The Walking Dead recap: True Blood star’s surprise cameo brings more than one revelation

“I’ve done things to protect this place, some things I’m not proud of, some things I try to forget. To save my people, I’ve had to risk others. It hasn’t been easy, but it’s what I had to do.”

For weeks, Michonne alluded to certain events that transpired within the time jump in season 9, events that left everyone scarred, both physically (per the X on the backs of Michonne and Daryl) and psychologically (per the locked-off mentality of Alexandria). It’s only now with the surprise arrival of Jocelyn, played by True Blood and Queen Sugar star Rutina Wesley, that we finally get answers through a series of flashbacks.

The name Jocelyn is mentioned briefly by The Governor in The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor, a novel from Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga, but it’s unclear whether it’s the same character translated for the screen. On AMC, Jocelyn is an old friend of Michonne’s. We pick up that they’ve known each other for years; Jocelyn mentions a moment from their junior year of school and Michonne tells Daryl she helped her through her mother’s death. Fifteen years have passed since the last time they saw each other before the outbreak, and their encounter brings us back to this six-year span following the bridge explosion.

The first of the flashbacks takes us to see Michonne, well into her pregnancy with RJ but still out searching for signs of Rick. She digs up his pistol from the mud of the river bank — later placing it in a wooden box for Judith — when Daryl comes across her way. He, too, has been out searching for Rick’s body, but he refuses to return to Alexandria until he has something to bring home.

Daryl’s arrival at Alexandria in the present with Connie, Lydia, and an injured Henry brings up more memories from this time. She trusts Daryl’s judgment but remains wary of Lydia because outsiders came to Alexandria’s gates years prior and they changed everything. She remembers how her scouts found a group of children accompanied by a woman, Jocelyn, after an apparent attack. Overcome by the sight of her friend, Michonne welcomes them into their community and takes a group to go out looking for the remaining kids.

At night, the children prove themselves to be experienced hunters by bringing in game to cook. They play games as Jocelyn tells Michonne all the adults in their group are now gone. So now she takes care of them. The pleasantries and good tidings abruptly end the next morning when Michonne wakes to find Jocelyn and her kids have absconded, taking their food and medical supplies, as well as Judith and a whole host of Alexandria’s kids, with them.

In the present, Judith sits by the water wheels with Daryl. She worries for Hilltop and fears, based on the stories she heard about the Saviors, that they might soon be in the midst of another war with The Whisperers. Daryl dismisses these fears, but, with Hilltop struggling, she wonders what her father would do in this situation. Michonne knows Judith is frustrated with her and Daryl suggests telling Judith everything about why they do what they do. But the memories of Jocelyn compel her to remain steadfast in her ways. The manhole cover by the gate incites another vision of a trail of bloody footsteps leading away from the man Jocelyn’s kids killed to escape down into the sewers.

The past and present continue to progress down parallel paths as Michonne of the present finds Judith’s room empty after dinner. She goes to Negan, hoping to find clues, and he gladly tells her about all the conversations they’ve had together, even how he killed Glenn and Abraham. He’s honest with her, even with his own ugliness. When things grow heated between them, he mentions that Judith is Michonne’s daughter and most likely “she’s not taking s— lying down.” Michonne sprints to the wooden box in Judith’s room and finds Rick’s pistol gone, but a note scribbled in crayon remains: “I’m sorry, but our friends need help.”

So both Michonnes set out into the wild to find their daughters.

(Recap continues on the next page.)

AMC’s zombie thriller, based on the classic comic book serial created by Robert Kirkman.

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