob it into the air and chop the heck out of it with her Genji Blade before it hits the ground is simply unacceptable.

Second place: At the end of the episode Rick says to Michonne "Do you wanna drive? Good, 'cause I see things." It got a little chuckle, but it was kind of like that moment at the end of a sitcom where they refer to something silly that happened earlier in the episode.

Another pretty good bit was when Michonne just started snacking on Morgan's granola (that sounds really dirty) and Rick was like "we're eating his food now?" Michonne just goes "the mat said welcome." I chortled.

Reintroducing Lennie James

Morgan is played by actor Lennie James. Lennie is British and has also been in a bunch of other TV shows, including Jericho, and the movie Snatch. He's a pretty sick actor. Remember when he was like "You said you would turn on your radio every day at dawn and you were NOT THERE!" That was awesome. Good to have you back Lennie.

Did you know?
  • According to AMC Story Sync, Morgan has 26 assault rifles, one sniper rifle, 22 hunting rifles, 10 shotguns, 48 grenades, one crossbow, 10 semi-automatic handguns and four hunting long bows. (Now I'm not one of these pacifist hippies, but doesn't that seem excessive for one man? I mean, do you really need 50 rifles to kill a zombie?)
  • "King County" was actually Grantville, GA
  • Morgan was supposed to come back last season, but according to Talking Dead, actor Lennie James was just too busy...
Did you notice?
  • King County downtown is at the 51-mile marker of something...
  • There is a sign in the police office that says "Take home weapons can not be stored in vehicles trunks."
  • There was a green grasshopper on the brick wall when they arrived at King County!
  • Among the businesses they walked past was McKee Heating and Air Conditioning. There is an actual business by that name in Grantville, GA. Apparently Mark McKee treats his customers like they are family.
  • That ax trap that Morgan set seems to have worked recently, because it was covered in fresh blood! Who did it work on, a zombie or a man?
  • Rick's old house was on Morgan's map of town, and it was listed as "Taken" and then "Burnt out."
  • At one point when Rick was talking to Morgan his British accent slipped out. He said "You can" and it sounded like "You cahh-nnn" like he was Austin Powers.
  • The sign alongside the highway at the beginning said "Erin, we tried for Stone Mountain, -J" Then later some zombie has a bracelet on that says "Erin." Was J the hiker guy? My joke is that from the looks of all the feathers and beads on that sign they were trying for "stoned" mountain. Hah!
Morgan's mad scrawlings

I'm not going to go back and write down everything Morgan wrote on his walls in his apartment because if I did, I'd go insane (ROFL!) But here are a few of the things he wrote around town:


The Finer Things, Steve Winwood

Caring is Creepy, The Shins

Incinerate, Sonic Youth

Where Eagles Dare, The Misfits

Vicarious, Tool

How It Is, Biohazard

Symptom of the Universe, Black Sabbath

Quote board

Morgan: "I don't know anyone anymore! You go clear!"

Morgan: "Please! Please kill me!"

Rick: "I'm Rick Grimes, you know me. I'm not wearing a dead man's face."

Morgan: "Your boy, is he dead? No? He will be."

Morgan: "The weaker people, like me, we have inherited the earth."

Michonne: "I can't stop you, but you can't stop me from helping you."


Morgan: "You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets, you and your boy, your people, but not me!"

Morgan: "I don't think you heard a damn word that I said!"

Morgan: "I have to clear."

Carl: "I had to shoot you, you know I had to right? I'm sorry."

Michonne: "I know you see things, people. I used to talk to my dead boyfriend. It happens."

Winner: Morgan

What everyone is up to

Rick: Shaking off the cobwebs.

Michonne: Fondling bullets and giving Rick the eyes.

Carl: Being more of a father to Judith than Rick ever was!

Morgan: Acting batty.

Backpacker: Trying to befriend strangers by running at them and screaming maniacally.

Best zombie kill

When Michonne impaled that one through the forehead. It was about to tell Carl to stop dancing on the bar. It had a really perfect crew cut. I guess a zombie's hair stops growing when it dies, but wouldn't its hair be more mussed up? When I get a crew cut it looks worse than that just after two days of rolling around in bed and wearing hats.

Creepiest zombie

There was that one shuffling around near Morgan's traps in King County that had the sickest washboard abs. It had like a size 22 waist, like Ravishing Rick Rude.

There was also one that stumbled out of the walk-in freezer at the King County Cafe. It was all dry and dirty, it looked like it had been rolling around in flour or got buried by a bunch of kids at Rehoboth Beach and just stayed there for five years.

Death count

Zombies: Nine, for 190 on the season.

Humans: One, the raving Sunny Surplus shopping spree man, for 29 on the season.
Lingering questions

  • How do Milton's inventions work?
  • What is Morgan going to do with himself in King County?
  • Why didn't the Governor have a scout near the prison who could have told him that three of its best fighters (Rick, Carl and Michonne) had just gone on a daytrip, and that it was a good time to attack?
  • Who would win in a fight: The Blair Witch, or the zombies?
A look ahead to next week's episode, "Arrow on the Doorpost"

The Governor meets with Rick and is there for one thing only, their surrender. The heat is back on in the Woodbury vs. prison fight.