Forgive But Never Forget…
Well this week’s episode certainly was pleasant surprise. After seeing the “next time” clip at the end of last week’s terrible episode, I had little hope for “Clear”. However, I should not have been so cynical for this week’s episode turned out to be a smart, character focused story in which stands out as one of the, if not the, best episodes this season.
Starting out as a simple trip back to Rick’s hometown to grab supplies for the oncoming war with the Governor, Rick, Carl, and Michonne arrived in a town quite unfamiliar from when they left it so long ago. There were a great deal call-backs this week. From the old age home, now decimated and bodies lying amongst the ruins, to the once fully stocked police station that now lies baron, there was a eerie, yet an all together familiar scene in which Rick and his group have grown accustomed too. However, the last thing Rick expected was a survivor, especially one so well equipped and reining supreme at the center of town.
The threat of the survivor was made imminent from the beginning. Having booby-trapped the center of town (clever), and taking pot shots at both the living and dead, this survivor was not to be messed with, and Rick knew it. It was great to see Rick and Michonne take action, but even better to see Carl be the one to shoot the guy, who as it turns out was an old friend.
I was quite shocked to see Morgan alive, even if he is not in the right state of mind. It was very interesting to see how different both men are only a year after not seeing each other. As Rick moved on to find his wife and son, Morgan lost everything he loved. It was heartbreaking to hear of Duane’s death at the hands of his own mother. This was a bitterly-ironic moment, for the woman that Morgan loved so much turned out to be the cause of so much pain and suffering. Actor Lennie James, who plays Morgan, hands down stole the episode, showing a man heartbroken and mentally deteriorating.
It was of no surprise to see Morgan snap on Rick, but the way he uncaringly stabs Rick in the chest was horrifying. “You said you would turn on your radio everyday and you weren’t there!” Morgan yells to Rick. Of all the people Rick has come to let down, he let down Morgan the most-a man who after losing everything needed someone to talk to. Yet while Rick was surrounded by loved one’s and friends, Morgan was surrounded by death and his regrets. As Rick pleaded with Morgan to come with him to the prison, Morgan told him something quite poignant. Rick has something that someone wants and they will do anything they can to take it away from him. “You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets,” Morgan utters to Rick, a statement that could not be more hauntingly true. Rick’s encounter with Morgan was sad, but beautiful, and perfectly depicted just how far gone the world they live in now is.
After weeks of brooding, and lurking on the sidelines with katana in hand, I was quite pleased to have the writers pay some attention to Michonne. As Rick struggled with Morgan, Carl and Michonne sought out heirlooms from the Grime’s families past. This was a great bounding moment with Michonne and Carl, showing that Carl can trust her, as can Rick. It was sweet to see her help Carl find a crib, and to gather some old family pictures. Plus how awesome was Michonne slicing n’ dicing those walkers as they came towards Carl. It was nice to see Michonne take on a protector role one moment, and than be some semblance of comic relief as she casually walks away with Carl holding a multi-coloured stuffed animal. Although it was a simple storyline for Michonne and Carl, what made it so great were those heartfelt character moments and the bond they came to share.
It was unfortunate to see Morgan stay behind at the end of the episode, clearing out the walkers from his new home. Yet, it felt necessary. Morgan is not ready to move on yet, and needs to clear his mind, and above all his conscience. I especially enjoyed Morgan telling Carl, “Don’t ever be sorry”, after apologising for shooting him, and Michonne and Rick bonding over their shared hallucinations of dead loved ones. Everything in this episode fit together so beautifully and effortlessly. This was greatly aided by the book enders for the episode, being the hitchhiker they past at the beginning, now torn apart on the side of the road. As the trio stopped on the side to pick up the dead hitchhiker’s packsack, I was bitterly reminded once again just how gone to hell this world is- where old friends can no longer be trusted, and where you can be killed by a walker just as quickly as you can be shot by your fellow man. It is episodes like this that show the best and worst of this new world. It is too bad they are so few and far between…