The Walking Dead: A grown up Carl

Carl Grimes and Judith. The Walking Dead. AMC.
Carl Grimes and Judith. The Walking Dead. AMC. /

Carl Grimes on The Walking Dead is not just growing up, he’s maturing. He’s making decisions that reflect the influence of the apocalypse and his mentors.

Carl has grown up in the apocalypse with a rather large and varied extended family. He’s seen some of the worst in humanity, but he’s also seen people who have fought hard against the harshness of the world to maintain their humanity.

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Carl is making some of the most mature and beautiful decisions that reflect the best of both worlds. He’s realistic and knows the world he’s in because it’s almost all he knows. But he hasn’t let it harden him or turn him cold, as Lori feared, because he’s been protected and loved.

Carl has learned lessons that most adults never learn. His compassion and confidence are equal. The experiences on the way to Terminus taught him that he needs his family. He doesn’t want to be alone. Most teenagers crave independence. Most teenagers don’t have such extreme, scary learning experiences at such a young age to whip the whiny right out of them.

Last night, Carl showed just how mature he has become. Just the idea that he’s not bitter after getting his eye shot out is a big indication. He’s smart enough to be grateful to be alive. I imagine he knows he could easily be dead if Michonne hadn’t done what she did, and that the gun going off and the gun dropping in the first place were both accidents.

Accident or not, one could be bitter for such a terrible consequence. But having grown up in the apocalypse, Carl is aware that the consequences of one small wrong accidental move can be more horrific.

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Then Carl saw Walker Deanna in the woods. Instead of killing her and bringing her to Spencer to bury or leaving her, he led her to Spencer. As Austin Nichols pointed out on Talking Dead, Carl then just disappeared. He didn’t tell Spencer his own story about his mother; he let Spencer have his own experience.

When Michonne confronted Carl about it in her motherly way, Carl was still a teenager and yelled back that it would be stupid to kill Deanna or leave her there. He didn’t explain that Enid was the reason he was out there. He kept something secret from his “mom”.

But then he told her why he did it. Once again he didn’t make it about him by telling the Lori experience. That surprised me and was the most mature thing to do. He made it about Michonne. He let her know that he would do it for her. That he would kill her walker and bury her if he could.

Next: Episode 610 review

There’s no more respectful gesture in the apocalypse than making sure your loved ones don’t spend their lives walking, if you can. You’re  a good man, Carl Grimes.