Warning: Mild spoilers for the end of The Walking Dead season 2 and the comic series.
At the end of season two of The Walking Dead, a scared Andrea (Lauren Holden) was running for her life through a zombie-filled forest. She was separated from her group and left for dead until… a mysterious figure in a cloak and hood saved her life with a samurai sword. Who was this mysterious figure? Why were they armed with a samurai sword? And why were they leading around chained, armless and jawless walkers?
If you’re a fan of the comic series by Robert Kirkman, then you know that this mysterious figure was the fan-favorite character Michonne. Unlike a majority of humanity, this badass African-American ex-lawyer takes the zombie apocalypse and makes it her bitch! She’s a survivor. She is not afraid of the walkers; she takes control of them.
In an interview with io9, actress Danai Gurira (The Visitor, Treme) talks about survival instincts and why Michonne is the smartest and most cunning character in the series. What could be seen as a closed-off persona is really just Michonne being observant. One of the main reasons why she has survived this long is because she has a take-no-nonsense attitude with those around her. She knows when to be friendly to gain acceptance, but she also knows not to get attached. A big example of that is in the comic book pertains to her two zombie “pets.” Gurira explains:
She’s just extremely intense and strategic. She considers communication to be something you just don’t play with. You use it very specifically — you use it at specific times. So she has a very focused mind, and sometimes my mind is a little messy. So it is really is about connecting to her in that way, and really adjusting to her mindset… She is very complex at the same time. She has heart, and you know that it’s rooted in trauma, rooted in experiences that lead her to recreate herself, so that she can be powerful in a hostile world.
Because of this trauma, others see Michonne as hard and tough. The most heartbreaking moments in The Walking Dead deal with Michonne’s past. She’s really a sensitive person who was brought to this point because of all the madness around her. She’s also intelligent. Let’s not forget, our group of survivors is mostly made up of blue-collar workers. Michonne was a lawyer, making her the only character with a white-collar profession. Gurira adds:
That is actually a person who is really resourceful and really smart. Because other people are running from the zombies saying, ‘I’m so scared, they’re gonna eat me.’ This woman is like, ‘I am the superior life form. These are inferior life forms. And I shall utilize them to my benefit.’
The introduction of new characters like Michonne and the Governor (David Morrissey) will add some much-needed tension and drama to The Walking Dead’s dynamic when the third season premiere on October 14th.