The Walking Dead: The Evolution of Michonne

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The Walking Dead - Season 10
Danai Gurira as Michonne; group - The Walking Dead _ Season 10 - Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

The Walking Dead is all about character development. The series is more than just a large group of people trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse, it’s actually a story of human nature, caring for one another, and personal growth. One major character from The Walking Dead who has evolved and grown throughout the series is Michonne.

When the audience was first introduced to Michonne in Season 3, she was perceived – by fans and even other characters within the series – as a strong, katana-wielding, closed-off woman. It was known that she was capable of being maternal as well, when she was seen taking care of her ill friend, Andrea. Michonne was also seen as being very wise and able to see things beyond the surface of a situation. For example, this wisdom is demonstrated during her stay at Woodbury, a place that she was very suspicious of while Andrea saw no reason to be worried about it. As her suspicion grew, Michonne decided to leave Woodbury, even though Andrea was still there.

I feel like Michonne’s decision to leave Woodbury was largely impacted by the fact that she was still very closed off during Season 3; this closure impacted the departure because she was able to make such a decision without being too impacted by not being with a close friend like Andrea. However, when Season 4 began, there was a time jump and the audience started to see a negation of this closure. The first time Michonne appeared onscreen in Season 4, she is seen getting off of a horse after a supply run she went on by herself, handing Carl a few comics that she picked up along the way. That exchange with Carl alone was a demonstration of how much more humane she had become since the end of Season 3. Throughout Season 4, Michonne showed strong rapport with Rick, Carl, and many other characters revealing herself to be less closed off and more open to friendship than she was in Season 3. This phase of Michonne’s character development lasted until Season 6, when she becomes romantically involved with Rick, and takes on a more maternal relationship with Carl.

Danai Gurira as Michonne, Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes – The Walking Dead _ Season 7, Episode 12 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

After Season 6 and even Carl’s death in Season 8, Michonne’s development remained moving in the same direction until Season 9. Season 9 marks the departure and (to the other characters) death of Rick Grimes. By this point, Michonne had become so close with Rick that she had thought of Carl and his sister Judith as her own kids. This only made the loss of Rick even more difficult for Michonne to deal with. This began to reverse all of her growth as a character. However, as we know from a flashback episode, the loss of Rick was only the start of the reversal: later that season, Michonne’s old friend showed up at Alexandria. This woman, Jocelyn had a large number of kids with her. She and all of the kids ended up abducting Michonne, Daryl, Judith, and every child of Alexandria. Michonne was forced to murder almost all of Jocelyn’s children in order to defend herself and Judith along with the other children of Alexandria.

Years later, Michonne is leading Alexandria alongside several other council members. This is when we see Michonne in a place very similar to where she was when she was introduced to us in Season 3. She is hardened, and more skeptical of the world that exists outside of Alexandria. Due to some unknown conflicts that occurred within the time between Rick’s departure and the incident with Jocelyn, the people of Alexandria are now surviving separately from the other communities such as the Kingdom and Hilltop. However, after some time, Judith is able to convince her mother to start supporting the other communities once again by going to the fair and signing an agreement among the other leaders.

In Season 10, Michonne and the other Leaders are facing a new threat to their communities: The Whisperers. In the trailer for Season 10 released over the summer at SDCC, it also appears that Michonne will be taking on a new romantic relationship with Ezekiel, former leader of the Kingdom.

Season 10 of The Walking Dead, Michonne’s final episodes, will premiere on October 6.

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