The Walking Dead "Clear" Review: Lessons in Crazy

The Walking Dead S03E12: "Clear"

Note: I wrote this review based on a press screener, so no GIFs for now. I'll try to add some within a day or two, but until then I'm stuck with AMC's production stills for art.

Hello boys and ghouls! I'm surprised you're back, given the fact that I was the only person on the earth who enjoyed last week's to-the-prison-and-back Andrea trek. I still defend my stance that Andrea rejoining the group but finding them nearly unrecognizable means a lot to the show and its themes of adaptation and survival, and that "I Ain't a Judas" was the best use of Andrea all season long (which shouldn't necessarily be celebrated, because she's been awful). Personally, I'd rather watch that version of The Walking Dead over The Governor suddenly showing up and taking potshots at the prison almost any day. But hey, what do I know?

Hopefully we can all agree (oh God, I hope we agree for the sake of our friendship) that tonight's episode, "Clear," breached new dramatic territory for The Walking Dead Season 3, and I'll put myself out there by saying it was the best of the season so far. No, it wasn't action-slammed and it didn't feature a river of zombie brains and intestinal tracts. But it was one of the most thought-provoking, enlightening, and well-written episodes of the series. That is to say, "Clear" felt deserving of one of television's grandest compliments: It felt like "a cable-quality drama."

Some of the improvements were obvious: no Woodbury, no Woodburyites, no prison, no Judith (stupid baby), no Lori, no Lori the unfriendly ghost, no "let me tell you sumptin'," no arguing about Rick being the leader, no arguing about Merle, no arguing about trusting strangers, not much arguing at all in fact, no Carol rubbing up on the nearest man, no spontaneous Beth songs, no frumpy Michonne moping in the background, and none of Andrea's hands-on-the-hips head-bobbing. Instead, the focus of "Clear" was sharper than Michonne's katana because the episode isolated its story. And it was just the kick in the pants the season needed.

You can thank Scott Gimple, who wrote "Clear," for that, and I hope his eye for telling interesting stories within an episode continues when he takes over as showrunner for Season 4. If Glen Mazzara added the right amount of blood and action to The Walking Dead, then maybe Gimple will finally bring some badly needed characterization. Looking back, it makes you wonder what Frank Darabont brought to the show except for his loyal stable of actors like Laurie Holden and Jeffrey DeMunn.

"Clear" was essentially a side-trip episode as Rick, Michonne, and Carl ventured out in a search for guns and ammo and gun magazines and maybe Guns & Ammo the gun magazine to prepare for the big battle with The Governor. You can still question Rick's timing (what if The Governor came back when he was gone?) and his choice in companions (Rick saying Carl was "ready" wasn't a satisfying reason for bringing his son on a dangerous mission, what if they'd gotten eaten and Judith grew up dad-less AND brother-less?), but the drama and character interactions worked so well, I was just happy to see The Walking Dead add substance and continue its improved characterization from last week. Heck, Michonne cracked a JOKE! ("The mat said 'Welcome,'" when Rick asked why she was eating Morgan's food.) MICHONNE! Queen Sourpuss of the New World! Time to start an open-mic night, maybe she can slice watermelons in half like a post-apocalyptic Gallagher. 

Though to be fair, this episode couldn't help but be good since it was the re-introduction of Morgan (Lennie James), a character we've been waiting to run into again since the second episode of Season 1. Last week I talked about the show's theme of change, and how the amount of personal evolution for each character has been distorted through perspective. Perceived personal change varies depending on the amount of time that's passed since certain characters last saw each other. I loved putting myself in Andrea's pants and seeing The Group 2.0 through her eyes. Rick and friends, once so focused on getting back to normal with the good life on the farm, are now a lot of secession-happy survivalists who could barely bring themselves to trust their old blonde friend. Tyreese, in contrast, saw Rick for who he was at that moment, a crazy mofo. One was sympathetic, "You've changed," the other was scared, "That white boy is bat shit crazeeee!" It took a bit of empathy to appreciate what Andrea went through, because the change among the prison group was something we'd witnessed through the show, and so to many viewers it was no big deal. I loved it, but maybe that's because I'm a sensitive softy and I think the differences were proven well through practice.

In "Clear," witnessing stark evolution/devolution brought on by a world in which the dead stalk the living was unavoidable because we were all on the same page with Morgan. We hadn't seen him since the series premiere, "Days Gone Bye," and back then he was a strong man showing cracks and mourning the recent loss of his wife, but he still had something to fight for in his son Duane. In "Clear," he was a bowl of Cocoa Puffs. Since Rick last saw him, things had been really stinky for Morgan—to the point where he shacked up in a top-story storage room, built a Wipeout-style zombie obstacle course, raided the town for all the Sidewalk Chalk it had left (and wrote jibberish all over the walls with it), and most importantly, stockpiled enough guns to make Charlton Heston die from boneritis. 

Seeing his old buddy in such a state was bad times for Rick Grimes, but it was also an eye-opener. As Morgan told Rick about how he'd failed by not being able to go through with killing his zombie wife Jenny—who would eventually eat his little boy Duane because Duane couldn't do it either (ugh, the heartbreak)—Rick saw a potential future for himself in Morgan. Becoming Morgan was a worst-case scenario. And when Rick was telling Morgan, "You have to be able to come back from this," he was also delivering that advice to himself. Lori's gone, but Rick still has Carl, and the madness has to stop. At the end of the episode, when Rick was staring off into the distance and Michonne told him that she knows he sees "things," the "thing" Rick was staring at could've easily been Lori waving goodbye because Rick rocketed back into reality after seeing Morgan as a suicidal, going-through-the-motions hermit. I was never a fan of Rick going bonkers and talking to dead phones and dead wives, but if Rick truly has shaken off the crazies because of this encounter with Morgan (and I think he has), this was a fantastic way to do it.

And let's all throw our thongs on the stage toward Lennie James, who delivered an outstanding performance as a distressed Morgan, broken from grief. He was absolutely excellent. I don't know if we've seen the last of Morgan, but at least Rick knows where to find him. And there's still a crapload of guns there. Put that in your pocket for Season 4, Gimple. I don't think any of us would complain if Morgan spent more time with us.

The Michonne-Carl shopping trip to Cribs-R-Us was also a maturation for The Walking Dead, most notably because it set out to fix a pair of characters that have been problematic. It started off by establishing Carl's distrust of Michonne at the beginning when Michonne drove their shiny, self-cleaning 2011 Hyundai Tuscon Limited Edition (just $18,895 MSRP for the base model!) into a mud trap. Then Carl went off on what seemed like another one of his stupid self-worth-proving "I'm a big boy" solo trips, ditching Michonne as she made a zombie kebab. It felt like trouble in that moment as we all groaned "Here we go again!" and screamed, "Stay in the damn farmhouse, Carl!" out of habit.

But Carl bit back at Michonne's attempts to overparent with such conviction that we realized he wasn't just on a quest to annoy the internet with boneheaded decisions. No, he wanted to get a picture from the town cafe, a picture of Rick, Lori, and himself. "I just thought Judith should know what her mom looked like," he said, making me feel like a total asshole for ever doubting his purpose. It hit Michonne hard, too, and in that moment it was obvious that getting that photo—essentially preserving the Grimes family for the future and holding onto humanity in this world full of shit—was worth stepping into a zombie feeding trough. Michonne ninja'd her way into the restaurant, came out with the photo (and a sweet cat sculpture), and we saw a badly needed new side to her. After the mutual display of respect and compassion between the two, they skipped back hand-in-hand to Rick, and Carl declared, "I think she might be one of us." And like that, Michonne and Carl grew leaps and bounds.

In an hour, "Clear" managed to fix three broken characters that were in bad need of fixin', both from the audience's viewpoint and from a personal standpoint. Maybe a day trip to grab some supplies is just what the other characters need as well.



NOTES

– We need to talk about that hitchhiker. It was so difficult to see Rick completely ignore a person in need, but apparently everyone else was also on board. Carl and Michonne hardly flinched when the hitcher screamed after them; instead, they rushed to get back in the car and peel out. On the way back they saw pieces of the guy strewn about the highway, and snatched his knapsack. The look in Rick's eye was hard to decipher, but was there a pang of guilt in there? Did he regret not giving the guy a ride? What are your theories on the hitchhiker?

– I was so happy to be away from the prison and Woodbury for an episode. This was kind of like the episode "18 Miles Out" when Shane and Rick drove away from the farm and had it out. Such changes of pace are great for the series because they break up the monotony of sedentary life and they always seem to bring out new character development.

– I dig the rats-on-skateboards trick.

– When Michonne got the car stuck in the mud, how did that crazy zombie ambush happen? How are zombies still popping up out of nowhere in this show?

– Did Michonne kill Jenny, Morgan's wife? One of the zombies looked an awful lot like her.

   


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom
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I thought it was a terrific episode. Lennie James was awesome - but he'll always be "Sol" from "Snatch" for me. And Morgan killed his own wife finally but "finally was too late".
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They haven't 'fixed' all the characters. Michonne, somehow managed to have a three dimensional personality this episode, but Carl was still stupid and groan-worthy. Everybody knew where he was going (to get something that reminded him of his mother). But he made such boneheaded decisions (like trying to go into the diner full of zombies alone) that its difficult to empathize with him. Rick may or may not have got the hallucinations out of his head, but Morgan was plain crazy and his acting was annoying.

I may be crazy (you have to be if you're still watching this show), but Walking Dead was leaps and bounds better when psycho Shane was still around.
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Wow. I think this season the surviving humans have shot at each other more than the zombies!

I know that throughout TWD the horror has come more from how the survivors treat each other and the difficult decisions they have to make. I know that, even if they'd wanted to, picking up the hitchhiker would've been a bad idea (at best he would've slowed them down, at worst he could've turned out to be hostile) But it was hard to watch. Not because u know the poor guy is a goner, not even because it highlighted the harsh realities of their world. But the lack of feeling. They didn't give it a second thought, they didn't wrestle with their conscience. Not even Carl. But I think the worst part though was when they went back for his rucksack. That was some cold shit!

Another shocking moment came from Michonne. She actually SMILED. Twice!

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To answer the thing about the zombie ambush. Remember how Michone nonchalantly reved the wheels? At first I thought she was screwing her companions over for a sec so she could be like "look, I ain't moving this car until we can clear the air." Seemed like something she would do.

Anyway, obviously that was not the case, but anyway, my point was, even though clearly it was an accident, I think the squeal of the tires attracted them (quicker than it probably should have, but we only got an hour after all and it's good they didn't draw that being trapped stuff out).

Furthermore, as was noted, there was that burnt car, with some dead people in it (probably attracting the zombies like the rats in the cages), as well as the likelihood that they were part of that convoy (if anyone noticed, there was a sign that was telling a "Lisa" where her friends/family were headed, only for there to be a zombie with a "Lisa" wristband attacking their car up the road, nice touch), so, based on how at least some of the zombies behave (which I agree at times feels not always consistent, even though in this world there seems to be different zombie mentalities in a sensible shadow brain activity kind of way), I would say they just have been bumming around there for those several reasons, and again, swarmed on the loud tire noise.
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Also, I know it was something Shane said, like once, (maybe twice?) but where did this ""let me tell you sumptin',"" come from?
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I think your various complaints about the past few episodes have largely been unfounded, but I do agree the last episode was good....kind of surprised at the fact that the other people who disagree with you don't in turn agree with me :P .
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"maybe she can slice watermelons in half like a post-apocalyptic Gallagher. "

So the only thought that sprung to mind when you reference the only Black character in the group was WATERMELON?

Idiot.
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I'm going to run on the assumption that you don't know who Gallager is/was. Gallagher's a prop comedian & famous for decimating watermelons in his act & the host was simply joking about how cool it would be to see Mich decimate 'em with swords. Don't jump to conclusions & look for racism where it doesn't exist.
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Are you kidding me? I'm probably older than you and of course, I know who Gallager is.
But there are an endless number of pop cultural references to slicing and slashing with a sword the writer could have made; Rashomon, Zatoichi, Excaliber, Lion-O of Thundercats, Stormshadow from G.I. Joe, the Highlander, Beatrix Kiddo from Kill Bill - ANY of those or any one of a kazillion more swordsman analogies would have done just fine.

But INSTEAD, they transformed a sword into a hammer that smashed WATERMELON.

And then later on, when referring to the only other Black character in the episode, they referenced Cocoa Puffs, which are, of course, chocolate. I let that one slide by, as if course the koo-koo part was the emphasis, but it's just more than coincidental that for the ONLY Black characters, the references are watermelon and chocolate.

It's one thing to see racism "everywhere", which I don't. But it's another not to see it unless you're watching Django Unchained....
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I am fortunate enough to know who Gallagher is, and even I still was a little bit like "hrm...ok that seemed vaguely racist." Clearly this would not be lost on anyone, Gallagher knowledge or no.

Also for that very same reason why "Black Gallagher" (From the Chapelle show) also popped into me head, if ever so briefly :P .
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Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar & sometimes a watermelon is just a watermelon. The racism simply isn't there, given the context.
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heh! like I said, whatever makes you happy. The debate is yours...so I won't bother to overanalize anything into the "stench-ridden monkey room of a zoo" crack. Cheers Tiger. Don't drive angry.
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You make a slew of assumptions and assertions absent evidence.

Observant does not equal hypersensitive. But one need not be a raw nerved reactionary to simply see the obvious bizarreness of invoking the metaphor of watermelon smashing when referring to what is essentially a female Afro Samurai.

If the author were referencing Thor and inexplicably used a sword slicing analogy, that alone would make you scratch your head.

But to take a sword wielding Black female and invoke watermelon smashing is such an incongruent blend of unfortunate mixed metaphors that one can't hep but wonder if it was a Freudian slip on the part of the author.

Unintentional racism is just that - unintentional...

But, to wit - living in Texas, where racism is so pervasive and de riguer, I'm sure, like being in the stench-ridden monkey room of a zoo, after a while you can't even smell it anymore.

So it surprises no one that you don't notice the more subtle variety of racism - or even in this case, the not so subtle. Given I'm not the only one who noticed it, I'd say your own perceptions might be in need of some review...
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This is also plain ol wisdom: Walking on eggshells and automatically assuming racism at the simple mention of watermelon is a bit racist in and of itself. I'm in my early 40's, I live in Texas & I have a large extended family in the Deep South, so I've seen racism all over the place my entire life. Where you & I seem to differ is that while watching the episode, I primarily saw a man, a boy and a woman, whereas with all due respect, you seemed to primarily see a white man, a white boy & a black woman, owing to your hyper-sensitivity to the old watermelon stereotype by taking Tim's line out of context.

I get where you're coming from. I really do, but personally, I couldn't be happy living my life on a racially charged hair trigger like that...so I just don't

...If it works for you though, I'm cool with that. The debate is yours. Peace
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I disagree. I think it was subconscious, unintentional and without malice. Yet it was STILL THERE. And showing a bit more sensitivity about invoking racist tropes, even without racist intention, is just plain old wisdom.

Your confusing absence of malice with absence of impact.

You can still do something even though you didn't MEAN to - like step on someone's toes...
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This week's episode was priceless. Just 3 main characters and one side, Morgan, was tight, intense and relevant to pack a powerful episode. Goes to show u dun need too many unnecessary plots, just one focussed great one. I have to say I enjoyed this episode more than 85% of the 3 Season's episodes. And I CLEARLY (pun intended) love Carl & Michonne to death. Great episode, writers, seriously great! And I agree with Morgan, he is safer than following them back. Look at all the carnage of fighting in next week's trailer. What was Rick thinking asking someone in his very well designed sanctuary to go somewhere else to be unsafe? Zombie Rick as usual.
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I couldn't believe it when Rick&Co. just ditched that poor bastard not once but TWICE. I really hoped that would come back to bite them in the ass but alas twas only the hitchhiker who suffered from their selfishness.
I miss old Rick. As idealistic as he was at least he knew that since the world was in the shitter it was now even more important to hold on to a sense of decent humanity but obviously common decency has fallen by the wayside. Disappointing.
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My opinion is that Rick and the gang were on a mission, and outcome of it (finding guns&ammo) was more important than the hitchhiker, since the mission was about the survival of the whole group, task which could be compromised by bringing an unknown person, that does not understand the position and motivation they found themselves into (evolved to be threatened by the living people from woodbury more than the walking dead all around them).
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That's kind of my point in a way; the fact that in season one Rick would have definitely stopped for the hitchhiker. I understand they're trying to illustrate a world were its kill or be killed. But what is the point of survival when you lack humanity? You might as well be a zombie if you're not going to stop for your fellow man.
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Its not hard to explain the hitchhiker. Maybe he was living in a bunker (Like Tyrese) or a Woodbury type place that was recently overrun. Either way he probably wouldn't have the know how to survive long, hence the walking around yelling at cars with his pots and pans clanging around. Probably why he didn't survive very long.
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Anybody noticed the irony and tragedy in "Erin, we tried for stone mountain, J" road sign and the bracelet with name "Erin" female zombie was wearing when zombie group bumped at their stuck car ? Interesting detail and possible backstory...
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Irony? No. Tragedy? Most definitely.
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Although I can understand the hitchhiker-thing (Rick&co did the smart thing), it still got me a cold feeling in the pit of my stomach.

Not really because they didn't pick him up or got his back back in the end, I understand all that, but I was shocked because they did not (really) react to it. No discussions, barely a glance, every action done with a detached determination. No room anymore for feelings like compassion or even regret ("Don't you ever be sorry"). And ok, I can even understand that, living in a world like that such emotions would ruin you fast. They need the emotional tolerance although in the end they are still human.

So I LOVED how the writers made the discrepancy between the characters and us-normal-folks so very large in this great episode. Especially since they did so by not relying on great speech, but just by showing us visually.
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Loved this episode, loved seeing a different side to Michonne and a lighter Carl and Rick. Def think Rick has found himself again. Andrea didn't annoy me..oh right, she wasn't in it! :) But i do think she'll redeem herself..eventually. Another huge bonus of the episode was not having to see that A hole governor!!

Bring on next week and c'mon Andrea, don't let me down.
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This was a GREAT episode. Carl is coming into his own and so is Michonne. And I'm glad they didn't help the hitchhiker another "we can't trust the outsider" storyline would have been tedious since we already know the guy would have died in the end anyway. The apocalypse has been going on for a while, it's impossible to trust a guy who hasn't found a group after all this time.
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i agree with mostly everything you said, except the rat baits. poor things! carl and michone were really cold out there, didn't like it at all (morgan was the one to blame because he came up with the idea of using animals as bait, but he's crazy, so i'll give him a break). but, again, if they were able to completely ignore the human being asking for help on the road and then stealing his backpack on their way back... using rats as walker bait would be perfectly fine for them. and i agree with you, i loved the episode 'i ain't a judas', i could feel empathy for andrea and understand her a little better. note: i love baby judith, the ass 'kisser', beth's songs - she sings wonderfully; and your comment about carol was very misogynist.
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just sayin' but you can't really steal from a chunky roadside stain. You can scavenge though. Waste not, want not & all that. Y'know?
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Really love Lennie James, his characters always feel so real. He was brilliant in Jericho.

One of the best episodes, and the two main actors are Brits LOL.
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I'd like to take a sec to just mention that somewhere on this site a few months ago or so ago, Tim wrote a snippet about CBS & Netflix being in negotiations about bringing Jericho back for a brand new season. How cool would that be if they end up working something out? :))
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I would have to say in my opinion, one of the best episodes to date. It certainly makes up for the past few. I wish Morgan would have joined up. He is direly needed, the man is such a great actor and brings much needed drama to the show. Hope they have run ins with him again.
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Agreed. By the way, I've always found your positive comments to be much shorter than your negative ones.
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It really depends on the day. But some of my reviews for POI, Justified, Suits, now The Americans etc can tend to get pretty long. But it is always easier to write a long disagreement about an episode than agreement.

However, I could go on and on how I would rather watch Rick and Morgan talk it out way more than anything to do with Andrea and the Governor.

Or how I think that Carl and Michonne should also be given more screen time.

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Exactly. As I said earlier, Michonne can be a great character if given the right ground. Hell, they could all be great. I even thought Andrea was great towards the end of last season, or was at least getting there.
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MIchonne and Carl I think would work very well together and bring bring characters out of each other. But there are just characters that currently just aren't working. Andrea I agree is one of them, which is so sad in comparison to how great she was last season.
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"Did Michonne kill Jenny, Morgan's wife? One of the zombies looked an awful lot like her."

No, Morgan confirmed that he killed Jenny after she attacked Duane. Remember how he lamented how it was "too late, too late."

This is my first post here. Excellent review. I love The Walking Dead!
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Some observations other than the ones already discussed:

So I guess dozens of people died in a closed cafe without a zombie ever breaking in through a door or window to "get" them?

Also, were the zombies just tired and taking a nap when our characters showed up?

Additionally, in the time they've been trapped inside this cafe, none of the zombies broke a window or broke down a door to get out?

Finally, did Michonne really have Carl stand in front of a set of double doors to hold back a dozen zombies when there were two glass panes on them? Totally thought that a bunch of arms were going to break through and grab him.
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1- Sure, there's nothing that said or shown that they didn't get infected from the inside by someone from the get go. Probably an employee who came to work their shift after being bitten in the early days before everything collapsed or something.

2- Yes when there's no fresh meat in their immediate area, the zombies go dormant after a while until the smell food or some other external stimulus (like sound) wakes them up.

3-Why would they? The are not proactive, thinking creatures. They only react. There are minor exceptions of course, like when Morgans wife jiggled the doorknob in ep one, but things like that are done just for occasional dramatic effect.

4- Good call on that one. I would expect them as a group to at least have outweighed him & forced him to turn & push against the door, but I recon that shot was mainly intended
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to be iconic (which it was) as if it were a panel lifted straight out of the comics

::heh! it snipped the last part of my comment for some reason::
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Right on, back-to-basics Walking Dead. Great episode, hope they have more like this one in the development pipeline.
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About the hitch-hiker - no one seem too bothered that he'd been run over by another vehicle, which means there are more people travelling, which is potentially more enemies. I would also like to see more visits my the military, like the chopper that crashed in the beginning of the season.
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He was EATEN. After they took his backpack, u could see rotting flesh at the side of the road where his backpack was.
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His backpack seemed to be in pretty good shape for having been "run over". Looked more like he'd been torn to shreds.
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Yeah, true. Never thought of him being torn to shreds... :)
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I think the hitch hiker shed his back pack the moment he realized he was going to be run over. It probably weighs a lot, so you run faster without it. Hence it being in a pretty good shape in comparison to him...
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Great episode , It was so good to leave the prison for an entire episode.

I was surprised too when the car was attacked by zombies , they came out from nowhere , one second it was calm , the next there were 10 zombies around the car.
I had the same problem with the prison , that seems to be in the middle of nowhere , and I don't understand where all those zombies come from.In a city I would understand to see zombies really often , but in the woods ?
And michonne can easily kill 100 zombies with her sword , zombies are slow and her sword seems to enter skulls very easily.
That's something weird in this walking dead world , it's that zombies are not really a danger anymore , they all know how to kill them , they do it routinely , so humans are the real danger now but every human character seems pretty much the same , borderline crazy , paranoid , what kind of character will we have next year ?
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Most of all, this episode showed that it's not really that hard to effectively safeguard a house against walkers - which makes it just so much more insane/annoying that the group is still staying at the prison to wait for the next Governor attack!
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I read your last review just now and of course you liked all the Andrea, you think she's hott, when she is not.

This was a great episode in my top favorite three episodes of the show. Though there was not nearly enough Walkers it was good to see Lennie James. It did help with character development and hopefully will help end the chapter of Rick seeing dead people. He was totally losing it, and quite brutal of them with the way they treated the hitchhiker. What if Michonne did that to Andrea, man. But then again picking up hitchhikers is dangerous.

Michonne....loved her this episode, putting kids in their place, cracking jokes, talking/having lines, slicing up/making shisckabob walkers, driving past people in need without a second thought, and yet finally making friends. Priceless, these are the days of our lives. I loved all the little traps everywhere and the way Morgan has adapted to "his world." It's funny, if he would have shot/killed his wife long ago, he'd still have his son and probably would have caught up to/found Rick's group eventually:( .

I really did enjoy this review overall, and I think that getting back to the prison will be crazy, especially if the governor already heads that way and Rick is once again on the outside of the fence. It's kind of his fault for kicking out/pushing away people that could be valuable assets to the group, especially since we need more people on team prison.
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Was the whole Morgan thing supposed to be a surprise? It honestly just kind of annoyed me that Rick didn't immediately go "hey, lets see if he's still here!"

I actually thought Michonne sneaking back in and grabbing the picture was kind of stupid. It shouldn't have been that easy...as there were easily a dozen zombies standing on it. They could have solved my complaint easily...by having the zombies disappear to her grunting and having brains splashing on the window as they disappear.

I'm glad you mentioned the zombie ambush. That's another thing that really kind of got me. They aren't smart, or fast, or anything. They should have been lumbering out of the woods, instead of just appearing.

As for the hitchhiker...he made it 10+ months into the apocalypse, wearing bright colors, having pots and pans hanging off everything, and screaming at every human he saw?
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what a wonderful but yet sad episode
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Actually I rewatched the scene and compared, Carl shot the one that looked like Morgans wife, but her outfit was completely different. while morgans wife was wearing a nightgown and an open robe off the shoulder, the zombie in last nights scene was wearing what almost looked like a Serape screen cap here http://i64.photobucket.com/albums/h178/Odum_Carlock/jennywalker.jpg
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exactly, they were different.
Besides Morgan said he "killed" his wife
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Anyway, I think the main 'message' of this episode was the reality the world has become, so there was no surprise they didn't pick up the hitcher. This was of course macrocosmed by meeting Morgan and finding out he's more or less fallen into a routine that leads nowhere. "Your going to get ripped up by teeth or bullets" was particularly poignant, and something we've heard before.
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Is it just me or was a Morgan's-wife look-alike killed in the cafe?
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WOAH WOAH WOAH. Ok, I agree with most of the review but am rather dumbfounded by the little potshot at Darabont. As I was watching this I felt like this was the most "Darabont-esque" in a while. It was great.
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great episode now i have real trust in Scott Gimple for season 4, also Tim, im happy im not the only one who saw morgan's wife killed by michoone hehe weird!
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great episode btw
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Yes... it was the best episode of the season. By far.

Seriously, Lennie James should AT LEAST get seriously consideration as an Emmy nomination - how he described Duane's death, and how he ends his speech with "Cowards rule this world"... heartbreaking. The last time I felt this bad watching TWD was when Sophia came out of that farmhouse... and the man just told his story here.

Michonne made a joke... actually hold conversation lasting more than a single sentence... acted all-around sociable... even cracked a smile! Do not tell me she finally found a personality? You can actually see in Danai Gurira's performance how much she digs FINALLY acting like a goddamn human being! Thank you for that, Gimple - I like my badass killing machine pretty much like everyone else - cold, unemotional, lethal - but, when they start having less personality than Arnold in "T2", we have a problem...

As for your questions, Tim:
- I have absolutely no idea how the hell that hitchhiker managed to survive this long - did he just woke up like Rick in the pilot and realize he was in the middle of a zombie apocalypse? How exactly did he stayed alive this long, not trying to jacked a car, or still expecting ANYONE to stop and help him out.... completely illogical, am I right? Seriously, in the timeline of this series, more than a year into Zombieland, having a guy running around, still carrying a GODDAMN BACKPACK full of VERY NOSING PANS on him... that dude was a complete ANACHRONISM. Hands down, the biggest mistake Gimple made in his script, cause I do not believe in that character for a second - hell, Lori's ghost is WAY MORE believable!
- Like most people, so tired of Woodbury and its population of dumbass hicks. Can't wait for the damn town to burn - and no, I have no sympathy for anyone of them. Saying this lot is innocent is exactly like saying the German population were mostly innocent when the Third Reich was in power. And, just like the Nazis, it's not as if they haven't seen clear signs that the Gov and his crew are straight-up evil - they just chose to be blissfully ignored them since he takes care of them... just like Germany, back in 1938.They'll get what's coming to them, and they'll deserve it.
- Most of Morgan's traps should be incorporated throughout the prison to clean up the horde of walkers around it and, even more important, the unwelcome visitors that may try to break in it.
- Zombies popping up out of nowhere never made a lick of sense - not in Romero's films, not in any of the "Friday the 13th", not in any story involving the walking dead, simply because... YOU SHOULD SMELL THEM COMING. All the time! Even in a world full of corpses, even against the wind, don't tell me you wouldn't be able to sniff the potent BO that a rotting, decaying body full of blood can produce, especially if it's coming towards you. But hey- would it really be a zombie story if said zombies didn't pop up out of thin air? Of course not. It's what the genre is expected to do...
- It's pretty clear, from Morgan's story, that he killed his wife... way too late, yeah, but after seeing her eat Duane, he finally managed to pull the trigger.

Well... can't wait for the chaos brewing for next week!
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the comparison to germany was awful. REALLY? all germans were shit at the time of the 3rd reich? terrible comment.
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NOT one of my long rambling replies for a change - trust me, that's a *good* thing. But I agree with everything you said. I LOVE Michone but, like you, I was beginning to find the whole unemotional thing a bit *too* robotic. I think it'll be more interesting for her to have some humanity (unlike the Gov) and then revert to type when she has to kill - I think many people would begin to function like that by this time just to survive.

Really wish they hadn't had the hitchiker. I get why they did - to show the changes in Rick since the beginning; but oh Lord it was unbelievable that a guy banging and crashing around wouldn't have been zombie a la carte a *long* time before then.

Finally I hope Woodbury goes out in a blaze of blood, gore, zombies and death (and NO survivors). Like you I think they're all deluded people who are willing for others to suffer so long as their own little piece of (zombie) shangri-la doesn't end and that kind of attitude I despise and want them to suffer for being so callously selfish.
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As you probably already guessed, I am quite comfortable with long rambling replies, since I too do them quite often.

So carry on - it's all good. ;-)
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Good to know :O)
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Sorry didn't mean to flag. My mouse stopped working and just clicked that.
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Don't worry, I was just confused as to what I could've said that the Mods took offence to. lol. No harm no foul, mouses are a nightmare - mine often takes off across the screen when I'm not even touching it!
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Sorry if it was me. That's why I left the reply, hoped the moderator would've seen that and not done anything to your comment.
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Actually, concerning the smell of the corpses... And this is where the conversation turns weird, but whatever.

Because the walkers are outside and becoming quite skeletalonised in the middle of Georgia, the smell is probably not that bad. Even though they haven't been out in the heat the entire time, Georgian winters aren't that cold, so it's pretty much the same thing. Most of the chemicals that cause a body to smell is both dispersed (due to being out in the open) and dissolved (due to the age by this point of the corpse). So, for people who have been in a prison where the smell has been contained and hidden from sunlight, they're senses are in overload. They probably would not smell an outdoor walker as easily anymore. (The prison, as you can imagine, must be RANCID.)

As for the hitchhiker, the way I see it... He seemed to have mountain climbing gear. I just figured he went to the Rocky's/Smoky's or some mountainous area to go backpacking at the wrong time. When he came back down, the world had gone to crap. And since then, he's been very lucky and very well supplied and very isolated. Plus, walkers don't see color as most of their eyes are rotting out, so it doesn't matter what color he's wearing. As for his shouting? It could have been a sign that he had reached a point of desperation. Maybe his former camp had just gotten slaughtered or maybe he had just run out of food or bullets or maybe he dropped his samurai sword down a sewer...

We'll never know unless they do a mini-series of him, though.
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I've been wondering about what happens when the walkers become very skeletalised - how do they eat? I mean I assume whilst there's still some soft tissue around the stomach area, etc then there's a form of digestion going on in some sense. But once the soft stuff rotted off, what then? What if their throats rot out first, how do they swallow? Disgusting thoughts I know, but that's the kind of thing I wonder when watching this show......
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I gotta said, I would definitely watch a web series about that hitchhiker, pretty much just to know how the hell he managed to survive this long. I liked your theory about him coming back from backpacking right into World War Z, but it still goes back to what I say before: you could totally buy it in season 1 and 2, but in season 3, a good year into this madness? Nah. Nobody goes mountain climb for more than two weeks, so where was he in the meantime - hibernating? I don't know, maybe he was living in the wood, but, even then, you have to figure that a pack of walkers would have sniff him out pretty quickly. So I still believe he was an actual anachronism, existing in a present he has no business being in... Seriously, someone should do a web series about him!

As for the walkers BO, your explanation makes complete sense. Back in the first seasons, people should have been able to smell the living deads coming up on them, but now, they all got way too used to it, especially after living in places like the prison. Boy, that penitentiary must smell like skunk hell! How exactly didn't we see at least one of Rick's people puking their guts out at least once while in there is a mystery to me - I mean, just the idea of it kinda makes me want to hurl!
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Web series would definitely explain a lot - perhaps they could do the same with Morgan, to actually show in a bit more detail how he got to where he has....I'd definitely would watch both as web series.
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I got the feeling he was new to being on his own. Maybe he had been in a bunker or a protected place (Like woodbury) and was just recently forced out on his own. Probably why he didn't survive long.
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would've been nice to actually see that rather than the "oh hey random soon to be dead guy" and then "oh he's dead." Didn't make any sense as to why he was there - my interpretation was to show the change in Nick since the first episodes. Back then he would've stopped and the helped the hitcher, but now it's everyone for themselves - the Lord of the Flies, adult version.
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The one thing that bugged me was the distance. I mean, they are supposed to be a long way away, three seasons worth of walking and driving and they didn't look like they traveled for more than a couple of hours. Why is it that going back never was an option if it was so close?
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Actually, they said at the beginning of the season that they had been chased in circles. That's why at the end of season 2 (when it was just hitting autumn, around October) we saw that the group was merely miles away from the prison. When we show up in season 3, they still haven't even seen it despite it being summer again. It's because the herds of walkers have been chasing them in pretty much one big circle.
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I honestly don't remember any of them saying at some point that going back was never an option, but I'd make a solid guess that the distance from the prison back to Kings county would be around 60 to 80 miles. (Woodbury being about 50 miles south of Atlanta & Rick's police dept being in the neighborhood of 10-20 north)

Anyway, it doesn't sound like much, pre z-day, but post z-day, the world is absolutely huge again. Given the scarcity of fresh gas (episode one established that gas is rare by the time Rick woke up) & that scavenged gas would loose octane & gain water over time, affecting gas mileage & engine efficiency, a 60 to 80 mile roadtrip would be a MAJOR distance & risk.

In this case, going to Morganville for a gun run was worth the risk, but not something they could do regularly.
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Thanks for doing the math! And I totally agree, even if the distance isn't big, the dangers sure are.
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Was the car in the pile-up belonged to the Latino family that Merle and Darryl saved? Oh God, I hope not.

I can understand why Rick and Michonne didn't want to help the hitchhiker. They can't trust anybody anymore. Also, I knew the hitchhiker was dead when he was yelling and screaming after them. They knew that, too.

How the hell can that hitchhiker survive this long by himself? He should have picked up some survival skills by now, primarily keeping quiet as to not attract zombies.
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The Latino families car was different.
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When Rick saw the bloody mess of the hitchhiker, It seemed to be that Rick was upset that the stranger had met such a fate, but as evident by them going back for the backpack, they didn't really know him and it was a your loss/our gain moment. I do think that was Jenny (from the block) that Michonne skewered. This was a good character building episode, and your review hit alot of good points. And yes, rats one skateboards would have made for an awesome gif. :p
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The hitchhiker was a young man, I would have tried to convince him to join the group in exchange of shelter or food, in order to have more chances to confront the Governor.
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He could've been a pedophile...just saying.
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Or a SEAL commando ... just saying.
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I don't think Rick regretted not helping the hitchhiker but he clearly felt bad about it. He knew it was best for their survival but that didn't stop him from feeling bad about it. PS that walker did look alot like Morgan's wife but assuming what he said was true (which is a fair assumption IMO) he killed her after she bit/killed his son.
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Why is there a hitchhiker in the first place?? There are abandoned cars all over the place!
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maybe he left his driver's license in another backpack. everything is possible considering his survival instincts...
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lol, that's what i was thinking!
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I enjoyed last weeks episode, btw.
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I was thinking the same thing about the walker looking like Morgan's wife but I assumed Morgan killed her n when shen bit Dwayne
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Ha! That rat looks just like my pet rattie, Petyr. Cute.

(Haven't watched the episode yet - I'm three weeks behind x.x)
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So in this episode, I take it that the group went back to Rick and Carl's hometown where it looks like Morgan never left? I always thought that they were from Cynthiana, Kentucky and after Rick woke from his coma he made the long trek to Atlanta. The prison the group is in is south of Atlanta. So they made a several hundred mile trek back to Kentucky to look for guns? This doesn't seem right. Someone help me out here.
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In the comics, yes it was in Kentucky, but in the show it was always Georgia. They were trying to head to the closet big city from their small town, so therefore headed to Atlanta. After they realized the city was over-run they were gonna head north, it was getting cold, they said they needed to stay south for the winter. Rick I believe said he would try and come back
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In the comics he was from KY, but I'm not sure that was ever mentioned in the show. They did establish though that both He & Shane were boyhood friends & both worked for the Kings County Sherriff's Dept in GA (Kings Co. GA is made up btw & doesn't really exist.) The name of the town He, Lori & Carl lived in was also never mentioned afaik, but it's to be assumed it's a close neighbor north of Atlanta based on references of going "Down to Atlanta" but it couldn't be that far north, based on the limited range of the radios.
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I actually didnt enjoy it. He was too crazy for me to find this sincere. They made us not like michonne then in this episode they really changed the way we saw her which I like but it's obvious they made her character awful in the beginning. Andrea needs to smarten up and get back in with the group.
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Excellent review!
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– Did Michonne kill Jenny, Morgan's wife? One of the zombies looked an awful lot like her.

This one line of complete stupidity ruined the whole review.
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Tim usually forgets to do his complete homework! :-/
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OMG Carl can speak whole sentences!!! (even though the actor speaks like he's royal :-) )

I hope they give him more lines, he does a good job.
There is already the usually silent Michonne so I hope the writers don't let Carl be like that too, it's too creepy.
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I really liked this episode. It might be one of my favourites from the whole show. TWD is good at cementing the usual settings in a post-apocalyptic manner, but we don't often get to see the outside world. It was nice to get out of Woodbury and the prison just to see another ravaged place. I was surprised that Morgan appeared, but I'm content with how the story was wrapped up. I like how he wants to clear all of the zombies for a better future. This episode also highlighted Michonne and Carl, who got their major acting roles in the show. I like that they actually had a bond together by the end of the episode, and Mich actually got dialogue! "I was going to go back anyway, it's just too gorgeous" is the best line.
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A truly amazing episode, definitely one of my favorites from this season. But I don't know if it speaks that well about the show that this was an amazing episode because of the performance of a guest star. Morgan's storyline broke my heart (and btw, he made it clear he offed his own wife when she bit his son). And the line: "Finally was too late" brought me to tears. It was also really rewarding to finally see Michonne as I grew to know and love her in the comic books. Carl is really coming into his own, and it was nice to see there's still something left of his innocence (he hasn't turned full-on cynical).
The scenes with the hitch-hiker were really difficult to watch, but they conveyed quite eloquentely this post-acopalytic world, where all that's left is a sense of despair and a survival instinct.
Still, I can't help but compare this to the comic books. And once again, I feel the adapation is wanting in comparison to the original (here I'm talking about Morgan, those who have read the comic books please feel free to agree or disagree).
This episode was a nice change of pace, and it's always rewarding (at least when it comes ot characterization) to focus the plot on a couple of characters rather than seeing a bit of everyone from a large array of characters in one episode.
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Most people ignore hitchhikers today because they could turn out to be a murderer or something. I imagine this fear would still be present (if not intensified) during a zombie apocalypse
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The only comment I would make about the hitchhiker is that Rick figured the man would be killed and that there would be an opportunity to get his supplies. I'm not saying he planned it, but I think the thought crossed his mind.
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I would say that Rick doesn't trust anyone he doesn't know anymore since the last time he invited complete strangers in and they went bad.
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