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The Walking Dead 10.13 Review – ‘What We Become’

March 23, 2020 | Posted by Katie Hallahan
The Walking Dead What We Become Danai Gurira as Michonne - The Walking Dead _ Season 10, Episode 13 - Photo Credit: Eliza Morse/AMC
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The Walking Dead 10.13 Review – ‘What We Become’  

Tonight on The Walking Dead we bid goodbye to Michonne in a powerful episode–but thankfully, her journey isn’t over yet!

The plot! When we last saw Michonne, she left with the stranger Virgil to retrieve some promised military ordinance from the Naval research facility on an island where he was living. It became clear very quickly that not all was what it seemed and that Virgil was full of lies. His wife and family are dead, along with many others, and he needs her to kill the walkers because he can’t. He tries to put off showing her anything worthwhile, and pretty soon, Michonne finds herself locked up in a room next to some other hostages he’s holding, drugged up on freaky tea, and hallucinating an alternate life where she didn’t save Andrea, ended up joining the Saviors, and in the end was killed by Rick. When she comes out of it, she manages to attack Virgil and free herself and the others, but Virgil has burned the (supposed) only boat. After convincing the others to show Virgil mercy, if only for their own sakes, Michonne is taken to retrieve her things from a supply room–only to find, of all things, Rick’s boots! Virgil shows her another boat that washed up at some point, on which he found the boots, and she finds an old iPhone with Rick’s name scratched into it as well as simple line drawings of Michonne and Judith. After realizing Virgil doesn’t know anything else about the boat or Rick, Michonne and the others get his help fixing the engine, and she has a touching radio call with Judith, who assures her they’re safe, the Whisperers are handled, and urges her to go find Rick and bring him home. Michonne gets dropped back off on land up North, and ends up helping two people in a field to join up with what looks like some kind of large militia or caravan making their way across some fields nearby.

First off, I hope everyone’s staying safe and healthy out there and continues to do so as the pandemic situation continues. It’s a little surreal to be writing that at the top of a review of show about the post-apocalypse, but sometimes truth really is stranger than fiction. Regardless, thanks for being with us, stay safe, and wash your hands!

Alright, back to the show! Knowing this was Michonne’s send-off episode I was nervous that might mean Michonne would be dying, and that would’ve been hugely upsetting. Danai Gurira is amazing, she plays Michonne amazingly, and for Judith and RJ to lose their mother in a way that would have to mean they didn’t even know what happened to her would be heart-breaking. And also missing a reunion with Rick, whom we the audience know to not be dead, would likewise be heartbreaking. So seeing her send-off is instead her embarking on a quest to find Rick, or learn whatever she can of his fate, feels perfect. Now the only thing I’m mad at is that I have no idea when we’ll get to learn more of this journey! With an ending like that, I am incredibly curious.

What we did see, though, was also excellent. While Virgil and his weird machinations and questionable mental state bordered on being annoying, I’m glad things moved quickly on that front. Seeing how Virgil became unhinged after losing his family made for a good contrast to Michonne. While losing his wife made Virgil so adrift that he became dangerous, even hostile, to others, Michonne has kept Rick a presence in her life that guides her and steadies her even years later. Virgil saw in her someone who had suffered a similar loss as him and hoped she would understand his unhinged state, but he vastly underestimated her resolve.

Still, I loved the weird bad drug trip of what could’ve been in her life had she not rescued Andrea, the dark path she could’ve gone down. During the Negan storyline, it was often said that he and Rick were so alike, but seeing here how Michonne could’ve been as well was intriguing and chilling. It really made the title of the episode ring true, “What We Become,” while also reminding me of the Season 8 theme of mercy prevailing over wrath. Her mercy, her reaching out to strangers, has shaped her–it’s what brought her to Andrea and then, in turn, to Rick. It determined who and what she became, that she chose life over death, people over her walker guard dogs. In this episode, that choice is presented to her again, and both times, Rick’s presence in her life and her heart is there. When she wavers on killing Virgil, or letting the others kill him, she remembers Rick both from her drug trip and reality. When she chooses to help the strangers at the end of the episode, she remembers how Rick let her in all those years ago when she needed help. Despite that it would seem to be a distraction from her quest to find Rick, the fact is that choosing to save Andrea over her own personal safety and goals years ago is what brought them together. So helping them now? That’s the way to find him. That’s the right move to make.

And with all that, Michonne still gets to do even more in this episode! Really, we got to see all sides of her tonight. Which brings me back to how amazing Danai Gurira and this character have been overall. Her grief over the people she failed to save was chilling, especially in how they presented it. Her sobs at finding evidence of Rick was heart-wrenching. But it was her parting conversation with Judith that really got me. I loved how Michonne attempted to couch what she said, wary of telling Judith that Rick might be alive, and then finding a way to say it that wouldn’t tip off RJ. I loved how Judith keyed right into it, her own tearful hope that her idolized father, whom she probably barely really remembers, could be out there, her not hesitating at all to tell Michonne to find him and bring him home, their goodbyes, Michonne’s promise to stay in touch as long as possible. It was a beautiful last look at her maternal side, the perfect way to send her off with her daughter’s blessing, and I just loved it.

And with that, we big farewell to Michonne–for now! It seems clear that she’ll show up again, somehow, maybe in those movies they’re making about Rick, maybe in her own movie, who knows? But this was an excellent goodbye, an episode that was almost a bit of a love letter in how much it let the actress and character shine in every way. I think there’s part of me that wishes more of the regular cast could’ve been in this, but on other hand, would it have worked as well if they were? Whatever we next get to see her in, whenever it comes, I know I’m 100% in. And thank you, Michonne, for being everything from epic badass to amazing mother, and gracing our screens for 7 seasons.

What did you think of Michonne’s send-off episode? Any thoughts on what the future holds for her? Any thoughts on what we’ll get next week when we go back to Alexandria and the Whisperers? Sound off in the comments!

The final score: review Amazing
The 411
This was something of an unexpected kind of episode. I didn't know what to expect from it, and it gave us almost everything, from darkness to light, touching moments of humanity and love, chilling moments of heartlessness and violence. It gave us almost every aspect of Michonne we've ever seen, and sent her out on an epic quest to find the man she loves, the father of her children. It was perhaps most notable in that it was Michonne's send-off, though, and that she got to do so much and really brought her best to this one--if it hadn't been her last, I think it would've felt less interesting. So while I'm tempted to go with a 10 just for how amazing Michone and Danai Gurira are, based solely on its own merits, this episode ranks a very solid 9 for me!

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The Walking Dead, Katie Hallahan