Michonne Became ‘The Walking Dead’s Biggest Badass

The Big Picture

  • The character Michonne from The Walking Dead is a complex character with a hardened warrior exterior, but also a survivor racked with pain and the desire for connection.
  • Michonne shows her bravery by going after the Governor, an evil leader who has caused bloodshed and corrupted her friend. She fights valiantly and even stabs the Governor’s eye out to protect her newfound friends and create a better future.
  • Despite her tough exterior, Michonne has a softer side and the desire for a normal life. She falls in love with Rick and creates her own family, showing that she is not just fighting to survive, but to have a true life filled with love and hope.

The Walking Dead may be a show about zombies, but it’s the characters that make the series so popular. You need great characters to care about and root for in order to make the walker attacks scary. You have to be a badass to survive the zombie apocalypse. Weaklings don’t make it very long. Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), as the group’s leader, was a badass from day one. Others, like the meek Carol Peletier (Melissa McBride), had to learn to become a badass through heartbreak. Then there’s Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus), a character who doesn’t exist in creator Robert Kirkman‘s comics, but who seemed to be created just to be the walking epitome of cool with a crossbow. No one is more of an unstoppable fighter, however, than Michonne (Danai Gurira), who we first meet when she’s walking with her chained-up walkers in Season 2. One moment, though, more than any other, shows us the lengths Michonne will go to in her effort to destroy evil and protect the people she loves.

Michonne Is One of ‘The Walking Dead’s Most Complex Characters

Michonne has a badass entrance to The Walking Dead, first arriving to help Andrea (Laurie Holden) in the Season 2 finale, “Beside the Dying Fire.” With a hood pulled over her face, her katana, and two chained jawless zombies, she looks like a superhero, or maybe a supervillain. Michonne isn’t someone to be feared, but to be trusted and respected. Beneath her hardened warrior exterior, Michonne is just like any other survivor, one racked with pain through loss, just trying to make it through.

Michonne might have been a loner who didn’t say much, but she was so much more than a stereotype. Michonne had been in love, and she was a mother. She lost it all when the world ended, but through Andrea, she begins to feel good things for people again. She trusts her new friend and opens up. Fans might not have liked the Andrea character, but Michonne quickly grows close to her. That trust wasn’t blind, however, for when Andrea is taken in by the promises of a man not to be trusted, Michonne follows her instincts. This man was the Governor (David Morrissey), who wants to create the perfect community so badly that he’ll kill for it.

Michonne Stabs the Governor’s Eye Out on ‘The Walking Dead’

The Governor and Michonne fighting on 'The Walking Dead'
Image via AMC

Andrea can’t see it, but Michonne knows there is something wrong with the Governor. She’s very observant, noticing the shot up army vehicles and walkers kept captive. Michonne isn’t afraid to talk to the Governor about the things she finds, and she isn’t afraid either to tell her new friend that they should leave. Andrea won’t do it, so Michonne goes away on her own, back to a life of solitude, after finally finding a friend to share the end of the world with. Michonne then discovers Rick’s community and is taken in. Her need to connect with other people despite her pain comes out in her attention to Carl (Chandler Riggs), who has just lost his own mother, and her growing friendship with Rick, who has just lost his wife. Michonne could have stayed on her own, but what makes her a badass is that she can be a warrior, and unlike someone such as Daryl, not want to be so alone either.

Michonne is determined to take out the Governor, even though she easily doesn’t have to be involved. When the Governor’s people kidnap Glenn (Steven Yeun) and Maggie (Lauren Cohan), Rick’s group goes into the community in the Season 3 mid-season finale, “Made to Suffer,” to rescue them. For Michonne, she wants more. The Governor is a man who has caused bloodshed and who has corrupted her friend. While others are only looking to make it out alive, she wants to stop the evil Woodbury leader where he stands.

She also wants to protect these new friends she’s just made, a family that makes her feel alive again. She goes alone in her search for him, and discovers that the Governor keeps his zombified young daughter chained up. Though she is not able to kill the Governor when he finds her and attacks her, Michonne fights valiantly and manages to stab the man’s eye out with a sharp shard of glass. She doesn’t do this because she’s a cool lone warrior, but because she’s still a human being with the desire to live and have hope for people.

Michonne Kills the Governor Before He Can Kill Rick

This act was a risky, yet hopeful move for Michonne. Rick and his group don’t trust her yet, meaning Michonne really doesn’t need to be fighting with these people who might not fight for her, but she is anyway. When Andrea turns and Michonne has to kill her, part of that promise of a better future is extinguished, but she dedicates herself to fitting in with her new home at the prison with Rick.

Season 4 of The Walking Dead sees Michonne not with a harder heart, but a softer one. She even smiles and jokes around, and when she holds Rick’s baby, Judith, she cries for her own loss. The group now trusts her, so much so that when she is kidnapped along with Hershel (Scott Wilson), the group goes after her in the Season 4 mid-season finale, “Too Far Gone.” It’s not just Maggie’s (Lauren Cohan) dad who they’re trying to rescue, but this new woman who has become a valued member of the group, fighting by their side. Though Hershel can’t be saved, Michonne is. What follows is an all-out war between Rick and the Governor’s groups. At one point, the Governor has Rick pinned to the ground, and it looks like our hero is a goner, but then a katana blade shoots out of the Governor’s chest. Michonne has killed him just in time.

Her character would only grow after that. Michonne continues to be a warrior, but also is given the chance at a relatively normal life (by apocalypse standards). She and Rick fall in love and create their own family, which will likely be explored in their upcoming spin-off, The Walking Dead: The Ones Who Live. It’s a storyline that’s given to Andrea in the comics, but in The Walking Dead TV series, it works perfectly for Michonne, because we can see how much love she has to give underneath the hardened pain and persona she’s created. Michonne isn’t a badass because she looks like one when she swings a katana. She’s a badass because she’s not simply fighting to survive, but to have a true life. Going after the Governor to protect the new people she cared about, after spending so much time alone, was the ultimate act of hope for a better life, and the realization of love for people she barely knew. What’s more badass than that?

The Walking Dead is available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.


The Walking Dead Poster

The Walking Dead

Release Date
October 31, 2010

Norman Reedus, Melissa Suzanne McBride, Lauren Cohan, Christian Serratos, Seth Gilliam, Khary Payton, Jeffrey Dean Morgan

Main Genre

Action, Drama, Horror, Thriller




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