Each week I review the latest episode of AMC’s television series, The Walking Dead, and pick three scenes or characters and breakdown the differences or similarities the show might’ve had with the comic book series. For those that are privy to the comic book and the show, this is for you. Unfortunately, if you have not seen the episode or read the comic, this will spoil everything! You’ve been warned!
Season 3 – Episode 12 – “Clear”
This week’s episode decided to put The Governor conflict as Michonne, Rick, and Carl venture back to Rick’s old police station in an attempt to gather more weaponry to fight the Woodbury attack that is looming. We are finally reunited with the man who practically saved Rick’s life back in Season 1 – Episode 1, Morgan as well as a little bonding between the three of them. Unfortunately, we also learned that being a hitchhiker in the zombie apocalypse is a terrible fate –but at least your supplies and backpack will still be put to good use! Let’s see how this episode compared to the comic book series.
So in this week’s episode, we get to detach ourselves a bit from the overbearing “Woodbury vs. The Prison” tension that’s been mounting and we finally get some quality time with Michonne, Rick, and Carl. The trio embark on a reconnaissance mission to try to acquire more ammunition in order to be better prepared for the inevitable and foreboding confrontation with The Governor and his small Woodbury army.
While Carl harbor’s an obvious dislike for Michonne from the introduction of the episode. Rick explains to his son Carl that he has reasons for bringing Michonne along. One of the reasons being that he can’t leave her there with Merle because the likelihood of one of them killing each other in Rick’s absence is too great. The other reason is that it would be just a great opportunity to keep an eye on her and see what she’s all about, at least while everyone is on the same side and while they still both share similar interests. One of those interests is survival and the other interest is to kill the ruler of Woodbury, King Phillip. I’m sorry, I meant to say The Governor (I’ll save the King Philip’s War comparisons for another day.)
One of the great things about this episode for fans of the comics, is that we get to see a similar situation in the comics pan out on television. In the comic book version of The Walking Dead, our characters Michonne, Rick, and Carl end up finding each other after getting separated at the end of the bloodbath during The Prison-Woodbury battle. It’s during these moments in the comic books, where the reader begins to warm up to Michonne and her softer side and the television series seems to capture that same sort of spirit in this episode.
In the television episode, Carl initially pays Michonne no mind and seriously wonders why she’s even traveling with them. But after Michonne plays babysitter to Carl and helps him acquire the picture in the bar for his little sister Judith, the two easily connect and Michonne has a new a best friend (Sorry Andrea!)
By befriending Carl and successfully looking after him, Michonne has now earned credibility and trust with Rick by the end of the episode. This is a complete difference from Rick’s staggering disdain and declaration that Michonne leave the group in previous episodes. Here’s to hoping we see this friendship continue to blossom because we’ve seen just how successful it can be in the comic book series.
In addition to seeing Michonne’s softer side in this episode, we also get to see just how far Carl’s maturation has come as well. We’ve seen him assertively take care of zombified Shane during the finale of Season Two. For this season, we’ve also seen him successfully help clear out zombies in certain sectors of the prison by himself. We’ve also (sort of) seen him put down his own mother after she died giving birth to his little sister. And even after all of those traumatizing experiences, we don’t really get an inclination that he might be losing his mind, like his father. In fact, Carl’s even told his father that he should take a break from being the leader if he can’t handle all the pressure.
Frankly, it was nice to see the spotlight shine on Carl a little bit in this episode. We start to get a sense of where his head is at and just how far he’s come along. In the comic series, we get an exposition of Carl’s growth and maturation as he has to nurse Rick while he tries to endure sickness. When we juxtapose those scenes in the comic books with those in the television series, we can certainly see some similarities.
One of those is that Rick still treats his son as a precious kid. When they venture back into their hometown and have to defend themselves from a mysterious assailant, Rick tells Carl to go hide. Fortunately for Rick, his son did not heed his direction and swiftly shoots their attacker and subdues him handedly.
In the comics, we see that Carl isn’t just an innocent kid anymore and proves he’s a capable person as he takes care of his father while he’s ill.
In the television episode, Carl is also not afraid to be out on his own anymore. He deliberately tries to ditch Michonne in order to accomplish his mission. In a world, where life and death can literally be waiting around the corner, Carl shows no fear about it whatsoever and ends up proving his self-sufficiency to Michonne by the end of the episode.
In the comics, Carl shows his own self-reliance by gathering supplies and necessities for his incapacitated and ailing father and cements his self as the youngest bad ass of The Walking Dead.
“Morgan” What You Bargained For
Of course I couldn’t leave this week without talking about our good, old friend Morgan. In this episode, we see the return of Rick’s savior from the very beginning of the show. Morgan was our liaison to the zombie apocalypse and the sort of horrifying things it has done to shatter our previous moral perceptions of life. From having to steal goods from neighbors to showing you how to properly kill zombies, Morgan and his son Duane were our guides to this new world. He even showed how emotionally painful it can be to try and kill a loved one that’s turned, and the price you could pay for leaving them alive as well.
For this episode, I was delighted for his return and interested to see just how congruent with the comic book series it would be. While, the television series had given Morgan some sort of anti-zombie fortress, laced with booby traps and such, much of this version of the character remained true to the Morgan of the comics. Inevitably, both have lost their son Duane and both have lost their minds.
Although in both mediums, Morgan has lost his son. The way each character loses their son is different. In the television series, Morgan recounts the moment where he failed to shoot his zombified wife. By not eliminating her, the wife eventually found a way inside and had attacked their son. Morgan then had to kill both of them.
Absent the entire zombified wife storyline, Morgan had explained a similar situation in the comics but the difference was that he was unable to kill his son once he had turned. He couldn’t bare the loss of his son as a father, and kept Duane around just like The Governor had done with his daughter.
In The Walking Dead comic series, Morgan is a battered and broken shell of a man that sheepishly goes to follow Rick and join the rest of his group of survivors. Both still remain to be incredibly lonely individuals. In the show, Morgan admits that he’s weak, but believes his new purpose is to clear the neighborhood of zombies and wait for the apocalypse to end and does not join Rick’s group.
Just like almost everyone in The Walking Dead, Morgan eventually meets his end in the comics and the television series opts to leave him as an open-ended, wild card. Where his storyline eventually goes, we’ll just have to wait to find out.
Thanks for tuning in this week, come back next week as we uncover the face to face meeting of Rick Grimes and The Governor!
Comment below or let me know what you decipher from all the crazy stuff written on Morgan’s walls by following me on Twitter @roderickruth