The Walking Dead it won’t end when season 11 airs its final episode. Even apart from the mess of a show, that is Fear The Walking Dead-a show nimble enough to avoid cancellation but not deliver a single watchable episode in years—we’ve got several spinoffs in the works.
There’s the Daryl + Dog + Motorcycle spinoff that featured Carol. However, Norman Reedus is left alone as Melissa McBride has bowed out. Maybe Season 11’s no-nonsense villain Leah will leave the Dark Side and join Daryl on his new adventure — but let’s hope not.
Then there’s the Negan + Maggie spinoff Isle of the Dead starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Lauren Cohan. Guess we know which characters won’t die in season 11, guys! As much as I really like the introduction of Negan and JDM (at least as Negan 2.0), I like Maggie a lot less (bad season 11 notwithstanding) and I’m not at all convinced this is a good idea.
However, the more I think about it, the more I think it’s a better idea than the most recently announced spinoff: A Michonne + Rick Grimes limited series starring Danai Gurira and Andrew Lincoln that tells the story of how they finally find each other after all these years.
First, Negan and Maggie have more sexual tension in one scene than Rick and Michonne ever had in all their seasons together. Frankly, Rick and Michonne—outside of fan-crazy shipper forums—never made sense and never worked. They are both good characters, but as a couple they go together like toothpaste and orange juice.
Negan and Maggie, on the other hand, are fine. . . despite some previous differences (or perhaps in some twisted way because of them) I think they would break, crack and bang.
When Michonne left The Walking Dead I called her last episode “absolutely ridiculous in every way” writing. The episode itself was (mostly) pretty bad, but her exit — which required her to leave her kids behind in the middle of a fight to the death with the Whisperers — was what really upset me about the character’s exit.
So that’s the problem this spinoff has to overcome. We have to believe that Michonne would leave two young children behind to go on a wild goose chase to find Rick, who has been missing for several years at this point, somewhere out in the zombie apocalypse, because her love for him she is so strong and so pure and so powerful that he had no choice.
Then somehow, when she finds her lost love, the show has to convince us that their love is actually so bright and awesome that through every trial and ordeal it will not just survive, but burn even brighter.
The official synopsis of the show is as follows:
“This series presents an epic love story of two characters who are changed by a changed world. They are kept apart by distance. With an unstoppable force. Of the ghosts of who they were. Rick and Michonne are thrown into another world, built on a war against the dead… And ultimately, a war against the living. Can they find each other and who they were in a place and situation unlike any they’ve ever known before? Are they enemies? Lovers? Victims? Winners? Without each other, are they still alive – or will they discover they too are the Walking Dead?’
This does little to assuage my fears about Rick and Michonne’s glaring lack of chemistry or any real romance. If the show’s creators don’t even know if they’re enemies, lovers, victims, or victors, what can we expect from these six episodes?
Besides, as I noted earlier, completing the Rick/Michonne story arc in the main series would have had more emotional resonance. This would allow them to be reunited not just with each other, but with all their children—as well as all their old friends, many of whom we know will not die.
Here’s the thing, in its longer story The Walking Dead Rick and Michonne spent more time (at least on screen) as companions than lovers. We barely see how they become lovers for starters in season 6 (Rick does a pretty radical face after obsessing over Jessie).
In fact, Michonne spends more time except Rick completely off screen during the time jump after his disappearance than ever spent with him. For many years. They were together for an extremely short time in fiction, and yet she abandons her children to go find him years later based on a weak idea?
I’m not sold and it’s going to take a lot to sell me when the time comes. Zero chemistry, a senseless departure of Michonne, years in the real world and Walking Dead universe passed, probably none of the other cast. . . what exactly is the point of this beyond fanservice for the Rick-Michonne shipper crowd (who have somehow seen in this pairing all the things I find absent)?
PS This title is also completely nonsensical, despite the fact that I wrote it. It’s clear that Rick and Michonne has a lot of huge problems to overcome, including the fact that it was written and produced by the same people who ran The Walking Dead on the ground, and from a company that doesn’t seem to place much value on quality control. If I were in his stars, I’d go into it cautiously and demandingly.