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The Walking Dead Episode 3.12 'Clear' Review

Rick, Michonne and Carl go on a run and the result is one of the best episodes since the very first one.

Spoilers below!

Isn't the show so much better without Andrea?! Seriously, though, this was without question one of the most powerful episodes we've seen since 'Days Gone Bye.' We get the long overdue return of Morgan (Lennie James) and this chapter provides a terrific insight into how this horrible world has impacted everyone.

This episode focuses solely on a trio from the main group: Rick, Michonne and Carl. The three go on a supply run and we never get a look back at the prison or Woodbury. Seeing as the writing is so sharp and the performances are so solid, not once did I care about what was going on elsewhere. While on the run they bump into Morgan -- the man we haven't seen since the beginning of the first season. Suffering tragedy after tragedy, this horrific world has driven him mad and you absolutely cannot blame him. Lennie gives a brilliant performance and delivers one of the most emotionally wrenching moments since his sniping conflict back in the very first episode. His delivery while telling the story about his son and his "wife" tore me up inside. That's what this show is all about. Sure, I love seeing Michonne slice and dice, but at the end of the day, this is about the survivors and how they're coping... and this episode goes above and beyond in that regard.

But he's not the only one who's undergone drastic changes from the zombie apocalypse. On their way to the town, the group drives past a survivor. The man desperately screams for their help, but Rick and Michonne don't even debate the decision for a second... it's clear: they're not helping that man. A season ago, Rick would have done everything possible to help this stranded fellow. Now? It doesn't even faze him. He has enough problems on his plate and has encountered too many people who just aren't worth the trouble. He fights to keep humans alive, but through the months it has clearly cost him a good chunk of his humanity as well.

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Holy dialogue, Michonne! For once we get more from Michonne than cold stares and a few lines! She finally lets her guard down as she teams-up with Carl and, as someone who's often annoyed by her, it really won me over. How she grabbed that photo so quickly made me scratch my head, but whatever, the logic behind that doesn't matter when weighed next to how strong of a moment it was for her. Not only did she risk her safety to help someone else, she also showed a bit of her own personality by taking a piece of decoration for herself... one that you'd probably never guess she'd like. Additionally, she has a nice heart-to-heart with Rick at the end and finally made me feel some empathy for her.

There's a moment where their car is stuck in the mud and a swarm of zombies began to bash on the widows. Such a sight would likely make me wet my pants, but they don't even show the slightest bit of fear. In fact, they were calm and collected. I love how they've grown callous to this hostile environment over the past months. Not even Carl showed the slightest bit of fear.

Speaking of Carl, how touching was his side mission? He's become pretty cold, and you can't blame him at all after what he's been through. Risking everything for a picture of his mom made perfect sense. His main memory of her must be him pulling the trigger as she turned. Desperately trying to get a happy memory of what their family life was once like was a nice reminder of his age and how much this scenario has really taken a toll on him.

We all knew there wasn't going to be a happy ending for that lone survivor. Deep down we knew that the final scene would show him as a walker or screaming for help as they zoomed past him yet again. However, the show took a darker turn and it was the perfect way to end this episode. Seeing this man ripped apart -- a man they could have saved -- was tough, but then they stop and pick up his supplies like it's nothing. Wow, talk about one helluva way to conclude this character driven and emotionally powerful episode. Well played, The Walking Dead.

Gregg Katzman is a freelance writer for Comic Vine and IGN Entertainment. This is the part where he shamelessly plugs his Twitter page in hopes of getting a new follower or two.