Raunchy spoilers for The Walking Dead are below.

For all of the death and destruction that The Walking Dead has gifted its viewers, the show’s creative team has largely avoided granting doe-eyed requests where romance and relationships are concerned. “The New World” delivered something that fans have wanted for years, though, as Rick and Michonne finally took things to the next level with a spontaneous round of Grime Time: The Bedroom Edition. They boned. They totally boned.

the walking dead

I assume some fans’ vocal cords were being used more than Father Gabriel’s confessional when this shocking scene kicked in and served as yet another step in a new direction in an episode designed to offer up just that. The events of the midseason premiere are now firmly behind these characters, and Rick has likely moved past his brief infatuation with Jessie (which is easily one of the worst male-and-female arcs in all of fiction). He and Michonne have been pretty close for a long time, each balancing the other’s leadership and survivalist qualities, and while there wasn’t ever really enough sexual tension to swing Rick’s hatchet through, there was always something there that inspired ”Richonne” chants and hashtags.

And tonight, it all came to a head – well, maybe no head. But some conversation about how their days were.

It appears to be the first time that these two have let their libidos do the talking, and it happened suddenly enough that one has to wonder if they’d had discussions about it in the past, with Michonne just saying, “No, you’re a crazy person right now. Maybe one day, though.” And now we need to know whether this was just a one-time hook-up, or if they’re going to flock to a mattress any time mint drops come up. And is this just a sexual thing, or will they become another of the show’s few relatively stable partnerships alongside Maggie and Glenn or Abraham and Rosita?

In the comics, Michonne and Morgan became an item, which seemed like it could happen here, too. (And I guess it still could.) But there are plenty of differences between the comic and TV versions of Morgan, so it’s fine that he’s not the character Michonne ended up with. I’m not saying that women need to be with men in order to be happy, or that sex is a solution to all or any of life’s problems, but I’m glad she got that stress relief and it’ll be different to see this aspect of the character more on display.

After spending the rest of the episode with two other guys in a strange situation, Rick got to experience one of the few happy endings – only a small percentage of that pun was intended – that he’s ever gotten on this show, and through a situation that should appease shipping fans the world over. Even if Daryl and Carol never end up getting freaky, at least this happened. And now we can sit back and wait for it all to go horribly wrong.

The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights on AMC.

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