Rick has been working to lead the Grimes Gang to safety since the start of The Walking Dead, but Michonne has been leading the group more than she realizes.
The Walking Dead has always been the story of Rick Grimes and how he has kept his group alive. But with Glenn gone and after losing so many people, Rick is a little over the leadership role. Fortunately, Michonne has been a rising leader in the group for quite a long time, and “Say Yes” was the first moment when Michonne realized that she might someday face a life without Rick.
Despite the fact that things are rather unsettled on The Walking Dead right now, Rick was intent on taking a break in episode 712, “Say Yes.” He kept telling Michonne that they should take some more time away, which means more time together. At first she thought it was because they hadn’t found many supplies on their run, but when he made his request after finding the colossal cache, she realizes that there is much more to it. Rick knows that there is going to be a battle and he knows that there will be casualties. He’s also looking at the future and he isn’t certain that he wants to be in charge.
In the event that something happens, Rick suggests that Michonne could be the one to take over. This makes perfect sense considering that she has been quietly influencing Rick’s decisions since they arrived in Alexandria. She’s not only part of the family (we know Carl looks to her as a family member) but she has been there to help guide Rick during his moments of lesser clarity.
When the group arrived in Alexandria, Michonne was quick to adapt to Deanna’s requests, not necessarily because she agreed with Deanna, but because she knew that the group needed some stability after being on the road so long. When Rick struggled after losing Glenn and Abraham, Michonne reminded him that serving Negan was not the way to live. Eventually, he came to understand her message, and soon they were side by side working on the same game plan.
Michonne has been a tremendous influence on Rick ever since he accepted her into the fold. But she’s also her own person. She’s not afraid to voice her opinion and she has no problem disagreeing with Rick, and these are hallmarks of a great leader. Should something happen to Rick, Michonne is a good fit to take over the group. Her protective instincts are spot on and she knows how to fight. Her transition as leader would be seamless and the group would continue under her guidance.
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If anything happened to Rick, Michonne would be the logical choice to take over. No matter what happens, knowing that she’s there for the group is comforting for Rick, who also knows that she’ll always be there for Carl and Judith as well.