‘The Ones Who Live’ Episode 3 Recap — Rick Better Watch His Back

Mar 11, 2024

Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 3.

The Big Picture

Rick’s alliance with the CRM is tested, leading to difficult decisions and frustrating outcomes.
Michonne doesn’t follow Rick’s orders, causing tension and highlighting their complex dynamic.
Michonne saves the day and Thorne, proving her worth in a mission and setting up an unpredictable ending.

After a rather lackluster episode overall last week, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live came back with a vengeance for Episode 3. The end of Episode 2 sent a chill down our spines as Pollyanna McIntosh’s Jadis questioned Rick (Andrew Lincoln) about his true intentions with the CRM. Did he really think that she wouldn’t remember who Michonne (Danai Gurira) was? As she so eloquently puts it at the end of the episode, “Rick, what the fuck are you doing?”

The halfway point of The Ones Who Live is the series’ best episode yet. Not only is the tone consistently ominous, but the stakes heighten in organic yet unexpected ways. Rick is terrified of Jadis in a way we haven’t seen before. Lincoln’s iconic character is quite literally shaking in his boots. We can usually assume it’s just a matter of time before he has the upper hand again, but in this series, it’s increasingly obvious that Rick is in way over his head — and he knows it.

Can We Really Blame Jadis in ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’?

The episode gives us some more context on what Jadis has been up to. (Spoiler alert: she used to rock some long locks, apparently.) The opening scene takes place years in the past, with Rick taking a “field trip” of sorts, as part of his orientation, to the city he will become a part of after he’s put in his time as a consignee. Its cheery vibe and idyllic setting are unsettling, and a bit reminiscent of the later seasons of The Walking Dead. Remember Eugene’s (Josh McDermitt) weird ice cream date? Yeah, we wish we didn’t, either. Thankfully, Rick and Michonne’s spin-off maintains its integrity and grittiness even in this “normal” world, never dipping into fairy tale territory.

Pollyanna McIntosh has a different kind of badass entrance this week. She’s eating French fries and waiting to come across Rick, who isn’t afraid to show how irked he is at her. But, like, why? After their exchange, it’s hard to really be mad at Jadis’ threats to Rick at the end of last week’s episode. Sure, Rick’s point about being stuck in a place he can’t escape is valid, but Jadis saved him not once, but twice. She saved him after the bridge explosion and then again when she said he was a B and not an A.

Jadis is upfront about the fact that the CRM takes As (those who pose a threat to authority) and gets rid of them. Rick makes another valid point: why doesn’t Jadis have to be a consignee? In exchange for Rick, she was able to skirt past that six years of hard labor. McIntosh retains Jadis’ strong will even with her newfound optimism for their future. Yes, Rick wants to return to his loved ones, but with all of these points considered, it’s hard to justify his attitude, and even harder to be mad at Jadis for threatening him.

Rick’s Allegiance With Thorne Is Tested on ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’
Image via AMC

The entire episode is Rick seeing how far he can push his luck with the CRM. We learn that, right as Michonne (er, Dana Bethune) was taken in for questioning, Rick frantically convinced Thorne (Lesley-Ann Brandt) to make her a B, not an A, so they could use her to be part of the CRM and carry out Okafor’s (Craig Tate) plan. Thorne is no dummy, and understandably is skeptical about Rick’s true intentions. She will come to regret this decision — as well as the choice to trust Rick — in no time.

Danai Gurira continues to peel back Michonne’s layers in a captivating way, as our favorite katana-wielder is forced to keep a lot of things in check. In addition to pretending like she doesn’t know Rick, she has to be convincing enough as a B to not raise any eyebrows, maintaining her Dana Bethune persona. Cleo Clifton, an oblivious consignee, picks up on Michonne’s impressive walker-killing skills, which freaks Michonne out. Rick’s starting to realize that his plan to escape with Michonne is more risky than it is rewarding.

The only part of The Ones Who Live so far that feels a bit familiar is Beale (Terry O’Quinn), the head honcho of the CRM. He’s clearly the villain of the series and acts the closest to a conventional one, with his speeches conveying an obvious affinity for power. He promotes Thorne to Command Sergeant Major, who, after the infamous Echelon Briefing, now knows more than Rick about the CRM’s plans. Michonne is on Beale’s radar and Thorne might not be able to protect her if it jeopardizes her new position.

Rick Makes a Difficult (and Frustrating) Decision in ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’

Mr. Grimes, you continue to make some interesting decisions. After dragging Michonne into his new life, Rick is starting to have some serious doubts, which not only threatens his safety, but Michonne’s as well. Each decision Rick makes just further complicates his situation, making it both stressful and frustrating to watch him try to outsmart Jadis. This is especially the case for Michonne, who will understandably lose her patience with the one she loves the most.

At first, it actually seems like Rick might know what he’s doing. He sneaks Michonne a note detailing an elaborate plan for their escape, and for the first time in a long time, Rick resembles the confident leader he was in The Walking Dead’s early years. Between his confidence and Michonne wielding her katana, things are finally looking up, and she heads to their meeting spot.

Gurira channels a devastating blend of terror, anger, and anguish when Michonne finds another note from Rick that says he no longer is going to try to escape with her. Is Rick being brave here or a coward? He initially spins it as, “If you love me, you’ll flee without me,” as he realizes he’d rather Michonne try to get home (he made it look like she died trying to escape) than both of them try to get out. Given all they have been through, literal years searching for each other and trying to stay alive, this move is hard to consider heroic and is more frustrating than anything. Michonne’s range of emotions that wash over her are more than valid.

Rick tells Jadis in secrecy about what he did so that they have their stories straight. “I know I needed to stay to get her away, so I’m here,” is what Rick growls as he proceeds to give Jadis some sass. Jadis keeps her cool and asks Rick if he still wants to kill her, but he says he can’t because their fates are bound together. Jadis reminds Rick that she has a file of all of Rick’s dirty laundry, something the CRM will surely appreciate if they ever get wind of his history with Jadis.

Related Rick and Michonne’s ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’ Reunion Isn’t What We Expected Rick and Michonne aren’t who they used to be.

Michonne Doesn’t Follow Rick’s Orders on ‘The Ones Who Live’ Episode 3
Image via AMC

Shit gets real for Rick when he sees Michonne back hacking at walkers with the other consignees. Not only does she not follow his plan to escape, but it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Thorne to vouch for Michonne as a B, as everyone is starting to pick up on her skills. Lincoln and Gurira continue to impress with their dynamic performances, with the former conveying a complexity that makes us feel deeply for Rick, even if we don’t agree with his decisions.

Gurira shows a softer side to Michonne during her orientation, when she visits the city to meet the artist Rick asked to draw her picture on the iPhone and tells him to “Believe a little bit longer.” This moment of serenity fades quickly, as Thorne takes Rick and Michonne to the same place Okafor took her and Rick when he was asking them to join him in his secret rebellion. Initially, it seems like all Thorne wants to do is poke holes in this Dana Bethune backstory. Why did she kill everyone but Rick when the helicopter went down? Things just weren’t adding up.

Rick prepares to stab Thorne, as it seems like she’s about to kill Michonne, but then Thorne throws a curveball and asks her to join them in the CRM. It actually seems like Thorne is prepared to let Michonne in on secrets Rick isn’t even privy to. Thorne lets her guard down slightly when she’s alone with Rick. She doesn’t agree with Okafor on everything but she does seem to want to be a worthy successor.

Michonne Saves the Day — and Thorne — on ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’
Image via AMC

Thorne leads them to one of their remote bases on a mission to kill walkers and likely harvest more fuel. The series also teases an upcoming summit of all the top-tier folks of the CRM. Thorne is adamant that Michonne stay back from the action and look out for any “no-kills,” but after Thorne herself needs some saving, Michonne steps up and helps. Sure, Thorne needed Michonne at that moment, but she was furious (and embarrassed) that a consignee was already more impressive than her. Michonne tries to convince Rick to escape with her, but he can’t do it. Thorne tells Rick to send Michonne away from the base and that Beale wants to move him up.

Jadis rears her odd-haircut head and finds delight in telling a terrified Rick that she’s stationed on his base now through the summit. Michonne sees Jadis for the first time in a long time and Rick is pushed to his limit. Furious, he tells Michonne that everything they had is “broken,” and that he is getting her out of here whether she wants to leave or not. “I belong here, you don’t, and you will never change that.” Damn, Rick! Do you really think Michonne is just going to take that? Episode 3 ends on the most unpredictable note yet. Upon returning to the base, Rick and Michonne’s helicopter weathers a horrific storm, and Michonne jumps out, pulling Rick out with her.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live REVIEWIn Episode 3 of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, a terrified Rick concocts a plan to escape the CRM with Michonne, though Jadis has other plans. ProsEpisode 3 retains the gritty, high-stakes tone of the pilot.Pollyanna McIntosh’s Jadis continues to be a standout character and performance.Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira show impressive emotional range in the characters we’ve been following for over a decade.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live airs Sundays on AMC at 9 PM EST and is available on AMC+.

Watch on AMC+

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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