This The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live review contains spoilers.

The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live Episode 5

So is she Anne or is she Jadis? Is there even a difference? One of Rick Grimes’ many reclamation projects, like Gabriel Stokes (Seth Gilliam), Jadis/Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) was a character in need of redemption. As the former leader of the hostile Junkyardigans and an ally to both the Ricktatorship and the Saviors, she’s been a character constantly out for one person: herself. Always seeking a better deal, always working to ensure the survival of herself and her community, Jadis has become something of a convert to the ways of the CRM. She seems like a real true believer, but any fan of The Walking Dead knows that she might talk the talk and walk the walk, but her motivations are known only to herself.

“Become” makes it perfectly clear, after a cold opening in which Gabriel is startled by a helicopter overhead, that the initial stages of the Rick and Michonne escape from the CRM is something of a honeymoon. After fleeing the collapsing building in “What We,” they’ve had nothing but good luck. They find an electric vehicle courtesy of the show’s partners at Nissan, and along the way back to Virginia, they stumble across an untouched truck full of ramen noodles and sodas and aside from zombies, they’re never really troubled. They even find a mostly-untouched park with both a visitor’s center (for souvenir hunting) and a luxury cabin (for a place to hole up for the night).

Even a robbery attempt by a group of survivors Rick and Michonne rescue ends up not being an inconvenience. The two disarm the armed men easily, and are able to laugh off the attempted mugging after making the group swear to knock it off and stop robbing people. Perhaps their good spirits leave them willing to let bygones be bygones, or as Rick puts it, roll it back. A group of half-starved people with very few bullets and a broken ax aren’t much of a threat to the rested, battle-tested heroes of the series. Jadis told them that the two of them together could do anything, and they’re starting to believe her.

That’s probably one of the big reasons why when they wake up the next morning, Jadis is there and she’s got a gun on both of them.

Throughout the episode, interspersed with the cat-and-mouse game Jadis is playing with Rick and Michonne, are interludes of Anne, the teacher and artist, having a yearly picnic lunch with Gabriel. It opens three years prior to the events of the episode–yes, it’s another time jump situation–and tracks their relationship throughout the years as Anne slowly opens up about the doubts she has in the way the CRM goes about accomplishing its 500-year plan and is increasingly troubled by the things that she has to do as she climbs her way up from provisional status into a full-fledged warrant officer position in the militia. But, in a familiar refrain, Gabriel seems to think that she’s lying to herself that she’s really all-in with the CRM when her heart clearly still belongs to the people of Alexandria. Or at least certain people in Alexandria.

Perhaps that explains why Jadis has to explain herself to Rick and Michonne at gunpoint why she has to do what she has to do. If someone else finds them alive, it’ll get traced back to her. If she dies, her Alexandria files get leaked. She rationalizes it before the bullets start flying. She might have taken Rick from his family, saving his life in the process, and now Rick has to die in order to save his family. Two lives for the fate of the world, in the eyes of Jadis Stokes, is a fair trade. Rick still gets to win, just in a different way. Then, after she starts shooting, Michonne gravely wounds her with a hatchet and she stumbles away before Michonne can shoot her thanks to Rick’s intervention. They need Jadis alive, in order to recover her files. Cue the car chase, with motor vehicle crash.

In one of a few very funny lines in the script from Gabriel Llanas and Matthew Negrete, Rick calms down Michonne’s blood rage by asking her to consider maiming Jadis first before going right to killing her as the two follow the trail of blood in Jadis’s wake. Her major concern is survival, keeping the groups she’s come to be a part of alive even if it means her life. So she flees, not only to escape Rich and Michonne’s wrath but to keep Alexandria, and Gabriel alive. Her loose ends, so to speak.

Speaking of (funny) loose ends, those people that Rick and Michonne spared earlier come back to be a part of Jadis’s next plan to stop Rick and Michonne. People are a resource, albeit one that can be easily discarded or eliminated when they’re no longer useful to the plan. They serve their purpose, distracting Rick and Michonne to allow Jadis to get the drop on them and force them back into hiding. Rick’s loose ends trip him up once again, giving Jadis the opportunity to lay down the rules. If Jadis dies, Alexandria dies. RIck was finally getting with the Jadis program, seeing something bigger than himself, and MIchonne stepped in and screwed it all up again. But her wounded state gives Rick a chance to negotiate an ending that might be beneficial for all of them. MIchonne goes free and gets the medical supplies needed to keep Jadis alive, and Rick goes back to the CRM with her and they carry out the CRM vision of tomorrow.

Of course, once all parties throw down their guns and Michonne leaves, Jadis pulls out another gun and holds it on Rick because he’s proven himself to be untrustworthy. Always with the insurance, Jadis. However, the clever Mexican stand-off set up by director Michael E. Satrazemis becomes a double-cross, with Michonne stepping out of the shadows to hold a gun on Jadis while she holds a gun on Rick akin to the way she held a gun on Gabriel. And as with Gabriel, she isn’t able to pull the trigger and essentially gives herself up to the walkers behind her, the conflict between the Jadis half of her personality and the Anne half of her personality rendering her unable to act. Rick lives, and Anne chooses a side in the moment where her fate is truly sealed by walker bite and blood loss.

Anne does get to have a nice goodbye speech, and Pollyanna McIntosh does a good job of adding pathos to Anne’s final moments. Like Rick’s adoption of the CRM soldier boy persona, Jadis was just a product of Anne’s fear. She’d lost too many people, too many communities, to allow Rick and his do-gooders to take down the CRM before it accomplished its mission. She picked a side, she thought, but ended up wavering back and forth between Anne and Jadis, Alexandria and the CRM, until the clarity granted to her at the moment of her death. But the need to backtrack to Cascadia gives Michonne an idea for a plan. The dossier first, then Beale’s promised Echelon briefing, and finally, the crimes of the CRM get revealed to the city they protect by the outsiders, and when they rise up, a new order run by new people that doesn’t mustard gas innocent people for getting too close to their city.

Though things looked rocky between them, Rick and Michonne have reconciled fully, thanks to a little nudge from Anne and a little gift from another time from Gabriel. Separated by geography and the needs of the plan, but united in purpose and marriage. Rick and Michonne, together, are the biggest threat the CRM will face. If Jadis was correct in her biggest fear, Richonne is a threat that not even helicopters and explosives can stop.

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