Rick And Michonne "Empower" Each Other In 'The Walking Dead'

The Walking Dead's central romance between Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) will only get deeper in season 8, Gurira tells EW. Dubbed "Richonne," the pair got together back in episode 6x10, "The Next World," following a few season's worth of obvious chemistry. The couple are the Alpha and Mrs. Alpha of the group, and according to Gurira, Rick and Michonne's love will serve them well as they wage all out war against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).

“Her and Rick go through some really interesting realizations in season 7,” Gurira said of the season that saw Rick at a low point, following a loss of confidence in the face of Negan's brutal execution of Abraham (Michael Cudlitz) and Glenn (Steven Yeun) and subsequent subjugation of the group.

“About loss and what they must do and who they must do it for. And I think she actually, in her mind, she was all good with the idea that they would fight and fight and fight and not go down, and that’s what they’re meant to do. But when she thinks she’s lost him in a very quick second in episode 12, she just crumbles. I think that was really shocking and horrifying to her, and then the realization that that could happen and imagining that happening in that way and in that time where they’re like, BAM!, we’re just doing this little thing and we’re going to go back and it’s like BAM!, she could have lost him. It wasn’t even in a battle.”

Michonne has long served as Rick's emotional rock, fellow warrior in battle, and surrogate mother to his two children, and Rick's near miss — while scavenging at an abandoned carnival in 7x12, Rick fell off a Ferris wheel and was seemingly devoured by Walkers — scared Michonne, but also gave her a new realization.

“So that really freaked her out, but the realization that he gave her — he empowered her, and that’s what’s really powerful is that they empower each other," Gurira said. "But the idea of, we’re doing this for something bigger than ourselves is this next place that she’s gotten to. So yes she’s deeply connected, as that moment exposed, even to herself. She’s evolved into being so much more alive. Her losses before, she deadened and became very one-woman army. But now this sort of loss, she can’t even compute absorbing it. And so it really was about him regalvanizing her to understand, this is not about us. It’s about the future we’re trying to build. And we have to keep our eyes on that.”

Gurira cites the season 7 finale, which saw Rick and Carl (Chandler Riggs) captured and helpless at the mercy of Negan, who was about to kill the father and son before a last minute cavalry save from the united forces of the Hilltop and the Kingdom.

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“Seeing Rick and Carl walk in there — she just saw them with guns to their heads, and the next thing you know she was fighting for her life," Gurira said about the family's reunion at the end of the episode. "She’s a control freak. She wants to go and save them. And how many times has she saved Rick? But she couldn’t do anything that time. She had to deal with this. It was restricted to this one fight that she was in. She couldn’t go help with the bigger one. And that, to her, was heartbreakingly painful. But then seeing them walk in, that was amazing for her. The pain went away.”

Now fans will just have to wait and wonder if we'll get to see the coupling say "I love you."

Richonne and co. will take the fight to Negan and the Saviors in The Walking Dead season 8, beginning this Sunday at 9/8c on AMC.

The Walking DeadSunday at 9PM EST on AMC

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