The Walking Dead S03E12 ‘Clear’ episode review

Our review of The Walking Dead Season 3 episode 12 ‘Clear’. Spoilers ahead…

So the rumours were true.

Morgan Jones (Lennie James) makes his first appearance since Season One, when he graciously took Rick into his home and filled him in on what had happened to the world. It’s now his time to fill us in on what’s happened to his world in the interim, and the news is heart-wrenchingly awful. Morgan’s son Duane died at the hands of his zombified mother, who Morgan had failed to kill when he had the chance. It was a story that was probably much worse for viewers to imagine and, of course, the writers know that.

Alone and crazy, his hostile graffiti and extensive booby traps give Rick some much-needed perspective. This impromptu reunion will hopefully exorcise Lori from his psyche from now on, as he seems to snap back to reality at the end of the episode. “I know you see things,” says Michonne (Danai Gurira), admitting that she used to speak to her dead boyfriend (which one of the armless zombies was he, we wonder?).

This episode shed some light on the usually stony-faced ninja, and will be forever known as the first time Michonne cracked a joke. As Rick chides her for munching through a packet of Morgan’s crisps, she shrugs and says “The mat said ‘Welcome'”. And when she assisted Carl on a mission to pick up supplies for baby Judith, she made everyone warm to her by heading back into a horde of walkers just to retrieve a photo of Rick, Lori and Carl and, amusingly, a brightly coloured cat sculpture. (“I was going back anyway… it’s just too damn gorgeous.”) By the end of the episode, we’re fully with Carl when he says “she might be one of us.”

Aside from repairing these three characters, we were treated to some new gruesome creations from FX maestro Greg Nicotero’s depraved imagination. This time, the walkers were deep fried and still animated. We also loved the diversion tactic of strapping cages of rats to skateboards and sending them into the building first – genius.

‘Clear’ was filled with little details that spoke volumes about what life’s like in the zombie apocalypse. There was a sign on the road that said ‘Erin, we tried for Stone Mountain. – J’ and, later, a zombie is seen wearing a bracelet with the tag: ‘Erin’.

Chances are if they saw Erin alive, they wouldn’t have helped her anyway as they’re seen driving past a hitchhiker, screaming for help. They didn’t even look conflicted. On the way back they see his bloody remains smeared on the tarmac like a particularly nasty roadkill, and they do stop, but only to grab his backpack. It’s the grim reality of Season 3: no strangers welcome. Unless they have a katana.

Incidentally, the writer of this episode is Season 4’s new head honcho Scott M Gimple. His previous credits include other notable episodes like ‘Pretty Much Dead Already’, where Sophia comes out of the barn, and ‘Save The Last One’, which saw Shane sacrifice Otis. It’s a great track record, and one that makes us feel a little better about the imminent showrunner switcharoo. Long live The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead episode 12 ‘Arrow On The Doorpost’ airs Friday 15 March 2013 at 10pm on FOX. Watch a sneak peek below…