Spoiler alert: This story contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10, episode 13.
After eight years on The Walking Dead, Michonne (Danai Gurira) exited the series Sunday night with a big send-off episode titled “What We Become.” The installment focused entirely on her character, who hasn’t been seen in several episodes.
It wasn’t a big surprise, considering we’ve known Season 10 would be Michonne’s last since last February. Still, it’s always tough to see one of the series’ stronger characters go.
The episode began with Michonne landing on Bloodsworth Island with mysterious newcomer Virgil, who had directed her there and offered her and the rest of the group weapons to help in their survival. Those weapons might not be as helpful they would have been before the explosive previous episode, but it’s still nice to have some extra weapons on hand in a zombie apocalypse.
It turns out that things aren’t quite as they seem on the island. There are walkers, and among them are Virgil’s wife and kids — leading to some tense scenes starring Michonne and her katana, along with some pretty heavy environmental storytelling.
When Virgil dawdles on showing Michonne the weapons, she goes out looking on her own, only to find herself locked in a room by a crazed Virgil. Other former colleagues locked in a room next to hers explain that he has lost it after inadvertently causing the deaths of his family members.
The episode takes an even darker turn when Virgil drugs Michonne, giving her a “tea” that causes her to hallucinate. She starts having visions of scenes involving characters like Daryl, Negan, Glenn, and Rick. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen some of these faces, and while it’s nice to see them, the scenes are pretty rough and put Michonne into some villainous roles.
Collectively, they show how Michonne managed to take the right path during her time in the world rather than becoming someone detestable.
After her visions, she manages to overcome Virgil and decides not to kill him or let the others kill him. Virgil shows her to a washed up ship to help her on her way home and she finds a few signs that Rick, her love interest before his own departure, might be alive, or at least might have lived longer than she had thought.
Using a walkie-talkie, Michonne manages to get in touch with Judith and R.J. and tells Judith about the items she found suggesting Rick is still out there, and while Michonne wants to head home (sort of), Judith convinces her to head out and look for Rick.
A fitting send-off for one of the best characters on the show
Thus begins Michonne’s new adventure away from the rest of the group.
On the main continent, she finds a couple of people, one of whom is hurt, and they tell Michonne that they’re being left behind. Left behind from what? A giant caravan, what looks like hundreds of people, heading somewhere.
It’s another one of those great, intriguing moments of The Walking Dead that teases just how much we aren’t seeing of the world thanks to the limited scope of the show.
The scene is sort of reminiscent of Rick’s exit, when he was picked up by someone in a helicopter who was connected with some larger group. Maybe that group is related to the caravan Michonne found and she’ll end up reunited with Rick. Maybe they’re separate. We probably won’t find out in the series proper, but they could always pop up together in the upcoming Walking Dead movies.
“What We Become” is another very good episode in a string of very good episodes this season, and a fitting send-off for one of the best characters on the show.
Through her visions we got to think about the ways she handled herself throughout the whole series and remember her relationships with characters both good and bad. It was an odd, twisted sort of retrospective but it worked well.
Thanks to the walkie-talkie, she got to say goodbye to her kids, which is more than they got from their father Rick, allowing them to have a nice, touching moment — one of few that happen in this world.
After that, Michonne is back to where she was when she was first introduced: a hooded, independent wanderer taking on walkers with her katana, two zombies in tow with their arms and jaws removed to keep her from being noticed by other mindless walkers. A perfect way to send her off.
As for the timing of her departure from the show, it’s been a long time coming. Since Rick left, she took over as the main leader of the crew of living protagonists, but her character has been in an angry rut, like the writers weren’t quite sure what to do with her.
The way everything was left, The Walking Dead sends her off with dignity and purpose, which is more than I expected.
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