WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for this week's episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, "Guardian," as well as the comic book source material.
The Walking Dead has taken one of its darkest turns yet in its ninth season. With the zombie skin-wearing Alpha (Samantha Morton) and her Whisperers getting ready to wreak havoc on Hilltop, fans are already seeing a villain emerge that may trump the Negan of old.
However, we're also witnessing a major fracture in the partnership Rick Grimes fought so valiantly for before he exited the show. As expected, this has created an internal threat that could be even worse than Alpha in the form of Alexandria's leader, Michonne (Danai Gurira).
In the wake of Rick's departure, Walking Dead's time jump has seen Michonne evolve into a heartless leader in Alexandria. Sure, she's been elected democratically, but Michonne is acting like a dictator these days in terms of acting alone.
It's not on the twisted level we saw with the Governor, but she's definitely adopted the "my way or the highway" disposition. It becomes all too apparent in the latest episode, "Guardian," as she initially opposes the notion of Alexandria attending the Kingdom's trade fair. It's in this council meeting that we see a cruel, unforgiving side of Michonne like never before.
When it's made public that the Kingdom requires extra aid -- food, medicine and the like -- and that they're afraid to ask Michonne for more, she shows no compassion. It turns out she even cut back on the rations sent to them, which is why Tara and Jesus (before his death) arranged goods to be delivered secretly to Carol and Ezekiel. It's also why Tara left for Hilltop, as she doesn't have faith in a leader who isn't kind or filled with empathy.
When Siddiq, Gabriel and company try to reason with Michonne that she should stop isolating herself from the others, she's defiant, cynical and totally interested in self-preservation. It's similar to Michonne's current arc in the comics, where she views the Commonwealth as a utopia and will stop at nothing to maintain this.
But in terms of the show, Alexandria needs its counterparts just as much as they need it. Hilltop is barely surviving, but the Kingdom is in utter disarray and crying out. We don't know what happened to turn Michonne so bitter in the time jump, as she does bear scars from some mysterious war, but that hasn't stopped Daryl (who endured the same) from being the new, generous leader at Hilltop.