TV Review: The Walking Dead – Season 9, Episode 14

Last Updated on August 2, 2021

Season 9, Episode 14: Scars

PLOT: While pondering the Kingdom's fair and the Whisperers situation, Michonne has flashbacks to the events that made her decide to isolate Alexandria from the other communities.

REVIEW: Scars is the fourteenth episode in this season of AMC's The Walking Dead, but a good portion of its events take place at a point in the timeline that would have made it the sixth episode if the producers had chosen to tell the story in chronological order. When Daryl (Norman Reedus) and Connie (Lauren Ridloff) show up at the gates of the Alexandria community while on the run from the Whisperers with a wounded Henry (Matt Lintz) and Lydia (Cassady McClincy), daughter of the Whisperers' leader, Alexandria leader Michonne (Danai Gurira) starts having flashbacks to a time when another group of people arrived at the gates of Alexandria seeking help. 

We've seen that Michonne and Daryl are both sporting X-shaped scars on their backs that they acquired sometime during the six year jump that occurred between the last couple scenes of episode 5, and that Michonne became very paranoid sometime during those years, so much that she decided Alexandria should be isolated from the other communities in the area. As it turns out, the event that left both physical and emotional scars happened just months after the disappearance of Rick Grimes, even before Michonne gave birth to the son Rick never got to meet.

After dragging out the mystery for several episodes, it's pretty impressive that showrunner Angela Kang and the writers found a way to give an answer that can be told within just one episode. At other points a Walking Dead show might have tried to make the explanation last much longer – just last year on Fear the Walking Dead, the show was jumping back and forth between two timelines for half a season. I could imagine The Walking Dead trying to do the same, wrapping up the flashbacks just in time for Michonne to leave the show next season (Gurira will only be in a "handful" of season 10 episodes), just like the Madison character left Fear at the end of its half season of flashbacks. But thankfully they decided to get this time jump flashback story out of the way quickly… And that means they had to put Michonne through a very traumatic situation, to show how one episode of events could make her withdraw from her friends in the other communities.

The Walking Dead Norman Reedus Cailey Fleming

By the end of the episode, I could understand, especially after seeing the incredible emotional performance Gurira delivered here. Members of the group that showed up seeking help when Michonne was pregnant with R.J. made her deal with some seriously messed up stuff. It's made even worse for Michonne by the fact that one of those people was someone she had reason to trust completely: it's a friend from her college days, Jocelyn (Rutina Wesley). It's quite a coincidence that Jocelyn just happens to stumble up to Alexandria, which is in the Washington, D.C. and far from where Michonne's travels began back in Georgia, but the world of The Walking Dead can be very small when they want it to be. 

The story that plays out with Jocelyn and the small army of children she travels around with, an army she's always looking to recruit more children into, is a very twisted tale, with disturbing content along the lines of that Lizzie and Mika episode of season 4 (which also happened to be the fourteenth episode of that season).

Between the flashbacks we get some present day scenes that relate nicely to what happened in the past. Because of Jocelyn, Michonne nearly lost her young daughter Judith (Chloe Garcia-Frizzi) – not to mention R.J. and her own life. In the present, she nearly loses Judith (Cailey Fleming) as a result of the decisions she made after the Jocelyn situation was resolved.

I was entirely satisfied by the answers Scars provided, and appreciate that the show was able to get those answers out of the way like this. It sort of felt like an odd time to interrupt what's going on with the Whisperers to show us these flashbacks now, but this was such a dark, horrific aside that I don't mind. Now we can put the past behind us and keep moving forward with whatever's going to happen with Lydia's mom and former companions.

BEST ZOMBIE MOMENT: Michonne hacks her way through a small herd of zombies to save Judith's life while having flashbacks to a time when she hacked her way through multiple other bodies to save the life of a younger Judith.

GORY GLORY: A lot of zombies bite the dust in this episode, and Michonne's X scar looked pretty nasty when it was first burned into her, but my favorite gore effect was at the very beginning of the episode. A zombie gets its head sliced open and half of its face falls to the ground in a close-up.

FAVORITE SCENE: Michonne faces off with a bunch of maniac kids like she's been dropped into a post-apocalyptic CHILDREN OF THE CORN sequel. 



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Source: JoBlo

About the Author

Cody is a news editor and film critic, focused on the horror arm of, and writes scripts for videos that are released through the JoBlo Originals and JoBlo Horror Originals YouTube channels. In his spare time, he's a globe-trotting digital nomad, runs a personal blog called Life Between Frames, and writes novels and screenplays.