Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 4 Recap: A Great Romance

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    [Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, Episode 4, “What We.”]

    If that wasn’t the sexiest zombie fight in recorded history, it at least cracked the top five. After three episodes of very deliberate story and character development, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live finally gave long-separated lovers Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) a reunion worthy of their epic saga.

    And it is epic, when you take a step back. The Walking Dead has been an easy punching bag over the years, as a franchise that kept on going well beyond its dominance in the zeitgeist (and the ratings). That decline has no shortage of potential causes, from changes in the industry to changes in the cast to changes in the showrunners — though anecdotally what comes up the most, when people tell you “I used to watch that show, until…,” is Negan and his bat.

    There’s no Negan in The Ones Who Live (that’s a different spinoff). Instead, the six-episode series begins by revealing the whereabouts of the long-lost Rick (Lincoln having left the flagship series in 2018), who’s been trapped for five years by the Civic Republic Military, a collective of survivors who have managed to build a real city with real infrastructure. Sounds great, except the CRM ruled with tyrannical force and anyone with knowledge of its existence is not allowed to leave, as Rick’s learned the hard way.

    Those five years have broken Rick in such a way that when he actually stumbles across Michonne, his reaction isn’t joy but fear that she’ll be killed or hurt by the CRM, to the point where he tries to orchestrate a solo escape for her. Michonne, being pretty damn stubborn and uninterested in having Rick make that decision for her, rejects his attempt to save her. And in doing so, maybe saves them both.

    “What We” picks up immediately after the previous episode, which ended with a furious Michonne literally throwing herself and Rick out of a helicopter, because they need to have a conversation. With occasional interruptions (of a zombie-fighting and love-making nature), that’s basically what the episode is: Two people, with a lot of history, having a conversation about their lives, their trauma, and the path forward that keeps them both together.

    The depth of that history can be felt, even if you’ve only ever been a casual fan, someone who watched the first few seasons but dropped out at some point. (See previous mention of Negan’s bat.) Thanks to in-universe time jumps and also the literal passing of time, The Ones Who Live is set relatively close to today — which means that the same amount of time has passed for its characters as the audience that first started watching… in 2010.



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