‘The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live’ Finally Reveals What Happened to Michonne After Season 10

The six-episode spin-off series isn’t wasting any time giving “Walking Dead” fans the answers they’ve been waiting for

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live
Danai Gurira as Michonne  in 'The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live' (AMC)

Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for “The Walking Dead” through the series finale “Rest in Peace” and “The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live” through Episode 2, “Gone.”

Two episodes in, the latest “Walking Dead” spin-off is delivering major answers. The first episode gave us Rick’s POV, the second Michonne’s — and now, we finally know where Rick and Michonne have been since they left the flagship series … and why Michonne wasn’t around in Season 11.

As a quick refresher, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) was whisked away in a helicopter in critical condition in Season 9. Michonne (Danai Gurira) left their home behind to find him in Season 10. Otherwise, all we know is what we glimpsed at the end of the series finale. Rick, desperately hucking a letter in a bottle for Michonne out to sea, was hunted by some off-screen authority. Michonne stepped in to save a couple who was left behind by their community and then, donned some rather distinct armor and stared down a gigantic walker horde. So what happened next?

“The Walking Dead” had a six-year time jump in Season 9, following Rick’s exit and the first episode of “The Ones Who Live” caught us up with where he’s been all that time. The answer is pretty simple: he’s been stuck in the Civic Republic Military, despite multiple attempts to escape, ever since Jadis (Pollyanna McIntosh) helicoptered him off that riverbank. Michonne exited the original series after the time jump, which means she’s got less to account for in the timeline. But as the Michonne-centric episode “Gone” reveals, her story is a little less straightforward.

The first 10 minutes of the episode bring the audience up to speed with what we glimpsed in the series finale. Michonne meets Aiden (Breeda Wool) and Bailey (Andrew Bachelor) on her search for Rick. “Gone” clarifies that this was early in her journey. When they met in the “Walking Dead” finale, Aiden told Michonne,“They won’t wait for us,” as an army’s worth of people marched down a nearby road, leaving them behind.

Turns out, Aiden and Bailey live in a community of people who never stop for anyone and never turn back to rescue their fallen friends — or even family. Bailey’s sister is their leader, who is willing to leave her own flesh and blood behind because she believes that’s how they stay alive. Though they try to recruit Michonne, she’s got no interest in joining a group that abandons their own. It turns out there are quite a few folks who share that mindset. When Michonne sets out on her path, a small caravan of people follow her, including Aiden, Bailey and Nat (Matthew Jeffers), who develops a close bond with Michonne — and who made her that snazzy armor we saw in “The Walking Dead’s” finale.

And they do so at great risk. As multiple people warn her before she leaves, the millions of citizens who inhabited the Tri-State area before the apocalypse are now a giant, “five-mile wide” horde of Walkers that migrates North or South according to the time of year. That’s standing between Michonne and Bridgers Terminal, the next stop in her search for Rick. That’s also the gigantic horde we saw her staring down in the series finale.

After getting knocked off her horse, Michonne faces down the million-zombie horde with nothing but her sword — until Nat and the caravan show up. Purple flames ignite on either side of the horde, more of Nat’s handiwork, and they split like the sea, allowing Michonne and her newfound friends to pass.

The group then spends a short amount of time traveling together and get to know each other better. They see Michonne calling out to her kids on the radio, and learn what she left behind to find Rick, though Nat warns they’re likely out of range, and indeed, she doesn’t get any answer. Michonne learns that Aiden is pregnant and Bailey was out scavenging for honey to fulfill her cravings when she rescued them. They all encourage her to go home to her children. They plan to join Michonne with her people after they find Rick. Nat gives her a repeated warning: “You gotta know when to go.”

Soon, however, their peaceful journey comes to a horrific end when a CRM helicopter bombs them with noxious gas. Everyone dies, except Michone and Nat, who spend a significant though currently unspecified amount of time hiding, healing and regaining their strength together in a mall. So now we finally know why Michonne went missing for the end of the war with The Whisperers and the battle for The Commonwealth – she was near death and pinned down in an area outside radio range.

But that’s not the end of it. After Michonne and Nat recover, they finally make their way to Bridgers Terminal. But it’s another blow. The shipyard is abandoned and littered with piles of charred corpses. Michonne finds Rick’s belongings among the dead and finally starts to accept he might be gone. She’s about ready to pack it up and head back to her family when they spy a CRM aircraft heading their way. Nat fires up one of his special creations — a compact rocket-launcher sleeve, and brings down the helicopter as payback.

As we saw at the end of Episode 1, that happens to be the aircraft that Rick and his commanding officer, Donald Okafor (Craig Tate), were on. We see that crash from Michonne’s perspective this time, and as she charges up to slash the throats of the soldiers, she pulls of Rick’s helmet and they finally reunite. They share a tender kiss and when Rick tells her “I’m not with them,” she doesn’t hesitate, replying, “I know.” Tragically, Nat gets shot through the chest by a CRM soldier and dies in Michonne’s arms, once again telling her, “You gotta know when to go.”

But that time isn’t yet. Rick warns that the CRM is already coming, telling her she has to hide her identity and personality so they won’t know she’s an “A” – the type of people willing to die for what they believe in, leaders who inspire devotion and the type that the CRM doesn’t allow into their society. And so the next leg of Michonne’s journey begins, as she’s now trapped in the CRM alongside Rick, pretending to be a sole survivor named Dana.

With four episodes left in “The Ones Who Live,” there’s still more to Michonne’s journey and the timeline is still not 100% clear. However, thanks to the first two episodes, we finally know what happened to Michonne after she left in Season 10 and what kept her from communicating with Judith in Season 11.

“The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live” airs Sunday nights on AMC and AMC+.

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