The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 2 Review – Gone

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 2 reveals what it cost Michonne to find Rick.

Danai Gurira as Michonne in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 2.
Photo: Gene Page/AMC

This The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live review contains spoilers.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 2

Things have come a long way since The Walking Dead wasn’t allowed to drop the f-word at a climactic moment during Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and company’s confinement in a boxcar by the people of Terminus.

Now it seems like every episode features the kind of language that made NYPD Blue one of the most notorious shows on television, albeit without the nudity. Tongues are freer now, and standards have changed now that AMC is competing with prestige dramas on HBO and Showtime, not network television. Certainly, it’s fitting for a gritty show like The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live to indulge in language, because these are people who have survived a decade-plus of life after the end of the world. Shrinking violets need not apply; given that the bulk of the survivors have been either involved with the military or trained by the military, it’s unsurprising that salty language has made its way into the vernacular in a more open way even if it’s still strange to hear on basic cable.

Years” covered Rick’s time away from Michonne (Danai Gurira), detailing his attempts to escape from the clutches of the CRM prior to his helicopter getting shot down by Michonne. “Gone” focuses on Michonne’s attempt to finally track down Rick, her focus narrowed by finding his discarded boots and a note from Bridgers Shipyard, the last known whereabouts of Rick Grimes. However, it’s The Walking Dead; there’s no such thing as an easy, linear journey.

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Michonne tends to get a little sidetracked on her journeys. In fact, after an explosive cold open, Michonne finds herself getting the third degree because she helped two people who needed her during her journey. She stopped, but the traveling caravan whose leader’s sister (and sister’s boyfriend) she saved would not. Michonne tries and tries to extricate herself from the situation without causing offense; she just wants a horse and wants to get on the road, and she’s not interested in joining up with a new group. The folks she saved, Bailey (Andrew Bachelor) and Aiden (Breeda Wool) push hard to get Michonne the horse she wants and to stop hard-selling the community, but there’s a problem. Michonne needs to go north, and there’s a few million migrating wailers between her and her destination.

That’s her big delay, and that delay allows her to make friends, not just with Bailey and Aiden, but also with the brilliant, caustic engineer Nat (Matthew August Jeffers), who introduces himself by raging at group leader about leaving her own sister to die. Of course, she’s not dead, and he’s got Michonne to thank, and thank he does by supplying her with weapons when he’s unable to talk her out of her fool’s errand. But he’s going to need a day, and that’s all it takes for Michonne to make fast friends with the good people of the caravan around her.

From their introduction through to the point where the group splits, with Nat, Bailey, and Aiden (and some other folks) splitting off from the main group to follow Michonne, you can kind of tell where this is going. Friendly new faces don’t last very long in The Walking Dead universe, and that’s very disappointing. Generally, I dislike the trope of the single-serving friend, but these characters left an immediate impression and their loss actually hurt; these won’t be people Michonne forgets but faces she’ll see in her version of Rick’s nightmares.

The new characters are framed wonderfully in Nana Nkweti & Channing Powell’s script. Aiden and Bailey are great new characters, friendly and helpful and well-meaning, Nat is one of the show’s better new characters, funny and well-rounded from his very first moment on screen. All three are immediately likable, and that’s a credit to the performers. They do a good job of selling to Michonne the dangerous errand she’s on, and yet they help her anyway because she helped them.

The mass crowd effects used on The Walking Dead have gotten much better over the years, and Nat’s plan of dividing the groups by using, essentially, fireworks on either side of the valley is very clever. We’ve seen similar ideas, but never on such a massive scale. It’s a great little sequence that shows just how valuable her new friends are. Nat is the sort of person whose brain is very valuable in this world, and it’s not a surprise that, in spite of his gruffness, he inspires a good portion of the caravan to follow along with him when he leaves. It’s a move Nat has been planning for awhile, he says, but he’s never had the guts to do it until he fell in with a CRM class A leader personality like Michonne.

No wonder the CRM are so afraid of those A types. They’re inspirational, and that’s dangerous. Michonne’s leading of a group through the wailer-infested tri-state area and on the road heading towards CRM territory is enough to get the bad kind of attention; it’s the sort of attention that explains why Michonne and Nat immediately wanted to shoot down the next helicopter they saw. Chlorine gas must be a very nasty way to go, and it’s kind of sad to see such good potential new characters killed off in such a callous way. But it’s also fitting; the CRM is nothing if not callous, and if they’re willing to throw away allies, why would they think twice about gassing a convoy of travelers getting a little too close?

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The sequence after, as Aiden struggles to breathe before succumbing to the poison tearing at her lungs, is very impactful. There’s no way that these people would survive all the way to the end, but at least they leave an impact in their time on screen, and directors Bert & Bertie do a great job of really highlighting just how nice of a group they were, and how much Michonne is hurt by their losses after she tried her best to get them to leave her and head to safety in Alexandria. The ethos of their original group was to never go back for someone; when they break free of that, they break completely. Supporting Michonne—refusing to leave her behind like she refused to leave them behind—cost them everything. Even Nat, who recovers from the poison attack and introduces Michonne to the magic of rocket-like “scream sticks,” can’t escape the unlucky cloud hanging over Michonne throughout her journey to recover Rick.

Sure, she finds her husband again, but at what cost? And while Rick says he has a plan to get them out of the CRM, Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) remembers Michonne and her group well, and planting her signature sword in someone else’s hands doesn’t make up for the fact that a samurai with locs is difficult to forget. She makes it clear to Rick; they have an agreement, and if he tries to escape with her, then she’ll make sure his family and friends feel the pain just as much as he does.

New episodes of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live premiere Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.


4 out of 5