'Walking Dead': How 'Say Yes' Sets Up Rick and Michonne's Future

The Walking Dead 712 Still - Publicity - H 2017
Gene Page/AMC

[This story contains spoilers through the "Say Yes" episode of AMC's The Walking Dead, as well as through the latest issue of the comic books on which they are based.]

Moments before they rip into a bag of ready-to-eat macaroni and cheese (and chili), veritable married couple Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) muse about what happens next after the end of the world. Sure, defeating Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors stands out as the most important and immediate goal. But what happens next, Michonne wonders?

"Negan ordered the world his way," she says. "It's up to us to reorder it once he's gone."

Rick chews on the idea (and on an MRE) for a minute before adding his two cents: "All the different communities, we can figure it out together — how to keep going together."

"But somebody will need to make that happen," she replies. "Somebody will be in charge of that. It should be you."

Rick Grimes, who famously walked away from a leadership position back during the prison days (look where that got everyone!) might be reluctant to agree with Michonne in the moment. But if the series follows the path laid out by the comics — and as always, it's worth reminding everyone how often the two versions of Walking Dead diverge from one another — then one of these days, Rick is going to come around to Michonne's line of thinking.

In Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard's comics, long after Rick and company defeat Negan and the Saviors, the story skips a couple of years into the future and shows us a new world order. Alexandria, the Hilltop, the Kingdom and other communities — even the Saviors — now work with one another in harmony, living based on a trading system, even gathering together for the occasional fair. (Sadly, no there are no Ferris wheels in the Walking Dead future's fairs, so enjoy the one we saw Sunday.) It's a peaceful existence, with the communities working together to round up herds of walkers and lead them far away, keeping roads between compounds as safe and secure as humanly possible. 

Of course, the peace does not last forever, thanks to the arrival of a new threat known as the Whisperers, savage humans who wear skin suits in order to live among the walkers. (Some fans believe that Jadis and the Garbage People are an early version of the Whisperers, though that has yet to bear out on the show.) The Alexandrians and their allies win the war, but first the Whisperers unleash the zombie apocalypse's version of an atomic bomb: a massive herd of walkers, thousands and thousands of them, bigger than anything anyone's ever dealt with.

Final warning: massive spoiler from Walking Dead #165 ahead.

At the moment, the Walking Dead comics are knee-deep in the fallout of the herd storming toward Alexandria. Perhaps neck-deep would be more appropriate, given that this past week's issue ended with Andrea, still alive in the comics and thriving as Rick's girlfriend and second-in-command, sustaining an apparent zombie bite or scratch to the neck — an irreversible death sentence, assuming the wound does indeed come from a walker.

(As an aside and as a bit of trivia, Andrea's first love interest of the series, Dale, died in Walking Dead #66 — almost exactly 100 issues before Andrea sustained her neck wound in Walking Dead #165. In other words, it's definitely worth getting nervous about what's ahead for Andrea in Walking Dead #166.)

Given that she's Rick's girlfriend on the show, should fans start worrying that Michonne will meet the same fate as the comic book Andrea? It's not an impossible outcome, even though more often than not, the comic book and TV show deaths are very different from one another. But it's a heavy development in the comics on the same week that Rick and Michonne survived a near-death situation on the show. 

After the harrowing encounter at the carnival, Rick tells Michonne that if the worst happens, if one of them dies, then the other one will keep going — has to keep going. While this week's Walking Dead comic definitely gets the conspiracy theory wheels turning toward Michonne's eventual fate, at the very least, the two will likely have some years of Alexandrian peace to look forward to first.

Give us your take on this week's Walking Dead in the comments, and check in with THR.com/WalkingDead for more from the show. Click here for tonight's interview with Sonequa Martin-Green (Sasha).