- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for “The Walking Dead‘s” season nine, episode 14, “Scars.”
- INSIDER breaks down Sunday’s intense episode with director Millicent Shelton. Some of the minor moments you have missed include that Jocelyn didn’t know Michonne lived at Alexandria and the show never planned on showing Michonne go into labour.
In what may be the show’s darkest episode to date, Michonne gets reunited with an old friend from the past (played by Rutina Wesley) but the reunion quickly takes a harrowing turn. A very pregnant Michonne is forced to make an unthinkable decision as she’s threatened by a group of feral children.
This week I’m changing things up since the episode goes very off comic. INSIDER spoke with director Millicent Shelton about how Sunday’s nerve-racking episode came together. Keep reading to see what you may have missed on “The Walking Dead.”
The song playing at the episode’s very start is called “Souvenir.”
The episode starts not long after Rick’s final episode. Michonne heads to the last spot where Rick was seen before Jadis takes him off in that mystery helicopter.
The song “Souvenir,” by boygenius, plays as we see Michonne continue to return to the spot over and over again during her pregnancy to check for any updates or signs of Rick.
You can listen to the song in full here.
On Sunday’s episode, Michonne runs into an old friend, Jocelyn, after being apart for 15 years. In the comics, Michonne gets reunited with a daughter years later.
Sunday’s episode goes off comic by introducing a character named Jocelyn (Rutina Wesley), one of Michonne’s college friends. In the comics, Michonne finds her daughter years later, Elodie, living at a different community. Elodie is nothing like Jocelyn. She’s just a normal young woman as far as we’ve been shown.
Regardless, I think it’s worth noting that on both the show and in the comics Michonne is reunited with someone from her past years later.
Jocelyn did not know Michonne lived in Alexandria when she planned to raid the community for its kids.
Millicent Shelton said that was something she and showrunner Angela Kang specifically discussed.
“What we had discussed, and what Angela had discussed, is that when Jocelyn comes to Alexandria she does not know that Michonne is there,” Shelton told INSIDER. “It’s not like she went to stalk out to kill her friend. She doesn’t know that Michonne is there.”
“It really is a surprise,” she continued. “But, when she is there, life has changed significantly for both of them. For Jocelyn, her truth is that the children are her family and even though Michonne is an old friend, she’s no longer family in this new world. It is about staying alive, and to her staying alive is the children and taking over.”
Jocelyn was putting on a show when she showed up to Alexandria hurt. But she was being real with Michonne in the kitchen scene.
In case it wasn’t clear, Shelton confirmed Jocelyn’s injury to get into Alexandria was all part of an act she puts on to steal others’ kids.
However, Jocelyn wasn’t faking her conversation with Michonne in the kitchen when they had a heart to heart. That makes the idea that Jocelyn could turn on Michonne anyway more heartbreaking and difficult to watch.
“They really were close friends. In a way, that never changes. [It’s] like when you run into someone who’s your friend, but it just kind of fell apart,” said Shelton of the kitchen scene. “When you get back together it’s almost like it’s just been a day, it’s been a moment, and you fall back into a routine. So when they’re in the kitchen together, they are college friends again and that love and that friendship was real.”
Unfortunately, Shelton said even though the two had that moment, the truth is that the apocalypse changed Jocelyn.
“Life has changed significantly for both of them. For Jocelyn, her truth is that the children are her family and even though Michonne is an old friend, she’s no longer family in this new world,” said Shelton. “It is about staying alive, and to her staying alive is the children and taking over.”
A scene between Henry and Lydia discussing his new scar is a throwback to the comics.
Henry received a pretty big leg injury from his run in with the Whisperers last week. He gets stitched up and will be fine. During a conversation with Lydia he calls it gross and says that it’s going to leave a huge scar.
“I like it,” Lydia tells him as she touches it. “You’ll never forget what you did. Neither will I.”
If this a weird moment to you, it was actually a bit creepier in the comic. Lydia and Carl were discussing his missing eye and his open eye socket instead of a stitched up injury. Lydia also told Carl she liked it.
There was never any conversation to have Michonne go into labour during the episode as far as Shelton knew.
At one point on Sunday’s episode, Michonne’s belly is sliced by a child. From that point on, you might have expected Michonne to go into labour. But she never does. Shelton says that would have changed the episode’s meaning entirely.
“I don’t know in the writers’ room if it was [ever discussed], but no version of the script that I got had it. I’m actually really glad that they didn’t do that because it is kind of the expected thing,” Shelton told INSIDER.
“It’s like, ‘Oops, she’s going to go into labour and everybody’s going to have to deal with the baby.’ And I’m glad they didn’t because the point of this [episode] wasn’t about rebirth,” Shelton added. “It was about scars. When you give birth, it is rebirth. In some ways, birth is cleansing and it’s salvation, and this episode wasn’t about this. This episode was about damage and scars.”
There was probably more of Jocelyn hitting Michonne with a two-by-four that didn’t make it into the final episode.
Shelton said, “Jocelyn, to be honest, is hitting her with a two-by-four. She was wailing on her. I think they cut it down a little bit in the edit from my director’s cut. I mean she was wailing on her!”
Negan says he talks to Judith about Carl’s letters.
“She thinks that things should be like Carl thought they should be in the letter he wrote to me,” Negan tells Michonne as she’s searching for Judith.
How did Carl want the world to be? We know exactly what he wrote in his letter to Negan.
“The way out is working together. It’s forgiveness. It’s believing that it doesn’t have to be a fight anymore. Because it doesn’t,” Carl wrote. “I hope my dad offers you peace. I hope you take it. I hope everything can change. It did for me. Start over. You still can.”
I think it’s worth pointing out that this episode showed us the lengths one mother will go for her children, something which may carry over onto next week’s episode.
Sunday’s episode “Scars” not only told us how Michonne wound up with a brand on her back, but it showed us what lengths – no matter how terrible – a mother will go for her children. Earlier this season, Carol lit a group of Saviors on fire after they went after her son Henry.
As we head into next week’s episode, that may continue to be a recurring theme. The teaser for season nine, episode 15 shows Alpha and Beta (curiously out of that elevator) trapping Michonne, Daryl, and Carol in the woods. Alpha is clearly targeting the communities after Daryl took Lydia with him. Now, it looks like we’re about to see how far Alpha will go to get back what is hers.
The moment when Michonne was branded and leans into Jocelyn’s face wasn’t planned.
“For me, the most uncomfortable thing to watch as a director, but I’m so glad they left it in the cut, is when Michonne gets branded and she screamed and she leans. And she leans forward into Jocelyn’s face,” said Shelton. “Rutina was standing next to that [camera] operator and Danai leaned so far forward, he stepped back and panned [the camera].”
“It was unexpected and he got that profile and I let it play and I was just like, ‘Oh my God!’ And I was just holding my breath. It was so powerful. It was just the most powerful moment,” said Shelton.
So much is conveyed in that one moment by Michonne. Not only is she screaming out because of the physical pain of the brand, but also because of the realisation that her former friend can betray her and stand by and watch as she’s tortured.
Michonne’s face is juxtaposed by an eerie, calm resolve on Jocelyn’s face. She doesn’t show one ounce of empathy for her former friend.
It appears as if Michonne was wearing one of Rick’s jackets during the flashback scenes on Sunday’s episode.
As some fans pointed out on Twitter last week as teasers for the episode were released, it looks like Michonne is wearing a coat Rick wore on the second episode of season nine as he looked on at a campfire.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.