Warning: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of “The Walking Dead,” season nine, episode seven, “Stradivarius.”
The six-year time jump on “The Walking Dead” has given us new looks for some of our characters, but it has also introduced a new, darker mystery involving the letter “X” carved into the backs of some fan favourites.
We first saw Michonne with the “X” on the lower left side of her back on season nine, episode six. On the episode broadcast Sunday in the US, it was revealed Daryl has a matching mark on the same area of his back. His back was also covered in a number of scars.
“Where we’re dealing with Michonne, where she has separated herself from the Hilltop group, and sort of isolated herself with just Alexandria, we’re not exactly sure why. We will find out later,” Michael Cudlitz, who directed this episode of “The Walking Dead” and formerly starred on the show as fan-favourite Abraham, told INSIDER. “A lot of it’s tied to the ‘X’ that we see on her back, that we just revealed on Michonne’s back. Now we see it on Daryl’s back.”
“The audience is going to want to know what that’s about,” said Cudlitz, hinting that we may see the mark show up on others. “They’re going to find out what that’s about, but that is something that connects them all, even though they’re all separated right now, we’re going to find out why.”
Some fans thought the “X” may have had to do with the remaining Saviors or another group trying to take over Alexandria.
On this week’s episode, we see Michonne grapple with a hesitation to head to the Hilltop. Cudlitz said the “X” on her back has something to do with it, and we most likely won’t have to wait too long to find out how she and Daryl both received their scars. “We’re going to find out why Michonne had distance with Maggie when last we saw [her], she didn’t. I mean, they had conflict over the Negan thing, but that was resolved. She stepped aside. She let Maggie tell that story, and carry that story off the way that she had to, because she knew she had to,” said Cudlitz of some change that occurred in Michonne and Maggie’s relationship. “So there’s no conflict left there, really. They actually agreed.”
“So what’s different now? We’re gonna find out. But right now we know, in episode seven, that they’re separated, and it’s a wonderful reflective moment for Michonne to hear a small group sort of like holding a mirror up to what they used to be,” Cudlitz said, comparing Magna’s group to Michonne’s original group with Rick. “This small group that not only needs each other, but is there for each other. And one of the people in that group is telling the story of, basically civilisation, and what civilisation needs to thrive, and one of the main things it needs to survive and thrive is to share.”
“That’s a really tremendous moment for Michonne, because she’s hearing something that’s going directly against how she’s approaching life right now,” added Cudlitz of the effect Magna’s group is having and will continue to have on Michonne moving forward. “This is going to be really exciting to see what impact this new group has on them long term. We start the episode with… There’s no way in hell she’s going to Hilltop, we know that. And then by the end, the ultimate kicker that tilts it in the other favour is the Rosita thing, but would one person really pull her there?”
“Or is it a combination of what she’s seeing with this group, that she’s just thinking about going, and that was the defining moment that made her go to the Hilltop? Even though she didn’t know until Siddiq tells her that Maggie’s no longer there. So it’s interesting. It’s fun to watch the journey, it’s fun to be part of it. And I think Angela [Kang]’s telling great stories,” said Cudlitz.
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