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The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live (Episode 1-4 Review)

When the final episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead aired on November 20, 2022 there were many questions left unanswered. Entitled Rest in Peace, honestly, the lack of resolve left many feeling unfulfilled after dedicating eleven years of viewership to the saga. Something that could irk many, fortunately, while this may have been the final chapter of The Walking Dead, it was the beginning of something more.

Now, it has become clear that The Walking Dead universe has been quite expansive outside the original series; this includes eight seasons of Fear of the Walking Dead, two seasons of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, and Tales of the Walking Dead. All building their own following, perhaps the most anticipated companion series to The Walking Dead would have been the ones to directly follow the original.

Projects that had been reported and in the works for some time, each finally began to roll out in 2023. First there was The Walking Dead: Dead City; which followed Maggie (Lauren Cohan: The Boy 2017, All Eyez On Me 2017) and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan: Supernatural series, Watchman 2009) into Manhattan. Then there The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon; which finds Daryl (Norman Reedus: The Boondock Saints 1999, Blade 2 2002) over to France. Both recently renewed for a second season, arguably the most anticipated of any is The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

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Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Season 1 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The sixth spin-off and overall, seventh television series in The Walking Dead franchise, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live answers questions that have plagued dedicated viewers since November 4, 2018 when Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln: Love Actually 2003, After Life series) disappeared in the episode What Comes After. Furthermore, it provides insight as to what happens to Michonne (Danai Gurira: Black Panther 2018, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever 2022) following her departure from the main Walking Dead group to try and locate Rick back in the episode What We Become (which premiered March 22, 2020). Two of the biggest characters of The Walking Dead, will fans finally have the answers they have been looking for within The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live?

A burning question, the series is set to premiere on February 25, 2024, on AMC and AMC+ first with the episode entitled Years. From here to follow will be episode two (Gone) on March 3rd, episode three (Bye) on March 10th, episode four (What We) on March 17th, followed by more to be announced. Providing insight as to where Rick has been for nearly a decade in the storyline of The Walking Dead, we get to experience the anguish in his struggle to find his way home both physically and mentally; reliving his past inside dreams of both Michonne and Carl (Chandler Riggs: Mercy 2014, Keep Watching 2017). Recovered by the infamous Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh: The Woman 2011, Let Us Prey 2014) after the bridge explosion at the end of What Comes After, he is taken, soon to be trapped in a place like no one has seen to this point in The Walking Dead series… and it truly seems like there may never be a way out.

On the other end, we get to take a glimpse into Michonne’s quest to find Rick, the paths she crosses along the way, and the battles she has to fight. Determined to succeed, Michonne shows unwavering hope in the face of impossibility that is nothing less than inspiring. Does she defy all odds and find Rick? Moreover, if she does find him, how does she free him from the military guarded fortress that he spent years trying to escape? And if she can, will Rick have the inner strength to overcome the defeat/loss he has suffered?

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Danai Gurira as Michonne – The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Season 1, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

All of these inquiries and more are drawn out and explained sufficiently within the first four episodes of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. That in mind, the series does a fine job of reacquainting you with the beloved characters after such a long gap of time has passed. You immediately reconnect with Rick and everything he stands for, but you also do so with Michonne and her raging heart of fire. Most importantly, you are reminded of the love that the two characters share and how these factors became a driving force of The Walking Dead since the two came together all the way back in 2016 during season six.

Overall, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live does not let you down, because there is plenty of drama, horror, and emotion to be had. It continues the story of Rick Grimes successfully and also builds some new storylines that are equally as compelling. The only snag it may hit is the fact that in reality, it has been over five years since Rick’s character vanished… and many people have short memories. So, if you put the character in the back corners of your mind, it is highly recommended you take the time to dust them off and dig into The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. Arguably the best of any of the secondary Walking Dead series released to date, so far, Cryptic Rock gives The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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The Walking Dead – The Ones Who Live / AMC (2024)

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