We need to talk about the kiss between Michonne and King Ezekiel

Danai Gurira as Michonne, Khary Payton as Ezekiel - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Danai Gurira as Michonne, Khary Payton as Ezekiel - The Walking Dead _ Season 9, Episode 16 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Michonne and King Ezekiel share a kiss in The Walking Dead season 10 trailer, but do we really need them to be in a relationship?

Patiently I sat in a packed Hall H at San Diego Comic Con 2019, waiting for the lights to dim so that I could see the exclusive promo for season 10 of The Walking Dead . There was an uproar of cheers and applause once it was dark, and the trailer began.  Riveted we all sat and watched until near the end…the audience was hit with an image on that gigantic screen of Michonne and Ezekiel sharing an awkward kiss. There was an audible gasp in the auditorium; I am pretty sure I yelled, “What the f___?” in the dark as the trailer continued to roll.

There have been many theories since then, including it being a dream, or a fantasy. But as reported by TV Line, it appears that it’s real. Angela Kang was quoted as saying the following:

“The characters have always had a respect for each other. They like each other. [And their relationship] feeds into the journeys they’re on this season.”

The usage of the phrase “their relationship” was added for clarification by the writer and not by Kang. However, the existence of the kiss in and of itself, especially its debut in the trailer, was meant to be used as a device to get us all talking. So let’s talk about it.

Let me preface what I am about to say next: while it’s true that I am a Richonner, my issue with this pairing isn’t as a shipper, but more so from the point of view as a writer and storyteller.

Last season, I thought it was odd for Rick’s last episode to include this intimate moment/dialogue with Sasha, as I could not recall one moment in life where she had a heart to heart or one on one with Rick. After yet another rewatch, I realized that my memory served me correctly: while Rick and Sasha were family, they just weren’t that close. There were a plethora of suitable alternatives to have had in that scene, from Abraham, to Deeana, to Carl to Tyrese. I know actor availability is also a factor, but at the very least, Cudlitz would have been down, as he’s still working on the show [in a directorial capacity].

So back to this…Michonne/Ezekiel thing. I’m not upset about it, per se. One could definitely argue that though it’s been six years on the show for Michonne’s loss of Rick, it has only been a fraction of that time for the fans to adjust. But it’s not the pairing that is the issue; I’m upset because, well, it literally makes no sense.

From the moment we’ve met King Ezekiel, he’s only shared screen time with Michonne a couple of times, and none of those times included a personal interaction — ever. The last we see King Ezekiel, he has just been left by his wife, his kingdom has fallen, and he moves to Hilltop, which is about a 6 hour drive away. I am not sure how long of a ride that transfers to horse drawn carriage, but it would be a trek, I’m sure. Finally, we have Carol, who’s just left her husband and moved back to Alexandria, where Michonne is. That is just a level of awkward I don’t see Michonne putting herself in. Keep in mind this is the same woman who wouldn’t pursue a relationship with Rick until he removed his wedding band.

Danai Gurira as Michonne, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 10 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC
Danai Gurira as Michonne, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon – The Walking Dead _ Season 10 – Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC /

I know there is to be another time jump in season 10 by about nine months, as Rosita has had the baby. But feasibly, how is a relationship supposed to occur between Michonne and Ezekiel? Is Michonne really schlepping down to Hilltop on an all day trip for Ezekiel, or is he coming out to Alexandria, bypassing his ex-wife, to meet his new girlfriend? Like, how did this all happen? Where does the relationship come in? I’m sure it’ll be explained, but for now, there’s a gigantic disconnect. This partial spoiler does nothing to serve the audience. Frankly, I wish the reveal had been left to the show itself, and not a promo.

It was proposed to me by my boyfriend, Brandenn, that the Ezekiel arc would somehow lead to Michonne going off to find Rick. Even then, I don’t see the point. The only thing she’d need for that is Eugene’s radio picking up a transmission or message alerting her to Rick being alive. There are

just so many other ways this could/should go that don’t include a relationship with Ezekiel.

As I mentioned, I’m a Richonner. But I will be fair: if Michonne absolutely had to have a relationship not with Rick in her last season for whatever reason, wouldn’t it have made more sense to have gone with, oh say, Saddiq, a guy she actually talks to, knows, and is only a quick jaunt away from her house? The Ezekiel thing reads as comic book fanservice, a thing that’s wholly unnecessary, and feels both contrived and unnecessary.

While I’m excited for season 10 and cannot wait to see how the Rick movies connect to it all, this romance is definitely not something I’m looking forward to. But, as the great Rick Grimes once said, “I’m gonna see.”