SEASON 10; EPISODE 13
Characters on The Walking Dead tend to leave the show in one of two ways.
1) They are killed off for shock factor (Glenn, Abraham, Jesus).
Or 2) The audience knows for weeks or months that an actor is leaving the show and we then have to wait for the inevitable 'exit episode'
Rick Grimes got the latter – and so now has Michonne. The fact she is leaving the show has indeed been common knowledge for a long time now and although we'll still see Danai Gurira play the role in the Rick Grimes spin-off movies, it's still sad to see her go. Another major character departs and the show is weaker as a result. Did she at least get a good send off? Not really...
I'd kind of forgotten that she'd set off with Virgil in a quest for weapons to wipe out the Whisperers (which was always going to be a red herring). Virgil hasn't really been in the show for very long but it's clear that there's something not quite right with him. He had said he needed to get back to his family but in truth, his family were dead and his grief had made him slightly unhinged. So unhinged in fact, that instead of helping Michonne locate the weapons, he locked her inside an empty room at his base. You really should never trust anyone in The Walking Dead should you? Turns out, Michonne wasn't the only one who had been imprisoned by Virgil and just next door were three people who provided some exposition on poor old Virgil.
Virgil's motivations may have been as clear as mud, but for some reason he felt compelled to send Michonne on some hallucinatory trip where she encountered a whole host of other characters and ended up becoming Negan's right hand gal' and eventually being the one who offed a few of our heroes with the help of Lucille. This alternate Michonne ultimately met her end at the hands of Rick and Daryl though. I mean, I guess it was supposed to illustrate the point that small decisions and occurrences can change the fate of a person but heck, we knew that already. Besides that, it was utterly pointless. Tangents like that make for pretty tiring viewing and it's something that they insist on throwing in every now and then. In fact, most of the episode felt a little bit like that. Do we really care about Virgil and the three other prisoners? Not one bit. Will we ever see them again? Probably not. It's tough to see an episode tread water like that to be honest. That's not to take anything away from any of the performances in episode 13 by the way, they were all pretty solid. But then again the quality of acting has never been the problem for the show. Losing their best characters is what's really hurting it.
After Michonne escaped from her prison, she decided against killing Virgil and convinced the others that showing mercy was more rewarding than taking revenge. A theme that is at the forefront of The Walking Dead. She then made a discovery which sealed her exit from the show. Rick's cowboy boots – soon followed by a mobile phone with her and Carl's faces etched on it (who knew Rick was such an artist?!). Virgil can offer no further information but it's confirmation at least that Rick didn't die. Well at least not straight away. If he was still alive, why wouldn't he have come back to her and their children? Well, the only other answer there is that he is still alive but being held against his will somewhere. Michonne refused to accept he had gone for a long time and was convinced that he was out there somewhere. However that pursuit ended up endangering her own kids and at that point she was forced to put a stop to it. But she's never really fully accepted he was dead and this glimmer of hope was all she needed to continue looking for him. After a brief chat with Judith, she decides to go after Rick. The last scene sees her spotting a vast army of people moving in unison in the distance (convenient) and she heads off after them in the hope of finding her long lost love. It sets up the movies quite nicely but as a final episode for such a great character, it was rather underwhelming. It would have been nice to see her share some screen time with some of the characters who she has fought and lived alongside for her duration on the show – instead of spending it with a handful of pointless characters.
Next week expect Beta to be mobilising the troops...