'The Walking Dead' showrunner says we'll learn more about the mystery 'X' on Michonne and Daryl's backs next year

Gene Page/AMCMichonne’s relationships with her friends took a turn during the time jump.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for Sunday’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” season nine, episode eight, “Evolution.”

Sunday’s mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” introduced the show’s next creepy villains, bid farewell to a beloved character, and gave us a deeper look at the rift between Michonne, the Hilltop, and some of her family members.

A lot of it is rooted in those mystery “X” marks we’ve seen carved into the backs of both Michonne and Daryl.

Michonne daryl x scarsAMCMichonne and Daryl showed off some brutal-looking marks on their backs this season.

“In doing a six-year time jump, there’s got to be a lot that’s happened to our characters during that time and it’s just part of the story that factors into Michonne and Alexandria, the way that they have sort of isolated themselves and [have] become very wary about strangers,” showrunner Angela Kang told INSIDER.

When Michonne first arrives at the Hilltop on Sunday’s episode, she’s treated completely different than we’ve ever seen on the show. The community is almost fearful and hostile of her as they scramble to get indoors and collect her group’s weapons before they may enter. More strangely, Carol and Tara didn’t exactly give her the warmest welcome. If you noticed, none of the women embraced when they saw each other.

Michonne carol tara twd 908AMCEveryone looked a little upset when speaking with Michonne.

Something significant clearly happened between the communities after Rick’s absence. And we get a few hints of that from the episode, particularly when Siddiq tells Michonne she should try and mend some fences.

“I won’t, not the way they want me to,” Michonne tells Siddiq of making amends. “I didn’t make the choices I made because I thought they’d be easy. At least they’re alive so they can hate me for it.”

Siddiq michonne twd 908Gene Page/AMCSiddiq tries to convince Michonne to patch things up with their friends.

“This is a story that we will reveal more about in the second half of the season, which starts airing in the new year,” Kang said in regards to the mystery “X” on Michonne and Daryl’s backs. “And it’s just one of these things that’s touching [on] important parts of backstories for characters. It’s something that obviously Michonne and Daryl, they both experienced something. There’s probably others that are affected in various ways, if not in the same ways.”

No clearer was that then when Carol had a brief discussion with Michonne early on Sunday’s episode. She tried inviting Michonne and Alexandria to come to the Hilltop for their upcoming fair and Michonne ultimately refused.

“I know what you went through and I get why this is hard for you, but we’ve all lost something,” Carol told Michonne. “You and me, we’ve both lost children and we kept going, for each other. We’ve always been a family.”

Carol twd 908AMCCarol looks after Michonne, concerned about her old friend.

“And we still are. But Kingdom is Kingdom. Hilltop is here and Alexandria is there and in between there’s a whole lot of broken world and we cannot pretend otherwise. We’ve got to take care of our own now. It’s just the way it is,” Michonne decided.

Kang hints that when we eventually find out what happened to our group it may be pretty dark.

“It’s one of these character, intrigue mysteries that we wanted to sort of show to the audience a little at a time,” Kang added. “We start with the effects of everything that’s happened in the past and then we’ll learn what exactly did happen and how it is that they came to kind of take on the positions that they did and things they have been through together. It’s a world of the apocalypse and a lot of hard and scary things happen to our people.”

How do you think Michonne and Daryl received the mystery “X” marks on their backs?

You can follow along with our “Walking Dead” coverage here.

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