Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Michonne Slays a Group of Walkers on The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 9: “After”

Let no one say the katana queen just scowled her way through The Walking Dead Season 4. Fans got to know so much more about Michonne (Danai Gurira) in the past 16 episodes — we saw her emotional side, her funny side, and even more of her badass side. We’re looking forward to seeing more layers of her personal onion peeled back in Season 5. Until then, here are three of actress Danai’s best Season 4 scenes as Michonne.

1. Michonne Cries With Judith, Episode 2

This has to be one of the most powerful scenes of the whole season. In Episode 2, Michonne was doing crunches in the prison as Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) sang to baby Judith. Michonne first wondered if Judy was crying in a new way, and we thought Michonne either didn't like kids or maybe Judy was getting sick. Beth just said maybe Judith can sense people's moods (like an X-Men baby...). When Beth asked Michonne to hold Judith for a minute, Michonne strongly objected. She eventually relented, and it was almost comical how much she didn't want to hold the baby. Then the mood shifted, dramatically. Michonne pulled Judith close to her and just cried. The entire context of the scene changed, and we realized Michonne was reliving something from her own past. So much of what made Michonne hard, with all those walls up, was explained in her reaction to the baby. We learned more about her late son Andre later in the season, but Danai said so much for Michonne in that brief, beautiful, heartbreaking moment — without saying a word.

Credit: Gene Page/AMC Photo: Michonne Is Held Captive on The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 8: “Too Far Gone”

2. Michonne Slays Her Demons, Episode 9

Michonne probably could've defeated all the walkers at the prison and lived in the place by herself. But that's not the life she wanted. When she left the prison in Episode 9, she was something close to the walking dead herself. She even saw a walker who looked like herself, shuffling beside her. That snapped Michonne out of her personal zombie mode and led her into a primal killing spree. She broke out her katana and went to down on a dozen walkers, all on her own. It was especially impressive when juxtaposed withCarl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) killing one walker in the same episode and feeling compelled to leave a gloating note about it. It was classic Michonne — total independent badass — paired with new Michonne, since she broke down right afterward with emotion. Just because you can make it on your own doesn’t mean you want to.

3. Michonne Gets Cheesy For Carl, Episode 11

"Goofy" is not a word we'd normally use to describe Michonne, but her relationship with Carl is one of the best things to come out of this season. They just fit so well as friends/siblings/family, and definitely bring out the best in each other. Episode 11 started with the two joking about soy milk, but that led to Carl remembering Judith and falling silent. During their supply run, Michonne worked to get Carl out of his funk, breaking out some Crazy Cheese and whizzing it into her mouth to make him laugh. It was so not what we're used to from Michonne, and that’s part of what made it so heartwarming to see. She tried so hard for him. Michonne revealed that she had a 3-year-old son who found her extremely funny. She used that bit of intel as a tease, turning the rest of their supply run into a game where the chore of clearing each room led to the revelation of more intel. It worked to bond the characters, and it also worked as a great storytelling device on TV to give us more information about Michonne. The rest of the season gave Michonne and Carl more chances to bond, and we’re now firmly on Team Richonne, with the hope for Judith to make the family unit complete in Season 5.  

What were your three favorite scenes from Michonne this season?

The Walking Dead Season 5 premieres in October 2014 on AMC.