3:00 pm EDT, September 21, 2018

‘The Walking Dead’s’ focus on Richonne in season 9 is exceptionally bittersweet

Season 9 of The Walking Dead is right around the corner! The war is finally over and we are moving on to a new, rebuilt world where people are still their own worst enemies.

Go figure. But, there’s great news for all of my fellow Richonne lovers! Trailers, sneak peeks, and general industry chatter from insiders about the next chapter of the apocalypse drama have revealed that there will be ample Richonne moments this season.

Cheers to Andrew Lincoln and Danai Gurira getting more opportunities to show off their undeniable chemistry!

But, this news feels exceptionally bittersweet because we know that our leading man Rick Grimes will be exiting the series this season. There has been a lot of speculation about what will happen to Rick, but most fans are sure he will end up dying because it is the only ending that makes sense.

Of course, you need Rick to have Richonne, so unless he rides off with Michonne and Judith to parts unknown, this means this relationship will end in a terribly tragic way. It’s a sad reality considering the long buildup that fans endured while waiting for the inevitable consummation of their romance.

Michonne and Rick have had an obvious affinity for each other since season 4, but we didn’t get official Richonne action until late in season 6. That’s two seasons of teasing and too many episodes of enduring that God-awful woman Jessie (aka the second coming of Lori) but it was such a validating moment.

Unfortunately, some of their relationship had to take a backseat to the impending All-Out War, but there were still some great Richonne things sprinkled amongst the somber tone of seasons 7 and 8.

We have seen them battle zombie herds, go on duo runs, lift each other up, and mourn the loss of Carl. So, it’s going to be great to see them almost back to the place they were post-Negan in terms of feeling secure and having moments of levity.

The photos of Rick, Michonne, and Judith strolling through a neighborhood and hanging out in the fields are enough to make our eyeballs sweat. But, we really love seeing Richonne snuggle in bed together without a care in the world.

It is reminiscent of the joyous fanfic we read about them in a world free of additional threats or in universes where they aren’t stuck in the apocalypse. And, it really pisses off fans who didn’t want them to be together because Michonne doesn’t fit into their standard of beauty, so that makes it even better.

The anticipation for more Richonne feels great until we think about what could happen to our characters. There hasn’t been any indication that Michonne will die or leave the series.

And, new showrunner Angela Kang has indicated that Michonne will have great material this season alongside her women counterparts. This means she will be there to experience whatever happens to Rick.

If Rick dies, how will Michonne be able to process losing the last person who helped renew her faith in love and family? We don’t want to think about it.

It would have been nice to get more of Richonne simply being in love and rebuilding this broken world before Rick’s exit. Imagine all the great moments we could have gotten if the show had paired them together early in season 5 instead of trying to make Jessie/Rick a thing. Sigh.

But, we love them so much that we will take what we can get, even if we are dreading that inevitable episode when Rick is no longer our leader.

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