"Clear" is the twelfth episode of the third season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the thirty-first episode of the series overall. It premiered on March 3, 2013. It was written by Scott Gimple and directed by Tricia Brock.
They approach a pileup of wrecked cars. Michonne maneuvers onto the shoulder and the car gets stuck in the mud. As Michonne tries to get out of the mud, walkers surround the car. Michonne notices a walker wearing a bracelet that says "Erin" on it, (Earlier, they saw the name Erin on a sign, probably from her friends telling her they went to Stone Mountain). They successfully kill all walkers around the car. While Rick tries to free the wheel, Carl privately expresses reservations about Michonne. "For right now, we have the same problems, so maybe we can work on them together," Rick reasons.
They free the car just as the hitchhiker catches up to them. Ignoring the stranger's pleas, Rick orders Michonne to drive on.
Later, they enter Rick's old police station and find the weapons locker completely emptied out. Rick suggests they visit nearby bars and liquor stores, whose owners kept guns under the counters. Rick rudely questions Michonne if she has a problem with his approach, Michonne, clearly disgusted at Rick's cold personality calmly says: "No, Rick. I don't have a problem.", before handing him the only bullet found in the weapons locker.
They reach a street filled with booby traps and watch as a walker tangles itself in wire. A masked man shoots the walker from a nearby rooftop then orders Rick and the others to drop their guns. Rick returns fire and a shootout ensues. As the man approaches Rick on the street, Carl pops out of a storefront and shoots him. The man, wearing body armor, falls unconscious: It's Morgan.
Rick and Michonne carry Morgan into his apartment and lay him down on a cot. The room is fully stocked with weapons presumably collected from the police station and surrounding areas. Michonne and Carl begin packing up the guns as Rick searches the room. He starts to read writings scrawled all over the wall. Rick then finds a walkie talkie, and remembers that it was the same walkie-talkie that he had given Morgan to contact him every morning at dawn. This brings him back to his intentions during that time, to find his wife and son. Rick gets reminded of Lori, and looks down in pain. When he lifts his head back up, he finds a more significant writing on the wall: "DUANE TURNED". It is then that Rick refuses to leave until Morgan wakes up.
In an adjacent room, Carl studies a hand-drawn map of the town. Morgan has scrawled the words "Burnt out" over Rick's house. Carl declares that he's going to fetch a crib from a nearby baby store. Rick allows him to go on the condition that Michonne accompanies him, which Carl does not like.
Outside, Carl tries to ditch Michonne. She chases him down and notes that he passed the baby store. "I'm getting Judith something else first," he declares.
Rick finds the gun that he had given Morgan, a rifle Morgan used to take out walkers from upstairs of his home. "I'm sorry for what you've been through," Rick says to him. Then Morgan wakes up and quietly pulls a knife stashed underneath the cot. Rick hears a bullet casing fall, and realizes that Morgan is awake. Morgan lunges at Rick and Rick defends himself by whipping Morgan with the butt of his rifle. The two struggle, as Morgan pins Rick down. "You saved my life, Morgan, you know me!" Rick screams. "I don't know anyone anymore!" Morgan says, stabbing Rick in the shoulder. Rick throws Morgan off and points his gun at Morgan, who begs for him to shoot him.
Outside, a walker impales itself on Morgan's wooden stakes as it tries to get a caged rat.
Rick jogs Morgan's memory recalling the walkie-talkies they used to try to communicate with each other. Morgan says he tried to reach Rick, but Rick was never there.
"We kept getting pushed back deeper into the country," Rick explains. "I swear to God I didn't have a choice." Morgan recalls how Rick gave him the rifle for him to kill his undead wife. However, he was unable to kill his wife because he was too "weak". Later, Morgan ordered Duane to stay put as he searched a cellar. When he came back, he saw Jenny, his own wife, in the doorway. She was confronted by Duane, who raised his gun, but he was unable to kill her, similar to Morgan. Morgan called for Duane, and he snapped his attention to his father as Jenny came down on him. It is then Morgan decided to finally put down his wife, but it was too late. Duane was bit and succumbed to his injuries.
"The weak people," he laments, "we have inherited the earth."
Meanwhile, Carl tries to enter a cafe but Michonne holds him back. "You can't stop me," he says. "I can't stop you," she agrees, "but you can't stop me from helping you."
Michonne and Carl roll Morgan's rat cages through the cafe's front door to draw walkers away. They sneak inside and Carl removes a framed photo from the wall. A walker grabs Carl but Michonne kills it, proving to Carl that Michonne is a valuable and useful person to the group. As Michonne and Carl make their escape, a rat suddenly appears in front of them, bringing a herd of walkers with it. They're soon surrounded by walkers, however, and the two go the other way around, shooting and slicing walkers along the way. As Carl flips a table, he accidentally drops the photo as they make it outside.
Distraught, Carl insists on going back inside, even though all the walkers inside are banging on the door. Michonne orders him to stay put and heads around the back. Within seconds, she retrieves the photo by herself: It's a picture of Rick, Lori, and Carl. "I just thought Judith should know what her mom looked like," Carl says, thanking Michonne. However, Michonne also took a cat statue, saying "It's just too damn gorgeous."
Rick urges Morgan to join them at the prison. Morgan refuses, stating that the reason Rick needs all the guns must be because it's not safe at the prison and that he doesn't want to watch everyone die. "You will be torn apart by teeth or bullets," Morgan warns, telling Rick to take the guns.
Michonne and Carl return with the crib. Carl apologizes to Morgan for shooting him. Morgan tells Carl to "never be sorry".
Rick privately asks Carl how things fared with Michonne. "I think she might be one of us," Carl says.
As Michonne loads the trunk with guns and ammo, she tells Rick that she knows he sees dead people. "I used to talk to my dead boyfriend," she confides, "It happens."
As they drive back to the prison, they pass Morgan one last time, preparing to burn the bodies of the walkers. They eventually come across the devoured corpse of the hitchhiker. They pull over and Carl grabs his backpack, then they continue on.
Special Guest Star
- Erin Leigh Bushko as Erin
- Matthew Lyda, Triston Johnson, Wallace Krebs, Joel Studer, and Ashleigh Jo Sizemore as Walkers
- First appearance of Erin. (Zombified)
- This episode marks the return of Morgan Jones to the series after being absent since the TV Series pilot, "Days Gone Bye".
- This episode contained a scene that later made fans believe was a prelude to the Whisperers. Morgan in a deluded rant, screams to Rick about "People wearing dead people's faces!" Although at the time, the group had not been conceived and it has since been confirmed by showrunner Scott Gimple that this line was totally accidental and a coincidence. "That definitely predated my knowledge of the Whisperers, because they were not at all in the book yet," Gimple said. "Maybe that could wind up being a reference."
- This is the first episode Woodbury has not appeared in since it was introduced.
- The Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman, has stated this is his favorite episode.
- The title of the episode, "Clear", refers to Morgan clearing his neighborhood from signs of the apocalypse because of his mindstate, caused by his son's death.
- It also refers to Rick beginning to clear his head after Lori's death and he begins to come back to his senses. Rick sees Morgan and realizes that what Morgan has become isn't far from what Rick would have become if he continues on his path.
- The picture Carl wanted to get from the restaurant was seen in The Walking Dead Webisodes: Cold Storage.
- The song that played in the closing scenes of the episode is called "Lead Me Home" by Jamie N. Commons.
- The episode features key locations of Grantville, Georgia in the Coweta County:
- The Grantville's Historic Railroad Depot was transformed into a Café.
- Morgan's "Stronghold" is actually Grantville Mayor Jim Sells' Downtown Apartment.
- The Walker Stockpile Area was the City's Former Cotton Mill.
- During his Q&A at Walker Stalker Con Chicago 2014, Greg Nicotero said that he tried to pitch in an alternate version of the episode, where Woodbury appears in this episode, shows the Governor after getting slit by Andrea, his neck is all wrapped with bandages. The Governor then takes Andrea away, as a result of her failed assassination. Upon asked why he tried to pitch this version of the episode, Nicotero explains that he wanted to show the viewers what Andrea's intention is, which is keeping the Prison safe as possible from the Governor, and listens to what her friends said about what she has to do to the Governor.
- Rick, Carl, and Michonne bonding on their travel is adapted from Issue 52.
- Rick returning to his hometown and finding a mentally unstable Morgan is adapted from Issue 58.
- Rick finding the armory empty is adapted from Issue 59.
- Michonne stabbing a walker to save Carl is adapted from Issue 52.
- Rick and Michonne revealing that both see hallucinations because of their inner demons is adapted from Issue 53.
- At the beginning of the episode, when the group passes by the wreckage for the first time, Rick can be seen having a bloody wound on his chest, which he gets much later in the episode. Also, Carl has his hat on, while in the preceding and the following scenes he has it off.
- While talking about possible firearms kept in bars, Rick mentions he signed the permits for them. Georgia doesn't require any type of permit to keep a firearm on the premises of a place of business.
- When the female walker in the dress approaches the spikes to get at the caged rat, you can see the spike that impales her collapse.
- When Michonne and Carl were traveling to the back of the café, Michonne held out her sword, which has blood residue of a previous walker she killed. Then she killed the walker behind the bar, the one that grabbed Carl's leg. When she pulled it out, it only had the blood residue of this walker.
- At the end of the episode, back on their way to the prison, they again reach the pileup of wrecked cars. This time they get around it on that side of the road where the trailer lays, passing by its top. However, what we see as they are pulling back to the road, is that the trailer lays with its wheels toward them, on the other side of the road, which could be only if they were driving to the town's direction.
- When Morgan stabs Rick, pulls the knife out of his body and drops it, it isn't bloody.
- While Michonne and Rick are talking about Rick seeing things, you see a crossbow on Michonne's back. When Rick gives her the keys and Michonne throws her bag in, the crossbow is still on her back. In the next shot, the crossbow is laying in the back of the SUV as she closes the back hatch.