Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Seeing Things "Clear"ly in "The Walking Dead:" A Television Review

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Director: Tricia Bock.

Writers: Robert Kirkman, Frank Darabont, and Scott M. Gimple.

Cast: Rick Grimes, Chandler Riggs, Danai Gurira, and Lennie James.

Epis. 12, "Clear," turned out to be a rather dramatic piece. Scott M. Gimple wrote this very focused episode and Gimple will helm the upcoming Seas. 4 of "The Walking Dead." "Clear" brought back one paranoid character from Seas. 1, while Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) worked through some of his own delusions. Michonne (Danai Gurira) began her character arc and one hitchhiker found that the zombie apocalypse is truly a dog eat dog world. All of these plotlines and characters came together to create for an insightful and enjoyable time.

The show began and ended with the characters: Rick, Carl and Michonne. Each character was motivated by something. Carl was interested in locating a picture of his family, from his hometown. Rick was searching for more ammunition for the defence of the prison. And, Michonne seemed more satisfied with finding her place in the group. All of these characters had their desires temporarily thwarted by Morgan (Lennie James), who has become paranoid and delusional since Seas. 1. Morgan is in good company with Rick, but Rick eventually sees his own potential path of destruction through this minor character.

What will happen with Morgan?

And, what of the hitchhiker? This character was introduced early in the episode, screaming for help. The three major characters: Carl, Michonne and Rick simply drive by him. As well, the hitchhiker appears in one of the final scenes as a blood smear. The hitchhiker represents the dangerous nature of the zombie apocalypse and something else. This hobo reflects how disillusioned the survivors have become with their situation. The fantasy of surviving together has been replaced by mistrust and self-interest. Rick and his group are adapting to their environment by focusing only on their own immediate needs and security.

Michonne also began her character arc in this episode. It has taken several episodes for Michonne to drop her defensiveness. She overhears Rick and Carl's conversation about her place in the group: "we have common interests." And, Michonne decides to open up to Rick of her own grief. She tells Rick that she sometimes talks to her dead boyfriend. While disturbing, this conversation rings closely to Rick's own grief and loss involving Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and Shane (Jon Bernthal). Michonne also acts to protect Carl, while he searches for a photo of his deceased mother. Michonne is obviously working to find her place in Rick's group and the other characters seem accepting of her attempts.

This is another episode that focused heavily on the protagonist of the show, Rick. Rick is again leading a group into the undead wilds and he finds a character from his past, Morgan. Morgan is initially paranoid and very delusional. However, Rick helps ground this minor character back in reality. And, Morgan helps Rick, too. Morgan shows Rick a potential path that he could walk, if he continues onwards and alone with his grief. Morgan acts as a possible mirror to Rick's future actions or of his current pain. Their dialogue together was some of the strongest drama from this season and Rick's characterization continues to develop in a compelling fashion.

If this episode is an example of what is to come from Seas. 4 of "The Walking Dead," then Gimple is showing a great deal of promise in this episode, "Clear." This showing was noteworthy for its strong development of characters and for its focused nature. Seas. 3 of "The Walking Dead" continues to be a major improvement over Seas. 2 and fans of television can find a wide gamut of genres in each episode: drama, horror, thriller and family elements. All of these genres create for some excellent and exciting television watching.

Overall: 8.25 out of 10 (great writing, solid action, interesting sets, believable character arcs).

More story details on this episode is available at the AMC:

The Walking Dead at the AMC

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