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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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