Love was unexpectedly in the air for two unlikely survivors in The Walking Dead with Rick and Michonne finding passion in the midst of the zombie apocalypse. Their intimate moment unfolded after an exhausting day that saw the rest of the group piece Alexandria back together following the devastating events of the epic walker attack.
Picking up a couple of weeks after the traumatic No Way Out episode – which culminated in the deaths of Jessie, Sam and Ron in addition to Carl losing an eye – The Next World depicts the unlucky survivors working to rebuild their community from ruins. Although he was last seen unconsciously fighting for his life, Carl is in surprisingly good spirits as the episode opens and appears to be embracing his new life without a right eye.
With Alexandria short on, well, everything, best buddies Rick and Daryl head out on a supply run with a list of requests from their friends – essentials including soda, mint toothpaste and a sorghum plant. Despite the recent tragedies, the pair treat their mission like a fun day excursion, putting their feet up and blasting music in their car. The Next World is certainly taking on a much lighter tone than No Way Out.
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Of course, their relaxed bliss doesn't last too long. Rick and Daryl happen to stumble on a truck with "sorghum" labelled on the side and a number of other useful supplies inside. While driving their load of treasure back to camp, the male version of Bonnie and Clyde stop off at a gas station to indulge in a quick snack when a lone man in a trench coat runs into Rick accidentally, or as it would later turn out intentionally.
After a quick inquisition from the duo, the mystery intruder Paul, nicknamed Jesus, takes off in a hurry claiming a horde of walkers are heading in their direction but Rick realises Paul has swiped the keys to the truck – with the group's food in tow. Once they track down the thief nearby, a full on fight ensues during which the food truck sinks into the lake.
Daryl is keen to leave their new enemy stranded in the middle of nowhere but Rick reminds him Paul saved Daryl from getting bitten by a walker, so he rides back with them to Alexandria, albeit completely unconscious after a hard beating.
After so many bad experiences of inviting strange people into their safe zone in the past, you'd think the survivors would have learned their lesson by now but it seems they still have the weakness of a good heart.
Back at Alexandria, Carl and Enid escape outside the barely there walls of their community to the woods where they encounter a stray walker in their path. Despite encouragement from Enid, Carl refuses to kill the walker and it soon turns out that the zombie is actually Deanna, former leader of Alexandria who succumbed to a bite in the mid-season finale. Deanna's son Spencer also happens to be in the woods with Michonne on his trail and they both come across his mother's walker state.
After a heartbreaking speech about taking on the responsibility to kill her, Spencer puts Deanna out of her misery. It's a stark reminder of the apocalyptic world that in the cold light of day, the survivors inevitably will be tasked with ending the life of someone close to them and we've seen it happen previously on a number of occasions.
During their moment of truth, it momentarily (more like a millisecond) appears as though Spencer and Michonne may have made a connection but her sights are set elsewhere. Later that night when Rick returns from his hunt with Daryl, he and Michonne sit on the sofa catching up on their day when suddenly their hands meet over a pack of mints. The confused look on Michonne's face probably resembles that of viewers as they proceed to take each other's clothes off, later ending up in bed.
Unfortunately for the new lovebirds, their slumber is rudely interrupted by Paul, aka Jesus, who says it's time to talk – but we'll have to wait until next week to see how that conversation goes considering Rick and Michonne are literally butt naked.
The Walking Dead returns to Fox UK with episode 11 at 9pm on 29 February.