The Walking Dead: Season 10, Episode 13 (What We Become)
Neil Brazier | On 23, Mar 2020
Deviating from the Whisperer War – and let’s be honest, after the last episode we could use a breather – What We Become doesn’t relent in its poignancy, for this is Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) farewell episode. The last Michonne-centric episode, Scars from Season 9, lived up to its title in that it was intense and left us emotionally traumatised. What We Become matches those feelings and intensifies them in another impressive episode that sees Michonne return Virgil (Kevin Carroll) home to his island that holds the promised munitions capable to end the war.
Much like Andrew Lincoln’s final episode, What We Become is a brilliant reminder (if you needed it) of what an incredible character Michonne is and what Danai Gurira has given this series. Arriving at the tail end of Season 2 as a hooded figure, wielding a katana and with her own set of zombie guardians tied behind her, Michonne is one of the longest-serving characters left on the show. What We Become takes you on a strange journey through her tenure, mirroring Rick’s final episode (Season 9, Episode 5 – What Comes After) in that, like Rick, Michonne is haunted by visions as she tries to find her family.
Whereas What Comes After was full of touching moments, What We Become is more of an alternate reality nightmare. Showcasing what could have been, and what Michonne would have lost if she hadn’t made the decisions she did to meet her family, it uses footage from old episodes spliced with this new Michonne character she invents for herself, allowing us to truly reminisce over her impact on the series as well as provide some remarkable “what if” moments. The episode was only missing having former characters physically return, like in Rick’s farewell, to make it perfect. Any nostalgia they would have brought with them would not have stolen Michonne’s limelight because the character casts such a big shadow – in a good way.
One of the problem’s with Rick’s departure from the series was that he left behind his family, mostly Michonne and Judith (Cailey Fleming), whom he spent the episode trying to reunite with. After he left it looked as though the character had never tried to return, the mystery of what happened next being saved for the upcoming movies. What We Become allows Michonne much better closure with her children, but also, even just slightly, leaves the door open for a return (but most likely in the movies too). Only conversing over their radios, Gurira and Fleming display such fine acting credentials that they still make the scene heart-breaking. Especially the latter, so young but still able to almost steal the show.
We have been blessed with many season finale-like episodes so far this year with episodes getting better and better. Here, again, we have another magnificent chapter that brings the character of Michonne full circle, allowing her to put everything she’s seen, done and learned throughout her time with her family into what lies ahead for her. With a major character death in the last episode, it is disheartening to lose yet another wonderful character from the series, especially one who has been such a staple and with plenty more comic-book source material to tell. We felt the same way when Rick left. Since then showrunner Angela Kang has been delivering outstanding storytelling – the world of The Walking Dead is in good hands.
The Walking Dead Season 10 premieres on FOX UK at 9pm on Mondays. Don’t have pay-TV? You can also stream it live and on-demand on NOW TV, for £9.99 a month, with no contract and a 7-day free trial. Seasons 1 to 10 are available on Sky Box Sets and NOW TV until 31st October 2020.
Innards and entrails (spoilers)
Arriving on Virgil’s island, things aren’t looking too welcoming for Michonne and it isn’t long before she realises something is up. Virgil only wanted to return to the island to be with his family, who have all died, and he needed Michonne to help him free them from the zombie virus. Virgil isn’t too happy when Michonne grows impatient and goes exploring the island where she finds a laboratory and starts to hear voices from behind the walls. As she gets closer to the noises, she finds herself in a cell that Virgil quickly traps her in. She learns that he’s gone a little crazy ever since losing his family but finds she has allies in some other prisoners who are locked in a cell next door.
Virgil’s insanity has been brought on by a constant need to get high so he can continue living a happy life with his family, whom he has visions of. He tries to drug Michonne in the hopes she’ll have a happy trip too and understand why he‘s this way, but instead Michonne sees hell. In her hallucination, Siddiq returns to tell her she has blood on her hands for letting her family die before we are whisked back in time for a brief history of what could have been.
Michonne doesn’t help Andrea from the zombies and instead lets her get eaten before she loots her corpse. Michonne is then ignored by Daryl (Norman Reedus) as he drives by, despite her cries for help before she is found by Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and his saviours. At the satellite outpost, Michonne is one of the sleeping bodies Rick and his crew try to eliminate in their sleep. Waking, she shoots Heath (whatever happened to that guy) before avoiding being shot by Rick. Michonne then becomes Negan’s right-hand woman (replacing Simon, it’s a shame we don’t see him again) and is even offered the opportunity to kill the survivors with Lucille instead of Negan on that fateful Season 6 ending. Finally, she is shot with one of Daryl’s arrows before Rick finishes her off with his revolver.
– [ ] The whole hallucination is extremely fun and a great use of old footage mixed with the new to recreate these moments from Michonne’s past. If we could have asked for more, we would have wished that some of these old characters could have returned, just like Hershel did in Rick’s final episode. Instead, current characters like Negan and Daryl are used to plot out Michonne’s alternative life. Some former Saviour characters do return to back up Negan, but there is an element of missed opportunity here. What we would have given to have had an alternative take on the Michonne and the Governor storyline from season three. The Governor and Michonne having such an iconic storyline from the comics.
After Michonne escapes and uses her Rick logic on the other prisoners to let Virgil live, they find themselves a boat, which Virgil claims to know nothing about. On the ship Michonne finds a pair of cowboy boots and they smell just like Rick’s. If you remember, after Rick’s supposed death, Michonne used to smell his clothes to keep him in mind. Along with his boots she finds an old phone that has an engraving carved into the screen, it’s of Michonne and Judith (no Carl) and has Rick’s name at the top. This is proof that Rick didn’t die in that explosion on the bridge and fills Michonne with a new hope.
She speaks to Judith on the radio and tells her that she has found something that belongs to the Brave Man. Judith lets her mum know that everything is alright back at home, Alpha cannot hurt them anymore (but Beta sure can) and that the Brave Man might need her more, so to go to him. This is the goodbye that Judith never got to give her father, she chokes up at the thought that he could still be alive and is determined to have her family reunited once more. That reunion is something we might never see on The Walking Dead and if we do, it should really be the very last scene they ever air.
Michonne sails off, there was something in the ships records that mentioned New Jersey and she tells Judith she is headed north. Virgil decides to stay behind on the island because he promised his wife flowers every day. It looks as though Michonne’s adventures are far from over. When she docks, she finds safety by taking two walkers and removing their arms and their jaws and leading them behind her, just like she was when we first were introduced to her in season two. Later, she finds some people alive who say their being left behind and over a hill, not far away, in formation are thousands of people walking into the distance. Nothing is said about who they are or where they are going but it offers promise to Michonne that maybe, one of them knows where the Brave Man is.
Life without Michonne is going to be tough for everyone at Alexandria and for us watching. She has given us many memorable moments and zombie kills. We would like to wish Danai Gurira all the best for the future, but we hope that this isn’t the last we’ll see of Michonne.