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‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’ Season Finale Review — Super Easy, Barely An Inconvenience

Gimple-speak ruins everything. In The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, it certainly messes up what ought to have been a really big moment. There were other problems with the series finale as well. Spoilers ahead.

Gimple-speak is everywhere throughout this episode. Lines like “We have to stop them because we can stop them” or “You’re the brave man?” had my eyes practically rolling out of my head. Other gems: “In a dead world, love is dead” and “Love never dies!”

And apparently love conquers all, because Rick and Michonne manage to not only defeat the CRM single-handedly (in Rick’s case, quite literally) they get out of it without a scratch. The CRC takes over and everyone lives happily ever after. The big emotional reunion at the end with Rick, Michonne, Judith and RJ was almost making me tear up until every line that came out of every character’s mouth was Gimple-speak. Did any of them say “I love you”? If I’d been gone from my kids for that long and finally reunited with them I’d probably be a total blubbering mess. Everything—the acting, the dialogue—felt so wooden. Join the group hug, Rick!

I think my biggest problem with The Walking Dead is this lack of normal human behavior from so many of its characters. They say such odd things. It’s like a show written by aliens or robots trying to mimic people, but fundamentally misunderstanding people at the same time. When RJ says “I knew you’d come back” a normal person would have just hugged him or said “Me too.” Gimple-speak Rick asks “How?” And RJ replies “Because I believed.”

This. Is. Not. How. Actual. People. Talk.

The final shot of the four of them hugging is nice, but it feels like a statue. Too neat. And I suppose that’s how I’d describe the entire episode. It’s all tied up in a bow in one episode, when the preceding five did almost nothing to push the plot forward.

Now, in episode 6, Rick and Michonne have the impossible task of infiltrating the CRM, finding Jadis’s documents and—while they’re at it—toppling the entire super-powerful military. That’s going to be tough!

Nope, it’s gonna be super easy. Barely an inconvenience!

In any case, Rick and Michonne head to the CRM frontier base where everyone including General Beale is currently located. Terry O’Quinn finally gets some screentime as he talks with Rick about possibly taking over leadership someday. He gives him the “echelon briefing” which basically explains Beale’s philosophy: Everyone is almost certainly going to die and to beat the odds, the ends justify the means and everyone not part of his group has to die. Portland is next. When Beale says “The most likely outcome is that we’re all gonna die,” I was half-expecting Rick to say “No. We’re the ones who live.”

Meanwhile, Michonne has snuck into Jadis’s apartment—filled with paintings she’s done in her spare time—and frantically looks for the hidden documents. It’s a really puzzling scene because Michonne is kind of known for keeping her cool in far more terrifying situations, but here she loses it twice. She does find the documents and tears them up, but they were hidden quite well and I’m left wondering if anyone would have even found them in the end. I’m also thinking back to when Jadis called the CRM about having a “B” so they could come pick her up and save Rick, and how bizarrely stupid the whole concept of A’s and B’s is. The CRM makes no sense.

But hey, look, we got this stuffed bunny and that’s a callback to Season 8! (And kind of a call back to the first episode of the main show).

We get lots of flashbacks throughout this episode also, mostly involving Rick or Michonne killing people or zombies. It’s a reminder that this show used to be a lot better. “This show” being the wider TWD, as this feels more like a continuation of the main story rather than a spinoff.

Which brings up another gripe: Why were Judith and RJ the only ones who met them at the helicopter? How did they know to come running up to the chopper at that exact moment? Why weren’t any of their other friends with them? I maintain that this all would have worked better as part of a The Walking Dead with the whole cast, so that the big reunion at the end wasn’t just the family, but everyone else as well. Carol, Daryl, Gabriel, etc.

Back in the echelon briefing, Beale offers Rick a powerful position and says he can bring whoever he likes to live with them. His entire community is welcome. But Rick has other plans, and managed to sneak a knife in with him. When Beale realizes what’s about to happen, he goes for his gun. Rick throws the knife straight into Beale’s chest, but he’s barely fazed. They have an awkward sword vs fake arm fight that almost made me giggle. Naturally Rick wins and kills Beale. He even gets a catchphrase for the kill: “We’re not dead. You are.”

Rick puts Beale’s body in a big box and wheels it onto an elevator. The other CRM guard notices blood seeping out onto the floor and they get into a big fight. Michonne also gets into a fight when she’s discovered in Jadis’s chambers. Both our heroes win, naturally, though the Rick fight was surprisingly close. They decide that they can’t just leave. They need to bring down the CRM. So they take their newly (conveniently) turned zombies and rig a giant booby trap, stringing grenades to all the boxes of gas bombs that apparently nobody is guarding for some reason, and then tie the line to each of the zombies. This is an odd plan. The idea is that when the zombies stray far enough they’ll pull the pin on the grenade and everything will blow, like explosive dominoes. But what if the zombies don’t stray far enough? What if someone spots them and kills them? What if they blow up too soon and kill Rick and Michonne?

Why not get far enough away and throw a grenade back?

Well, it turns out the zombies do stray and the whole thing blows up, but Rick and Michonne are fine because, um, they have a tarp and they’re right by a conveniently placed water tank. Water and tarps are almost as good at stopping explosion damage as plot armor!

Thorne is the one that catches them and stops them from making their escape because she put two and two together and is apparently just super suspicious of Rick for some reason. When she catches them, she tells them to go back and fix whatever they did. She doesn’t know what it was, doesn’t bother to find out, doesn’t try to arrest them or call for backup. She makes them walk back the way they came from. Very normal behavior. How people act in real life for sure.

After the explosion that Rick and Michonne and Thorne survive somehow, they all get in a big fight. All the soldiers who instantly died (not having tarps or water tanks to save them) turn instantly into zombies (when did this trend of people turning instantly begin? I guess it’s whenever the plot demands!) Michonne and Thorne battle while Rick staves off dozens of zombies. At one point he tosses a grenade at his feet and blows them all up. It’s going to be tricky for him to survive that one!

Nope, super easy. Barely an inconvenience! (Thank you, Ryan George, for this wonderful line.)

Rick is magically unharmed from the grenade that blew up at his feet and turned all the zombies into splatters of blood and gore. And then they escape. They have to climb up onto a shipping container and Michonne goes up first and she’s trying to get Rick up, and I so badly wanted her to say “Give me your hand!” and then realize what she’d said. At this point a bit of comic relief would have been super welcome. But there’s no room for humor when Gimple-speak rules the roost.

And that’s it. The CRC takes over from the CRM. They are going to be nice to other communities now, thanks to Rick and Michonne’s heroics. Portland is saved! Beale is dead! Thorne has a brief come to Jesus moment before she dies. And then Rick and Michonne go back to that very odd reunion with their kids.

“Are you the brave man?” RJ says. “Yes, I am. But maybe you can call me dad.”

Oy vey.

This could have been so much more. It deserved to be so much more. Fans deserved more. Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira deserved more. All of this should have been tied up in the main show so we could have had them all reunited (though I maintain more people should have died in the end). Actually, I think Rick dying at the end of this one would have been much gutsier, but I’m still glad they didn’t kill him. That soft spot I have for these characters wanted a happy ending. I just didn’t want this happy ending. Too neat, too convenient, too poorly written, too rushed. I am Jack’s crushing sense of disappointment.

What did you think? Let me know on Twitter and Facebook. I may add scattered thoughts and will do a video commentary later as well, so check back later for those. Happy Easter!

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