'The Walking Dead' recap: 'I know you, I know who you are'
SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "Clear" episode of "The Walking Dead" contains storyline and character spoilers.
So, did we exaggerate? Was this not the best episode of "The Walking Dead" so far? We had all been wondering what had become of Morgan and Duane, the father and son who helped Rick Grimes all the way back in the series pilot, when Rick woke up in the hospital and found the world in the middle of a zombie apocalypse.
Well, this week, we found out what happened to Morgan. And Duane. And it was crushing.
Rick found Morgan where he left him -- in his hometown. Rick, Michonne, and Carl were headed off in search of supplies, specifically weapons, as they gear up for another -- a final? -- showdown with the Governor. Along the road, their car gets stuck in some mud, and as the wheels are spinning, walkers attack the car.
Rick clears them away with his gun, and he and Carl snag some clothes from a nearby car to put under the tire for traction. With Michonne still behind the wheel, Carl asks Rick why he brought her along in the first place.
"We got common interests," Rick explains. "Right now we got the same problems, maybe we can work on them together." Besides, he says, he was afraid to leave her and Merle at the prison.
Rick's first thought on his gun run: his old sheriff's office. But he, Carl, and Michonne walk in and find the place has been wiped out.
"Got any other police stations in town?" Michonne asks.
"I was the police here," Rick replies, before they leave with nothing but a single bullet to add to their weapons stash and head off to raid some Main Street business where Rick thinks the owners may have a few guns (which he knows because, as sheriff, he had signed the permits for them -- nice detail).
As the trio head toward the main street in town, they're greeted by a maze of booby traps and messages painted on walls. "AWAY WITH YOU" is painted on one wall, and they see a pile of burned bodies in a grassy area.
Then there is an intricate mousetrap of barbed wire, ropes, spears, and, yes, actual mice, or rather rats, in cages. And while Rick, Carl, and Michonne are trying to wrap their heads around that, someone from atop one of the buildings yells at them to drop their weapons. Michonne runs off to try to get to the masked gunman, Rick tells Carl to run back to the car, and Rick runs toward the building.
The gunman reappears, on ground level, and is about to shoot Rick when Carl pops out and shoots the gunman first. Yeah, of course Carl didn't go back to the car (good thing). Rick checks the man and notes that he's wearing a bulletproof vest, so he's not dead. And then he pulls off the guy's mask …
It's Morgan (Lennie James)! (This, in the ranking of great "Walking Dead" reveals, is easily up there -- and maybe atop that big reveal of the Governor's wall of floating walker heads.) Rick tells Michonne and Carl that he knows him. Rick is also aware that Michonne is probably thinking that Morgan, the architect of this wacky world of zombie traps, is crazy, so he offers a pre-emptive, "He saved my life. … He wasn't like this then."
As they carry Morgan into the building he came out of, Rick is about to step on a Welcome mat when Michonne cautions him to check for traps. He lifts up the mat, and finds a hollowed out piece of ground, with spears sticking up. Phew.
And he quickly repays Michonne, when they carry Morgan up a staircase and he stops her from stepping into a wire, which, a pulled back curtain reveals, would have unlatched a hatchet that would have hit her right between the eyes.
About Duane …
They enter an apartment and put a still unconscious Morgan on a mattress and they are greeted by a huge mass of guns and ammo. It's everything Rick had left at the sheriff's station, and way, way more. When he begins looking through it, he finds the walkie-talkie he had given Morgan when they parted, with the promise they would turn it on once a day to keep track of each other.
Rick also notes the messages painted on the walls of the apartment. They're a scramble of phrases and the word "CLEAR" repeated in several colors. Then Rick sees this: "DUANE TURNED." And he tells Michonne they're not leaving until Morgan wakes up.