The Walking Dead universe created some memorable characters but none of them are quite like Michonne. She’s a staple in the TV show (and comics) who is known for being a clever survivor, innovative leader, passionate community member, and a skilled fighter—both hand-to-hand and with her infamous katana. Fans have watched her kill, love, laugh, and fight for her family as she grew into one of the most beloved characters on the show. Without Michonne, Rick wouldn’t have matured as a leader, Alexandria wouldn’t have thrived through (and after) chaos, and a lot more people would be dead.
Michonne’s TV arc in The Walking Dead wasn’t without its problems, particularly the amount of brutal physical violence against her versus her white female counterparts. She usually got the upper hand in a brawl but it was hard to see her go through so much additional trauma yet somehow remain an amazing and caring person. Nevertheless, the emotional complexity, grace, wit, and passion that Danai Gurira brings to this integral character is a testament to the power of perfect casting. It was difficult to say goodbye to her in The Walking Dead series but we are thankfully getting a major dose of Richonne in 2024. Rick and Michonne’s Walking Dead spinoff will bring the apocalypse lovebirds back together and show us what they’ve been up to since their respective departures.
In honor of her brilliance and beauty, let’s relive some of Michonne’s best Walking Dead moments in all their katana swingin’ and walker slayin’ glory.
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Michonne’s first onscreen moment is one of the best Walking Dead introductions EVER. Andrea is two seconds from certain death when a katana suddenly plunges through a walker. The walker body falls and reveals a hooded figure standing silently with two armless and jawless walkers on chains. This scene instantly set Michonne up as the badass and often mysterious person that fans would quickly love.
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Michonne is the master of carefully choosing her words and sussing out suspicious situations. She instantly picks up on The Governor’s mess and tries to encourage Andrea to see the truth too. Only Michonne would piece together that 1) anywhere where Merle lives can’t be a good place 2) bullet holes in military vehicles and cages of walkers inside community walls are not normal and 3) you should definitely listen to your gut in a lawless and post-apocalyptic world.
Her sharp instincts and investigative skills are why she was able to survive alone and how she later became a major asset to Rick’s group.
Michonne vs. Merle & Company
If Michonne wants to leave, then you better let her go. The Governor’s decision to send Merle and a couple of his henchmen to kill Michonne didn’t end well. She leaves the message “go back”—spelled with walker parts—to warn them that blood would be shed if they pursued her further. They ignore the warning and Michonne comes out swinging her katana, killing two men instantly. Merle is able to fire a shot at her but she still manages to kick his butt, gut a walker, and make it all the way to the prison with baby formula and valuable information. How? Because she’s Michonne.
Bye Penny (and Her Daddy’s Eye)
The Governor is angry when he discovers Michonne in his room full of walker heads and his daughter’s zombie body. She puts the little girl down in front of him, which leads to a physical brawl in which Michonne comes out victorious by stabbing The Governor in the eye. That’s what he gets for putting his hands on her. Sadly, her so-called friend Andrea defends this weird man over the person who saved her life. Michonne goes forward into the world because, well, did she really need Andrea anyway?
Getting Carl in Line
The Grimes family has a lot going on when Michonne joins Rick and Carl for a special supply run. Judith is being raised by the others in the group while Rick is dealing with some emotional and mental trauma. And Carl is acting like a whole brat in these zombie streets with no parental guidance.
Michonne’s patience and firmness with Carl laid the foundation for their eventual mom/son/BFF relationship. Her love and kindness convinces Carl to tell Rick that she is indeed a part of their group. Rick also sees a bit of her heart when she commiserates with him about seeing ghosts because she used to talk to her dead boyfriend. Bonus: Michonne got a colorful cat sculpture out of the deal!
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Let’s Go for a Ride
Michonne riding a horse with her katana. That’s it. That’s the caption. This applies to season four and every time she mounts a horse in the future.
Michonne’s first time holding Judith is such a bittersweet moment. It foreshadows Michonne’s reveal about losing her son Andre and gives fans a small glimpse into the emotional pain that she tucked away for the sake of survival.
This scene hits different in hindsight because that same baby, Judith, would grow up to know Michonne as her mom. Michonne has lost Rick and Carl, so Judith and her brother RJ are the only immediate family she has left.
And, for Judith, Michonne is the only parent she has really known because her father has been “gone” for at least half of her life. The bond between Judith and Michonne is certainly different from the one she shared with Carl, but it’s still one of the highlights of this show.
Stupid Gets You Killed
She’s proven herself to be one of the smarter survivors on the show, so it’s no surprise that she would give sage advice. Michonne offers some simple words to live by in the apocalypse:
“I know you’re pissed. And you have every reason to be. But anger makes you stupid. Stupid gets you killed.”
FACTS. Michonne has had to deal with her share of anger like everyone else but she also realizes the potential result of allowing that anger to govern her actions. It’s the reason why she is still here over a decade into the apocalypse.
Handling Walkers with No Hands
No katana? No hands? No problem. Michonne is tied up by Merle on their way back to Woodbury but she’s still able to take down two walkers with ease. It’s an often forgotten scene that shows her quick thinking and defensive skills.
The Governor Goes Down (for Good)
Michonne was destined to kill The Governor, right? Once again, Michonne saves the day by plunging her katana into his chest and sparing Rick’s life. This moment comes after Rick basically traded her to The Governor and the group ignored her insistence on hunting down The Governor and his group after they attacked the prison. The people really don’t deserve Michonne’s awesomeness but she’s kind enough to give it to them anyway.
The Chopping of a Herd
Danai Gurira told Entertainment Weekly that this is her favorite Michonne moment (for now) and it’s a great choice. The destruction of the prison causes loners like Michonne and Daryl to immediately revert to their old ways. For Daryl, it involves getting caught up with a sketchy group of murderers and rapists.
For Michonne, it means leading two walkers on ropes to walk among the dead. Michonne finally decides to fight for life and find her family after seeing a walker who (vaguely) looks like her. She cuts down a herd of walkers by herself, releasing her anger, fear, frustration, and pain in the process.
The Kill Assist for Murderer Rick
Rick and Michonne are forces to be reckoned with on their own. But, their combined skills make them quite the deadly duo. The virtually perfect season four finale puts them in a terrible predicament with Joe and the Claimers threatening heinous crimes against them. Rick changes the game when he bites Joe’s throat out and Michonne immediately snaps into action.
She kills two people before turning the gun on the guy who wanted to assault Carl. Moments later, she cradles Carl in her arms after the bloody incident. Michonne always provides the perfect balance between necessary brutality, rage, and warmth, which makes her the real MVP.
Snacks on the Train Tracks
Here’s another example of Carl and Michonne being the best. The pair make light of their situation by walking on train tracks like they are balancing beams for the sake of a candy bar bet. He takes her favorite bar before they decide to split it because they are adorable human beings.
A Past Reveal
Michonne opens up to her sweet boy Carl about her son Andre and why she kept two walkers on chains. It is a tender exchange that shows how deeply they trust each other, especially when Carl reveals his own issues about his dad’s recent raging and his own moral compass. So many tears and feels.
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A Right Hook to Rick’s Face
Michonne loved and supported Rick long before Richonne became canon. But that doesn’t mean she won’t challenge him when he goes off the rails. Fans have seen Rick and Michonne have a war of words or different opinions about a situation, but this incident took things to a new level.
Rick is completely out of pocket, screaming at the Alexandrians with a bloody face and a gun. Michonne appears out of thin air and clocks him so good that he doesn’t wake up for a while. It’s what he needs—and deserves—at the time.
In Defense Of….
How do you defend a wily and unpredictable survivor like Rick to a town of sheltered people? Leave it to Michonne to find a way. Here’s what she says to Deanna on Rick’s behalf:
“…after being out there and then not being how you were out there… it can drive you crazy. Rick just wants his family to live. He wants all of you to live. Who he is… is who you’re gonna be if you’re lucky.”
Her words are 100 percent true. The only way to survive in that world is to be a fighter who is willing to do anything to protect their family and way of life.
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A Reality Check with Heath
Thank you Michonne for taking Heath down a peg. Heath thought going on a few runs meant he knew about survival and making tough choices until he got some real talk from Michonne.
“You haven’t been through it, not really… Rick was out there. I was out there. We know, you don’t. But if you don’t learn, you will die, we will… Have you had to kill people because they had already killed your friends and were coming for you next? Have you ever done things that made you feel afraid of yourself afterward? Have you ever been covered in so much blood that you didn’t know if it was yours or walkers’ or your friends? Huh? Then you don’t know.”
Well, there’s some apocalypse reality for ya.
Ron Is Gone
Michonne taking out an antagonist in the nick of time is a way of life. Yes, Carl still lost his eye after being shot by Ron, but Michonne’s intervention saves his life. And it marks the end of the Andersons a.k.a. the most annoying family in Walking Dead history. Good riddance Ronny boy.
Leading the Alexandrian Pack
In the midst of walkers, Michonne clears a path for Rick and a severely injured Carl to get to the infirmary. She spends a moment with Carl before running out the door to fight the massive herd alongside Rick for their community. Of course, everyone follows her because you should always follow Michonne.
Her actions lead many others to defend Alexandria—a battle that bridges the gap between Rick’s group and the Alexandrians.
The birth of Richonne
It’s the moment that Richonne shippers had been waiting for since season three. The first Rick and Michonne kiss is truly a glorious moment between the Alexandrian leaders. Everything about their union made sense from an emotional and story perspective and they both honestly deserved to have some love and happiness in their lives.
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Michonne Rallies Rick to Fight
The Walking Dead fans had seen a lot of different Ricks—Murderer Rick, Hallucinating Rick, Angry Rick, Witty Rick, and Running Rick. But Negan turned the brave leader into a shell of his former self who was petrified to make a move.
Michonne keeps her fire and faith in their ability to one day triumph over Negan and, without her steadfastness, the group would have stayed under Negan’s thumb for much longer. At the time, Rick is leader of the group but Michonne’s influence and power is equally (if not more) important.
The Richonne Roadtrip
Michonne and Rick go on a mini getaway! There are some funny and sweet scenes with this duo, but the best ones came in the midst of trouble. Michonne is completely devastated by the thought of Rick’s death, dropping her katana in shock. But, Rick’s plot armor came through when he reappears and tosses her the katana. Michonne goes right back to being a boss, catching the katana with one hand and doing a double beheading move on a pair of walkers. Love to see it.
The Car Cutdown
Did the scene with Michonne and Rick using two cars and a rope to take down walkers make any sense? Not really. But hey its a show about zombies after all. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still wildly entertaining and fun to watch them work together before escaping the hoard in another vehicle.
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The Last Chat with Carl
This season marks the beginning of less Michonne in The Walking Dead. The reduction in her screen time was due to Danai’s career skyrocketing with Broadway plays and Black Panther so it was all good.
Her biggest appearance this season is after the destruction at Alexandria when she discovers Carl’s bite mark. Their tearful goodbye to each other and the quiet moment on the porch before hearing Carl put himself down are still too much to handle.
There’s no other Michonne moment that really matters in season eight because this is such a defining time. She loses the community she worked hard to assimilate into and protect and now she must deal with the death of her best friend, her sweet son. Carl’s death may have caused a lot of righteous anger and annoyance, but their last scenes together are absolutely perfect.
Step Back Enid
Here’s a fun one to balance out the sadness of losing Carl. Enid gets the nerve, the audacity to interrupt Maggie and Michonne’s conversation about how to deal with Georgie. She even steps to Michonne’s face talking about the Saviors, fighting, and some other foolery before Michonne calmly takes the gun out of her hand and says two words: Step back. WELP.
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A Woman with a Plan
Michonne becomes a founding mother of this new nation when she writes a brilliant charter to bring all the groups together and establish some ground rules. Her forward thinking is exactly why she is such an effective leader. Other characters know how to survive but Michonne wants to thrive and fulfill her purpose. Gotta love a woman with a plan.
Sidenote: It was infuriating when Tara stole her charter and the leaders almost signed it without Michonne. Ugh. Anyway, fans know the real genius behind the words and her hope for the future ultimately came true via the Commonwealth.
A Fun Day with Judith
The Walking Dead goes from dark to outright cute when it features a day in the life of the Grimes family. Michonne playing hide and seek with Judith, holding hands with Rick, and beaming with a bright smile is so hopeful and sweet.
Maggie vs. Michonne
Michonne talking Maggie down from killing Negan is a phenomenal scene. First, Maggie steps back when Michonne tells her to because she don’t want no smoke.
Second, Michonne tells her that killing him at this point wouldn’t bring anything positive or good to her life. Michonne knows she can only do so much so she gives Maggie the keys to the cell to learn a lesson on her own.
Her Reaction to Rick’s “Death”
Michonne’s reaction to the bridge blowing up is one of the most heartbreaking moments in this series. Her screaming “Rick,” the tears and terror in her eyes after the explosion, and her collapse to the ground is a gut punch to the feels. Cannot wait for the day that they reunite
Leader Michonne vs. Jailed Negan
Danai Gurira and Jeffrey Dean Morgan are an acting match made in heaven. Michonne and Negan’s tense chats about leadership, control, and freedom are all worthy of several views.
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The Virgil Conundrum
Michonne is once again in limited episodes this season but she’s always a welcome face. She is ready to give Virgil the business when he’s caught stealing an Oceanside boat until Luke confirmed that he is (possibly) a good guy. Their eventual conversation about his community and family is somehow enough to convince her to go with him alone to get weapons for the Whisperer war. Sigh. She obviously didn’t get back in time.
Show ‘Em How It’s Done
Her final episode has some trippy and strange elements but one thing rings true—her ability to step into a dangerous situation with ease. Virgil takes her to a location filled with walkers and she quickly tells him to hide cause she’s got it under control. She dispatches an entire room of walkers by herself within minutes and shows Virgil that she’s not one to play with… ever. Sure, he’s a dummy who still tries to test her anyway but guess who wins AGAIN.
The Great Escape
You can’t keep Michonne the Great down. She catches Virgil slipping, frees the other captives, and tracks him down in the forest with ease. He’s lucky that he didn’t run into Michonne from a few seasons ago because she would have gutted him like a fish. Instead, she shows him mercy, gets her stuff back, and leaves with the others.
A Shocking Discovery
The moment that fans have been waiting for finally happened! Michonne’s discovery that Rick is still alive is everything. She parses through a wide range of emotions in a matter of minutes—shock, anger, confusion, and eventual signs of cautious optimism. Her last conversation with the Grimes kids is a sweet touch to cap off her new journey.
A New Beginning
Full circle moments are the best. Michonne is back in her infamous hood with two walkers in tow when she meets a couple of people trying to catch up with a larger group. She cuts the walkers down and offers to help save them, much like she saved Andrea in her first scene.
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Of course, Michonne never came back to Alexandria in the show’s final season. But we did get a glimpse of her in the show’s very last moments. And it marks the glorious beginning of a new spinoff that focuses on her journey to find the love of her life. A true romance.
All hail Michonne, a sage, loving, and powerful woman navigating uncharted territory in this chapter of her life. Anyone who stands in her way doesn’t stand a chance.
Originally published March 23, 2020.