Season Three, Episode Twelve
After a few lackluster episodes, The Walking Dead gives us arguably one of the most memorable episodes in the past year. It’s strange to love an episode so much when it’s one that steps away from every story-line we’ve been following and branches off to a mission to retrieve weapons with Rick, Michonne, and Carl. There’s no Governor, Andrea, or anyone else from Woodbury. There’s no Glen, Merle, or anyone else from the prison. It’s just the three of them on a short road trip and it’s a great one for the show.
Apparently, the prison isn’t too far away from Rick’s hometown, which brings up some questions like why haven’t they returned sooner? Anyway, they’re in search for guns and pass by a hitchhiker on the road who screams for them to stop and help him. The group ignores him, again proving how much they’ve changed from the first season. Would Rick have stopped to help a stranded guy on the side of the road a year or so back? I think he would’ve, but a lot of things have changed since then.
Which brings us to the town. After Rick sees that the guns at his police department are all gone, they travel down a main road until they bump into what seems to be a civilian war zone with booby traps. There are plenty of graffiti messages written on walls and on the street, but Rick ignores them assuming whoever wrote them isn’t around anymore. But then they get shot at by a man with a rifle and protective gear. Carl is the one to take down the man, who we find out is Morgan! He’s knocked out but fine from the shot because of his armor.
What ends up happening is Rick brings Morgan back to where he’s been staying, a well-stocked and heavily trapped building. Rick wants to stay until he wakes up because he feels like he owes him his life. Meanwhile, Carl and Michonne go off on their own to retrieve a baby carriage for Judith, but Carl wants to get something more important first. There’s a photo of Carl, Rick, and Lori hanging in the King County Cafe and there’s nothing Carl wants more than to take it. It might not seem much, but I absolutely loved everything about this.
First off, this gave us time to finally see two minor characters interact and become characters that we can actually care about. For this season, both Carl and Michonne have been very robotic and are practically killing machines (like a lot of the gang). But the reason why we’re so invested in Rick and Daryl is because the show has spent so much time on them, leaving everyone else out. But here, Carl and Michonne are more human than we’ve ever witnessed before.
It’s good to see Carl act like a kid again, doing things for unknown reasons without much regard to his safety or what anyone else says, because he is still a kid. And even though Michonne overheard what Rick and Carl were saying about her, this meant she had more to prove than just having common enemies. So she was going to stick with Carl even though he didn’t want her around. Good thing because the King County Cafe was infested with zombies. I found it kind of odd that Carl and Michonne left Morgan’s pad without taking any extra guns and ammunition, but whatever, Michonne was still able to get the photo and in addition, a rainbow colored cat.
Meanwhile, after Morgan stabs Rick during a scuffle, they calm down and have a fantastic conversation that is really significant to the show in regards to Rick’s group and any other survivors in the world. They both were together from the beginning, but went their separate ways hoping to reconnect after/if Rick found his family. Morgan’s story is a lot harsher because he was never able to kill his wife who turned and that eventually led to the death of his son. When you lose everything in a world of shit, you go crazy and that’s exactly what Morgan has become. Rick invites him back to his camp but Morgan declines. He has found a slight thread of comfort with his routine living alone, collecting zombies, and burning them.
This also shows how fortunate Rick is to be included in the group he has, because even though Rick lost his wife, his best friend, and many others, his group is his family and they all know it. When Morgan lost his family, he lost everything. Yet it’s interesting to discuss his rant about how the weak are the ones who survive. He’s clearly speaking about himself and how he’s too weak to kill himself, but Morgan definitely makes a few points here. He said the good and the bad die and the weak survive. This is because whether you are good or bad, you will always fight for something more than just staying alive. For instance, Rick vs. the Governor. One or the other could simply move away and prevent the inevitable war, but neither are going to. So like Morgan said, they’re either going to get bit or get a bullet. It’s grim but it’s true.
One of the main themes of The Walking Dead is why stay alive? In a world that has been obliterated, why keep going on? There has to be hope, but for Morgan all of that hope is gone. For Rick, there is hope and he wants to drag his two children through the mud just to find it. For the group, they’re a family and will stick together to the very end. For the Governor, he wants to rule whatever is left of the world. If you don’t have something to fight for, there’s no point in living and that’s why Rick leaves Morgan in the end. Maybe we’ll see Morgan again later on, but I doubt it. Through losing his family he has lost himself and there is no return from that.