The Walking Dead: There’s something about Michonne…

Published December 4, 2012 by vfdpixie


This past Sunday, I tuned in with sis for the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead.  Talk about action packed!  Tension and shoot-outs galore!  It was a culmination of all the craziness that the gang experienced since arriving at the prison.  The showdown between Camp Jailhouse and Camp Happy Town (Woodbury) kept me on the edge of my seat.

I’m not going to go through the whole plot synopsis, but a few things stand out for me.  Andrea (Laurie Holden) is kind of an ass.  Couldn’t understand why she would lie belly up and beg acceptance with the Governor, played brilliantly by Brit actor David Morrissey.  Sure, fighting zombies in the wilds of the Southern U.S. gets tiresome.  I get it.  I get that she probably feels abandoned by Camp Jailhouse.  But I’m wondering where her gut instincts are.  Maybe I’ve dated too many too good to be true dudes, but that squeaky clean exterior the Governor kept polishing raised the red flag for me.  Too accommodating.  Too charming, but his moods were not as veiled as he would like them to be.  Maybe she just wanted to get her, um, plumbing flushed, so to speak.  A gal has needs…too bad she fulfils them with a total psycho.

And then there’s Michonne played by the striking Danai Gurira.  She has been the subject of many a debate between my bestie, L.D., and I. Being a pixie of colour, I was super excited to see this character.  I am, obviously, a lover of all things horror.  I am quite aware that there aren’t many characters in horror movies and shows that look like me, or my Asian and multi-ethnic friends.  And for directors, writers, and casting directors, I shouldn’t have to be excited that there are visibly diverse actors cast for roles.  It should be second nature now, in the world we live, to account for everyone.  Because I HAVE watched Bollywood, Japanese, and Korean horror flicks, so the genre is known in many cultures.  Just pointing out a fact.  So when the end of last season teased me with Michonne, I counted down the days until this season premiered.

Yes, she is bad ass.  Yes, she kicks ass.  I loved the rumble in  what I like to call the Think Tank with the Governor.  Heads were literally rolling as they tussled and smacked each other down amidst crashing tanks of  chomping zombie noggins.  But her character has a rich background that is explored in the graphic novel and so far has not been shown on the T.V. show.  I have read a few posts and articles that have criticized the show in general, criticized the women characters, and criticized how minorities have been portrayed.  While I am excited to see “color” in the cast, it would be nice to have seen, for example, T-Dog’s ( IronE Singleton) character expanded before his untimely demise.  And what is Glenn’s (Steven Yeun) story?  He has found love with Maggie (Lauren Cohan), but there’s no depth there either.   Anyway, I just feel that, perhaps through the actor’s portrayal or under the director’s notes, Michonne is a kind of caricature of what a mistrustful African-American woman would be like.  If I hadn’t read up on her character, I wouldn’t have know that this behaviour may stem from mental illness. We get to see that there is maybe some empathy in her when she discovers the Governor’s daughter chained up in a cell in his Think Tank.  This is the closest we get to another emotion besides rage in Michonne.  I would have liked to see more emotion when she and Andrea parted ways as well, since they must have bonded while they were surviving together.   Truthfully, I have not read the graphic novels, but from what I’ve heard, there are many changes for the T.V. show that have confused and annoyed fans.  Let’s hope that in the future, the writers redeem themselves and try to delve into Michonne’s back story to show that she is more than a snarling sword wielding maniac.

2 comments on “The Walking Dead: There’s something about Michonne…

  • Excellent commentary! Would you say that while there is more to come from the Michonne character, these early glimpses into her character could be construed as perpetrating current ( and prevailing) racialized stereotypes about black women in mainstream media?

    • I would say yes to that. It would be nice see writers step outside those sterotypes for once and think on a human level instead of a racial one. I wonder how much these writers and the powers that be actually tune in to critcisms and commentary from these fans. Guess we’ll just have to change it on our own friend!

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