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The Walking Dead
Rick Grimes is a former police officer who has been in a coma for several months after being shot whilst on duty. When he wakes, he discovers that the world has been taken over by Zombies, and that he seems to be the only person still alive. Having returned home to discover his wife and son missing, he heads for Atlanta to search for his family. Narrowly escaping death at the hands of the Zombies on arrival in Atlanta, he is aided by another survivor Glenn who takes Rick to a camp outside the town. There Rick finds his wife Lori and son Carl. Along with his partner and best friend Shane, he founds a small group of survivors who struggle to fend off the zombie hordes, as well as competing with other survivor groups who are prepared to do whatever it takes to survive.
After last week’s road trip back to his hometown and the apparent close distance of everything in The Walking Dead‘s universe, Rick piles Hershel and Daryl into the car? and takes another one! Well, this time it’s to Woodbury to talk to The Governor. But a change of scenery seems to be welcome these days, doesn’t it? Much like last week’s episode, this week’s, “Arrow on the Doorpost” plays with format and is indeed a welcome change from the show’s usual one location per episode mentality.
It also puts Rick directly against The Governor at long last as the two (kinda) attempt to make a deal, while Daryl and Hershel provide cover. This episode does have its drawbacks, but what it does best is pair opposing sides ? Hershel with Milton and Daryl with Martinez ? in a humanitarian approach, showing that despite allegiance to either Rick or The Governor. People are just people! Glenn and Maggie seem to prove this also, though via a somewhat unsanitary act of lovemaking outside the prison.
Rick takes Andrea’s word for it in going to Woodbury, thinking that a compromise with The Governor might actually be a possibility. Obviously, no, that’s not true, since Andrea was probably looking at The Governor through love goggles. Rick has a proposal of divvying up the land between the prison and Woodbury, but The Governor isn’t having that. He claims he will not attack if Rick hands over Michonne ? when Rick leaves, he says he will attack anyway, but really just wants to exact revenge on our fierce lady samurai. And Rick actually considers giving up Michonne. Huh. Did she not babysit Carl last episode and save everyone’s asses several times?
Geez, Rick. Clearly The Governor has proven himself as someone who cannot be trusted, so why would Rick even entertain the option of sacrificing a human life on the word of a madman? Rick’s not trusting Michonne is growing tiresome, and even our one-legged badass Hershel tries to talk some sense into him. Hershel is the show’s main voice of reason, isn’t he?
For the second season in a row, The Walking Dead took Rick Grimes and a couple of others away from the rest of the characters for an entire episode. And for the second season in a row, this led to one of the best episodes yet for the series. Season 2’s “18 Miles Out” found Rick and Shane working their s*** out (albeit temporarily) as they attempted to deal with the Randall situation. “Clear” instead focused on Rick, Carl and Michonne going to look for guns, leading to a reunion a long time in the making?
As an aside, it’s worth noting, in an optimistic way, that Scott Gimple, who is taking over as showrunner for Season 4, co-wrote “18 Miles Out” with outgoing showrunner Glen Mazzara and wrote “Clear” himself. And I think I liked this episode slightly more even than the wonderful “18 Miles Out” perhaps because it took an even bigger leap by never going back to any other characters but the trio who left the prison and the man they came across – unlike “18 Miles Out’s” glimpses of the farm and Beth’s suicide threats (Man, Beth needs to get a new storyline, besides “She likes to sing.”)
It was great to see Morgan (Lennie James) again, even if Morgan himself had seen better days. Rick’s encounter with Morgan and his son in the excellent Walking Dead pilot episode was quite a memorable encounter and the question of whatever happened to them has always lingered for fans. Rick finding Morgan so very broken (though very capable, in terms of self defense) was quite powerful, as we, and Rick, learned just how much had changed since last he’d been to his home town.
I will say that Morgan revealing that his son was specifically killed, out of all the walkers, but his own wife, was rather an amazing coincidence/dramatic twist. But still, the mere fact that Morgan lost his son was very sad, as Morgan had turned into an absolute nihilist, telling Rick that Carl would inevitably die too. Lennie James was terrific showing this guy so lost in his despair. A particularly notable and chilling moment had him tell Rick, “You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets.”