The new relationship between Rick and Michonne is heading for a lot of tension now that Rick has become submissive to Negan.

By the end of last week’s episode of The Walking Dead, things seems to be on the mend between Rick and Michonne. The episode started with some obvious tension between them. Michonne snuck out of bed early to get some target practice with the sniper rifle. Near the episode’s end, Michonne returns and Rick demands she hand over the rifle. That doesn’t sit well with Michonne, but Rick explains to her how he’s dealing with Negan’s oppression.

A Matter of Perspective

Danai Gurira as Michonne on The Walking DeadImage Credit: AMC

“At the end of the day, they have very, very different perspectives,” says Danai Gurira, who plays Michonne. “In the beginning of the episode, if you look at it, it’s the same shot that you saw them in after they first made love, but now they’re fully dressed and their backs are to each other. It’s a whole different energy between them. I don’t think they’ve probably even really had much physical contact since this has happened, and they’re really on different sides of how to handle it.

It goes deeper than that. Gurira says Rick and Michonne are nowhere near coming to terms with what happened. “I don’t think they processed it,” she says. “I don’t think they talked about it, and the fact that he is really choosing to not go into action and deal with this the way they usually would is something that is causing her to retreat into who she used to be, which is someone who does things on the sly. She’s now going off by herself and practicing her own methods of how to handle the situation because she has to in a solo way.”

The Tipping Point

Despite the fact that Michonne seems to understand Rick’s reasoning, things are still tense. “All those things are a friction point,” says Gurira. “When he says, “I need the gun,” and she says, “What?” It’s the first moment we’ve ever seen between the two of them where there’s a touch of deceit. That is a friction moment. It’s so sad. What’s so sad to me is we’re shooting that because you could see, she was like, “I’m a lie,” and he could tell, and you just notice that hurt him to see that.

“The next moment where they discuss about the gun. The next scene where he’s like, “Did you hide any more?” There’s that moment where she’s seeing him unsure. He knows who she has been, who she was when they first met. These are all of the things that come up when there’s tons of frustration, and yet, he needs her to be on his side. She tries to, by the end of that scene, you’re right, she tries to, but the point of the matter is, at the end of the episode, we see her at a place where we don’t know what way she is going to go next, because that moment is really about what she was trying to do.”

Proper Alignment

Even if Michonne is going along for now, she is still going on alone, with or without the rifle. “That’s why she went out by herself, to get herself together, and try to align with the idea of cooperating with these thugs, and seeing how they’re psychologically trying to break them and enslave them,” says Gurira. “Just taking their mattresses and burning them just to eff with them. That takes her to a place where who knows if she can live with this or not, if she can stay aligned with Rick on this or not. Her heart and soul and her mind are not aligned, but her love for him is what’s making her try.”