by Transmute Jun
Warning: this review contains multiple spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 10, Episode 13.
Back in episode 1008, Michonne departed with Virgil, in search of weapons that could [help] defeat Alpha’s herd and help Alexandria fight against the Whisperers. Yet Virgil’s motives in returning with Michonne were wrapped up in his own self-centered emotions. He did not care that he was falsely tearing Michonne away from her family, only that he be allowed to have some peace with his own.
Naturally, when Michonne discovered Virgil’s deception, she was angry, yet she was merciful enough that she still helped him, clearing out the walkers and assisting him in gaining some measure of closure. Now, Virgil is marooned: a decision he made on his own accord, even though he was offered a way off by his newly-released captors. He is left alone to cope with his depression and tend to the graves of his family, which he did not want to leave. This is probably for the best, as he grapples with his depression.
This episode marked Michonne’s departure from The Walking Dead series, but not from the universe. Virgil’s island held far more than Michonne expected, and she found clues suggesting that Rick had survived the explosion on the bridge. I can only imagine the torrent of emotions that such a discovery would bring. She had suspected for years that Rick might still be alive because his body was never found, despite Daryl searching extensively for it. While Rick’s body could literally have walked away, its absence would naturally encourage hope that he might be alive. Now, Michonne knows that Rick survived at least long enough to make the etching on the phone.
Even so, Michonne is a mother to Judith and RJ. The choice between following her lead on Rick and going back to her children would be heart wrenching, so much so that Michonne planned to return to Alexandria. It was only Judith’s insistence that Michonne find Rick that sent Michonne off on this journey. Judith was the only person who could have convinced her not to return just yet.
Interestingly, Judith told Michonne that Alpha couldn’t hurt Alexandria anymore. Did she actually know that Alpha was dead, or was she lying, so that Michonne would not feel compelled to come back to Virginia? It is intriguing that Judith did not mention the demise of Hilltop, which might easily have spurred Michonne’s return.
Yet for me, the most interesting aspect of this episode was Michonne’s alternate universe hallucinations. When Michonne came across Andrea fleeing from the carnage at Herschel’s farm, she was very much a loner, and had sunk into herself, becoming only a shell of a human. In season 3, Michonne explained to Andrea how their friendship brought her back to humanity, and helped her reconnect with people once more. It was that connection that changed Michonne enough that she was unable to resume her solitary life after fleeing Woodbury, causing her to go to the prison and seek out Andrea’s old group. The same was true after the prison was destroyed, when she attempted to return to traveling amongst the walkers, and instead relented, deciding to seek out Rick and Carl. It makes sense that Michonne’s decision to save Andrea was a turning point for her, and that choosing the other path would have led her into a darker place.
I don’t think that many viewers were surprised that Michonne was not permanently written out of the Walking Dead universe, but is instead simply joining a different society. Who are these people, migrating in such large and organized groups? However organized they might be, they were not compassionate enough to wait for a wounded man and his companion. While it will likely be some time before fans can watch the promised Walking Dead movies, I am looking forward to seeing this new society and the story of how it developed. Ultimately The Walking Dead is about how people deal with the apocalypse, and the kinds of relationships they form. Every society is different, and each one reflects differing aspects of humanity and civilization.
While there was not much in the way of humor this episode, I did appreciate the codenames that Michonne and Judith were using. Daito and Shoto are a pair of Japanese swords, with a daito being the longer sword, and a shoto being the shorter sword. The relevance to Michonne and Judith (and the weapons they use) is obvious, and surprisingly charming.
Another intriguing tidbit was the etching that Rick apparently made onto the phone. The Asian language characters there indicate that he has become friendly with someone who speaks that language, and the image of Judith was closer to reflecting what Judith looks like now, than what she looked like when Rick disappeared. These are mysteries that will hopefully be solved in the movies.
For those who play the AMC Walking Dead mobile games, the Walking Dead: No Man’s Land season episode this week features Michonne’s ‘what could have been’ alternate reality. Negan and Michonne are tracking down Glenn, after Team Rick’s attack on the Savior outpost.
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