'Walking Dead' Season 3 episode 12 recap: 'Clear' - Hello, old friend

Halfway through the second half of "The Walking Dead" Season 3, we get a stellar installment that raises the bar for what's to come. In some ways a diversion from many of the show's ongoing arcs, in other ways an example of the series at its best, "Clear" is likely to be remembered and singled out by "Dead" fans for a long time to come.

It's something of a tradition at this point for AMC dramas to produce an episode that isolates a few characters and burrows in on major themes. "Mad Men" had "The Suitcase," "Breaking Bad" had "4 Days Out" and "Fly." Even "The Killing" had "Missing."

"Clear" fits nicely into that mold, while also serving as a callback to Frank Darabont's brilliant pilot episode in several key ways. First, by paring back the ensemble to focus once again on Rick (this time paired with his son, Carl, and a near-stranger,
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