The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 12 Recap: Rick’s Shocking Visit to the Past
WALKING DEAD SPOILERS AHEAD! Stop reading if you haven’t seen "Clear," which aired Sunday, March 3 on AMC.
The zombie apocalypse is crawling with mentally unhinged mourners. It’s an epidemic. Rick lost his wife, Lori, earlier on The Walking Dead Season 3, and had visits from the Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future on Episode 12, "Clear.” And both ghosts were the same guy: Morgan Jones.
Poor Morgan. And poor Duane! Morgan and his son Duane helped Rick at the start of Season 1, when he was just wandering around wondering what happened to the world. We last saw them as they were saying goodbye to Rick, who decided to ride his horse into walker-strewn Atlanta, only to be saved by Glenn. (Rick has to be saved almost as often as Carol.) But on their Season 3 supply run, Rick, Carl and Michonne came face-to-face with Morgan, whose own grief and guilt at the loss of his family had driven him into paranoia and madness. On the upside, it was a great bonding session for the three amigos — and we even learned a little bit about Michonne’s past (and taste in kitsch).
It was a bittersweet reunion with Morgan, made all the more unique by staging all the action off-campus. We’re in the middle of a Team Prison vs. Team Woodbury war and yet we never see the prison or Woodbury for the entire hour. It’s like we’re taking a time-out, just so Rick can get some clarity and be focused enough to face The Governor. Will he be focused for war or peace? If Morgan thinks good will lose — thanks to his own lack of action when it counted — will Rick see that as a sign that he should strike quickly?
By the way, Emmys all around for this episode, especially for Lennie James as Morgan. Can we keep him?
ROAD TRIP! Hey, remember on Season 2 when Lori flipped the car over? Good times. This time, Michonne is driving, with Rick riding shotgun and Carl in the back. They blow off a human guy on the road who is looking — begging — for help, but slow down as they pass the scene of a car wreck, with a walker stuck under a car. Speaking of stuck, their own car gets stuck in the mud. They shoot a walker and loot some supplies. Carl doesn’t understand why Rick took Michonne along with them. Rick says they have common interests, for right now. How is their car so shiny and new-looking? And why didn’t they stop for that guy? Glenn stuck his neck out for Rick on Season 1. Michonne stopped to save Andrea on Season 2. Are they becoming more callous?
RICK’S OLD POLICE STATION That’s right, as a cop he’s used to the law & order setting of a prison, so maybe that was a kind of comfort to him. That known entity. He visits his old station and sees there are no weapons left. So they have to keep looking around for other locations. Outside, they see a huge pile of charred bodies. On the ground are arrows leading them on, with signs written on the walls, and random booby traps. It’s like the freakiest trip to Oz and Morgan is the man behind the curtain.
SPEAKING OF MORGAN There’s a sniper on the roof, wearing a helmet, who takes down a walker lady. He shouts at them and initiates a shootout. Carl ends up shooting the guy and taking him down. (Go on, Carl!) Rick takes off the man’s body armor and they discover it’s Morgan. Since they can all see him (and shoot him), it’s not like he’s one of Rick’s crazy visions. Inside, Rick even finds Morgan’s walkie-talkie … and sees one of the scribbled notes saying Duane “turned.” Meanwhile, Michonne wants to take the guns and eat Morgan’s food. She thinks he’s lucky just to be alive. See how different it is when you know the person? It’s like when Sophia came out of the barn on Season 2, after all the other nameless walkers were gunned down. They stopped and remembered their humanity when it was her.
CARL AND MICHONNE GO OUT FOR SUPPLIES A bonding session! Carl is getting lippy in his old age. And while Michonne slices up a walker, he runs off to escape her. Don’t be a brat, child soldier!
RICK FIGHTS WITH MORGAN Remember when Rick was the one in bed, back at the start of Sesaon 1, and Morgan and Duane were the ones taking care of him, still unsure if he could be trusted? Rick drops his “I’m sorry this happened to you” line, the one he used on a walker lady, also on Season 1. Morgan lunges for Rick and tries to kill him. Rick asks if he knows him. Morgan says he doesn’t know him. “You saved my life, Morgan. You know me!” Morgan said he doesn’t know anyone anymore. He “turned.” Sounds like he’s confusing Rick with Duane. Morgan stabs him. Rick pulls a gun on Morgan and Morgan wants it. “Please. Please kill me.” Rick finally convinces Morgan that he’s not wearing a “dead man’s face.” Morgan understands, and they talk about the walkie-talkie. Then Morgan shouts that Rick said he would turn on his walkie-talkie every day at dawn and “you were not there!”
WHAT HAPPENED TO MORGAN’S SON? Rick found his wife and son. “Your wife, did she turn?” No. Rick didn’t have to see that then. Not like Morgan. Morgan couldn’t kill his wife back on Season 1. She just kept wandering outside the home and he couldn’t shoot her. Rick tried to get him to do it, and gave him the gun. Then he found his wife standing in front of Duane, and Duane had his gun on her but he couldn’t do it. He couldn’t shoot her. So he “turned” — she bit him — and then Morgan saw red and finally shot her but it was too late. “I was selfish. I was weak.” Is Rick’s boy dead. “No? He will be. See, ‘cause people like you, the good people, they always die. And the bad people do too but the weak people, the people like me, we have inherited the earth.”
Obviously that should be Lennie James’s Emmy reel speech. Damn is he good.
CARL VS. MICHONNE Carl loves to give speeches now. He fired his dad as the leader last week and this week he’s repeating his dad’s line to Michonne that they just have “common interests.” They aren’t a team or anything. He wants her to leave him alone, but he can’t stop her from helping him. They get stuck in a walker-strewn restaurant, and just when they get out … they have to go back in so they can get the last photo of Carl’s family. She plays mama bear, getting him to stay put as she goes around the side to get the photo. Will she be his new mother figure? Honestly, she couldn’t do a worse job than Lori. Plus, she has good taste in colorful cat statues. It’s “too damn gorgeous!”
RICK INVITES MORGAN TO THE PRISON Rick says they found a prison with fences to keep out the walkers. Morgan: “Is that where your wife died?” Zing. Morgan tells him to just go. Don’t stop. Rick says he can help Morgan. “You can come back with us, you can heal.” Morgan wants to know why he needs so many guns.
Morgan: “‘Cause if you’ve got something good that just means that there’s someone that wants to take it. And that is what is happening, right?” Rick: “We’re gonna win. You can be there. You can help.” Morgan: “You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets. You and your boy. Your people. But not me. ‘Cause I am not going to watch that happen again.”
Rick says Morgan has to be able to come back from this. He's speaking as much about himself there, of course. Morgan has to clear. That's why he didn't die that day, that's his sign. "I have to clear."
IT'S TIME TO LEAVE Michonne asks if Morgan is OK. Rick: "No, he's not." Carl apologizes to Morgan for shooting him. Morgan tells Carl, "Don't ever be sorry." What a shame to just find Morgan after all this time and just leave him again. He's such a good resource. And if Rick can be saved, why not Morgan too? Speaking of people who can be saved, Carl tells Rick he thinks Michonne might be "one of us." So if he can be changed and convinced that quickly, why not invest in Morgan? Michonne tells Rick she knows he "sees thing" and people. "I used to talk to my dead boyfriend. It happens." She had a boyfriend! We're learning all sorts of stuff about Michonne. Not that romance has to happen all over the place, but ... Rick and Michonne as an eventual couple? With Carl and Little Ass-Kicker completing their little family? No?
COMING UP Yep, Andrea tries to broker a peace deal between Rick and The Governor. Sounds like it doesn’t go too well, which fits with what the actors said. They don’t want peace!