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Tuesday, March 12, 2024

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live |1x02| Gone

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We jump into this episode right where Michonne left us on The Walking Dead 10x13, What We Become. She cuts a bloody path to Rick Grimes, just shy of killing him. But is it still him? And was it a good move for him to bring her back to the Civic Republic (Military)?
🎬We cut a whole HOUR from our original recordings, with a long pre-show, a hilarious post-show, CHUNKS of funny/informative tangents, and even some factual mistakes not suitable for the final product in the middle. Stream it by either tipping us on Ko-fi or joining a membership tier on either Ko-fi or Patreon.

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David Cameo:
Rachael Burt:
Bridget Mason-Gray:

  • Housekeeping and Corrections: Special thanks to T Nation on YouTube who corrected us on Lettersgate (Michonne and Rick Grimes did not exchange letters)

  • Music and Filming Style: Shout out to Sam Ewing for the score this episode; however, Bridget hates that The Walking Dead Universe is filming in HD (especially flashing back to older footage).

  • Different Vibe and Cinematic Elements: Danai Gurira's experience writing for the stage reveals itself in Nat's exposition on his stepfather, Danger. The differences in environment between the 1st and 2nd episodes is intentional, but the end result is the same.
  • Rachael's First Impressions: Loved Breeda Wool's Aidan, but knew she was going to die. Actor's are real people, their character's aren't. She compares the score to Far Cry 5 (Bridget invokes Firefly).

  • Rick's Selfishness: This episode shifts your perspective on the moment when Rick Grimes meets Michonne again: she was seeking vengeance. Is it still him? if Rick brings Michonne into The Civic Republic, knowing that she can never leave?

  • Michonne's Lack of Knowledge: She really does not know if Judith Grimes and everyone else are fine, since she left in the final days of the war with The Whisperers and, eventually, The Commonwealth saga.
  • Excavating Michonne's Journey from The Walking Dead to The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live: the show does a great job of bringing us back to where she left us.
  • Unanswered Questions about Jadis/Warrant Officer Anne Stokes and Rick: Is there more to their arrangement?

  • Anxiety Dreams and Incomparable Love: Like Jadis says, Michonne finding Rick is nothing short of a miracle.
  • Acceptance and Finding Each Other: Michonne essentially gave up and was heading home to her family. For both Rick and Michonne, knowing when to go - setting aside the active pursuit of finding one another - was the means to their success in finding each other.
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  • The Satisfaction of Taking Down the The Helicopter: Nat's scream stick did not miss (Lt. Col. Donald Okafor)! Payback is satisfying, even if it almost ended Rick.

  • Nat's Endearing Qualities: Nat is pretty entertaining, but even more endearing when he gets real with himself. He is the audience, much like Wes was on Fear The Walking Dead.

  • The Connection Between Okafor and Rick: Just like Rick sparing Negan, Okafor stopped the cycle of violence in favor of a brighter future. The question hangs in the atmosphere whether he and his soldiers in the Echelon Program were responsible for the bombing of Omaha.
  • The Reasoning Behind Omaha's Destruction: More reasons to watch The Walking Dead: World Beyond because it was revealed that The Civic Republic Military projected that keeping Omaha alive would lead to a tipping point and cause massive famine and human suffering in the long run. We are skeptical of this due to their destruction of Campus Colony, Lt. Col. Elizabeth Kublek stating They would've become a threat. So are people a resource or a drain?
  • The Role of Okafor in the CRM: Bridget deduces that the bombing of Omaha wasn't his doing, but knows about it, which accelerates his quest to bring Pearl Thorne and Rick - as 'A's who should've been eliminated - into the Echelon Program.
  • The Effects of Chlorine Gas: We definitively go through the reason why it took so long for Nat & Michonne to recover from a near-fatal dose of Chlorine Gas. You can read more about the effects, here, and why tomato sauce was a pretty smart way to fully recover.

  • The Symbolism of The Wailing and Purple Flames: It's nice to see that the frame of Michonne descending towards The Wailing Wall (a 5-mile wide horde of walkers) is lifted straight from the Series Finale of The Walking Dead. The purple flames of Nat's Giant-sized screaming sticks, to divert the horde and split the sea of walkers (Moses much?), is derived of Potassium (because of its purple flames). Potassium and Chlorine together make Potassium Salt, which is still biblical because of  Laban's wife turning into a pillar of salt when she turns to witness the destruction of Sodom and Gomora.
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  • The Wisdom of Kenny Rogers: Nat's mantra of Knowing When to Go reminds the gang of Kenny Rogers' The Gambler.

  • Knowing When to Leave: Connecting with Nat's words on a personal level.
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  • Reflecting on Daryl Dixon's Search for Rick: Talk about knowing when to go! Michonne could've referenced that struggle as well. Unlike Rick & Michonne, Daryl tragically waited too long and Leah Shaw walked out of his life.
  • Accepting the Possibility of Going Back: Dave connects Nat's words as both a rallying cry for Michonne and a means to eventually accept the things she can't change, should she reach that point - especially when there are people in her care that need her around. Most of us are familiar with the kind of person we can become when our determination laps our better judgment. We use this as a means to reflect on Rick's struggle and how the look on Michonne's face speaks volumes when she realizes the lengths he went to get back to her (and the danger Rick put her in).
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  • Jadis and Rick's Agreement: She certainly is a double-edged sword. We all have a lot to thank her for, not tattling to the powers-that-be, but man is she making it extremely easy to hate her by threatening the loved ones of Rick & Michonne.
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  • The Miracle of Finding Each Other: It's not only limited to the end of their search, but how Michonne, as Dana Bethune, managed to convince The CRM that she was a 'B'. She could've been killed at any point in time! In addition to this, Jadis knows who Michonne is! To counter-balance all the freaking out over Rick's decision to bring in Michonne, Jadis' own words acknowledge the insurmountable force of Rick & Michonne.
  • The Strength of Bonds Formed Through Struggle: The honeymoon phase is real and grandparents love means sticking it out and facing the word as partners. It means having conversations when things aren't great, weathering fights, and course-correcting when there are misalignments in our individual paths. Rick & Michonne finding each other seems easy when faced with the prospect of syncing up after all this time. What we may end up finding: just like in our own relationships, once they're finally on the same page, they're bond will be even stronger than before.
  • The Opportune Time for Rick to Escape... If he wasn't broken: Rachael muses that Rick could've escaped with Michonne right when they found one another, but Bridget & Dave explain that Rick's experience informs him that there really is no escape and - from his traumatized perspective - proceeds to make the best of a bad situation. Bridget uses Daryl's psychological torture among The Saviors as a perfect example.
  • Jadis' Threat and Use of Rick and Michonne: Musing further on Jadis' words, as frightening as they are, really give us more comfort after literally saying Rick has Stockholm Syndrome: Maybe Rick and Michonne really can do anything together.
  • Jadis' Role and Motives: The reason why she goes on the offensive with Rick is mainly because she is threatened by the combined force of Rick and Michonne: she wants to chip away at his Stockholm Syndrome enough to paralyze him into inaction... or maybe even action because, either way, she directly benefits from him succeeding or failing. Though we all acknowledge that she is a true believer in The CRM, that doesn't mean she won't stop scheming to gain more power.
  • Symbolism of red eyes (from the last episode): Red light (being watched) or red eyes (vengeance), Michonne was ready to slaughter every last CRM soldier that poured out of the downed helicopter. Clearly, there are some unresolved issues there that need resolving and we're concerned that she may go murder-jacket-Rick on Rick.
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  • Michonne's Pet Walkers and A Parallel: Bridget points out that Michonne's first appearance - with her pet walkers - includes a scene with she and Andrea Harrison observing Phillip "The Governor" Blake slaughtering a bunch of Army Reservists that had emerged from a helicopter.

  • Role reversal with Aiden and Bailey: It's hard not to see that Aidan and Bailey are a reflection of Rick & Michonne, but we also noticed that the name Aidan is often given to boys and Bailey to girls. From this, are we to expect that Michonne is basically the ultimate hero of this story (or at least the one to snap Rick out of it)?

  • Possible reference to Michonne's comic book daughter: To give Bridget credit, the leader of The Nomads is named Elle, and she borrows Bailey's story to convince The CRM to let her in. Dave also points out that this might've also been a nod to Michonne's comic book daughter named Elodie Hawthorne.

  • Parallel scenes and role reversal: Similar to the first episode (where Rick is about to slit his own throat), this episode features two extremely similar scenes. Michonne is questioned by both Elle of The Nomads and The CRM. But the experiences couldn't be more different. Michonne is open and honest with Elle, whose group constantly migrates out in the open and allows its members to come and go as they please to the point where they leave people behind. She is lying to The CRM in the parallel scene near the end with a group whose location is not only static but hidden and whose members cannot leave for any reason (and those who attempt - really, just Rick - are found and caught). The scene is very similar to our survivors on TWD being interviewed on Deeana Monroe's camcorder, especially the spectacular performance from Carol Peletier.

  • Fear and feeling stuck: We could spend all day pointing out the differences between The Nomads and The CR(M), but the end result is the same: members of each community are afraid to leave. The Nomads are paralyzed by their freedom of choice in a world of scarcity. Citizens of  CR have no reason to leave, but should they try, they have every reason to fear retaliation.
  • Time and procrastination: 🀫WHISPERERS Tier Member Lois, in the real time chat, asks whether Rick wants to stay or feels like he can't leave. Bridget & Dave speak to instances in their  own lives where there never felt like there was a good time to leave a bad relationship. It's very possible Rick feels he has to stay to protect his love ones (or at least decide too late), which will be a nail-biter to see play out.
  • Gas Man: Let Me Help You: This walker in the opening scene is equally intriguing and mystifying. For starters, it's prescient, since we mentioned in the Reaction to the TWD:TOWL Series Premiere Q&A how the show made changes even during production, much like the movie Die Hard. Why? Because Die Hard was completely written and filmed during production and the writing on the walker reminded us of one of its scenes where John McClaine had written on one of his victims the words, Now I have a machinegun: Ho Ho Ho"
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  • Possible references in literature: The only tangible reference Dave could find that might possibly connect to this intriguing walker - outside of the possibility that it's just an inside joke between Andrew Lincoln, Danai Gurira, and Scott M. Gimple - is a reference in The Pagans by Arlo Bates. Bridget attempts to link it to zombie lore - both exposition and a scene from Night of the Living Dead and the exposition played out in Land of the Dead - but nothing that really hits the nail on the head. Lastly, Dave might've found a walker Beta in the split sea of walkers:

  • The migration community and connections to other shows: Tales of The Walking Dead's 4th episode, Amy / Dr. Everett goes more in depth into walker migrations. Dave references columns, which was referenced in TWD: World Beyond: basically mega herds.
  • The CRM is the connecting thread: Fans often misunderstood Scott Gimple based on a statement he made years ago that this is the series that would tie the greater universe. Really, The CRM themselves are the throughline into all the other series (rather than a single series that connects them all). We get it, though: some of the more hardcore fans want to see their favorite characters show up again. You may not get what you want, but you'll like what you get (if you let yourself).
  • The Power of Belief and Validation: The same saying holds true for Michonne because she didn't immediately find Rick, but met some great folks along the way who validated her decision to try to help people for its own sake.
  • Conveying Emotions Without Directly Stating Them: Allowing Knowing When to Go to be said and expressed throughout the episode was an excellent take on show: don't tell by conveying that feeling without explicitly explaining it.
  • The Horrors of the CRM and Michonne's Journey: Dave finally states his impression of this episode. It was uncomfortable to watch, especially since witnessing the actions of The CRM out in the world and the terrifying prospect that they can destroy entire settlements - that we know of in TWDU - just for seeing them in the sky.
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  • The Symbolism of Nat and the Your Red Wagon: Nat may have gotten his name from the song-writer legend of Your Red Wagon, Nat "King" Cole. Dave mentions something General Colin Powell said of a child's little red wagonEvery child should have a little red wagon to carry around their dreams, their hopes and their troubles, so when the burden is too heavy an adult can lean down and help pull the load. This validates Nat's experience with his step-father, who gave him a push in the right direction, giving him purpose and making it fairly far into the zombie apocalypse.
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  • The Clever Details in the Mall Scene: You know Bailey met his demise by sleeping next to Aidan because of the bloody pillow next to her. Nat started the fire on the perfume display case by using the alcohol in the perfume as an accelerant. Also, who doesn't love a mall in zombie lore? Michonne and Nat have all the beds!

  • The Reference to Daisho/Shoto and Blanking on Walker Names: The callsigns for Michonne and Judith are Daisho & Shoto, respectively, which we referenced on her last episode of The Walking Dead. When Rick was screaming at her, as the CRM arrived, telling her not to use the term walkers, Dave's mind went completely blank attempting to think of other names. It's a testament to the intensity of that moment.
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