Warning: Spoilers ahead for The Walking Dead' season 8 mid-season finale!
In the mid-season finale of The Walking Dead, it's revealed that Carl is bit by a walker due to a fight in the woods while saving Siddiq. Carl is one of the few major characters left from season 1. Is killing him off a good move for the show and the storyline, or is it a mistake? How will it shape the rest of the season and the rest of the show?
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Rick Could Learn from Carl's Death
For a while now, Carl has been questioning Rick's reasoning behind decisions he's made, specifically in regard to the war. In "How It's Gotta Be," Carl explains to Rick that not everyone has to die. He even asks this of Negan as he distracts the Saviors so the Alexandrians can get to safety. Perhaps Carl's death will be the event that flips that switch for Rick.
Unfortunately, it is the humanitarian in Carl that led to his death. Carl goes back on his own to help Siddiq, despite Rick telling him to just leave him. Carl gets bit as he helps Siddiq fight off walkers. I don't think that Carl regrets this move at all though, as he did what he felt was right. And that means that even though Rick has made some pretty violent, drastic moves, he's clearly raised his son the right way. Carl questions what's right and wrong. Carl knows that not everyone needs to die just because they are associated with Negan. It seems now that the student has surpassed the teacher, and I do hope that Rick sees this.
Rick Could Downward Spiral
Rick has wanted to kill Negan basically since day one. And as much as I'd like to see Rick take the high road, I think that Carl's death will weight heavily on him and he'll want to take it out on Negan even more. I think Rick will also blame himself entirely for Carl's death, because if he had just given Siddiq five minutes of his time, Carl never would have went back and been bitten.
If Rick doesn't get angry, he could get depressed, which also won't be good for anyone. He could lose hope and his drive to build up the new world. Carl is his reason for wanting a new world, so maybe in his mind, he's failed Carl, so there's no reason to build it up anymore.
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Which Way Is the Right Way?
Honestly, I think an even more pissed off or depressed Rick won't be a good move for the show. It seems, lately, that everyone is out to avenge someone's death. Even Maggie is playing the "eye for an eye" game after Simon killed a Hilltop member in front of her. Making him more angry or sad won't help the show's already lackluster season 8.
I'm not saying Rick shouldn't grieve for his son. But he needs to reassess his goals. As I said, Rick wants a new world, but he's wrapped up in killing every Savior and Negan. I think Rick needs to learn from Carl. The way to honor his son is to finish the war in a peaceful manner. If that means killing Negan, and Simon and Gavin, that's one thing, but Carl is right that every Savior doesn't have to die. In fact, I imagine some of those people will be looking for a leader if theirs perishes.
As much as I want to see the war ended and the new world started, much like the comics, I personally think killing Carl is not the way to do that. Carl is still alive and very much a badass in the novels, and I was looking forward to seeing his storyline played out much like in the comics. I know the TV show is not the comics, and they've strayed from the storyline before. But season 8 has really stuck close to the comics as far as stories and plot, so I'm surprised it's taken this turn. It's certainly a huge blow for the characters, and I'm interested to see how it plays out. But I honestly don't know if it's enough to save a rather uneventful Walking Dead
season so far.
Maybe Carl's death is the turning point to ending the war though. Maybe his death will turn around the season and the series, and give it that push in the right direction. I know that his death will not only affect Rick and friends, but it might affect Negan too, as Negan has a little soft spot for Carl.
How do you think Carl's death will affect Rick and the others? Do you think his death is good for The Walking Dead
? Do you think his death is just being used as shock value? Do you think Rick will learn from Carl? How do you want the war to end? Let us know in the comments below.
The Walking Dead
season 8 returns on Sunday, Feb. 25 at 9/8c on AMC. Want more news? Like BuddyTV's Walking Dead Faceboo page
(Image courtesy of AMC)