It was The Walking Dead star Danai Gurira who suggested Michonne have her first kiss since the presumed death of lover Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) more than six years earlier. Michonne shared an intimate moment with King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) in 10x04, “Silence the Whisperers,” where Michonne talked a depressed Ezekiel down from a ledge — literally — a moment that culminated with a hug and then a kiss. Michonne kissed back, but only for a moment before pulling back. Both Michonne and Ezekiel then acknowledged a romantic relationship between the two would never work, a nod to the Michonne and Ezekiel coupling in the comic books.
“Ezekiel is clearly going through a lot right now. He’s lost so much and that character is like a Tigger, you know? He’s optimistic and he really takes on a lot of the burden of being the cheerleader for his people. But we’ve also seen that he is able to fall into pretty deep dark depressions as well,” showrunner Angela Kang told EW. “When he lost all his people during the All Out War battle on the Savior outpost, we saw that he was in a pretty bad place. So we really kind of wanted to deal with Ezekiel and where he’s at emotionally and the sense of depression and just thinking for a second then maybe he might want to end it.”
Ezekiel is still reeling from the death of son Henry (Matt Lintz), the forced closure of the Kingdom, and his separation from wife Carol (Melissa McBride). After it was decided to explore Ezekiel’s depression, the writers’ room zeroed in on a Michonne-Ezekiel kiss when Gurira suggested Michonne participate in a brief romantic encounter in Season 10.
“And the interesting thing is the idea of doing this kiss here came about in an unusual way. I was having a conversation with Danai and she said, ‘You know, it’d be interesting if somebody tried to kiss Michonne and she responded.’ Because Michonne’s got all of her own things that she’s dealing with and there has been no exploration of her romantic or sexual side with her since Rick’s supposed death or disappearance,” Kang explained. “And so we bounced that around and were like, ‘Ah, I don’t think we’re going to do that.’”
She continued, “And then this other pitch came around, which is because we were working on this Ezekiel story, the room kind of came up with this idea of, what if Ezekiel in his depression wants to connect? He just feels so alone, and he feels so sad. He just gets some signals crossed for a second, and then immediately realizes that he kind of screwed that up and pulls back.”
It was also a way for the show to touch on Michonne and Ezekiel’s comic book romance, even if only for one scene.
“It becomes the start of a deeper conversation between the two of them. So we liked the idea of giving a nod to the comic book relationship between Ezekiel and Michonne,” Kang added. “And there’s even that little nod to maybe in a parallel universe or something. So a lot of different factors went into it, but it felt like the kind of thing that sometimes happens between friends, and we thought it was an interesting thing to explore. You see Michonne being so gentle with him, knowing that it did not come out of a bad place. He’s just in so much pain and confused.”