The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live episode 1 "Years" recap

The first episode of The Ones Who lives was an exciting beginning to a long awaited story.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Walking Dead fans have been waiting for what seems like forever to see Rick and Michonne, and the latest spinoff will feature both characters portrayed by Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira for the first time since seasons 9 and 10 and a brief appearance in The Walking Dead's series finale. Let's recap the first episode of The Ones Who Live.

This article contains spoilers for The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live season 1, episode 1, "Years."

"I tried, please know, I tried," words spoken by Rick Grimes to open the episode.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: AMC /

He is listens to a news broadcast on the TV which shows buildings being blown up.

A news anchor reports: "...the City's outer walls falling to incursion, to counter measures, to six-hour periods of neighborhoods falling, to the whole of the city. There were two incursion points, two collapses, or possible detonations, which effectively trapped the city's population. It appears the one building where hundreds of people gathered was the last to fall. And CRM intelligence states that, though its doors held, something occurred inside the building itself, leading to some initial deaths, reanimations, and the whole..."
This newscast won't make sense until the end of the episode.

A tearful Rick contemplates suicide as he looks at the iPhone engraving of Michonne.

Queue the theme song and opening sequence, which begins with a silhouette of RICK AND MICHONNE! The title sequence features images of Rick and Michonne, the bridge on fire, the CRM flag, wind turbines, helicopters, maps of locations of CRM sites, and other images showcasing what The Ones Who Live is all about.

The Ones who Live episode 1 recap

The majority of this episode chronicles what Rick has gone through the past five years after the bridge explosion. As he currently works at the culling facility for the Civic Republic Military (CRM), he narrates letters he writes to Michonne, which fill in the blanks of his story.

As he had made three previous escapes, he is tethered to a soldier when he volunteers for a mission to take out walkers beyond the wall. He tries to make his fourth escape and cuts off his hand. This is a nod to Rick's comic story in which the Governor took his hand. It may have seemed a great move, but he fades fast and uses a nearby walker, which is on fire, to cauterize the wound. He is immediately detained by a soldier.

Some of the best scenes in the episode are a dream state in which the outbreak never occurred, and Rick and Michonne encounter one another in a much different world. She assists him with directions, and they chat on a park bench. After a bit of light flirting, she tells him she believes in him and eats in this spot daily, encouraging him to return. He eventually brings pizza and asks if he should return with more pizzas and a wedding ring, to which she replies that he should. It is a tender storyline and vital for Richonne fans, as there was never much courtship for the characters in the main series.

Estaban Garcia (Frankie Quinones) is a fellow consignee who put in his six years and will soon become a citizen of the Civic Republic. He seems to like Rick, and Estaban encourages Rick to join Lt. Col. Donal Okafor's (Craig Tate) military so he can try his next escape while serving that role. This plants an idea in Rick's mind, and he is then seen joining the CRM.

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Lesley-Ann Brandt as Thorne - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Rick's journey continues a year later as he, Pearl Thorne (Lesley-Ann Brandt), and Okafor head to a remote location where he explains that he has chosen them to become leaders as part of force command. He tells them that the CRM needs to change, and they are vital to that change. Later, Okafor and Rick will have an altercation that reveals much about Okafor's history. He bombed Atlanta and Los Angeles and saved Philadelphia the same fate by bombing over 4,000 Marines, including his wife. It was a fantastic scene.

The CRM is full of secrets, and everyone tries to decipher other people's lies and secrets. This is evident when Rick has a conversation with Major General Beale (Terry O'Quinn). As both men size one another up, they also try to discover what is a lie and what is truth. Beale is ruthless, and Rick needs to watch his back where he is concerned.

Terry O'Quinn as Major General Beale - The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live _ Season 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Rick and Thorne are assigned to the Cascades, where they are tasked with preparing a college as a force command center. This project takes them 12 months. During a flight up the coast, their helicopter is attacked, and Okafor sadly dies. Rick and the others make their way out after a crash landing, but the others are killed, and before this person can kill Rick, it is revealed that it is Michonne. End of episode.

It was an outstanding episode that did a great job filling in Rick's story and featuring the reunion of Rick and Michonne. The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live returns on Sunday, March 3, with episode 2, "Gone."

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