The Walking Dead season 9, episode 14 review: Scars


Michonne proves that she is just as deadly even when pregnant in a flashback dominated episode of The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead showrunners have hinted that stories of the in-between years will be told from time to time and we have a big one this week. The specific dates occur after the group lost Rick yet while Michonne is still pregnant with his baby. Daryl searches endlessly for his friend as Michonne recognizes that, in her current state, she should start taking it easy (of course things only get more difficult). She admits to Daryl that she is having a hard time moving forward without Rick.

Michonne’s pre-apocalypse friend, Jocelyn, is found close to the grounds along with under-aged traveling companions. Siddiq tries to treat her wounds yet Jocelyn is eager to return to a safehouse where she is keeping more kids protected. Alexandria welcomes them all with open arms and suddenly the place is looking like a summer camp with adolescents playing games around an outdoor fire.

The Alexandria “natives” grow comfortable with having Jocelyn and her kids around and they start letting their own kids sleep over with the newcomers. One morning, when Michonne and other parents go to pick up their children, they find them all missing, with the medicine and food supplies raided and a lookout murdered. Jocelyn stole them away through the sewers.

A very pregnant Michonne goes looking for Judith with Daryl. She tells him about all the times that Jocelyn was there for Michonne in the past. She is mad at herself for letting her guard down. They track Jocelyn and her evil minion kids to a school building. Within seconds of confronting them, one shoots an arrow in Daryl’s shoulder. Another bashes Michonne’s heads with a blunt instrument.

Under the influence of Jocelyn, her followers have tied up the pair while she watches in a corner, almost in a deranged state. Jocelyn orders them to brand Daryl and Michonne with an X on their backs. When the room clears, Daryl frees both of them from captivity and Michonne approaches Jocelyn. The latter forces Michonne to compete against her young warriors and a boy cuts her stomach with a knife.

With our heroine weak and injured, it is quite disturbing to next witness Jocelyn beat Michonne with a piece of lumber. On the flip side, the malicious behavior makes it much easier to support Michonne fighting back and violently slaying Jocelyn. The pack of children then seek revenge on Michonne – she agonizingly cuts down the misguided kids before they can kill Judith. Only one of Jocelyn’s group is left standing and runs away before mother and daughter embrace.

The flashback mirrors Michonne’s present, where she is asked by Daryl and Henry to allow Lydia inside her walls. Whereas Jocelyn was a friendly who tricked Michonne, Lydia actually walked with the enemy. Michonne is risking the safety of Alexandria by bringing her in. Michonne agrees with Aaron that they shouldn’t trust Lydia, but Michonne values Daryl’s judgment above all.

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Judith has been growing up too fast and questioning all the decisions that Michonne has been making, such as not allowing her to speak with Negan and initially voting against Alexandria’s inclusion in the fair. When she sneaks out one night, Michonne thinks Negan may know where she went. Judith is attracted to Negan because he is straight with her and doesn’t treat her like a kid. He tells Michonne that Judith is against her policy of not letting newcomers join their community.

Michonne finds a note where Judith’s weapon ought to be – she intends to go help their friends in the other communities. Michonne races on horseback to go after her daughter. She finds Judith out on a zombie hunt and helps her complete the mission.

They speak about Jocelyn and Michonne is surprised to learn that Judith remembers the whole ordeal. Despite her comprehension of how dangerous some people are, Judith still chooses to help anyone that she can, especially their friends. They visit Carl’s grave together before going back out to give Daryl and company a ride to the Kingdom.

Weekly Walkaways

  • Rutina Wesley credibly creates a Walking Dead anomaly; a single episode villain. As the queen of killer kids, she quickly reveals a creepiness akin to Fear the Walking Dead’s Martha. Wesley is not given the time to develop an extended backstory and build up anticipation for Jocelyn, yet the character works within the confines of a particularly chilling episode.
  • Daryl helping Lydia only validates Judith’s Carl-like peace-driven philosophy. Judith asking Daryl “what would my dad do?” is half tenderness and half nostalgia wrapped into a lovely little exchange between the tough as nails hero with a heart of gold and Rick’s precocious daughter who is equal parts sweet and bold.
  • Last week we got to see Daryl and rookie Connie work together, however “Scars” reminds us that the show can’t do better than an old school Walking Dead tag team like Daryl and Michonne. They have an ingrained bond where they share each other’s willingness to fight to the bitter end, if called for. When Daryl discovers the slaughtered children, he barely hesitates a second before understanding that she did what was necessary to protect Judith.
  • A theme of this episode is mistrust or the skepticism that manifests when you aren’t sure if you can even trust your closest allies. After an old friend betrays Michonne and the people she is entrusted to protect, it changes her willingness to trust others the same way again. She never lets her guard down after that encounter and this puts her at odds with a maturing Judith who wishes to see the best in people.
  • The MVP of “Scars” is Michonne for viscerally illustrating what happens when you mess with her family. While being toward the end of her pregnancy, Michonne is tortured and forced to fight for her life as well as the life of the youngest members of her community. She truly is torn over facing a pack of wild kids, but with Judith and other Alexandrian children being threatened, Michonne butchers everyone in her way.

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The Walking Dead returns next week with “The Calm Before” on Sunday, March 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET on AMC.