This episode was written by next season's showrunner, Scott Gimple, and it probably isn't an accident that it marks a bit of a return to Darabont territory -- a marked directional shift from Season 3 showrunner, Glenn Mazzara (in a series that changes showrunners like Spinal Tap changes drummers). Gimple wrote last year's superb Sophia-Emerges-From-Barn episode, so it seems like fans are in good hands.The episode also works as a stand-alone (much like the recent controversial "One Man's Trash" episode of Girls, the Sunday night counter-programming to Walking Dead). Confined to essentially four characters, leaving out the rest of the cast and the usual settings, it functions more like a small movie than a TV series. 'Clear' was filled with shattering small details and touches, from the charred-zombie woodpile to the name 'Erin' scrawled in graffiti, and then echoed on the ID bracelet of a grasping zombie hand. The walkie-talkie reappears from the series pilot, and it's almost a character itself. The meditations scrawled throughout Morgan's compound -- 'Away With You,' 'No Guilt, You Know That,' 'Turn Around and Live,' 'Just Listen,' 'Everyone Turns,' -- are equal parts Howard Finster (appropriate homage to the series' Georgia setting) and Wile E. Coyote. The walls might feel a little overtly art-directed, but it works. It's Carl who first notices that the hieroglyphics and maps include "Rick's house." It reads
The Road), Mom showed back up. Who knew Zombies eat their young? Everybody but Morgan, apparently. Subtext: Carl is still alive partly because he had no such reticence -- he shot Lori in the head after she died giving birth to baby Judith (presumably... it did happen off camera). They get reacquainted. They scuffle. Morgan stabs Rick in the shoulder. (Hope it's only a flesh wound.) It's admittedly a little melodramatic. "You know me!" "I don't know anyone anymore!" Their parallel tracks are spelled out a little too explicitly. (We get it!) But it's a nice full circle nonetheless. Rick tries to prevail on Morgan to accompany them back to the Prison. But Morgan's staying put. He won't lose anyone else. Who's crazier? The jury's still out.
Taken. Burnt Out.
The walkabout Michonne and Carl go on (in search of a picture of Lori) feels a little contrived and stage-y (to say nothing of implausible, even given the context), but has the intended effect of humanizing our Warrior a little, just in time for the upcoming War with the Governor. It gives her an opportunity to straight talk Carl, "no more bullshit." The Road Trip episode has, as intended, bonded the three of them (just as an earlier one destroyed Rick and Shane).
Aisha Tyler joked on the after-show, Talking Dead, that this is all Carl has needed all along, a sassy black nanny. "She might be one of us," Carl tells Rick as they pack up the hatchback. It's all very Clara's Heart.
But the darkest humor is reserved for the final scene. The three of them drive back the way they came, and as the landscape streams by, a trail of viscera leads them past what's left of that poor hitchhiker from the cold open. Possible emotions play across Rick's face as they journey on. Cut to: the faded orange backpack, abandoned on the bloody asphalt. And then the SUV reverses into the frame; the passenger side door opens, and we see the backpack disappear into the vehicle; Carl has retrieved it. (It's like the moment in Fargo when William H. Macy drives to the top of the parking garage and sees his father-in-law's dead body. The next sound is him popping the trunk latch.)
Because there is just never an R.E.I. around when you need one in the Zombie Apocalypse.
How You Can Attend the Walking Dead Season 4 Premiere
Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman will be judging the Walking Dead Fan Contest.“Fans make videos trying to prove that they are the ultimate Walking Dead fan. And then I’m going to be judging those things.” The winner gets to attend the Season 4 premiere party. Winner will be announced after the March 31 Season 3 finale.
Also, AMC now offers a Dead Yourself app.
Walking Dead Season 3 Episode Recaps
Season 3, Episode 11 I Ain't a Judas
Season 3, Episode 10 Home