The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 3 Review – Bye

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live focuses on Michonne and the tangled web of lies, favors, and conspiracies that keep Rick Grimes a prisoner of the CRM.

Danai Gurira as Michonne in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 3.
Photo: AMC

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

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 3

The idea of paying debts is more of a Game of Thrones thing. After all, it’s the Lannister motto, and the show features a whole lot of characters paying off metaphorical debts, if not actual ones. While The Walking Dead doesn’t have any incestuous families scheming to take over the Seven Kingdoms (though they did have a king and there are undoubtedly incestuous families out there among the survivors), the Civic Republic is obviously keeping many secrets. The people of its secret city don’t know what the military does. The military doesn’t know what the elite Frontliners are up to. Within the Frontliners, there are conspiracies and gamesmanship; there’s certainly some sort of monetary system in use by the CRM, but it seems the real currency is personal favors.

From Rick’s very first exposure to life inside the CRM bubble, he’s forced to face this reality. He doesn’t want to be there, neither for French fries nor onion rings, but he’s there because Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) made a deal with the CRM back when she was the leader of the Junkyardigans. They found people and gave give them to the CRM whether they were a threat or just a lost soul looking for a place to belong. In exchange, the Junkyardigans got resources. Everyone was a winner until things went sour.

As for Rick, he’s not thrilled about being trapped in a city he can’t escape, but without Jadis interfering, then he’d be dead beneath a pile of flaming rubble. He owes Jadis his life. She owed him one. And now, she used the pawn that is Rick Grimes to avoid consignment duty and to move right into the lap of relative luxury. She owed him, now they’re even. Rick might not like it, but the CRM has a 500-year plan to restore civilization, and while Jadis can’t stop him from trying to escape, he could instead dedicate his life to making the world a better place for the very people he’s trying to get back to.

Ad – content continues below

Even if he doesn’t like that kind of barter system Jadis benefits from, it’s better to know the rules of the game before you really start playing than to be surprised later. After a bump forward in time, Rick is shown to have mastered just how to get things done in the CRM, using the leverage he has over Thorne (Lesley-Ann Brandt) to get Michonne, or perhaps Dana Bethune (Danai Gurira), into the city and prevent her from being classified as an A. Besides, it’s what Okafor would have wanted, so Rick adds guilt to his pile of reverse-IOUs to cash in on Thorne. Rick and Thorne both owed him; the best way to pay him back is to ensure his vision of toppling the corrupt General Beale (Terry O’Quinn) remains intact.

It’s not as if he wants to stay. If he leaves, Thorne will feel the repercussions. Jadis will be forced to sneak back to Alexandria and wipe the community out to cover her tracks. Everyone Rick’s spoken to or become friends with will suffer, and probably die, because someone’s got to cover up the mess or else.

Staying undercover is usually a good idea in a situation like this, but Michonne isn’t particularly good at subtlety. She sticks to her story, and wears the Dana Bethune character well, but it’s immediately obvious to everyone around her that she’s not a B. She’s too calm, and too good with a killstick. She talks the talk, but she can’t shake off who she is, and that attracts the wrong kind of attention from basically everyone working alongside her, from the guards to her fellow consignees. Even General Beale has taken a special interest in her, according to Thorne. She’s put herself on the line for Rick, who was suspicious enough on his own. Now, without Okafor, there’s no barrier between them and the scrutiny of the man Okafor was trying to keep from total control over a 17,000-strong militia.

Rick had given up hope of escaping, because it wasn’t going to be possible without hurting a lot of people and getting the very people he wanted to see again killed, but Grimes tries, over and over again, to get Michonne to wise up and take off while she still can. He needed an inside man to stay alive, and she needs an inside man to help her get away before she finds herself as trapped as he is. Rick tells her, if you love me, you’ll go, but Michonne traveled through a million wailing undead to track Rick down and she won’t take the easy way out.

The interactions between Michonne and Rick are very good, particularly Danai Gurira’s WTF face when Rick tells her that she needs to leave town. Lincoln does an admirable job getting across Rick’s desperation to keep Michonne safe and free. These two veterans play off one another very well throughout the episode.

However, the interactions with Michonne about Rick are just as good, if not better. Gurira sparkles in the scene in which she walks through the bazaar and finds the guy who carves pictures into the phones. He tells Michonne that the guy who kept buying her picture on phones would never give up on her, and she replies that now it’s her turn to not give up on him. It’s a beautiful little bit of acting from Gurira, and a very good button of a line in Gabriel Llanas and Matthew Negrete’s script. She’s found a guy who looks like Rick, but she’s looking for the Rick Grimes that bit a guy’s throat out, overthrew multiple corrupt leaders, and didn’t give up when things looked impossible.

Ad – content continues below

That’s the Rick Grimes that Michonne is still looking for. The brave man, as she calls him in her journal entries. The one who may not exist anymore as Rick tries and tries to push Michonne away even while he’s still supporting her (getting his gun ready to stop Thorne, helping her push the R-DIM into place to distract the zombies, and so on).

When he finally says that they’re broken, that what they have is gone, the pain in Gurira’s eyes and her impassive face are just perfect. She’s so good at simmering beneath the surface, Michael Slovis captures it perfectly, and it gets across that Rick’s words hurt, but she still doesn’t believe him when he says it. The tears are subtle, but perfectly captured and expressed. Rick is pushing hard, and Andrew Lincoln does a good job of making it seem like Rick wants to believe it, but doesn’t actually believe it. Solid character work all around from all involved.

Of course, the episode ends on a cliffhanger, as Michonne grabs Rick during a particularly bad thunderstorm on the helicopter flight back to Philadelphia and the two go tumbling out into the night. Seems like a bad idea to me, but it worked out well for D.B. Cooper, so maybe it’ll work out for Michonne, too? As Jadis tells Rick, the two of them together can do anything. Maybe that includes escaping from the most powerful army in the post-zed world.


4 out of 5