'Walking Dead' Reveals Deadly Michonne Backstory

Danai Gurira's sword-swinging survivor steps into the spotlight in a lethal series of flashbacks.
Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

[This story contains spoilers for season nine, episode 14 of AMC's The Walking Dead, "Scars."]

Life has not been easy for Michonne (Danai Gurira) since losing Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), as made painfully clear in the latest episode of the zombie drama.

For the second time this season, The Walking Dead delved into flashback territory, telling the tale of "Scars" across two different time periods: a present-day storyline in which Michonne wrestles with whether or not to help Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) with the Whisperer problem, as well as scenes set in the months following Rick's "death." In the flashbacks, Michonne is still pregnant with Rick's unborn son, and still dead set on finding her long-lost husband. Daryl remains committed to the cause as well. Their search for Rick doesn't turn up much, but a ghost from Michonne's past resurfaces all the same: an old college friend named Jocelyn, played by True Blood veteran Rutina Wesley, who leads a small but resilient group of children through the apocalypse.

The reunion takes a strange and dark turn when Jocelyn and her pack escape Alexandria in the middle of the night, stealing supplies and children in the process — including Judith Grimes. Michonne teams with Daryl to rescue the abducted Alexandrian kids, but are swiftly abducted and tortured themselves — leading to the titular "scars," the same ones seen on Michonne and Daryl's backs shortly after the massive time jump earlier in season nine. Eventually, Michonne is forced to kill Jocelyn, as well as the other children who were brainwashed by her old friend. The reveal of Michonne's deadly past comes in conjunction with a scene in the present, as she slaughters a small army of zombies to protect Judith, not unlike the most barbaric moment from her own past. 

Aside from the fact that the reveal turns Michonne into more of a Jedi than ever before (seriously, it's hard to watch Michonne kill Jocelyn's kids without thinking about Anakin Skywalker murdering the "younglings"), the storyline also puts an end to one of season nine's more intriguing mysteries: "how did Daryl and Michonne get those scars," to twist a phrase from the Joker. Some theories posited it was the remnant of a surgical procedure. Others tossed out the possibility of Michonne's encountering a new group of enemies during her search for Rick. Turns out, it's closer to the latter, though not an exact match; Michonne was indeed scarred by a loved one from her past, but not Rick.

For comic book fans, the storyline certainly raises some eyebrows. In Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comics on which Walking Dead is based, Michonne eventually comes into contact with a large community called the Commonwealth. There, she reunites with her long-lost daughter Elodie, now a young woman. The television version of Michonne doesn't have an estranged daughter, so the Elodie twist was never going to fully translate to the AMC series. Does the reveal of Jocelyn satisfy a similar itch, or is there another family reunion still in the offing at some point down the line?

Of course, we can take a good guess at the answer to that last question: Michonne will indeed find a long-lost love soon enough, in the form of Rick Grimes. "Scars" shows she has not fully given up hope on Rick, and that even if she's moved on for now, she will hop right back into the search should she ever find evidence of his survival. Fans should expect some evidence to arrive sooner than later, thanks to Gurira's looming exit from Walking Dead as a series regular, paving the way for her new role in the Rick Grimes movie side of the universe. Exactly how will they reunite? Remains to be seen — but the reunion is only a matter of when, not if.

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