Welcome to another belated recap of The Walking Dead where I’ll tackle last Sunday’s episode, “What We Become.”
In this episode, we check in on Michonne’s quest to strengthen Alexandria and its allies against the Whisperers. If you need a recap of the fateful battle between Hilltop and the Whisperers, check out my recap.
“There’s a lot of lives at stake.”
In a flashback to Michonne’s early days as a hood-wearing loner, chained to those armless and jaw-less walkers, Michonne is walking through the woods when she sees a woman running for her life, being chased by three walkers. She manages to take out the first two but Michonne watches as the third one gets a hold of her. She turns around, leaving the stranger to die alone.
In the present, Michonne and Virgil, the man who told her that he has access to a lot of weapons that can turn the tide, arrive at his island. As they make their way inland, Virgil goes on and on about his family but Michonne notices there’s nobody around. There’s evidence of life, sure — clothes drying on clotheslines, books strewn about, but everything’s dead. Michonne unsheathes her sword and tells Virgil to cut the crap and tell her the truth.
He takes her to four empty graves, and says that he wasn’t lying when he said he wanted to get back to his family; they just aren’t alive anymore. He says he will help Michonne search for the weapons but he reveals his true purpose: he wants her to kill his undead family so he can bury them. They’re in a building that the pair walked by earlier, that Virgil said was a lab with wild animals using as shelter.
“Without her, I don’t know who I am.”
They enter the lab and Michonne slowly makes her way through the hallway, stealthily killing whatever’s in her way. Virgil makes a lot of noise by mistake which draws the attention of a large crowd of walkers down the hall. She manages to kill the entire flock and the pair find a room full of walkers hanging by their neck, toppled stools below them. Judging by Virgil’s face, he’s found his family.
At the burial sight, Virgil hesitates to give Michonne wants he wants. He claims the tide is low and she won’t be able to make it back to her people today; if they wait until morning when there’s light, then he can help her. She reluctantly agrees but goes off on her own when night comes. She spots some weapons crates but they’re empty. Just then, she hears some whispering coming from another room. As she follows this woman’s voice, it seems that she’s having a conversation with someone. Virgil walks in and finds Michonne, but locks the door on her before she can react quickly enough. He says that she should have waited until morning, and that he trusted her.
Hours are passing and Michonne is still banging at the door and tapping the walls to see if there’s any way out. She wakes up from and finds a tray of food in front of her… and her sword gone. She rushes to the door to make some noise when some voices from another room ask her to stop. There are three of them, and they say they’re researchers who used to work with Virgil. He apparently used to be the leader of the camp, who locked down the building during a food crisis as a fight broke out. Little did he know, he locked his family inside. The trio tell Michonne to rest up and save her strength so she can kill Virgil when she gets the chance. She frustratingly takes a bite out of the apple on the tray.
“What the hell did you do?”
Michonne wakes up to the sound of the window on the door opening. Virgil is blankly watching her. She begs him to open the door but he refuses as he thinks she’ll kill him if he does. Virgil’s voice then begins to sound distant, and Michonne’s hand are collapsing into the floor as it changes from a plain white to a psychedelic purple.
She goes through this bizarre series of visions, kind of like a “what-if” when it comes to the choices she’s made. She’s in the woods, killing walkers when she’s approached by Negan and the Saviors. They welcome her into their group because of her fighting attitude. In this reality, she’s at the satellite station when Rick and the others come in to kill whoever they can, but Michonne kills Glenn when he tries to stab her in her supposed sleep. The famous scene with Negan swinging his bat around at the Alexandrians on their knees is altered as he asks Michonne to take his place; after a brief speech about the people she lost she swings her bat at… herself? Michonne is also in line on her knees. She then witnesses her death at the hands of Daryl and Rick. She then wakes up in her cell, throwing up into a bin with Virgil standing over her. She grabs a knife from the food tray and stabs him in the leg.
He runs away but she managed to keep his keys; she frees her fellow prisoners and they go outside, only to find that Virgil set the boat on fire. They give chase and they find him, with Michonne tackling him to the ground. He tries to explain himself, saying that he wanted to free the prisoners with Michonne in the morning so they wouldn’t try to kill him. He had no choice but to lock her up when she discovered their existence. She’s ready to slice his throat but stops when she realises what she’s about to do. The freed prisoners goad her to kill him but she says that killing him will take a part of them away, but showing mercy gives something to them: peace. They relent and knock him out, locking him in a cell. He promises to show Michonne where he kept her equipment.
They enter the storage closet, but Michonne notices a pair of boots in the corner that look familiar to her. She picks them up, sniffing them. She’s about to burst into tears, and knocks Virgil against the wall, asking him where the hell he got those boots.
“Alpha can’t hurt us anymore.”
Virgil takes Michonne to a washed up boat, and she handcuffs him to a rail when they reach the inside. She rustles through some papers to find evidence of Rick being there, and finds an old phone with an image of her and Judith scratched on, and the word “Rick” above them. Virgil says that if the others would help him, he can get the boat’s engine working again so she can find who she’s looking for.
Virgil brings some supplies to Michonne in the woods, with the freed prisoners there to help her. They throw a few evil glances his way, but he doesn’t blame them. Michonne says they’re willing to change as they’re letting him come with them on the trip. Virgil admits that he wants to stay on the island as he promised his wife flowers every day. Michonne watches Virgil on the shore as she sails away on the boat.
Michonne tries Judith on the radio and she finally picks up. They catch each other up on their situations and Judith lets Michonne know that apparently Alpha will be leaving them alone from now on. Michonne tells Judith that she thinks her father might be alive, but doesn’t want to go looking for him just yet. She needs to get back home to take care of her and her brother. Judith won’t allow it; if there’s any hint of him being alive then she has to go for it. She accepts.
Michonne amputates and de-jaws a couple of walkers and comes across a couple trying to make their way to this massive movement of people moving up the road. She kills the walkers and extends her hand, helping one of them since he has a limp. They move towards the huge gathering of people.
So, that’s it. I guess this is the end of Danai Gurira‘s run on the show, at least for now. I wonder if she’ll have a part to play in the upcoming Rick Grimes film that’s apparently still happening, but I don’t know.
This was a pretty safe send-off; better not to kill her in case she needs to come back. This is, however, another long-time mainstay who has left the show. I guess it isn’t the biggest deal anymore since she hasn’t been around for a while and the core team has held their own in her absence.
Catch me on The Beat this Sunday for my recap of the next episode, “Look At the Flowers.”