“The Walking Dead” brought the love Sunday night. Episode 10 of the AMC series introduced Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) as a new couple, and fans are completely freaking out about the so-called Richonne union.
The hookup came as a surprise to most, although the writing has been on the wall since the midseason finale Valentine’s Day. After a long run searching for food and supplies, Rick relaxed on the couch alongside Michonne during the installment Sunday. The two had a conversation that a normal married couple would have, looking at Judith sleeping on the baby monitor and talking about their day. When Rick handed Michonne a roll of breath mints, a sort of peace offering for not being able to bring her toothpaste, the two intertwined their hands. The hand-holding led to a steamy kiss and much, much, much more.
Episode 10 concluded with the new character Jesus (Tom Payne) waking up the sleeping — and naked — lovebirds. But what comes next? That’s the big mystery because “The Walking Dead” comic books by Robert Kirkman never introduced a Rick-and-Michonne romance.
At this point in the comic books, after the fall of the Alexandria wall and Carl’s (Chandler Riggs) loss of an eye, Rick does engage in a romantic relationship with a fellow survivor: Andrea! She was portrayed by actress Laurie Holden on the television show, but the character was killed off in the Season 3 finale. The Governor (David Morrissey) had restrained her in a locked room with Milton (Dallas Roberts), a badly injured resident of Woodbury. Milton ultimately turned into a walker and bit Andrea. Rick and the others found Andrea when it was too late. Michonne was able to say goodbye to her friend, and stayed with her when Andrea chose to shoot herself in the head instead of turning.
In the comic books, Andrea is still alive. She and Rick share their first kiss in Issue 90, but Andrea later reveals she’s been holding onto those feelings for quite some time. Andrea wants a relationship with Rick, but he’s hesitant. Because of his past relationships, he’s afraid of getting too involved with anyone. He thinks that he’ll lose Andrea, just like he lost Lori and Jessie. However, Andrea eventually breaks him down. Shortly afterward, Carl accidentally walks in on them sleeping naked together. The scene mirrors that of Jesus walking in on Rick and Michonne sleeping naked in episode 10.
“The Walking Dead” showrunner Scott Gimple told Entertainment Weekly that the Andrea storyline in the comic books “has been broken up and given to several different characters.” And he said of the moments shared by Rick and Michonne on the couch, “This is one of those instances.”
But this isn’t a one-and-done deal.
“These are two people who have suddenly realized — pretty much at exactly the same time, on that couch — what they already had together and who they already were to each other,” Gimple said. “This isn’t a one-night stand. And what they have was already there, before they even kissed.”
Actress Gurira also elaborated on the budding relationship between Rick and Michonne while on the “Talking Dead” Sunday night. She told the AMC show’s host, Chris Hardwick, it was the “right moment” for the two and that Deanna’s (Tovah Feldshuh) question for Michonne about what she “wants” helped the survivor get to that point. Gurira added that it was the “natural progression” of the characters.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that fans of “The Walking Dead” can anticipate episodes where Rick and Michonne go out on dates. Although the folks at Alexandria experienced a bit of a lull in drama following the fall of the wall, the excitement will pick up again thanks to Jesus. The promotional video for episode 11 reveals that the newcomer will lead Rick and the others to his safe haven, the Hilltop Colony.
“The Walking Dead” Season 6, episode 11, will air on AMC Sunday, Feb. 28, at 9 p.m. EST.