By Alexa Day
I started watching The Walking Dead on AMC with the first episode. I didn’t know anything at all about the comics on which the show is based. I think I tuned in expecting to see another show entirely. Now my Sunday nights belong to this story about life in Georgia during the zombie apocalypse, and I recommend it to even the horror-averse.
I first met Michonne when she appeared at the very end of the show’s second season. Because I’ve never read the comics, so I didn’t understand the significance of the cloaked figure holding a katana and a leash attached to two zombies. But on his televised afterparty, Talking Dead, Chris Hardwick seemed very excited to see Michonne, so I decided to be excited, too.
Michonne hasn’t disappointed me yet.
She’s a total BAMF with that sword, mowing down zombies with lethal grace. That would have been enough for me. Then she went toe-to-toe and hand-to-hand with the Governor, and that would have been enough for me, too. (For those of you who don’t know the story, let’s just say that being a sociopath has served the Governor quite well during the apocalypse and leave it at that.) Thankfully, the folks behind the scenes are okay with spoiling me. This season, Michonne’s learning some hard lessons about having it all during the zombie apocalypse, and she’s got a takeaway for the rest of us out here who are kicking ass, taking names, and trying to build a home and family.
Michonne is learning that vulnerability works.
As awesome as she is with her katana, Michonne’s talents as a fighter had forced her into a life where she’d learned to rely only on herself. Hanging out with former friend Andrea started her on that blood feud with the Governor. (How bad was that? Well, the Governor’s out-to-get-Michonne torture kit included a speculum. Yeah.) Hanging out with the apparently reformed troublemaker Merle didn’t work out much better; he was actually going to deliver her to the Governor himself. It seemed that the harder Michonne was, the faster she found herself on the way to her enemy’s doorstep.
But being vulnerable has been good for Michonne. Recovering from an injured ankle (vulnerability in its most basic sense) forces her to stay put and let others take care of her. I think that experience, even after she was back on her feet, opened her eyes to her real role as part of the group led by former lawman Rick Grimes. She’s more than just a bad-ass. She’s a trusted companion and friend. She’s a mother figure. She can call others out on their bullshit, and they return the favor. But to get to this place, to share the entirety of who she is, Michonne had to set aside the sword, albeit temporarily.
When the Governor ultimately forces Rick’s tight-knit group to scatter, Michonne has a choice to make. She can either return to her old life, alone but for her sword and leashed zombies, or she can risk reaching out to join her family on the move. Tormented by a vision of the life she’d lost when civilization collapsed, a life where she held both her sword and her baby with equal ease, Michonne chooses to risk vulnerability. Life as solo swordswoman is familiar, but she seems to realize that her best chance of regaining what she’s lost and discovering what she might become is with Rick.
This week, I’ve got the same question Chris Hardwick posed recently on Talking Dead.
Should we start shipping Rick and Michonne?
I think it would be good for both of them, honestly. Michonne is comfortable being vulnerable with Rick. She forgave him after he sold her out to the Governor. He knows that loss of a loved one drove her to the edge of sanity, a destination Rick has come to know quite well. Rick knows his son, Carl, needs the freedom to be a kid in a world that’s forced him to kill his own mother. Michonne seems to know when Carl needs a fellow warrior to back him up and when he just needs a stack of comic books. Most importantly, Rick is comfortable with Michonne’s fierce side. I don’t think her last boyfriend was totally okay dating a BAMF, but that fighting spirit is absolutely essential to Rick.
There’s no telling what’s in store for Rick and Michonne, though. Even reading the comics wouldn’t be a guarantee. I certainly hope these two go on to form a more perfect union. But I’d be willing to settle for a stranger asking if they’re together.
And if all else fails, someone is surely already hard at work on the Richonne fanfiction, right?
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