If you’re a fan of the comic books that the TV series is based on, I’m sure you’ve realized by now that the show’s producers aren’t sticking closely to the source material, and are pretty much making their own way, taking creative liberties with the original work.
At this point, 3 seasons in, you’ve either acquiesced and are on-board for the ride, or you jumped off the wagon a long time ago.
But even if you’re not familiar with the comics, I’m sure you’ve heard all the criticism the show has been on the receiving end of, especially with regards to its handling of race and gender, as well as the commingling of both.
Specific to the character Danai Gurira plays – Michonne, whom, from what I’m told, is much more comprehensively drawn in the comics than in the TV series – popular criticisms of how her character is depicted include how little she actually speaks, which influences how little we know about her own personal journey, which, in turn, makes it difficult for some to interpret her actions in response to how she’s treated by others in the series; And also, others argue that she’s essentially the epitome of the stereotypical angry black woman who seems to be constantly snarling for some reason.
There have even been slavery comparisons, with this piece on Slate’s website arguing that the tussle between Rick and The Governor over Michonne’s *value* to each this season, is in some way reminiscent of the strictly material value that black bodies had centuries ago in this country.
And there’s much more…
Until now, I’d never heard Danai Gurira address any of these concerns, whether directly or indirectly. Maybe she has, and I just missed it. I certainly haven’t watched her give this kind of an analysis (even though it’s brief) of the character she plays, which seems to take on some of the criticism the show has received since her character was first introduced.
Not that it’ll change much, because I do believe some of the criticism I’ve heard is valid, and will probably continue until something changes to reverse the criticism. But, at least, you get to see how she views and has approached the character, from an actress’ POV, which I thought was an interesting watch.
And also, what she seems to be saying to the fans, without really saying it, is: be patient; the character is going through some shit right now. She’s observing, learning, changing, adapting, and, in essence, starting to come into her own and become more than just this seemingly silent but deadly type.
It’s all deliberate, and important to the character’s development as she becomes the Michonne that fans of the comics know and love… maybe.
At least, that’s my interpretation. You might read something else.
We’ll find out more when the next (the 4th) season of The Walking Dead begins in the fall.