Clear (The Walking Dead)

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The Walking Dead episode
Morgan Jones (TV series).jpg
Rick Grimes gets reacquainted with Morgan Jones.
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 12
Directed by Tricia Brock
Written by Scott M. Gimple
Featured music "Lead Me Home" by Jamie N Commons
Original air date March 3, 2013 (2013-03-03)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"I Ain't a Judas"
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"Arrow on the Doorpost"
The Walking Dead (season 3)
List of The Walking Dead episodes

"Clear" is the twelfth episode of the third season of the post-apocalyptic horror television series The Walking Dead, which originally aired on AMC in the United States on March 3, 2013. The episode was written by Scott M. Gimple and directed by Tricia Brock. In this episode, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) go on a supply run to Rick's hometown, initially to his old police station, for more weapons for the upcoming battle against The Governor (David Morrissey). This episode marks the return of Morgan Jones (Lennie James), who was last seen in the series pilot episode, "Days Gone Bye".


Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), his son Carl (Chandler Riggs), and Michonne (Danai Gurira) go on a scouting run to retrieve weapons in preparation for an impending attack by The Governor. Along the way, the group pass a lone hitchhiker (Russ Comegys) and ignore his pleas to stop.

Carl expresses to his father his reservations about Michonne. They return to Rick and Carl's hometown and enter the police station where Rick previously worked but find the weapons locker is empty. The group then plans to retrieve guns from local establishments whose gun permits Rick signed, but they discover the entire community has been booby-trapped. A walker becomes entangled in one of the traps near where the group is walking, and a masked man on a rooftop shoots it. He then orders the three to drop their weapons and shoes and leave. The group initiates a gunfight. Carl shoots the man, though the bullet doesn't penetrate the man's ballistic vest. The unconscious man is revealed to be Morgan Jones (Lennie James), who helped Rick recover from his coma.

The three carry Morgan into his apartment, where they discover a massive armoury of weapons and ammunition. They also discover a map that details the layout and status of the community, which indicates Rick's former house has been "burned out".

Michonne and Carl begin packing up the weapons, but Rick refuses to leave until Morgan awakens. Carl decides to retrieve a crib for his baby sister, Judith. Rick allows him to go under the condition that Michonne accompanies him; Carl reluctantly agrees.

When Morgan wakes up, he attacks Rick and tries to kill him, ultimately stabbing his shoulder. Rick restrains him and tries to help Morgan recall who he is and what Morgan did for him. Morgan explains that he attempted to contact Rick on the walkie-talkie, but Rick was never there. Rick explains he also tried to contact Morgan every morning, but eventually had no choice but to move his group increasingly far from Morgan's location, thus moving out of range.

Rick realizes Morgan has become nihilistic and insane after witnessing his son, Duane, get bitten and killed by Morgan's undead wife, whom he was unable to kill until she bit Duane, and that he has been clearing out nearby buildings to give himself a purpose.

Rick urges Morgan to join them at the prison. Morgan declines, stating his understanding that Rick needs more guns because the prison is unsafe, and Morgan does not want to watch everyone die. He warns that Rick will be killed "by teeth or bullets", and eventually allows Rick's group to gather some of his weapons and ammunition and leave.

Meanwhile, Carl tries to elude Michonne, who notices that he has bypassed the baby store where the crib is located. Carl instead travels to a café to retrieve a family picture of him and his parents, which he plans to give to Judith so she will know what her mother looks like. The café is filled with walkers, and Carl devises a method to distract them. Nonetheless, a walker grabs Carl, and Michonne saves him. On their way out, Carl and Michonne are surrounded by walkers, forcing Carl to drop the photo and cooperate with Michonne in order to escape.

Michonne reenters the café and retrieves the photo for Carl and another gift for Judith (a papier-mâché cat sculpture), proving her worth to him. The two collect their intended items, a crib for Judith and other baby supplies, and return to Morgan's apartment. Carl apologizes to Morgan for shooting him, and Morgan tells Carl to never be sorry.

Rick privately asks Carl how things fared with Michonne. Carl replies, "She might be one of us".

Michonne approaches Rick and tells him she saw him talking to dead people. She reassures him by confiding she used to talk to her deceased boyfriend.

As the three drive back to the prison, they see where Morgan has burned piles of vanquished walkers. They eventually come across the torn-apart corpse of the hitchhiker, pull over to pick up his backpack, and then continue on.


"Clear" was directed by Tricia Brock, marking her first directing credit for the series. It was written by supervising producer Scott M. Gimple, marking his fifth writing credit for the series after joining the writing staff in season two. Gimple's appointment to succeed Glen Mazzara as showrunner for season four was announced in February 2013.[1]

"Clear" fits at least part of the definition of a "bottle episode", that is an episode with few regular cast members that takes place in a small number of locations.[2]

Title reference[edit]

In an interview with Inside TV, Robert Kirkman defines the episode's title:[3]

Clark Collis: Morgan talked about “clearing” a couple of times — and episode was titled "Clear." What does that mean?
Robert Kirkman: It means a lot of things. To a certain extent it’s the ravings of a lunatic but it’s also about him trying to clear out his life and clear out any entanglements around him. He’s living by himself so he’s trying to have a clear head. It’s basically about him getting rid of his wife and getting rid of his son and the only way for him to survive is to clear the area around him.


Critical response[edit]

Lennie James' performance in the episode was highly praised by critics.

"Clear" was lauded by television critics, with many claiming it to be one of the best episodes of the series. Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club called it "the best episode of season three so far and possibly the best since the pilot" and later went on to say, "the hour has focus, and focus is a wonderful, wonderful thing." Handlen gave the episode an "A" grade.[4] Eric Goldman of IGN also lauded the episode, calling it "a focused, highly emotional episode"; "took Rick, Carl and Michonne back to the beginning - and into one of the best episodes yet." Goldman also applauded the character development of Michonne, saying, "It was a big relief to see Michonne come off so much better this week than she has since her introduction". Goldman gave the episode a score of 9.6 out of 10.[5] Eric Kain of Forbes said, "Sunday night's episode brought all the show's magic back—and what tense, creepy magic it is."[6]


The original broadcast, on March 3, 2013, was watched by an estimated 11.296 million viewers, an increase in viewership from the previous two episodes.[7]


  1. ^ Rice, Lynette (February 27, 2013). "'The Walking Dead' names new showrunner". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  2. ^ VanDerWerff, Todd (March 4, 2013). "'The Walking Dead' recap: Going home". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  3. ^ Clark Collis (March 3, 2013). "Inside TV: 'Walking Dead' exec producer Robert Kirkman talks about tonight's show and the long-awaited return of Morgan". 
  4. ^ Handlen, Zack (March 3, 2013). "Clear". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  5. ^ Goldman, Eric (March 3, 2013). "The Walking Dead: "Clear" Review". IGN. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  6. ^ Kain, Eric (March 4, 2013). "'The Walking Dead' Season 3 Episode 12 Review: 'Clear' Brings Out The Best In AMC's Zombie Drama". Forbes. Retrieved March 4, 2013. 
  7. ^ Bibel, Sara (March 5, 2013). "Sunday Cable Ratings: 'The Walking Dead' Wins Night, 'The Bible, 'Vikings', 'Shameless', 'Real Housewives of Atlanta', 'Pawn Stars' & More". TV by the Numbers. Retrieved March 5, 2013. 

External links[edit]