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Part of the appeal of The Walking Dead is that it still finds ways to surprise viewers even six seasons in. Most of the surprises involve death, destruction, and/or explosions, but there are few things more surprising than the fact that some of the survivors feel such a pull to be together romantically that even the zombie apocalypse and all the poor hygiene that has come along with it haven’t been enough to keep them apart. Rick and Michonne have had sparks flying between them since meeting in Season 3, and the two finally getting together in Season 6 to consummate their relationship might be the most earned romance of the entire series. In honor of the new status quo of Richonne, here is a look back at 12 moments The Walking Dead totally used to set up Rick and Michonne's eventual coupling.
That Time Rick And Michonne MetEpisode 6 of Season 3 saw the first meeting between Rick and Michonne. Without any dialogue or communication beyond some intense gazing, they managed to establish a foundation for one of the most organic relationships of the show. She was the first new single and age-appropriate woman that he met after Lori’s death, and she was connected to Rick’s children immediately thanks to her basket of baby supplies. The show has relied on these two tenets to craft the Rick/Michonne romance over the years since. Rick certainly must have sensed the chemistry to have spotted Michonne staggering toward the fence from way across the prison yard.
That Time Michonne Brought Rick A GiftThe Season 4 premiere was basically one hour of solid foreshadowing, and Rick and Carl's eater greeting for Michonne as she returned to the prison on horseback was the first taste of the family dynamic. After giving Carl a stack of comics, she handed Rick a razor and told him that his face was losing the war with his scruff. Michonne noticed Rick’s appearance for reasons other than checking for zombie bites, and it showed a change from their status at the end of Season 3, and it was sweet that Rick didn't ask what he was supposed to do with an electric razor in the powerless prison. They were completely in tune with each other, and it worked.
That Time They ReunitedAll of that foreshadowing began to pay off after the fall of the prison. Michonne spent most of the midseason premiere losing herself in her solitary attempts to survive, and Rick spent most of it circling the drain in suburbia due to his beating from the Governor. But it all came together when Michonne burst into tears of relief upon looking in the peephole of the house to see the Grimes boys, and when Rick’s face split open into a huge grin that probably reopened a bunch of wounds, and it was somehow a wonderfully happy ending to what was kind of a bummer of an episode. Some of the survivors ended up in unlikely groups after the prison, but Rick and Michonne, naturally with Carl, were perfect together following their reunion.
That Time They Survived The ClaimersThere have been a lot of human villains over the years on The Walking Dead, but the Claimers in the Season 4 finale were definitely some of the most terrifying. It was far more terrifying to watch Joe and Co. promising to rape Carl and Michonne before killing Rick than even watching the survivors herded by the Terminus cannibals at the end of the episode. But after the attack, Rick and Michonne had a chat and shared that each was okay because the other person was okay, and that moment really helped the willies fade away a little bit. Their relationship wasn’t shaken in the least by the assault, and neither treated the other differently. In fact, they came out stronger than ever.
That Time Rick Asked About Her SwordThe second episode of Season 5 showed that even reuniting with most of the other prison survivors didn’t lessen the strength of Rick and Michonne’s bond, and there was something wonderfully understated about the scene when Rick asked if Michonne missed her katana. Michonne’s weapon of choice was/is as iconic to her as Daryl’s crossbow was/is to him, and she almost looked incomplete without it. When she responded by saying she misses Andrea and Hershel more than she misses the sword, it revealed that she was continuing to open up, and Rick's inquiry about the sword in the first place was positively sociable of him as contrasted with his recent bloodlust.
That Time Michonne Talked Rick Into Settling DownAfter the loss of Beth and any security left to the group in Georgia, Rick was not at his most trusting as the second half of Season 5 kicked off. He did agree to settle somewhere when Michonne argued for it, but he couldn’t wholeheartedly agree to join the survivors at Alexandria until Michonne talked some sense into him. Michonne reminded Rick that she was able to become a better person thanks to joining his group, and that was enough to convince him that Alexandria could be a good change rather than a disaster, and so the group was more or less able to settle in the safe zone.
That Time Rick ShavedMichonne was one of the most optimistic of the Georgia crew when they reached Alexandria, and when she grinned and giggled after seeing Rick’s face clean-shaven for the first time, it was more adorable than the katana-wielding badass should have been able to pull off. Rick managed to make Michonne look even happier than she did after brushing her teeth, and it proved that he can bring out a lighter side in her no matter their location. This was also one of the first indicators that their relationship could survive their differences of opinion about Alexandria. That they were partnered up as the two constables of Alexandria shortly thereafter illustrated that Deanna could acknowledge what they could bring to the settlement as a unit.
That Time It Was Okay When Rick LiedThe relationship between Rick and Michonne was strained the longer that they stayed in Alexandria in Season 5 thanks to Rick keeping his plan for a potential coup a secret from her, but they came back together beautifully as the safe haven prepared to possibly try and exile Rick. Rick admitted that he lied to her, saying he wasn’t sure how she would react and could have then talked him out of it, and it served as a solid overture to earning back her trust. And it worked, since Michonne then reassured him that she’s with him no matter what, which proved that their relationship wasn’t ruined by the deceit. When Michonne grabbed Rick’s hand as he tried to hand over his pilfered gun, it was the zombie-apocalypse equivalent of holding hands in a popcorn bowl, so it was a solid way to leave off Richonne in the Season 5 finale.
That Time Michonne Wanted Rick In Her FutureThe midseason finale of Season 6 had a lot going on, as zombies advanced on the merry band of survivors, but Michonne and Deanna had a few quiet moments that got Michonne thinking about the future. Deanna asked Michonne what she wanted out of life beyond just wanting Alexandria to work, which was a big question considering Michonne was not exactly guaranteed to survive the latest disaster, but she made it clear she was thinking of Rick through her expression that was so similar to the one that she wears in tender scenes with him. She wanted to survive the horde of zombies and she wanted to make the settlement work for the greater good. But she also wanted something for herself. Or someone, as it were.
That Time Michonne Needed ToothpasteThanks to a time jump after the midseason premiere of Season 6, viewers got the sense that they had been deprived of a big Walking Dead moment when Michonne sauntered to Rick’s room wearing nothing but a low-necked bathrobe and a towel, with the characters possibly getting together off-screen. We then found out she was just dropping by to borrow Rick’s toothpaste, and that he ran out because she used it all, which was a quick look into the domesticity that developed between them during the time skip. They were a basically a married couple who had done everything except have sex, so it was a great way to start out the episode that would culminate in Rick and Michonne getting together.
That Time Carl Said He'd Put Michonne Down If It Came To itOne of the greatest scenes setting up Rick and Michonne didn’t feature Rick at all. Instead, it featured Michonne telling Carl off about not killing the zombified Deanna, which turned into Carl admitting that Spencer needed to be the one to kill her because she deserved to be put down by somebody who loved her. Carl then said that he’d be the one to put Michonne down if the unthinkable happened, and it was as epic a declaration of non-romantic love as possible in the zombie apocalypse, and it was the first time that Carl so explicitly cast Michonne as his mom. Carl compared himself and Michonne to Spencer and Deanna, which showed that the younger Grimes was on board with Rick and Michonne, and it was the last piece of the puzzle falling into place for everything to work out.
That Time Rick Brought Home MintsRick had a busy time on his scavenging run with Daryl, but that didn’t stop him from investigating the truck full of supplies for toothpaste before anything else. It was a fun detail to see Rick check the label to see if it was Michonne’s requested spearmint, and it was a clue that she was on his mind even when she wasn’t in his sight. The payoff later when he revealed that he managed to snag her some mints despite the tragic loss of the truck turned the toothpaste quest into something that directly led to Rick and Michonne making out on the couch. For a couple who had already seen enough intensity to last ten lifetimes, the mundane topic of fresh breath was just right to finally bring them romantically together.
The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.