The Ones Who Live’s Big Echelon Briefing Twist Was Revealed By The Walking Dead 3 Years Ago

The Ones Who Live spent a large part of the series hyping up the Echelon briefing, but The Walking Dead already revealed the twist three years ago.

The Ones Who Live’s Big Echelon Briefing Twist Was Revealed By The Walking Dead 3 Years Ago

The Echelon Briefing was one of the biggest mysteries in The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live, but the franchise already revealed its big twist three years ago. With the CRM being one of Rick’s biggest Walking Dead villains, their intimidation came largely from the mystery around what made the group so powerful. While it was made clear they had large numbers and advanced technology, they didn’t do a lot of killing on-screen, making their villainous side all the more intriguing. The Echelon Briefing helped answer some of the questions surrounding the CRM, but their evil twist was nothing new.

Given the Echelon Briefing turned Thorne from a potential CRM rebel to a loyal soldier, it seemed like there would be some huge revelations to come from the briefing. Thorne even tried killing Michonne in The Ones Who Live episode 3 and attempted to foil the protagonists’ plan in the finale, showing just how much Beale’s speech won her over. However, while there was some big information and important context provided in the Echelon Briefing, The Walking Dead already gave away the big twist three years prior, making the weeks of build-up feel a little anti-climactic.

We Already Knew The CRM Destroyed Omaha (& Wanted To Destroy Portland)

World Beyond Already Revealed The Ones Who Live’s Big Twist

The Ones Who Live Biggest CRM Reveals

During the finale, The Ones Who Live revealed that the CRM destroyed Omaha and intended to destroy Portland, but this was already mentioned in World Beyond. While the Echelon Briefing did explain important new details like the CRM having spies in other communities and their belief that humanity only had 14 years left to live, their impending assault on Portland was the biggest takeaway. The concept of the CRM destroying their own community is the twisted side that has been missing from the antagonists, but World Beyond already showcased these plans and the Omaha attack three years ago.


World Beyond previously explained the CRM’s Walking Dead plan, meaning the Echelon Briefing simply reiterated what observant fans already knew. The spinoff showed the CRM wiping out Omaha and its Campus colony with chlorine gas, proving how deadly their attacks could be. Despite Omaha being allies, the CRM wanted to get rid of them. They believed Omaha could be a burden, and after taking them out, they set their sights on Portland. The Ones Who Live adds context as to why the CRM wanted to destroy their allies, but the big Echelon twist didn’t come as a surprise after World Beyond.

The Ones Who Live Put Too Much Stock Into Its Echelon Briefing Twist

The Echelon Briefing Twist Lacked Much Impact Because Of World Beyond

Terry O'Quinn as Major General Beale and Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes with zombies in the background in The Ones Who Live
Custom Image by Yailin Chacon

Although the Echelon Briefing did serve a big purpose in the finale, The Ones Who Live put too much stock into it. If the briefing had some big moral dilemma that genuinely made Rick second guess taking down the CRM, it may have warranted the hype, but reiterating the same objective as World Beyond was a let-down. Rick was never going to join Beale’s mission of slaughtering innocent communities and, while the idea of humanity having 14 years left to live was interesting, there was no real evidence behind this claim to make Rick change his mind.

The Ones Who Live and World Beyond had the same big reveal, which killed the hype around the Echelon Briefing and turned it into wasted potential.

Rick didn’t even seem worried about this during the finale, making it practically irrelevant. Instead, The Ones Who Live and World Beyond had the same big reveal, which killed the hype around the Echelon Briefing and turned it into wasted potential. The Echelon Briefing didn’t really change anything about the finale, nor did it explain why so many soldiers were committed to the plan. Instead, it gave Rick a very simple way to kill Beale, which would have been far more challenging if they weren’t alone together, proving that the briefing hurt the finale more than it helped it.

The Ones Who Live’s Finale Redid World Beyond’s Final Episode

World Beyond and The Ones Who Live’s Finales Had Some Big Similarities

Rick and Michonne in The Ones Who Live with Jadis and Iris from World Beyond
Custom Image by Simone Ashmoore

While The Ones Who Live’s finale did have its own great moments, it felt very similar to World Beyond’s final episode. Both conclusions focused on the heroes trying to stop the powerful CRM from destroying Portland. They both prevented the CRM from using gas grenades to destroy the community and while this was done in different ways, it involved the same fighting against the odds dynamic. World Beyond used a bunch of unlikely heroes working together to stand up to the CRM and foil their plans while helping free the scientists in the process.

The Ones Who Live utilized Rick and Michonne’s incredible survival skills to take down the CRM on their own. Blowing up the gas bombs not only stopped their plan, but it completely dismantled the CRM, one-upping what World Beyond’s protagonists were able to do. Both finales focused on the protagonists risking their lives for the greater good and defeating a seemingly unbeatable force. Their final scenes shared some similarities, as each show included full-circle reunions. Still, The Ones Who Live does thrive more in this department and managed to conclude the CRM arc more definitively.

All six episodes of The Ones Who Live are currently available to watch on AMC and AMC+.

Episode # Episode Title Release Date
1 “Years” February 25
2 “Gone” March 3
3 “Bye” March 10
4 “What We” March 17
5 “Become” March 24
6 “The Last Time” March 31

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