The Walking Dead Says Goodbye to Yet Another Beloved Character
Most Walking Dead fans knew that Carl’s time was most likely up after seeing Carl’s walker bite in the mid-season finale, but we were still holding onto a tiny glimmer of hope that in the mid-season premiere it would all just be a dream, or Carl would somehow miraculously find a cure. This, unfortunately, was not the case. The Walking Dead has officially thrown its greatest curve ball yet and killed off a character that has been there since the beginning, Carl Grimes.
For those who do not read the comics, Carl is still very much alive in its current issue. For the past few seasons of the show it has been almost spot-on with everything that was happening in the comics, so why deviate from them in such a big way now? Why throw away the only solid connection with Negan?
In Carl’s last scene with Michonne and Rick, his one wish for his father was to put his gun away and get back to the way he used to be in the days of the prison; to be accepting and welcome former enemies. Now will Rick see this through and honor Carl? We can only hope. Seeing as Rick is still very much scarred from Negan bashing in Glenn and Abraham’s heads and was the reason for Sasha’s death, a Negan-Rick compromise does not look like it is in a foreseeable future. Especially considering they haven’t even fully welcomed Dwight, who has been helping them secretly for almost an entire season now. But who knows, maybe Carl’s death and last words will fully change Rick’s mind about this “all-out-war.”
Getting down to the episode itself, Season 8, Episode 9, “Honor,” was the first truly emotional episode of The Walking Dead in a long time. They did this character death different from any other, which made it that much more emotional. We got to see Carl say goodbye to each of those that he loved. We saw a different side of Carl this season, we saw a leader and a teenager that was far wiser than his years as he embraced his own death. He thought out every single action, goodbye, and possible scenario remarkably well, while enjoying his last days making memories with his little sister.
His goodbyes to Judith, Daryl, Siddiq, Michonne and Rick had us all ugly-crying. From giving his dad’s beloved sheriff hat to Judith, to telling Michonne the she was his best friend, we don’t know which part of his goodbyes made us cry the most. But they were goodbyes mixed with future hopes and outcomes after the war.
Our flash-forward theories were finally answered when Carl tells his father that he sees a world where Judith is older, Eugene is back, Michonne and Rick are happy, and Negan is with them, and everything is peaceful. Rick says he will honor his wish and goes onto to tell Carl that everything he has ever done was to protect Carl because, “a father protects his son.” What shakes us is Carl’s response, he replies, “It’s just to love, that’s all.” Just when we think we see Carl’s final character arc, Carl reaches for his gun and says he needs to end his life himself. “I know it should be somebody you love when you can’t do it yourself, but I still can. I grew up, I have to do this, me,” says Carl. That scene and that action, truly wraps up Carl’s story and final arc in the most heroic way possible. We can only hope now that these characters honor Carl’s wishes throughout the remainder of this season, and the show itself. Only time will tell with what happens next.
Until then, Carl, you will be missed.