Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Michonne (Danai Gurira) Walks Her New "Pets" in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 9.

Team Richonne had a nice win at the end of The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 9, “After,” when Michonne (Danai Gurira) knocked at the house door, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) actually smiled, and told his son Carl (Chandler Riggs) “It’s for you.”

Great line. Great delivery. Great moment for all three characters. And maybe Carl won’t feel the need to lash out as much with Michonne around, since she’s capable of killing a dozen walkers on her own without leaving a single gloating note about socks.

But it took a dark journey to get Michonne to the point where she was even willing to go on. While she was lost in her post-prison haze, she fell asleep and gave us a nightmare glimpse into her past, hinting to the origin of her walker “pets” by showing her boyfriend Mike and his friend Terry. Expect to see more of Michonne’s past revealed in the second half.

“Michonne’s back story is an extremely important part of who she is, and the fact that we kept that very close to the vest was very important to us,” comic book writer/executive producer Robert Kirkman told Entertainment Weekly. “But now that we’re at this position in the show, it’s important for people to know the things that we’ve always known. You start to get a glimpse of who those Pets were, and it’s true that it’s a dream, so there are certainly elements there: Are they real? Are they not real? But this also ties in to the scene in the prison to Michonne and baby Judith in Episode 2 of this season. There’s a lot of layers to this and a lot more that’s going to be revealed coming up this season. People are going to know Michonne very soon.”

Good! Not only that, it sounds like she’ll get to stick with the Grimes guys. They became an unexpectedly perfect mini family unit after their road trip bonding back on Season 3’s “Clear,” and we should see more of that closeness. The Hollywood Reporter asked showrunner Scott Gimple how temporarily losing her family would change Michonne going forward, considering we’ve seen how important family is to her. “We'll see her open up that much more. We're going to hear more about Michonne and she's going to be bound to Rick and Carl like family.”

In case you want deeper psychoanalysis of Michonne’s flashback nightmare, Scott said it was part of Michonne’s decision to choose life over death. “She's haunted by her dreams but more importantly, she finds that her plan leads her to become a dead person,” he told THR. “She's walking among the dead and basically dead inside and she can't do it. She knows she can't go back to being a dead persona and isolating herself. In this wonderful moment, she rejects death and she chooses life. It's this very cathartic action moment and that's one of my favorite things from the show — when you see action and emotion explode at same time and feed each other and have meaning.”

So Michonne has decided to keep on keepin’ on, and now she has a new family to fight for. Hopefully baby Judith is still alive out there so she can complete the mini Grimes family unit.

Are you curious to learn more about Michonne’s past? Are you happy that she, Rick and Carl will be bound to each other like family? It’s a warm-and-fuzzy thought in such a dark world.

The Walking Dead Season 4 airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.

Sources: Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter