The Walking Dead: Why Carl isn’t falling in Negan’s line

Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) in The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 5Photo by Gene Page/AMC
Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) in The Walking Dead Season 7 Episode 5Photo by Gene Page/AMC /

Despite what happened with Glenn and Abraham, Carl doesn’t seem to be afraid of Negan or his men. Why does he think he’s invincible all of a sudden?

Carl has had it rough in the apocalypse.

There is nothing more sobering than a life or death situation where you are mere seconds away from death. Then imagine finding out that you aren’t dying, but that two people you care about are being killed before your eyes. Lastly imagine having to tell your father that it’s okay if he chops off your arm in order to save everyone else.

Then imagine losing an eye in a freak accident, killing your mother who just became a Walker after she gives birth to your baby sister, and getting shot while looking at a deer in the woods.

With all of these things that happened to him, there are also the things that he’s had to live through and see. It’s a lot to take in for anyone, but imagine being a teenage boy and seeing it all. It’s pretty intense.

What we’ve seen throughout The Walking Dead is how people deal with grief. After Sasha lost Tyreese, she spent a lot of time alone in the woods with her guns. Rick went off the rails when Lori died and started talking to imaginary people on the prison phone. Morgan had a bought of madness after the death of his son. People deal with grief in very different ways

Carl is riding a wave of invincibility. Some teenagers who aren’t living through the apocalypse go through an invincibility phase, but in his case he has been through so much in such a short period of time that he doesn’t feel like he has anything to lose. He doesn’t always support his father’s decision making, and this is an example of how Carl is trying to reconcile losing control of their lives. When he told Rick it was okay to chop off his arm, Carl made peace with it. I think he reached a point in his mind where he accepted the unthinkable, and now he feels like he can face anything.

When Carl gets into the argument with Negan’s man over the medicine, he’s fully aware of what the consequences could be. Negan made his rules crystal clear. However, Carl doesn’t believe that Negan’s men should take more than half of their medicine and he’s challenging the rules, because he understands that Negan works by the rules. Negan seems to appreciate that Carl is willing to stand up for himself, but he also informs Carl that “half” means whatever Negan wants to it mean.

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It’s quite possible that we’re going to see a big shift in Carl’s attitude and behavior now that Rick is acquiescing to Negan’s rules. Carl has had differences with his father before, and this might be another father-son struggle.