‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’ Episode 4 Recap & Ending Explained: Does Rick Leave With Michonne?

Among the many kinds of story-telling The Walking Dead had tried in its eleven-season run, a character-focused, single-location episode was a pretty common one. But the thing is, most of the time, it didn’t work. The reason behind that is that The Walking Dead as a show (and I’m talking about the mother show here, not going into the spinoffs) has way more gristle and bones than actual meat, barring the first season. The meat was tasty nonetheless, but the process of getting there was often very tiresome. Naturally, with time (and Rick Grimes’ exit), people have lost interest in everything related to The Walking Dead, too.


Spoilers Ahead

Yeah, I know I’m supposed to talk about The Ones Who Live here, not the mother show. But the structure of its latest episode is so similar to those character-centric episodes of The Walking Dead that I had to bring it up here. After last week’s cliffhanger ending, we knew we’d get a big confrontation scene between Rick and Michonne, but I don’t think any of us expected that to be the whole episode. Did it work, though? Sadly no. The problem with The Walking Dead is that, as much as we love to cheer for some of the OG characters like Rick, Darryl, Carol, and Michonne, we barely get emotionally invested in them. The burden of this being a freaking universe—having so many shows and characters—doesn’t let us do that. That’s why it’s hard to feel anything for Rick and Michonne here, despite Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira trying their best to pull things off. The only time the nostalgia factor works is when Carl gets mentioned. In case you don’t remember who that was (which is quite unforgivable, though), it’s Rick Grimes’ dead son we’re talking about. 


What Is the Main Argument Between Rick and Michonne?

It has been pretty clear from last week’s episode of The Ones Who Live that Rick has no intention of leaving CRM. Michonne, on the other hand, absolutely doesn’t want anything to do with CRM; in fact, she would rather destroy them. Considering how menacing CRM is, Rick’s decision to stay with the bad guys in order to protect the people he loves does make a lot of sense. But this is The Walking Dead, for heaven’s sake, where nobody can actually beat Rick freaking Grimes. We all know that, and Michonne knows that as well! The only people who’re not acknowledging that at this point are idiots like Beale, aka the CRM boss, and Rick Grimes himself.

In a situation like this, Michonne had to do something as dramatic as jumping out of a running helicopter in the middle of a storm—taking Rick along with her, of course. Not only do they land safely, but they even find a sweet apartment with lots of modern amenities, like a Roomba. It turns out that some people built this place once upon a time with the hope of a better life. And they did that without killing people, unlike CRM, as Michonne points out to Rick. She keeps trying to convince him, while he keeps holding on to his point: he needs to stay to protect Michonne and the kids. One big reveal that happens here is Rick finally finding out about Rick Jr., aka RJ. But even after knowing he has an eight-year-old son, Rick is hellbent on staying with CRM and changing it from the inside. Michonne is obviously frustrated and angry, as this is clearly not the Rick Grimes she wanted to meet after all these years (neither did we). Looking out of the window, they see their helicopter burning, which only means CRM will now think they’ve died in an unfortunate helicopter crash. But Rick still doesn’t want to take the risk and go back to Alexandria. Realizing she can’t convince Rick in any way, Michonne decides to leave and storms out of the apartment.


Does CRM find Rick and Michonne?

Right after Michonne leaves, a CRM helicopter appears in the sky. It takes a shot at the already-destroyed helicopter. Rick rushes to Michonne in order to save her. He explains how CRM always wants to make sure there’s no evidence of anything, which basically means that right after seeing the helicopter, they concluded that Rick and Michonne had died, and now they plan to demolish the building to make sure nobody else is alive out there. Thanks to CRM’s demolition attempt, Rick and Michonne soon fall into a delta frenzy inside the building. Michonne gets trapped under a fallen chandelier, but Rick saves her. The trouble with The Ones Who Live is that, as a fact, neither of these two is going to die until the final episode, so no urgency or emotional impact is felt.

Does Rick decide to leave with Michonne?

Rick and Michonne return to the apartment, as that side of the building is still unharmed. They reconcile and spend the night together. Rick, however, still wants to go back to CRM and wants to change things from within. Michonne doesn’t understand why the formidable Rick Grimes is acting this way. Upon asking, Rick finally tells her something, which basically means that after years of struggle, he is traumatized about losing people and has now reached a stage where he would keep living and try to do the right thing while remaining dead inside. I am not sure what exactly the writers were smoking because the explanation seems rather muddled and half-baked. Of course, Rick extensively talking about Carl Grimes is kind of moving and reminds you of the glory days of The Walking Dead.


Anyway, Rick finally comes on board with Michonne and decides to leave for Alexandria. Fortunately, they find a car outside as well, with plenty of ethanol to reach their home. The lovers are finally reunited, and things could have just ended here, but there are two more episodes of The Ones Who Live left, so an obvious showdown between CRM and Team Rick and Michonne is coming our way. It would be great if we got to see some more familiar faces in the finale, but that’s probably not going to happen due to contract and budgetary issues, I suppose.

Note: Putting the flashback scenes of Carl in was a really nice touch.


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Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra Majumdar
Rohitavra likes to talk about movies, music, photography, food, and football. He has a government job to get by, but all those other things are what keep him going.

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