It Was Good to Have Grimes Back

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I wrote a while back how I was Walking Dead loyalist. I stuck with the long-running AMC series from its glorious beginning, through its best and worst seasons, until its lackluster finale. I’m not a completest when it comes to the brand (I never read the graphic novels, and didn’t watch every episode of every spin-off series), but the one installment I’d been waiting several years for finally went to air. The six-episode series finished up a couple weeks ago, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.

I’m talking about The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live.

It featured the long-awaited return of Rick Grimes (the small-town sheriff’s deputy who woke us up to the zombie apocalypse back in 2010) and Michonne (the tough-as-nails sword swinger who arrived on the scene in the season two finale).

Of course, expectations for the franchise have lowered dramatically over the years. The flagship series never recovered from the Negan era, Fear the Walking Dead (despite some strong moments) always struggled to gain traction, and the other off-shoots (with the exception of Daryl Dixon) were pretty much unwatchable.

The Ones Who Live, however, had years of promises to live up to. Almost from the moment actor Andrew Lincoln left the original series in 2018, there was talk of a Rick Grimes movie (possibly multiple movies). Not just talk, but actual plans. It wasn’t quite clear at the time if it would be a television movie or a cinematic feature, but the project had definitely been green-lighted.

But then, nothing… for years. On occasion, Lincoln and others associated with the franchise claimed it what still going to happen, but few details were offered — seemingly because there weren’t any. Once the pandemic struck, and pounded the entertainment industry into the ground (along with everything else), fans had pretty much given up hope.

That hope was reignited, however, in July of 2022, with the announcement that the purported movies would be repurposed into a limited television series, with actress Danai Gurira reprising her role as Michonne (Rick’s apocalypse-law wife), who left the original series a while back in search of Rick. This time, there was follow-through. Filming began seven months later, and after six long years, we were finally getting Grimes back.

Michonne has long been my daughter’s favorite Walking Dead character, so she was pretty excited to watch The Ones Who Live with me. I like Michonne a lot too, but truth be told, Rick Grimes has always been my favorite. The writers who developed him and Lincoln’s brilliant and complex portrayal amounted to a tremendous protagonist that I’d probably rank among my top-10 television characters. Keen readers may have even noticed some homage paid to him my Sean Coleman Thriller series.

While it’s entirely possible that my pro-Grimes bias preconditioned me to enjoy the new series more than it deserved, I still thought it was very good. Lincoln and Michonne are commanding, infectious presences in these familiar roles, but the story was fueled by much more than nostalgia. It was well-written with a strong supporting cast, and despite some hokiness and questionable circumstances (like the two happening upon unrummaged stores and living quarters decades after the end of the world), I couldn’t get enough. I even enjoyed the ending.

I’d get into more detail about the show, but I don’t want to spoil anything for those who haven’t seen it. I’ll close by just adding that if you ever, at any point, liked the Walking Dead, you’ll like The Ones Who Lived.



Have a favorite Walking Dead character? Let me know who it is in an email or in the comment section below.

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