The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episodes 1-4 Review

The following is a spoiler-free advance review of the first four episodes of The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, which premieres Sunday, Febraury 25 on AMC and AMC+.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live marks a strong, welcome return for previous franchise anchors Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira. The spin-off is emotional, gripping, and very wise when it comes to explaining where their characters wound up after they peeled off from The Walking Dead.

That’s paramount, right? Not just explaining their long absence and what Rick Grimes (Lincoln) and Michonne (Gurira) have been doing but also, in a way, justifying their departures from the parent series within a story that tricks us into thinking everyone involved knew what they were doing the entire time. The Ones Who Live accomplishes this in spades, though not without falling into some tired storytelling traps.

Gurira’s Michonne is a revelation in this mini-saga. In an almost meta manner, her headstrong (and heartstrong) love for Rick fights back against what could otherwise be frustrating, unnatural plot devices. Every time she runs into one – whether it’s characters avoiding the simple conversation that would solve their problem or someone taking an exceedingly noble route (rather than a believably human one) – Michonne is there to smash these clichés down in the dirt.