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Sunday, March 31, 2024

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live |1x05| Become

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We always say The Walking Dead Universe allows you to be the person you were meant to be. This episode spotlights what The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live has been trying to show us the entire time: The Walking Dead Universe allows couples to Become what they were meant to be, too, in all their unique forms. Jadis had her day and - with the help of Father Gabriel Stokes - Anne Stokes found grace.
🎬We left so much on the cutting-room floor, including a zesty pre-show, tons of material in the middle, and an insiders-only post-show. Stream the raw version of this episode by either tipping us on Ko-fi and/or joining a membership tier on either Ko-fi or Patreon.

David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:

  • NEW DESIGNS Available for purchase in the Merch Store, but the banter of how (some of) these designs came about is free:

  • πŸŽ–️SURVIVORS Tier Member Aliza Jones' Birthday Shoutout and the birthday video compiled by 🀫WHISPERERS Tier Member Aidan Atkin:

  • The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live is doing so well, it's being advertised on Smart TVs!
  • Why we didn't receive screeners for the final two episodes: Father Gabriel's Return! We had just talked about Suddenly Seth in our Instagram group chat, last week, with a bunch of attendees of The Camp. Seth Gilliam's nickname is derived from the several amount of times we've seen him just show up (like God, he's everywhere) at conventions and around Senoia, GA, but never officially invited as a guest.

  • Video Game Adaptations to TV and Movies: There's a character in Fallout whose background story is eerily similar to that of Father Gabriel's (and Fallout came out first). We go into why video game adaptations were classically bad and why they're starting to be good now: obviously The Last of Us on HBO and touching on the TV series Halo on Paramount+ a bit, as well.
  • The Execution of Father Gabriel's Introduction: Sherrandy loved the way they cinematically introduced Gabriel, from starting at his feet, the crunching of the leaves as he stepped, and the silhouette that kept you guessing. Beats introducing another new character they're just going to kill off in the same episode.

  • The Tracking of Ramen Wrappers and Dead Walkers: Though we loved Pollyanna McIntosh's performance this episode, Sherrandy's suspension of disbelief did not extend to being able to track Rick Grimes & Michonne via slain walkers and Tasteful Noods ramen wrappers. We chalk it up to Richonne's carefreeness. It's also somewhat of a parallel to Hope Bennett leaving a trail for Felix Carlucci and Jennifer "Huck" Mallick to follow at the very beginning of The Walking Dead: World Beyond.

  • Appreciating World Beyond Flashbacks: because some of us really loved that limited series and the flashes to Anne "Jadis" Stokes' confidant, Huck, was validating.

  • The Tension Between Maintaining Your Own Humanity and Saving Humanity: It's something Dave brought up in the last episode, to blank stares (mostly). The show further explores the possibility that maintaining one's own humanity might come at the expense of future generations. Rachael chimes in that one can certainly do both, which is what Michonne says out loud to Anne when the latter asks if they are going to leave The Civic Republic Military be. This is also something that came up, frequently, during our World Beyond Season One recap with Brains Gone Bad and Aim for the Head podcast.

  • The Last Light and Portland: It seems unfathomable to Sherrandy that the Civic Republic would stand up to the CRM, once the truth of what they've done is revealed, since the military has all this might. Dave asks and answers his own question: what would be the point of wiping out The CR, unless they had a backup plan in the form of Portland, whom they are now dangerously close to (even though the kids in World Beyond have probably already warned them that they are moving against them). Or smaller settlements, sure. The point is, that would rid The CRM of the CR.

  • The Beauty of Jadis' Story and Redemption: Watching Anne's story with Gabriel and Richonne taking her first/final confession was moving. When she finally admits that she should've died an artist, while showing flashbacks of her making art in the heaps and zooming in on the portraits of hers she commissioned for Maggie Rhee took us all emotionally by surprise. It's relatable: the struggle of working hard to make amends and taking the easy way out and doubling-down. It's easy to forget her story arc, especially a character who is not in the comic book.

  • Lighthearted Moments with Rick and Michonne: Touching again on their care-free nature, this episode. Rick is making up for lost time by wanting to get souvenirs for the kids, replacing the 'M' pendant she lost, and preparing the booze for later.
    The “M” necklace
    byu/TwilightZone1751 inTheOnesWhoLiveonAMC
  • Gabriel and Anne Stokes: Thus begins the great debate over the depths of their connection. Dave heavily argues, effectively, that near the end of the flashbacks with he and she, that he married her (and she accepted). Bridget merely thinks he has love for her, especially within the context of them bonding over how they the sort of outcasts of our group of survivors in Season 9 of The Walking Dead. Rachael sort of thinks the same and breaks even with Gabriel being in love with Anne, but not so much the reverse. Sherrandy thinks the kiss between them was more of a goodbye to what might've been. Sherrandy brings up a good question: how did they even find each other? Dave responds: they both were visiting the spot where Rick met his "demise" on the anniversary of its occurrence and decided to meet each other there on an annual basis.
    AMC Networks

  • Gabriel and Rosita Espinosa: credit to Takeerah's spoiler-ridden live tweeting of this episode at 3am, she suggested that this may have been the reason why Gabe felt he could no longer be with Rosita by the time they made it to The Commonwealth.
  • The Importance of Choice, but Rolling It Back: Even though she was so close to staying and being her true self with Gabriel, Anne pulls away and commits to upholding the last light with The CRM; however, making that choice means having to waste Father Gabriel. In the end, she doesn't do that, which is a reciprocation of Gabriel gesture of faith and love in the form of what would've been Rick's wedding ring to Michonne.

  • Rick and Michonne Weren't Married, but It Doesn't Really Matter: Gabriel informs the audience that Michonne and Rick were never actually married. Everyone agrees that marriage in the zombie apocalypse just means being together and surviving. Dave only brings this up because a certain contingent of fans has suffered severe online harassment when anyone seems to make this distinction. Why Dave even brings this up in the first place is that, as podcasters, these are the kinds of distinctions we try our best to get right; however, on top of it not really being that important, the harassment we've seen has been a factor in why we've never broached the topic.

  • Handfasting and A Marriage in Two Phases in Judaism: This was a great opportunity to discuss beautiful alternatives to contemporary marriages, based on ancient traditions.
  • Hell is Repeating We Can Do Anything: Sherrandy revisits the trauma (a la Fear The Walking Dead's final season) of telling the audience, repeatedly, what Richonne is capable of (spoiler alert: everything). Dave thinks the writers are intentionally getting you to doubt them, especially when you consider the bittersweet lyrics of Tony Bennett's The Good Life playing in the background in the scene following the title sequence: the song basically alludes that nothing good lasts. The Walking Dead Universe often finds a way to make that happen.

  • Beautiful Storytelling and The Fragility of Survival: Rachael praises Michael Satrazemis' ability to direct a great story. Dovetailing from nothing good lasts and we can do anything, will Rick falter once he sees The Echelon Briefing? It seems like even strong-willed 'A's like Command Sergeant Major Pearl Thorne fall in line once they do. Moreover, the way the camera zoomed in on Anne's portrait of Glenn Rhee, TWD's heart, might be foreshadowing tragedy. Through much childish laughter, Rachael also thinks the geysers around Yellowstone National Park are a foreshadowing of pressure being built up that will explode in the next episode.

  • Calcified Walkers and Gorgeous Cinematography: One thing we know Satrazemis is great at is incorporating great b-roll and thoughtful shots into the narrative to create excellent visual storytelling. All of it reminds Dave of his younger days, traveling the countryside and sleeping under the stars on top of a picnic table near Green River. Sherrandy ties this to The Last of Us when Joel Miller finally reunites with his brother, Tommy Miller, in Jackson. The appearance and explanation of the calcified walkers (a product of their environment) was such a treat.

  • They Were Lucky: Michonne muses on their encounter with the three survivors on Three Pines Trail and how not only how one of them managed to get caught in a snare, but why she and Rick aren't more cautious. Dave thinks that these people may have belonged to either Omaha or Campus Colony and were lucky enough to be away from it when the CRM destroyed it. Rachael immediately thought of Carl Grimes and how, even after all these years, walkers can get you with a single bite. We also absolutely loved Will Brill's humor in his role as Dalton, one of the three survivors (accompanied by Red and Tina), who peed himself when faced with the possibility of retribution for trying to take all of Richonne's stuff.

  • Clearing Up Timeline Confusion:
    • The opening scene deliberately contained no time signifier to keep you guessing as to whether Jadis actually enacted her contingency. In reality, it is She and Gabriel's initial encounter 5 years after the bridge collapse (and Rick's departure from TWD). The tell is Gabriel's facial hair.
    • Gabe mentions the ham radio: which isn't the super-powered one that Eugene Porter uses to maintain contact with Stephanie (Maxxine Mercer) throughout TWD Season 10, but the initial iteration Gabriel himself finds in Season 8 with Harlan Carson.
    • The people Michonne is trying to help resettle at The Hilltop are Yumiko Okumura, Connie, Kelly, Magna, and Luke Abrams.
    • All of the prior points relates to the 3 years ago meet-up, all of which are fine. This is where things become confusing. In the 2 years ago meet-up, Gabriel says, The group we were in conflict with [THE WHISPERERS], they compromised our walls. Food is scarce. Children are hungry [The very end of The Whisperers War, moving into the bonus episodes of Season 10]. He then he proceeds to ask for help, which causes Jadis to check-out, he apologizes, and gives her the ring. Dave lays out several reasons why this time placement is wrong (the long time span from the first encounter of The Whisperers all the way until the Beta's demise at the end of the war was definitely more than a year, plus the ages of Coco EspinosaJudith Grimes and RJ Grimes), but the most airtight evidence was when Michonne left, which amidst the final throes of the conflict and took a year to recuperate from the Chlorine Gas. Even the most generous interpretation of events doesn't place what Gabriel describes as happening two years ago, but one year ago.
    • Had he not mentioned it there, and said that they were starving in the One Year Ago meet-up, it not only would've been correct, but would've heightened the tension when Jadis pulls a gun on Gabriel to tie up a loose end after he loses his cool and asks for help once more.
    • Redditor u/DeadCalamari1, loosely supports some of what Dave is saying in their own Reddit post:
      TOWL and Here's Negan contradict eachother on the timeline.
      byu/DeadCalamari1 inthewalkingdead
  • Satrazemis' Love Letter to FearTWD: The Three Pines gift shop was eerily reminiscent of McNeill's Bait and Beer (what Sherrandy refers to as Bill's - Bill McNeill) which had several mounted fish which reminded us of the singing Big Mouth Billy Bass that John Dorie had in Season 4. The whole place had a take what you need, leave what you don't vibe that we got from that series.

  • Yellowstone National Park and Here's Why You're Wrong: After ribbing Dave for saying that Three Pines Trail/Cabins/Gift Shop was near Yellowstone in Wyoming, he discovered that it makes complete sense and provided a map with annotations for the final edit of the episode. One interesting tidbit is that Yellowstone is just north of Bridger-Teton National Forest, which is reminiscent of Bridgers Terminal in New Jersey, which is all a play on Rick's final moments on TWD.

  • It Could've Ended Here(?): Save for (arguably) Episode 3, almost every single episode in the series was a film unto itself and could've ended the season/series. Dave disagrees though because, like the geyser, there is too much build-up to not want the next episode. It is definitely an example of another cool thing each episode did: the episodes were constructed in a way where the end of each episode could've happened somewhere near the end, but just kept going to give us more great story.

  • Blessing This Marriage in Advance: Gabriel's yearly pilgrimage to the site where Rick "met his demise" was a holy one. He was making holy water from the waters that would've been beneath the bridge. If the ring is a symbol of faith and love, and we know prayer starts with intent, then Father Gabriel blessed their union way ahead of the ring reaching Michonne's finger.
  • Will it Wrap-up in Six Episodes? Bridget expressed tremendous doubt while Dave reminds everyone that the other spin-offs somewhat managed to do so while adequately setting up their already announced Sophomore Seasons.
    AMC Networks

  • Anne's Death Parallels Huck's: Michonne manages to drive an axe into Jadis' side, similar to how Jadis shivved Huck's side during their final fight in World Beyond.
  • Saving The People From the People: This prescient National Parks sign's message plays out, in its various forms, throughout the entire episode, most notably in the way it foreshadows Richonne's decision to inform The CR (the people) of The CRM's dark machinations.

  • Red's Red Gun: Even the look of Red's janky colored red gun was humorous. We (really don't, but it's funny to) think they somehow found the bucket of nail polish the kids used in World Beyond to power the raft they constructed to cross the Mississippi.

  • Looking After Oneself: Along with the toothpaste and Jadis waking up the lovebirds up like Paul "Jesus" Rovia did in Season 6, these nods are a great entry point into the overall sentiment it tried to impart on our survivors, which is how you can't save everyone. You can try to leave no man behind, but sometimes you have to prioritize saving yourself. Michonne, in particular, tried to impart this wisdom to Heath and he learned it in the hardest way possible in the very same episode. It also reminds us of a great conversation that we had with Benjamin Scotford of Just Keep Walking podcast. But, in the end, what does it all mean? Are they telling us that one of them will be forced to save themselves?

  • Sippin' Whisky While the World Starves: We enjoyed the good life Rick & Michonne were having, but the 3 survivors they meet are a reminder of the state of folks out in the wild. It transported us back to One More (TWD 10x19), wherein a tipsy (ironically enough) Father Gabriel and Aaron were drinking Duane Jones whiskey just before they meet Mays, who is an excellent reflection of the state of people who are out there for a little too long.

  • Jadis' Already Has A Day: the transliteration (from Old French) of Jadis name. Today was that day: the very day that she and Father Gabriel we supposed to meet was where she met her maker(s). The end result, though, is that she left this world fused with all her selves and finally became who she truly was meant to be.

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Saturday, March 23, 2024

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live |1x04| What We (SPECIAL GUESTS: The Ones Who Live - A TWD Podcast)

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Save for Sherrandy, this episode might be more than just our favorite episode of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, but among our favorite in The Walking Dead Universe. We highlight the intricacies of Rick Grimes' & Michonne's undeniable love and the depths the latter plunges to rescue the former. This series introduces some larger themes and we dart across The Walking Dead's timeline to shine a light on the significance of this episode's more brilliant moments.
🎬We left a TON on the cutting-room floor, including a juicy pre-show. To stream this episode, support us by either tipping us on Ko-fi and/or joining a membership tier on either Ko-fi or Patreon!

Takeerah Lawrence:
Jill Robi:
David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Sherrandy Swift:
Bridget Mason-Gray:


  • Jumping right out of a helicopter and into this episode: Like Dave, Jill enjoyed the surprising choice of Michonne pushing Rick Grimes and she out of the helicopter - which turned out to be the right choice. Besides, they needed a time out. Sherrandy thinks the show requires a hefty amount of suspension of disbelief, considering the fall, even in water might've resulted in their demise.

  • Sherrandy Rehashes the Lack of Chemistry in Rick and Michonne's Relationship: it's essentially the same arguments she makes in our last episode but, this time, with rebuttals. Jill explains that most of the motivation for them getting together was attributed to discussions behind the scenes, rather than what was in the actual story: the actors (cast and crew), themselves, wanted it to happen. Dave brings up a similar and more mainstream opinion people had about Daryl Dixon & Leah Shaw coupling up (in The Walking Dead's bonus episodes of Season 10).
  • The Influence of Watching Out of Order: It helps to remind the audience that Sherrandy's introduction to The Walking Dead Universe was Fear The Walking Dead's 4th season (specifically 4x05, Laura). Just due to our research, over the years, trawling Reddit forums: watchers that start off watching TWDU out of order tend to have a different perspective of the flagship (and other) series. 
  • Darker Opinions/Online Negativity: Of course, it behooves us to say that a fringe minority who share Sherrandy's opinion are actually racist, which is why it isn't as easy to swallow hers. The reason why we started this podcast was to spotlight folks who might have similar opinions that are rooted in (their perception of the) narrative (presented): anything that goes beyond that and into some ideological/racial bent is not only idiotic but wholly fruitless - because the writers' intentions matter.
  • Appreciating the Actors, Regardless: Dave tries to rescue Sherrandy by recalling how she said each and every performer was on their A-Game, even Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira, but she goes right back to saying Rick & Michonne are better as friends...
    ...however, she only does this to illustrate that - between the more modern setting (preferring survival in the wild) and her lack of disbelief in Michonne and Rick as a couple - it makes it a little harder to enjoy this series.
  • Desire for a Different Setting: After ironically mourning the loss of the cute little Roomba, Sherrandy is looking forward to who or what Richonne might encounter in their travels across the country.
  • The desire for Jadis' Demise: Takeerah, coming in hot. The show makes you want to agree with Richonne - that Warrant Officer Anne Stokes needs to go - but most of us agree that it might find a way to either show her side of the story and/or make it so that she can't or won't die.
  • Jadis' Contingency: Bridget basically says they can't kill her anyway because she has a dead mans switch that would lead to the demise of both them, their family, and their previous settlements. If not for this summit in Cascadia Forward Operating Base (with The Civic Republic Military's Command and Frontliners in attendance), she believes her plan would already be in motion, despite the lack of forensic evidence that they are alive.
    AMC Networks

  • Jadis' History of Choosing Sides: Sherrandy points out, rightly, that Jadis has never been one to choose sides; rather, she tends to choose she perceives, in the moment, as the winning side. As much of a true believer she is, when it comes down to it, it's possible (because villains on this show are never clear-cut) that she might side with Richonne if the circumstances favored them being victorious. Rachael makes it clear that Jadis' intentions are always unclear and her choices are always surprising. Her backup contingency might be bullshit.
  • The CRM's Persistence: Dave suggests that Richonne must take them down somehow because they are seemingly ubiquitous, at least across The United States of America. The CRM is incredibly risk averse and there's already some evidence that they already know about Alexandria Safe-Zone (and most-likely other communities). There's also evidence, by way of Tales of The Walking Dead's 4th episode, Amy/Dr. Everett, that suggests they may have been the ones to dig the huge, North-South trench that spanned many states separating humanity from the dead, which means they persist for many years to come.

  • Siding with Rick and Michonne: They're off the hook. Jill explains that because The CRM, for whatever reason, didn't conclusively verify whether Rick & Michonne were alive, we must assume that they assume they are dead and, if not, they will be because their rockets would effectively demolish all of Greenwood. We also conclude that, given that their Blackhawk helicopters fly awfully fast and Richonne's yeeting occurred extremely close to Greenwood, the pilot probably never had time to communicate that they went AWOL. Rachael does mention that Rick already survived one helicopter crash, so you'd think they would check the surrounding area; then again, as Jill says, had he survived he would've activated the PRB. Everyone followed protocol.
  • Overlooking Potential Dangers: Clean apartments (does someone live here?!), opening fridges (you know it's going to smell bad, even if electricity was working), and voices in the air. Counterpoint: they were pretty high up in the building, enough to easily view their crashed helicopter in the side of one of the other buildings.

  • Rick's Startle and the Thinner Roomba(?): Dave muses over how Rick is immediately startled by the Roomba, but then launches into how they're thinner, which briefly confused him about what he was immediately talking about. But seriously, those suckers do a great job, when you note how thick the dust is on the higher surfaces. We also had a little chuckle when Rick shouts at the Google Home style announcements while he and Michonne are arguing.

  • PRB... what's it mean?: Personal Response Button, Personal Response Beacon, Polychlorinated Biphenyls, Pre-Rolled Blunts... art is subjective, people.
  • Michonne's Katana and Iconic Moments: Rick and Michonne stab a walker's head simultaneously, which remind us of the time Negan and Maggie Rhee did the same in TWD Season 11, which we dubbed, just the tips. Michonne grabbing the rebar in the gym as a weapon is a sly nod to the rebar Rick was impaled on during in his final few episodes on TWD. Bridget muses on whether we might ever see Michonne's iconic katana again, but Jill brings up how in TWD Season 5 that Michonne would give up her sword if it meant she got to keep Rick.
    Who did it better?

  • The Sass & Black Girl Representation: Takeerah felt particularly represented when she saw the expression on Michonne's face after she realizes she let slip that Rick had another child. Rachael particularly enjoyed the sass Michonne was dishing out to Rick about the notes he left her in the episode prior.

  • Ramona The Pest: Say what you will about Ramona, but this book in question reflects our story perfectly: good intentions that go awry and the fear over the masks we wear possibly wearing down our identity are on point. Also, Rick, like Ramona, played with Michonne's curls which got him into the good kind of trouble on TWD. πŸ˜‰ Speaking of books though, on top of the massive amount of programming books from the early 2000s, there were also books on art and politics. One of the books that stands out was actually the one on the coffee table was The Art of Revolution, published by the Organisation in Solidarity with the people of Africa, Asia and Latin America (OSPAAAL), Cuba, 1960s-1990s. Along with the note read near the end of the episode, it indicates that Greenwood also had good intentions - trying to leave the world in a better place than how they found it - that went awry.
    The Art of Revolution book on the coffee table

  • The Bottle Episode and Greater Allegory: To most, this didn't feel like a bottle episode. What helps is that the settling is a reflection of Richonne's relationship, at present, down to the CRM blowing it up and the need for Greenwood to collapse for their relationship to move forward. Takeeerah adds to this by saying Michonne had to break Rick down, in a different way than The CRM, in order to build him back up again.
  • Rick's Two Sons: By the way, Rachael had mentioned in the last episode how, if she were Michonne, she wouldn't have been able to keep RJ Grimes a secret and, true to form, Michonne couldn't either. What makes it even sweeter is the full-circle moment, beginning last episode with Michonne's encounter with Benjiro, and ending on her remembering Carl Grimes image enough to get him to produce an etching of Carl to show Rick and help him remember his first born, again.
  • Michonne's Breakdown and Restart: Speaking of breaking something in order to mend it, Rick's last words to Michonne about them being broken was something she needed to hear in order to jump-start the healing process. What Rick said was super hurtful and so was Michonne's, giving him all that sass, but at least she wasn't lying to him and was doing it to wake him up.
  • Authenticity and Vulnerability in Arguments: At the core of every argument is at least one party refusing to tell the other, you're hurting me. When Michonne says this to Rick, it's super authentic and resonates even further after all the logical arguments that are made initially. If only we all had the strength to become as vulnerable as she, in that moment.

  • Dave attempts to identify with Rick in both positive and negative connotations: what Rick is trying to do is be brave by sacrificing himself for the sake of the ones he loves, like all good men do, but sometimes sacrifice becomes unnecessary martyrdom that would've otherwise been tempered had you involved your partner in critical decisions throughout. That being said, we criticized Michonne a lot in the last episode about her brazen A-ness (don't read that out loud too fast), but had Rick been a little more open, she wouldn't have had to put herself at risk because they'd be on the same page.
  • Speaking of A-ness, Thorne is an A- at Best: Takeerah reframe's Cmd Sgt. Major Pearl Thorne's status as a B+ and, after some discussion, an A-. The reason? Just because she almost kills Lt. Col. Donald Okafor on the high seas doesn't automatically qualify her as an 'A' (Alpha). Even if it did, it seemed that the moment she was privy to the actual Echelon Briefing, she completely submitted to The CRM (not without some discomfort/confusion). Jill basically relegates Thorne's B-ness to Dana Bethune coming in and stealing her HBIC (= Head Bitch in Charge) crown.
  • Pearl's Submission: On a serious note, Jill explains Thorne's submission to that of John Locke's (on LOST) when presented with Desmond Hume's dead-man's switch computer. End of the world scenarios tend to do that to a person, no matter how strong-willed (eh, Rick?). It also doesn't help her fortitude that Rick couldn't escape even after chopping off his own hand to get away. Jill likes Thorne and understands her thought process perfectly when she tells Rick, they're not gone: we're gone.
    AMC Networks

  • Rick and Michonne's Intimacy: Again, art is subject to interpretation. You could speculate that Rick was having a panic-attack, flood of emotions, or moment of anxiety when he and Michonne first started getting intimate. You could say that he orgasmed quickly because he hadn't been with a woman since the last time he had sex with Michonne (answering a question we've asked since the series premiere). You could even say that it was all of the above. What you can't say is that we didn't have a lot of fun discussing this one, but at its core lies a supreme vulnerability we're all acquainted with that we deeply respect. Michonne maintaining eye contact with him and placing his hand on her heart was inspirational and made all of us feel safe in our own vulnerability. That being said, here's (The Truth About) Luther Vandross' Love Won't Let Me Wait:

  • (Un)Intended Consequences: There's absolutely no way the Grimes siblings aren't having another sibling after this. Also, Dave and his wife also play the make-out game in elevators. Dave and Thomas O'Mara had originally speculated that we'd see a full-frontal Rick this episode, but it (sadly?) never came to pass. We also hope he didn't use his bettered nub during their moment of intimacy, which reminded us of Sherrandy's first Secret Santa video:

  • Scars and Lockdown: Michonne received the 'X' branding scar we see on her back from TWD episode 9x14, Scars, which Dave leverages as a sort of callback and mirror to The CRM. Only a few months after she loses Rick, she runs into her pre-apocalypse friend, Jocelyn, who almost ends up ruining her world after trusting her. We saw the result of that throughout Season 9 in the manner in which she isolates Alexandria from The Hilltop and as The Kingdom falls to ruin. She of all people knows, like the CRM, what it means to not open yourself to risk by exposing yourself to the world. The irony is that the very thing that kicks of her road to recovery is The Multi-Community Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which she wrote, that was taken by Aaron and given to Paul "Jesus" Rovia for Hilltop to sign. It kicks off a series of events that ends up leading to Jesus' death at the hands of The Whisperers, but makes them inseparable from that point forward.


  • Emotional Impact of the mention of Carl Grimes on Dave: His wife, Evelyn, heard him getting emotional in the other room, so loud that she rushed to check in on him.
  • Recognition for Andrew Lincoln's performance: Jill's reaction to this is that Andy should win an Emmy or at least a Golden Globe award for lead actor in a dramatic series not that Saturn Awards bullshit.
  • The importance of connecting pieces and tying up loose ends: Bringing up Scars launches Daryl off into the woods in his search for Rick (an example Michonne could've used with Nat, on the road - about not knowing when to go - but she delays our gratification and mentions it to Rick, here), whereas Michonne had to stop and raise the kids. Us watching Rick lose Carl by reusing stock footage from the final episodes of Season 8 hurts, but all of this isn't just fan-service: it's for us to re-ground ourselves to the feeling/idea that Rick was a father, first, and it started with Carl.

  • Their Faces Start to Disappear: In the absence of photographs, paintings, other renderings, and digital anything, it makes it that much hard for us to remember the faces of those we've lost, which is something Bridget had mentioned in the last episode, with respect to Carl, and bore fruit this episode as the reason Rick finally gives to Michonne about how he was able to maintain his persistent and more drastic attempts to escape The CRM.
  • The possibility of discussing the losses: Rachael asks whether Michonne might discuss the folks they lost along the way while Rick was gone, like Enid, Jesus, Tara Chambler, or Siddiq. Jill, Bridget, and Dave chime in to say that thought it's something we want to see, it might get in the way of the story unless it ties into something in the present narrative. Besides, there are new people like Magna, Yumiko Okumura, Connie, Kelly, and Luke Abrams.
  • Children are the Best Timeline Yardstick: We had always used Judith as our measuring stick to gauge when and where we are in the timeline, but RJ happens to be the better yardstick in this episode when Michonne mentions Scars had happened 7 months after Rick left and how he is almost 8 years-old. That puts us at 11+ years after the fall of humanity. Just to paint the picture, Here's Negan (TWD 10x22) claims the fall happens 12 years prior, which means The Commonwealth hadn't introduced themselves just yet. See, children have a utility other than eating them...

  • Kids Are Good For More Than Just Telling Time: Jill reminds us that Judith helped breakdown both Daryl's & Michonne's emotional walls. After the fall of The Prison settlement, Rick looked at Judith's bloody baby carrier and truly believed she was dead which brought him to the same state Michonne was after losing her son, Andre, which is is a connecting thread.
  • The Fear of Finding Them Dead: Rick could continue being dead for as long as he believed that Michonne was still out there, similar to how Morgan Jones could go on believing Henry was still out there, rather than stumbling upon his (reanimated) corpse and joining Carol Peletier in the search in TWD episode 8x14, Still Gotta Mean Something. For Rick, it's Schrodinger's Michonne/RJ/Judith. I know how to be dead and live now = They're not gone, we're gone = We are The Walking Dead.

  • Rick's Time with CRM: He's been longer with them than anyone else, so his conditioning makes sense. Hearing him describe all the ways he tried to hold onto the memory of those he loved all these years makes knowing that all the more brutal. Rachael doesn't think he's completely out of the woods, but he's aware now, thanks to Michonne, and we might see more growth in the final two episodes.
  • Unified Choreography and Moments of Levity: Bridget notes how out-of-sync they'd been throughout these episodes, but also this episode. When they start to venture out and kill walkers, they weren't good partners - but man were the one-liners (Commando, Hug the wall, dammit) so funny. By the end, their moves were synchronized and fluid, similar to the way their whole group was on the road, clearing homes and ending walkers, before they reached The Prison.
  • Asibe Happy by Ami Faku (/w DJ Maphirosa & Kabza De Small): When Rick & Michonne finally flee the building, the clouds seemed to part, the colors were brighter, and the world felt a lot more open to them (and possibility). Just then, Asibe Happy starts to play, which compliments the mood in both melody and content: We are happy / We are in love / They have tried to separate us - they failed / Our Ancestors agree - we are a fit / The two of us / Let us be happy together - be happy
    Let's be happy, my person / Let's be happy - be together / Let's be happy my person / Let's be happy - be together

  • Like almost every episode in this series, thus far, they could've ended the whole thing right at the end of this episode and we would've been satisfied with its conclusion, which is quite the phenomena. Sherrandy mentions that the only thing that comes close is the Season One Finale of Westworld. On top of everything else, Bridget hates anthology style or bottle episodes (probably due to the sheer volume of them we received on FearTWD and TWD's bonus episodes), but this episode didn't feel like one because it had movement. Important reminder that Danai wrote and was showrunner, start to finish, on this episode. Also noteworthy, each episode consistently had a point near the end that could've been the actual end of each episode, but kept going to give us much more than we bargained for.
  • Let Me by Somi: This song plays during the credits and is also by a female African musical artist. The words are much different than the song that plays beforehand because, rather than the theme revolve around being together, this song focuses on someone standing on their own two feet and recognizing their own strength. This pairs well with the name Michonne gives to The CRM: Dana Bethune, the etymology which we went through in the last episode.

  • Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree by Tony Orlando & Dawn: The song is written from the perspective of a man who is coming home from prison after serving his sentence. Similar to soldiers who come back from war, their loved ones let them know that they are in their thoughts and hearts by tying yellow ribbons around trees and lamp posts. Some women even tie yellow ribbons in their hair to inform other men that they are taken. Essentially, Rick has been away for so long that he needs a sign that it's OK for him to return.
    Editor's Note: It's super interesting that the first song is from Rick's perspective, Asibe Happy is from their perspective, and Somi is from Michonne's perspective.

  • Matthew Negrete, who was Showrunner of The Walking Dead: World Beyond, was Consulting Producer for this episode.
    Editor's Note: we misspoke about his involvement in Tales of The Walking Dead because he was not involved in any way in the making of that series. Sherrandy (and Dave) was most likely thinking of Channing Powell.
  • Rick and Michonne Making Out in the Elevator: It needs to happen every time they go down an elevator (why waste time? And how often will that ever happen?). Jill comes back! ...and adds to what Bridget says about the fluid choreography between the two: them emerging from the elevator and kicking ass is reminiscent of the movie Mr & Mrs Smith (which is now a television series starring Maya Erskine & Donald Glover). Sherrandy references Mallrats, That was romantic, right? Yeah, passionate.
  • Commando: Dave's favorite line is when Rick tells Michonne to Hug the wall, dammit, just before a chandelier almost falls on top of him. His line means nothing without him soldier-splaining the following:
    We can't breach from this high up, even if it's from a defensible position.
    Michonne, I don't even have a weapon, Commando, so how are we supposed to get past all those walkers? God damn defensible position...
    Commando... really?

  • The Hopeful Musical Phrase: Where everyone else seems to focus on songs containing singing and lyrics and the noticeable, frontier-like score from the second episode, there is a consistent musical phrase that Composer Sam Ewing injects at the end of many scenes across these episodes that gave Dave goosebumps every time he heard it. Everyone else missed it. You can catch a little of it when Michonne starts to leave Greenwood and Rick, after the longest pause, finally rushes after her. You catch it again just after they (re)start their intimacy. The phrase is cut short in the former, but the latter resumes to completion.
  • Flirting and Facebook Pages: Jill, The Living Richonne, reminds us that songs have always played a role on the show, like More Than a Feeling by Boston playing when Rick finally decides to stop wearing his wedding band and eyeballing Michonne as she moisturizes.
  • Living in a Walker Honeymoon: More public displays of affection! When Rick realizes he can't drive a manual transmission (umm, he's missing a hand), he and Michonne make out while swapping seats. It's like they kickstarted their honeymoon phase all over again, and Dave's just glad (he's in the back seat) along for the ride. Even those who aren't big fans of PDA loved it. See?

  • The Tension Between the Collectivism and Individualism: Themes in TWDU have evolved over time. Survival (we are the walking dead, until such time where we don't have to be) ➡️ TWDU allows you to be the person you were meant to be ➡️ Michonne mounting her sword above the fireplace and learning to thrive over survive ➡️ rallying humanity behind a common threat: the undead. Rick mentions that the walkers were thin, leading him to conclude that Greenwood's inhabitants died of starvation due to crop failure, which is what threatened The Saviors' survival at the start of Season 9 and even the start of FearTWD Season 4 with it's second episode, Another Day in the Diamond. All of this paints the picture of a greater emerging theme: The CRM believes that a culling has to occur in order for humanity to ultimately survive this moment in history, or else they are doomed; however, this runs directly against TWDU's other core themes. Is humanity worth saving if we have to relinquish our individual freedoms? Isn't Rick & Michonne's journey one where they can accomplish anything they set out to do, perhaps even the fall of humanity?

  • The CRM's 500-Year Plan: TWD: World Beyond reminds us that The CRM was only supposed to remain in charge of The Civic Republic for 10 years, before handing the reigns of power back to the government. Is that what this summit at Cascadia Forward Operating Base is all about? How else are they going to be able to ensure that their plan moves forward? Has the CR, as well, bought into the we are the last light of the world line, as well? Like Ramona The Pest (and what Michonne says about Greenwood/Rick), will their intentions go awry?
  • It's About Control: Bridget pushes back because it isn't just about the ultimate survival of humanity but about control. The CRM want to be credited for saving humanity and not only restoring it but pushing it to new heights, which lays all other possible plans to waste simply because it's not their own. Bridget regales us with a story from her youth where a friend of hers, Kyle, threw a house party during Halloween and his mother came home and found that it was still going on after 10:00pm, to which she screamed at him, in her chicken costume, You said 10! New TWDU Spin-off: The Walking Dead: You Said 10! response to The CRM remaining in power past their mandate.

  • Dave doesn't disagree, but loves that the tension between these two themes exists: People continue to persist in the zombie apocalypse believing that there is a tomorrow and - assuming The CRM is correct about their tipping point - knowing that it might've all been for nothing unless they follow the CRM might cause them to shut down. People want to know that there's a future: or else, why bother? Bridget and Sherrandy add to this that humanity (evolutionarily speaking) also can't help themselves for wanting to improve their quality of life, especially in a world of scarcity. It goes back to Sherrandy's comments about her dislike of modernization because it feels alien (especially within the context of this universe).

  • The Content Rating for the Next Episode is LSV: Language, Sexual Situations, and Violence. No not Survivalaring [the act of Live Action Role Playing survival] Sexual Suggestives by David Cameo. The women proceed to gang up on him and bully him throughout the remaining minutes, which makes sense: they had to break him down to end this episode.

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