Some of the time jump reveals on The Walking Dead in the post-Rick Grimes era of Season 9 are more menacing and mysterious than others. Last Sunday's episode revealed a chilling similarity between two characters who were very close to the fearless leader, but embarked on different paths when he disappeared. Both Michonne and Daryl have large X scars on their backs, in the same place. But there's no mention of what they mean.
Daryl has more scars (thanks to his abusive father, as we learned in a much earlier season), for that matter, including a second "X" on his shoulder blade — but both Daryl and Michonne have a large "X" on their lower back. Those scars are new. They are not acknowledged by the other characters, either, which suggests it happened a long time ago. That's not likely something that got there by accident, either. You can't sneak up on someone while they're sleeping and mark them like that. Either this was deliberate on the part of Michonne and Daryl, done in solidarity, or at some time during the intervening six years, they were captured and branded.
There are a lot of fan theories about the scars already, ranging from it being a tribute to Rick, something to do with the reason Maggie left, or just a sign that they both had kidney transplants. Mostly, fans want to know what the heck is going on with these two.
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This isn't the first time that that shape or symbol has been used in the Walking Dead franchise — or letters in general, for that matter. Morgan Jones used symbols to mark which areas were "clear" when he was on his own. Remember the "W"s that the wolves carved on walkers' heads? Remember how we had to speculate what Enid's "JSS" meant? In Season 9, fans are also trying to figure out the difference between an "A" and a "B" according to Jadis and her helicopter people. Surely, by the time the series is over, we'll have gotten through an entire alphabet of mysteries.
Former Walking Dead actor and director this season, Michael Cudlitz told Insider that a lot of what happened in the past six years is "tied" to the 'X' that viewers see on Michonne and Daryl's back. We'll get answers eventually, he promised. "That is something that connects them all, even though they’re all separated right now, we’re going to find out why," he added.
Wait — does this mean that other characters may have this scar, as well? Who else could have it? Maggie, perhaps, or maybe Carol. That's definitely something to look for in the mid-season finale. The other people with these scars and the connections between those characters will surely start to reveal what happened between all of these good friends after Rick's death (or what they presume to be a death) and why Hilltop and Alexandria and Daryl are estranged from one another. Whatever it was, it was major.