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“OH THE GOOD LIFE” 1x05 Become- Postmortem review and breakdown by Joi, Khalilah and Kera

After an intensely heart-rending, sorrowful yet intricately romantic episode that included touches of comedic balance allowing us to catch our breaths, we are left to wonder what’s next. ‘What We’ took us outside of the usual realms of TWDU with the flaming pen of award-winning playwright, Danai Gurira. Leaving a tough act to follow in wrapping up the six-episode series with just two more to go.

In the opening moments, a hooded figure approaches some walkers in the woods. This scene was altered in the trailers appearing as evening when it’s actually in the light of day. Suddenly, a helicopter flies overhead stunning us and the person below. A look up reveals a familiar face from Team Family. Seth Gilliam as Father Gabriel Stokes has made a surprise appearance! Though caught off guard, he successfully takes down the walker. But we are left to wonder exactly when this incident is occurring.

Driving off in an ostentatious yellow jeep, we hoped that Rick and Michonne’s departure would bring solace and joy to our couple. And we like them are rewarded with a montage of their Virginia-bound road trip. Fortuitously, coming upon a vehicle not stuffed with chili mac and cheese MREs but ‘Tasteful Noods’ ramen they are all set on food. In this lovely parallel to their season seven honeymoon ‘Say Yes’ we also get our first nod to their canon episode with Rick finding soda in a vending machine. But the couple find themselves in perfect sync once more, basking in the joy of each other's company, relishing every moment of their adventure home.

A stop at a main check-in lodge in Wyoming, Rick searches the gift shop for a present to bring back for his son. A book for Judy and glances at a phone etched with Carl’s likeness show his children are never far from his mind. Yet the Brave Man displays his elation and nervousness as to what his reception will be with the Lil Brave Man. Browsing the license plates where a name like Michonne would never be found, he picks up a small one with “Junior” imprinted but also sneakily swipes a necklace for his wife. Rick’s focus on “Junior” while skipping over “Rick” and “Richard” showing us glimpses of how he feels having a son named after him.

Michonne finds an axe, pondering if RJ will be ready to use it when they return home. Rick wonders if an axe-wielding child is who RJ is, and Michonne assures him the kids are “them” as Judith has a sword. With his dad there to pass down the skill, they could mirror her and Judith with their matching swords. But Rick finally makes good on a 10-year promise, finding spearmint and baking soda toothpaste for Michonne. Admitting he had tried so hard to find it all those years ago because he was indeed “in love with his son's best friend” and determined to find something to fulfill her request. But even with a pack of mints, Michonne agrees that he found his moment that night on the sofa.

While hiking confidently to Three Pines Cabin with found keys, Michonne reflects on Thorne’s rigidness. Admitting she noticed how uptight she was, and how she seemed to be trying too hard. Rick reveals to her that she too was trying to get back home to someone she loved in South Africa but that after meeting Okafor she ceased trying. Rick uses this opportunity to affirm that even with his wavering and harsh words, he never let go. Michonne reveals that she was unsure prompting her husband’s continued need to make amends.

A request for help in the distance prompts our couple without a second thought to sprint coming across Dalton, Red, and Tina- siblings, who seem to be failing miserably at surviving in the wilderness. Michonne and Rick taking pity on them, give them each a pack of tasteful noods while they are informed about the two calcified walkers they just skillfully took down. Dalton referring to them and the other variety roaming the woods as baked or boiled.

No good deed goes unpunished and disappointingly two of the three strangers attempt to rob Rick and Michonne, seeing an opportunity to steal their supplies. Not surprisingly this plan fails and they are quickly incapacitated after a request that they walk it back. While the siblings are graciously left with their lives, their noodles are taken back in response to their clumsy robbery attempt. Leaving them to search for one gun and a single bullet tossed in opposite directions, the couple continues onto their cabin.

While Rick secures the cabin, they reflect on helping Dalton, Red, and Tina. Reflecting on how they didn’t hesitate because it’s always been them against and/or saving the world. The park signage resonating with Michonne “…protect the people from the peoplenow that her initial task of getting her husband back was complete. All the while, Rick is setting the mood with candles and whiskey until he presents her with a new “M” necklace. Having noticed she no longer possessed her previous one Rick is rewarded with sweet kisses that lead to falling into bed together. But ominously a voyeur outside disables their fishline alarm before we fade to black.

“Is it OK even if you are alone?”

We flashback to Gabriel, collecting holy water at a stream during the flagship’s early season 9 timeline, where he is surprised by an unexpected visitor. Even with recognition, he wastes no time displaying his lack of trust. Before he stands, the woman he searched by radio to find after her tumultuous departure reassures him. Jadis whom he refers to as Anne seemingly coming from nowhere eases his fears and lets him know she’s just there to see a friend. Jadis is a bit shocked by the warm embrace and his happiness to see her. This seems to move her and any trepidation she had about coming but one can tell she’s grappling with something heavy. She isn’t there to return but living somewhere new, trying to make a difference but can’t tell him anything about it. Gabe reminds Anne that Rick who he believes to be dead, thought she was one of them. That atonement for past sins was still possible for them both.

Back to the present three years after that scene, the Grimes are once again awoken from bliss but this time by Jadis instead of Jesus. The revealed voyeur from outside of their cabin the night before waited creepily until the morning. Now being held at gunpoint, the couple must tie each other up and quickly think of a countermeasure. Luckily, Jadis doesn’t remember that Rick has one hand and therefore cannot be zip-tied. He places both hands behind his back as Michonne “zip ties him to the bed.” Jadis is perhaps distracted by the couple conversing as though she were not before them. Realizing her obsession means she’s not at the top of her game, Rick and Michonne use psychological warfare strategizing out loud, leaving their opponent dumbfounded at their boldness.

Jadis reflects on killing a confidant, Huck from World Beyond. Admitting to regrets about the way it went down with her training officer. Using this excuse as to why she decided not to kill Rick and Michonne in their sleep rather than a fixation that had her tracking them even after reclamation was closed. Needing to thank them for her development to which the two brush off as her simply trying to explain away her selfish nature.

A long-winded speech about how Richonne’s death will be better for everyone concludes with attempts to shoot them both. Before this Michonne and Rick remind Anne how much she stole from them and their children. But they successfully dodged the bullets and Rick launches the bed at her as Michonne grabs the axe meant as a gift for RJ and launches it at Jadis, critically wounding her. Rick stops Michonne before she can finish her off with a gunshot and Jadis makes her escape. But Michonne’s momma bear is in full effect as she breaks free of her binds determined to end Jadis for once and for all.

Another flashback interrupts the action, now at two years prior, after the Whisperers trampled every community and were eventually finished off. We witness Gabriel and Anne discussing Michonne who at this point had departed in search of Rick. When she knowingly refers to her as Rick’s wife we all giggle at the fact that it must’ve been the only thing he spoke of when he decided to speak at the CRM. But the union wasn’t given the chance to become official with Father Gabriel presiding because of Rick’s sacrifice. The bridge was to be the spot for all to witness the marriage that originally took place in a school cafeteria during a supply and gun run.

Anne looks forward to these meetings with her former beau because it provides the personal connection that she doesn’t get in the CRM. Her desire for self-preservation leads to her wanting some legacy for herself. But Gabe, frustrated by the Whisper War back at home that’s left them hungry tries to persuade Anne for help. She regretfully denies it prompting Gabe to speak on her guilt. A ring found years ago at the priests' feet while sitting on a log was a token of how the future could be brighter. He presumably didn’t give it to Michonne not wanting to distress her more regarding her dead husband's desires. So he gives it to Anne hoping it provides her something she needs the same way it does for him.

Then we are back to the events after departing the cabin for a car chase. Passenger Rick tells Michonne that she cannot kill Jadis because of the file on ASZ to which she replies that they can. For if nothing else, stealing many firsts from their family, such as Rick being there when his son was born and seeing his first steps but also to the fact that Jadis destroys by nature. Rick quickly agrees, knowing he will strategize with Michonne on what to do after she’s dead. With clever maneuvering, Michonne sends Jadis’ vehicle careening into a drop-off.

Rapidly bleeding out Jadis hatches one last attempt to overpower the couple. While they fought the boiled variety of the dead at the crash site, she escaped right into the daft grasp of the siblings. Enlisting them to help with promises of safety in her community, a meal, and dry pants they set a trap in the Norris Geyser Basin Museum. Meanwhile, Rick is relaying his hope that awaking Anne is still a possibility so they can keep home safe. He just needs to find the hidden base she arrived at but Michonne spots the blood leading them to the exhibit.

Of course, the plan is foiled not only with Richonne’s fighting skills but with an assist from walkers snacking on Tina, causing her brothers to rush to their demise. Then we cut to one year ago, where an anxious Anne awaits an exasperated Gabriel. He’s late, slamming his bag down when he gets there, but still tries to convince Anne that she can confide in him. He secretly longs for her return no doubt heartbroken after the death of his ex-girlfriend Rosita. A kiss emboldens him to ask Anne to come back with him. But Anne is uncomfortable with her vulnerability, and she turns the tables on her ex once again. Knocking him to the ground, she points a gun and apologizes for making him a liability.

Now back at two to one in the museum, Rick tries to persuade Jadis who’s becoming woozy from blood loss. But a near-fatal shot grazes his head and Michonne is done with the bullshit. Even though she kills the walkers approaching their adversary, she’s hatching a plan. Mentions of the contents of the Echelon Briefing that was meant to be shared with Rick once he returned must include some way that Alexandria would’ve been safe even under that plan. The silent connection when brown eyes lock on blue informs us that a deception will follow. Michonne and Rick persuade Jadis that they can all live.

Michonne will get her medical supplies allowing Rick to fly her back for care while his wife returns to Virginia. But Jadis can’t leave well enough alone and stages yet another unsuccessful double cross finding herself under the barrel of a weapon held by Michonne. She’d only accepted the deal realizing she was a fool to come after them in the first place. She had hesitated with Red’s red gun, which she had hidden behind her back when memories of aiming at Gabe a year ago reemerged.

Jadis threatens Alexandria once again until the siblings now walkers converge on her. Dalton getting around the neck collar, biting after she shoots Red leaving her at the mercy of our protagonists. Understanding her fate, Anne flashes through her regrets and losses. Her desire to not lose anyone else spurred her unrelenting drive to see the CRM succeed no matter the cost to her humanity. Bouncing between her dual personas of Jadis and Anne became tedious. She would welcome death if she knew her last community would survive. But the price was too high and her visits to Gabe provided the answer.

Shockingly, Anne reveals the location of the ASZ dossier back at the Cascadia Base. Even in the throws of death, she still attempts to negotiate for Rick and Michonne to leave the CRM alone. But our heroine doesn’t grant her this solace reminding her that she has always upheld humanity all while keeping hers. The CRM is not the answer and its citizens won’t stand for the atrocities being done in their name. Rick will get the Echelon Briefing for them to halt its progress. Jadis looks to Rick who confirms them being left alive was for a reason.

Regretful of her chosen path, Jadis wishes she’d died an artist. A life, not about survival but about truth. Seeking peace she surprisingly reveals the knowledge that Rick’s desire was to be officially married by Father Gabriel to Michonne on the very bridge he had blown up to save their lives. She urges him to follow through on that plan producing the ring Gabriel gave to her as a symbol of aspiration for dreams. Her last request is for Rick to finally do what he said he would. Richonne’s contrite regarding Anne’s decisions but Rick finally pulls the trigger ending her wayward and villainous story.

With a chance to make the whole world better, Michonne charges onto the jump point. She wants to protect the people from the people and with Rick by her side she knows they can together. With this new information fresh in his mind, Rick anxiously stops Michonne mid-stride. Unable to wait a second longer to follow through on his plan from almost nine years before. Producing the ring and before getting down on one knee Rick professes to Michonne, “It’s a broken world, and you’re the only thing that puts it back together. Til my last breath, I am yours.”

Down on his knee with the ring presented Michonne softly grins down at her man. Astonished by the turn of events of her life after the fall of the world. She never would’ve thought the betrayal of her ex-boyfriend Mike and the loss of her son Andre would lead to a new loving family. Navigating the painful death of their son Carl while raising their daughter Judith and leading a community with hazardous turns arriving at any moment. They’d managed to hold on over time, distance, and negative influence to find one another all over again. “I could never have imagined this.” cements Michonne’s thoughts before she follows it up with “But it could only ever have been you.”

Coming down to meet Rick, wrapping his hand in hers to draw them to her heart. Simple but earnest words spoken again culminate their union, “I’m yours.” The two alone in the forest officiate their marriage renewal and seal it with a series of kisses.

Our conclusion shows Father Gabriel arriving for his yearly meeting with Anne- one she won’t be attending. He heartbrokenly awaits no doubt wondering the fate of his ex-lover and if her lack of appearance is due to her giving into her new path. But we know the truth. Anne is buried in a grave dug by Michonne and a grave marker with an A is left behind. Symbolizing her real name and the fate of those marked an A in the CRM. We zoom out to a helicopter piloted by Rick and carrying Michonne to make good on their promise to keep Alexandria and the world safer by taking down the CRM all at once.

As we eagerly await the grand finale of this roller coaster ride that is "The Ones Who Live," our hearts are filled with anticipation and wonder. Will our heroes' daring plan unfold as they hope? Will Thorne pose a final obstacle to be overcome? And most importantly, will Rick reunite with his long-lost son, bringing closure to his journey?

Throughout this tumultuous season, we've experienced a whirlwind of emotions—joy, sorrow, resilience, elation, and even a touch of PTSD. But amidst the twists and turns, one thing remains certain: our unwavering commitment to these characters and their story. As we brace ourselves for the climactic conclusion, let's cherish the moments we've shared, the bonds we've formed, and the lessons we've learned about Richonne along the way. For in the end, it's not just about the destination, but the journey itself that truly matters. So, let's hold onto hope, and brace ourselves for whatever "The Last Time" has in store. Together, we'll ride out this final chapter with bated breath and hearts full of excitement and anticipation.

Join us Sunday night as we live tweet the episode and right after for our combined spaces/pizza party with the TOWL Podcast! We will be having a Talking Dead-style discussion that you won’t want to miss!

Please like, rate, and subscribe to Noir and Nerdy. Also follow the team @joifull1st, @conniedixon4lyf & @coltskatana on Twitter (X) for continued coverage of The Ones Who Live. With more shows to come such as AMC’s Parish, Interview with the Vampire, and Daryl Dixon.

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