Rick and Michonne Grimes (yes, they are married!) made their epic return to television in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. Prior to this show, the last time we saw Rick, he was being taken off in a helicopter alongside Jadis to parts unknown. Meanwhile, Michonne left Alexandria after finding Rick’s belongings at Bloodsworth Island. So, where do Rick and Michonne go in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live and what are they doing? Here’s what happens with Richonne, including a triumphant finale that brings them a well-deserved happy ending.

Rick Grimes Was at the Civic Republic Under the Rule of Its Military in The Ones Who Live

[hold 2/25 7PM PT] Where Are Rick Grimes and Michonne in THE WALKING DEAD: THE ONES WHO LIVE?_1
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Anyone who has kept up with The Walking Dead’s universe knows that the helicopter that took Rick away belonged to the Civic Republic Military (CRM). But it wasn’t clear where the helicopter went with our beloved hero and why Rick hadn’t made it home. That guy certainly knows how to get out of a sticky situation. The Ones Who Live reveals that Rick is living at the Civic Republic, which is located in what was formerly Philadelphia. (For more information about this collective, check out our Civic Republic and CRM explainer.)

Rick has been desperate to get home for a long time. The show takes us back five years after he left Virginia when he’s on a mission to eliminate walkers. His group wears those brown CRM jackets and are on wire wrist leashes so they won’t escape the soldiers. Rick cuts his own hand off to free himself from the wire but gets caught once again. (Comic book fans are shaking right now.) We learn a lot about his life at the Civic Republic via letters he wrote—and obviously couldn’t send—to Michonne. 

He reveals that the CRM’s code of “security and secrecy” means that residents can never leave the Civic Republic. The people that they rescue, like Rick, live just outside the city and do menial jobs like killing walkers for energy, growing crops, and managing waste. The outsiders are called consignees and have to work for six years to enter the city. While others relish the chance to get into the Republic, Rick keeps trying to escape. One of those dedicated people is Pearl Thorne, an acquaintance of his who has given up on her previous life. She believes in the CRM way and the Republic wholeheartedly and keeps her eyes on Rick’s moves.

Rick Becomes a CRM Soldier and Eventually a Leader

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After many failed attempts to leave, Rick ends up bowing to CRM leader Okafor’s constant requests to join the military. He hopes that he can use his position to somehow leave. We see him playing the part and going through all sorts of training. He comes up with a great plan to escape via a tunnel but a little girl and Pearl Thorne, now also a CRM soldier, thwart them.

Thanks to Thorne, Rick discovers that Okafor knows about Michonne, who threatens to kill everyone Rick loves if he ever escapes. Rick tries to get Okafor to just let him go freely or kill him, but he refuses and says that Rick fights there now. Rick finally gives up, burning everything he held onto to remind him of his former life. He goes ahead and becomes the good CRM leader who tries to save the world, leaving his letters behind for good. Throughout it all, Major General Beale has a watchful eye on Rick Grimes.

Rick and Michonne Finally Reunite in The Ones Who Live 

In the present, Rick is in a helicopter with Okafor and others when things go awry. Shots kill Okafor and another soldier, which causes damage to the helicopter. He loses control of the vessel and crashes along with a few remaining soldiers. Someone dispatches a few CRM soldiers and eventually gets their hands on Rick. The person removes their mask and we discover that it is Michonne. Rick and Michonne stare at each other silently and every Walking Dead fan cheered triumphantly at their reunion.

Where Has Michonne Been in The Walking Dead Universe? How Did Michonne Find Rick in The Ones Who Live?

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Episode two tells Michonne’s side of the story. We catch up with her and those two people she saved at the end of season ten, Aiden and Bailey. The massive caravan is their community that willingly leaves behind injured people to save the collective. Michonne doesn’t stay long but before she leaves the community, she meets Nat, one person in the caravan who does believe in saving others. Michonne nearly gets taken out by a hoard, but Aiden, Bailey, and Nat come in with a powerful weapon to disperse the walkers. They, along with a few other unnamed survivors, decide to accompany her on her quest to find Rick and she promises to bring them back home with her. She learns a bit about everyone, including discovering that Aiden and Bailey are expecting a child. 

Predictably, things go awry on their journey. It’s not super clear where they are but it seems they have made good progress up north. A CRM helicopter spots them and drops chlorine gas, killing everyone except Michonne, Nat, Bailey, and Aiden. The quartet hole up in a warehouse, where Aiden and Bailey soon die. A dying Aiden even tells her to just go home to her kids instead of risking her life anymore. Michonne manages to get oxygen for herself and Nat, and they spend a whopping year recovering from the gas’ effects. It’s a gut-wrenching sequence, from seeing Michonne try to regain her physical strength to her reeling guilt over the lives lost.


She refuses to give up on finding Rick and eventually leaves with Nat by her side. They finally make it to Bridgers Terminal in New Jersey only to discover a long-abandoned cruise ship with the banner “Safe Harbor” on it. There are many dead and burned bodies, to Michonne’s horror. (It’s likely the CRM is responsible for this.)

Nat tries to convince her to go home for the millionth time but a tearful Michonne says she still “feels” Rick. She finally gives up and they head home but another CRM helicopter crosses their path. Nat shoots it down and we once again get that scene of Rick and Michonne coming face to face. Michonne tells him that Judith is alive and Rick insists that he’s not really with the CRM. They finally kiss and hug after so, so many years.

Sadly, Nat is killed by a CRM soldier because, well, that’s what the plot warrants. Rick tells Michonne that they cannot simply go or run and instructs her to lie about her name and entire situation. He says she cannot show them that she’s a strong leader, which makes sense considering what we know about A and B people. Rick says they have to go back and he will find a way for them to escape.

Unfortunately, this will be hard to do because Jadis returns to the Civic Republic and spots Michonne. She threatens to kill all their family and friends if they try to escape. Oh brother.

Rick and Michonne Best the CRM and Return to Their Children

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After Michonne spent some time (poorly) pretending to be a “B” at the CRM, the duo ended up escaping thanks to her throwing them out of a helicopter. It took a lot of arguing and anger but Richonne got back together again. They were heading towards Alexandria in episode five but Jadis caught up with them. She ends up dying (mostly due to being dumb) and Richonne goes back to not only retrieve the hidden information from Jadis’ room but to also get the Echelon Briefing so they can leak it to the Civic Republic.

And that’s what they do in spectacular fashion. Rick kills Beale after getting the info, Michonne takes out Thorne after she tries to thwart their plan to blow up the CRM forces, and the pair use Jadis’ helicopter to leave. A broadcast reveals that there will be major changes in the CRM and that people will be allowed to have a choice to leave the Civic Republic. Portland is safe and Rick finally goes home to reunite with Judith and meet his son RJ. What a lovely ending to an enduring love story.

Originally published on February 25, 2024.