As the midseason opener of The Walking Dead Season 4 began, we were pretty shocked to see Michonne (Danai Gurira) back at the prison. As far as our beloved survivors are concerned, the prison is now the furthest thing from the secure, safe haven it once was. Now, it’s just a scene of death and destruction, a reminder that walkers aren’t the only things to be fearful of in this world.
Why then, did Michonne return to the scene of the crime?
TWD creator and executive producer Robert Kirkman chatted with Entertainment Weekly after the February 9 episode and explained why he felt the need to show Hershel Greene’s (Scott Wilson) severed zombie head, and how it was a part of Michonne’s grieving process.
When EW reporter Dalton Ross playfully called Robert a “big meanie” for including the head of Team Prison’s moral compass in the episode, he defended the decision.
“We recognize how hard it is to see this stuff and we certainly go through it ourselves. We’re not gleefully playing with people’s emotions as much as people think sometimes,” he began, before explaining the full significance of the sliced off head. “We feel this stuff too. And that helps us in knowing how these episodes pack an emotional punch. We’re always very emotional about this stuff. Having Michonne fight her way into that prison in order to give Hershel true peace and allow his soul to rest, that was a big, emotional journey as well and a very important part of the episode. But none of us like looking at that severed head either, so we understand.”
It’s comforting to know that Robert understands our pain, and even though it was tough to watch Hershel’s head rolling around, we get why it was important for us to watch Michonne put him out of his misery. She’s always been the kind of gal who does what needs to be done, and there’s no way she was about to let Hershel’s head flail around aimlessly.
Still, that doesn’t mean that scene was easy on Danai. In a separate interview the actress tells EW, “It was very hard. The head really looked like him. It was very dark and traumatic. It was painful. She was not going to leave him. She just finishes business. There’s no way she is going to let Hershel be a snapping, zombie head into eternity. She can’t do it. She has to find him and put him down, like she did with The Governor. So it was very dark and walking up to it, it really looked like him. There was a moment touching it where it was just a pain, a grief. It was really hard to look at a man who was so great and so wonderful and to see how he went down.”
The need to do right by her friend was the perfect setup for us to revisit Michonne’s past as well. We learned that the “pets” she had when we first met her were her “lover” and a friend, and most importantly, we learned that she had a son.
Thankfully the end of Episode 9 saw Michonne reunited with Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes, but there’s still a lot more we’ll get to learn about mysterious Michonne’s past!
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.
Source: Entertainment Weekly