The Walking Dead remixed a key scene from the comic books when Michonne (Danai Gurira) learned Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) might still be alive in "What We Become," Gurira's final episode. While off with Virgil (Kevin Carroll) on Bloodsworth Island in search of weapons he said could eliminate the threat of the Whisperers' walker horde, Michonne's search turned up empty until she found Rick's possessions and a cell phone with etchings marked "rick." Whether or not he died sometime during the more than six years since she saw him last, Michonne's discovery was evidence Rick at least survived the bridge explosion thought to have killed him years earlier.
In the comic books, Michonne similarly learned a lost loved one was actually alive when she traveled with a small group to the Commonwealth, a network of connected settlements home to nearly 50,000 survivors. When armored soldiers from the Commonwealth Army brought the group into the new community in issue #175, the survivors were met by a missing person board with a message for Michonne: "HAVE YOU SEEN MY MOM MICHONNE? IF YOU HAVE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT ELODIE AT THE BAKERY ON 6TH ST."
Like her live-action counterpart, who broke down into tears when finding items belonging to Rick, Michonne sobbed at the realization her daughter, long believed dead, was alive. In issue #139, Michonne confessed to Rick she inadvertently abandoned her two daughters, Elodie and Colette, when they were separated during the initial outbreak.
During a tearful reunion with her mom in issue #177, Elodie revealed she and Colette had "gone north when it all happened," explaining Colette was killed by a group of men after she refused to perform sexual favors in exchange for protection. Elodie then found her way to the Commonwealth, where she's been a citizen for more than four years.
"What We Become" ended with Michonne headed north as part of a large migration after finding a lead on the missing Rick Grimes.
"It was everything. She's put something away that could never be put away," Gurira said of Michonne's discovery on Talking Dead. "She's had to move forward and actually compartmentalize a massive hunch that she's always had, that he is not dead, and that there's more to the story of what happened after the bridge."
Michonne had to put that hunch aside to care for daughter Judith (Cailey Fleming) and her people, but it's something that "never died."
"It's something she really had to allow to go dormant," Gurira noted. "But of course, he never died for her, he's always right there, so the idea of actually seeing that and experiencing a glimpse of something that could mean something, but maybe not, but it could, is feeding something inside of her that she has been really trying to keep down for so many years and move beyond for the good of everyone around her."
Gurira added, "It was an awesome thing for me to see Michonne get that, to get connected to him again and to actually have her hunches start to be validated. Of course, who knows what happens next."