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04 March, 2013

REVIEW: The Walking Dead: Season 3 - Episode 12 "Clear"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.

This week's episode picks-up with the supply run Rick announced he was going on in the final moments of Episode 11 and would be taking Michonne and young Carl with him.  Carl doesn't understand why Rick seems to be trusting Michonne, but Rick explains that he didn't feel comfortable leaving her at the prison with Merle there if he himself wasn't going to be around to keep the peace.  Also, he is trying to teach him the wisdom of uniting with those who share a common purpose, even when they're not fully trusted.  We are also introduced to the group's unwillingness to further trust any more outsiders through the visage of a loan survivor, decked-out with a lot of camping gear but utterly alone, who tries frantically to flag them down for help only to be left without a second thought.

These people have clearly become the walking dead themselves, turned uncaring by the necessities and harsh truths of a cruel world where every kindness promises a chance at being betrayed in return.

It turns out that the purpose of the excursion was to return to the very police station where Rick and Shane had been deputies together before the fall in order to forage for weapons.  It seems that the threat represented by the Governor has Rick feeling a bit outgunned, and the uniting goal shared by he and Michonne is a hatred of the Governor.  Unfortunately, the station has long ago been ransacked and the gun locker cleaned out before they arrive.

Unbeknownst to them, however, the town has been claimed by someone else.  They wander into an altercation with a sentry atop a building with a commanding view of the main street and armed with a semi-automatic rifle.  I won't give away the spoiler here, other than to say the sentry turns out to be a familiar face to whom Rick owes a debt of honor and who has the whole town booby-trapped against intruders.

What follows is a teaching point for each of us in the Prepper / Survivalist community to glean with regards to the dangers of complete isolation.  Humans are inherently social beings and there isn't much that most of us can't overcome, given time and the support of friends.  When we are alone, however, and tragedy strikes, then dealing with hardship and coming through to the other side is all the more difficult a proposition.  Survival necessarily brings with it hard times, but such troubles are best surmounted with the support of a group, even if it is a small group.  Surviving alone is a much more difficult proposition and is, therefore, not advisable if it can be avoided.

The trick is to either form a group or attach yourself as a member of an existing one that is small enough to be somewhat mobile -- if the need should arise -- and to only include those that can be trusted; but that is also of a sufficient size to be able to provide mutual support and defense, stand guard-duty, etc.  In order to both make yourself attractive as a recruit for such groups and to strengthen any group of which you eventually end-up as a member (thereby increasing the chances of yourself and the others surviving for longer), now is the time to build your skill-set.  You may fancy yourself a crack shot with a squirrel gun, but hunters (while that is a useful skill) will be a dime a dozen, depending on your region. You need to be using the time we have now to build a deeper skill-set:

If you are former/current military or law enforcement, keep your tactical skills honed; if not, attain those skills through private training at your own expense;

Learn outdoor skills; know how to build a fire and a shelter, if need be, without modern conveniences;

Learn old world skills, such as gardening, canning, making jerky, etc.;

Amass certain gear and study tools that are widely-available now, but will act as force-multipliers for you in any type of collapse scenario, such as hand-crank lighting, weapons and ammunition, First Aid supplies, etc.;

Install a wood-burning stove in your home if you live in a region with harsh Winters, so that you don't freeze in the first year without your electric furnace.

By no means is the above meant to be an all-inclusive list, but, rather, a general guideline to get you thinking in the correct frame-of-mind.

This overall theme of this week's episode was the need for a community, as I described above; but it also gave Rick a sobering glimpse of the road he's headed-down if he doesn't shake-away the cobwebs that have been muddled his mind of late and stop isolating himself.  Overall, this was probably one of the best episodes of this show in its entire run so far, and the acting on display was unbelievable.  In fact, there were moments that were almost heartbreaking.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:


  1. The trip to Rick’s hometown ended up being more therapeutic than anyone could have guessed in terms of his mental stability. He really seems to have been on the down slope is recent weeks, enough for Carl to prompt him to step down as leader the week before. Based on the previews for Sunday’s episode that I watched it looks like Rick won’t be given much choice as the inevitable confrontation between him and the Governor finally comes to light. Perhaps this is what Rick needs to finally snap him out of his isolation and delusions.

    1. Very good comments above and I agree completely. This was probably one of the two best episodes ever, maybe the best. Everything, from the superb (and heartbreaking) acting to the music that set the tone, was thematically perfect. It was actually beautiful, and, if Lenny James isn't nominated for an Emmy Award, then there's simply no justice in the world.


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