For Michonne, living as a servant of Negan and the Saviors means taking matters into her own hands, something she hasn’t done in a long time.

The deaths of Glenn and Abraham in The Walking Dead season 7 premiere have affected everyone differently. The intention was to break their will and it worked — to an extent. Rick is perhaps the most broken, but it took extra effort to get there. It was only after a trip through a horde of zombies, and facing the possibility of cutting off his son’s arm, that Rick came around.

For Michonne, it’s hard to know what’s going through her head. Back in Alexandria, she and Rick seem to have grown slightly apart. We see her sneaking out of bed early in the morning to go practice with a sniper rifle. Later, after the rifle is given to Negan, she’s still sneaking out on her own.

Hurt But Not Defenseless

“She’s at a place where she knows they need to prepare for dealing with [Negan] and she doesn’t want to be defenseless against him again,” says Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne. “It was a horrible experience to be defenseless and to be caught so off-guard in such a planned and structured way. She’s also dealing with her partner not being in the same place as her and that’s a very difficult place, so she’s having to figure out her own way.”

Together But Separate

Michonne and Rick on AMC's The Walking DeadImage Credit: AMC

Gurira agrees that the tension with Rick has contributed to Michonne’s state of mind. “She’s definitely in a place that is very new territory because she’s partners with this man who is the leader, but they seem to be at some sort of impasse,” she says. “At the top of the episode, they’re in bed but they’re backed up to each other and they’re not connecting. They haven’t discussed what has happened and it’s clear that he’s choosing to not do what they do — which is to plan how to retaliate. I don’t think they’ve had a real conversation since it happened and that causes her to start doing what she used to do.”

Return of the Old Michonne

The quiet, lone warrior that represented Michonne when we first met her is starting to make a return. “Who she used to be starts to creep back in a little,” says Gurira, “which is a loner making her own decisions and figuring out her own solutions without functioning as a team. If she does talk to everybody else and not him, that’s another form of disrespecting his leadership, so the only way for her is going at this problem alone. It’s very much her reverting, in a sense, back to a part of what’s in her nature and to be a leader in a one-man army.”