The Walking Dead The Ones Who Live Episode 1 Recap: The Long-Awaited Reunion

The first episode of AMC’s post-apocalyptic series ‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live,’ titled ‘Years,’ revolves around Rick Grimes’ efforts to adapt to the reality of the Civic Republic. Even though he is longing to see Michonne and reunite with their child, he is trapped inside the community which doesn’t tolerate escapees from the region to safeguard itself. Donald Okafor, the Lieutenant Colonel of the Civic Republic Military (CRM), identifies Rick’s potential and tries his best to have the latter in his team. The episode ends with an evitable reunion that asks more questions than the answers it provides! SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live “Years” Recap

‘Years’ begins five years after Rick Grimes blows up a bridge to kill hundreds of walkers, only for his loved ones to believe that the “Sheriff” is dead. He is currently a part of the Civic Republic, one of the largest survivor communities in the world. After three failed attempts, Rick tries to escape from the group once again and even sacrifices one of his palms to attain freedom. He fails for the fourth time and gets forced to accept the reality that “there’s no escape for the living,” as Donald Okafor says. Despite his unwillingness to accept the Republic, Okafor sees a spark in Rick and persuades him to join the CRM.

After trying to stay away from the Military for a long period, Rick eventually caves in and becomes a CRM soldier with a prosthetic arm. He is accompanied by a fellow recruit named Pearl Thorne. Rick is still haunted by his memories of Michonne as he sees her in dreams regularly. He also writes a journal to express what he wants to say to her despite knowing that his words may not reach her ever. After Rick and Pearl join the CRM, Okafor lets them know that they will be working closely with him to restructure how the Republic operates. Okafor wants changes in the way the “system” is implemented in the community and he needs Rick and Pearl to spearhead the revolution.

Major General Beale, the supreme head of the Republic, asks Rick whether there’s anything he should know about Okafor, only for the former sheriff to respond, “No.” When Rick learns that Okafor knows about his past and wife Michonne, he confronts his superior but the conversation between them convinces the former that he has become an inescapable part of the Republic. Following the fall of the Omaha settlement, Rick realizes that he has two choices in front of him: kill himself or kill for the CRM. After unsuccessfully attempting to put an end to his life, he tries to move on from the memories of Michonne to become a committed CRM soldier.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 1 Ending: Who is Michonne Now? Why Does She Attack the CRM?

After Rick becomes a committed member of the CRM, he accompanies Donald Okafor, in a helicopter, as they leave for an unstated mission. Meanwhile, the helicopter gets attacked and crashes. Rick is then confronted by the attacker, who turns out to be none other than Michonne. In the tenth season of ‘The Walking Dead,’ Michonne finds some of Rick’s belongings, which convinces her that her husband is alive. She confronts Rick as a CRM soldier around six years after the collapse of the bridge and the disappearance of the latter, without the show revealing where she was for more than half a decade.

It is likely impossible that Michonne was on her own for the past six years. After the collapse of the world, sole survivors haven’t been lucky enough to remain alive for long, which indicates that she might have been a part of a group of survivors. Considering her leadership skills and unwavering courage to protect the good from the bad, her path might have crossed with several others and she must have become their de-facto leader. Furthermore, Michonne is intelligent enough to know the importance of learning about her opposition before striking them. She may not be waging a war against the CRM, arguably the most potent military organization that exists, all alone.

Michonne may have figured out that Rick is trapped in the Civic Republic, which explains the attack. She may have approached the attack as an opening into the realm of the community to save her husband. In addition, the Civic Republic is a ruthless community that doesn’t display empathy and mercy when it comes to their priorities and two of their top-most priorities are safety and secrecy. If any of Michonne’s allies showed up on the radar of the community, the CRM officials must have eliminated them. Michonne can be seeking vengeance against the authoritarian organization for likely killing her friends.

Is Donald Okafor Dead?

When Okafor and Rick’s CRM helicopter gets targeted by Michonne and likely her friends, the Lieutenant Colonel receives the first blow. Following the hit, another explosion happens inside the helicopter, causing immense bloodshed. The explosion must have been caused by the bomb-like weapon that hits Okafor and if that’s the case, he is seemingly dead. Okafor is not among the soldiers who leave the crashed helicopter along with Rick. After the confrontation with Michonne, Rick must be least concerned about the well-being of his superior. Therefore, even if Okafor is alive when his new subordinate meets the love of his life, he may bleed to death.

Since Okafor features throughout the episode, the character leads the viewers to believe that he is seemingly an essential part of the narrative of the whole series. However, his most likely death makes it clear that he is an influential figure conceived to establish Rick’s decision to become a part of the CRM. It is Okafor who clarifies to him that he is an inescapable entity as far as the Civic Republic is concerned. As the post-apocalyptic drama progresses, Rick may try to use the trust in him, who appears to be a committed CRM soldier in front of others, to escape from the Republic with Michonne. Thus, the purpose of Okafor as a character concludes the moment Rick joins the Military for good, which justifies the apparent death of the commander of the army.

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