The Walking Dead Season 10 midseason finale, “The World Before,” introduced a mysterious new character who could be Michonne’s (Danai Gurira) key to finding Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln). Michonne and Judith (Danai Gurira) encounter Virgil (Kevin Carroll) at Oceanside, where the desperate survivor attempted to steal a boat and sail home. Initially hostile and suspicious towards Virgil, Michonne softens when he says “mercy is in short supply these days,” bringing to mind memories of Rick and the recently murdered Siddiq (Avi Nash). Michonne is ultimately convinced to sail off with Virgil to his island, returning him to his family in exchange for weapons needed to end the war against Alpha (Samantha Morton) and the Whisperers.
The conversation reminded Michonne of a phrase first uttered by Siddiq and later adopted by Rick after the death of son Carl (Chandler Riggs): “My mercy prevails over my wrath.”
Virgil is evocative of the missing but believed-dead Rick in other ways, as well. “I’m just trying to get home,” the stranded Virgil tells Michonne. “I don’t wanna cause any trouble. I just wanna get back to my family.”
It's not yet known to Michonne, but Rick survived his apparent death in a bridge explosion more than six years earlier, and he's similarly cut off from his family. The first teaser trailer for the Walking Dead movies, where Lincoln reprises his role, hinted Rick was flown away to Philadelphia. Presumably, he's not staying there by choice, and the movies will follow his fight back home to reunite with Michonne, Judith and son RJ (Antony Azor).
When Michonne is attempting to sway Virgil into disclosing where he’s from, we get another parallel between Virgil and Rick when she tells him, “Your wife and kids don’t know where you are. Or whether you’re ever gonna come back. Don’t put them through that.”
Virgil finally relents and tells Michonne he’s from Bloodsworth Island in Tangier Sound, which is “hard to find” and “fortified.” It's a two-day trip to the naval base Virgil calls home, and after instructing Judith to keep in contact over walkie talkie, Michonne sets sail to retrieve weaponry she hopes will end the threat of the massive walker horde controlled by the Whisperers.
“We were thinking for a while that it’d be interesting if, in some way, this character just kind of triggers thoughts about the past for Michonne. Just about all kinds of things,” showrunner Angela Kang told EW. “And so 'mercy prevails over my wrath' — obviously that’s tied to Rick, but it was first uttered by Siddiq. To give an eye into our process, at first, we were going to play a version where maybe Michonne and that group was sort of siloed from the information about Siddiq. But in talking with Danai, she felt like she wanted to be able to honor her connection to Siddiq, which I think was a really valuable thought. Because there is this very deep connection to her family and Carl. Siddiq was really important to Carl.”
She continued, “And so then he was really important to Rick and Michonne too. And I think being able to have this comment that immediately ties both the love of her life and this dear friend who was like family to her who just died — it all kind of worked. It just felt like it kind of did this nice triple duty in the moment and our actors did an amazing job playing it.”
Because Virgil comes from a naval base, it’s possible the base has ties to CRM, the shadowy organization whose helicopter with the three-circle symbol flew away with Rick. The organization must have had a nearby base somewhere in Virginia — as evidenced by their contact with Jadis-slash-Anne (Pollyanna McIntosh) when she operated the Scavengers from a junkyard, which had its own helipad and solar panels — and a hard-to-reach naval base that is both hard to find and fortified would make a suitable landing point for the secretive CRM.
Gurira will appear in one last episode of The Walking Dead before the end of the season. From there, Michonne could be spun off into the Walking Dead movies alongside Lincoln, as hinted by TWD chief content officer Scott Gimple:
“She has some amazing things ahead of her and we’re not completely done with her, I’ll say that,” Gimple said at San Diego Comic-Con in July. “We’re not completely done with anyone who comes and goes on the show. But she has some amazing things ahead.”
TWD returns with the second half of its tenth season Feb. 23. For more TWD intel, follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.