9. Carl Kills A Woodbury Kid
Season 3, “Welcome To The Tombs”
Season 3 was a rough one for Carl. He had to grow up fast and it was in this season that fans Carl start to develop a survivor’s mentality where anyone who wasn’t part of the group was a threat. That was evident in episode 16, “Welcome To The Tombs” which was when The Governor and the Woodbury people attacked the prison.
Carl and Hershel were taking Beth and Judith away from the prison after the attack had started. They came across a Woodbury boy hiding in the woods. He was armed, but he gave up easily. He was handing over his gun when Carl, after a few moments of hesitation, shot the kid at point blank range.
Hershel was shocked and Carl seemed a little surprised at what he had just done, but it wasn’t an accident. Carl, who was still trying to process all the trauma he had been through, judged the boy to be a threat even if he was unarmed so he killed him.
Later on Hershel told Rick about the incident and insisted that Rick put away the guns and spend more with Carl so that he could help Carl process things and learn more about what the rules of right and wrong were in that world. When Rick talked to Carl about the murder Carl had no remorse. It was already ingrained in his moral code that he didn’t need to feel guilty about killing anyone that threatened him or the people he cared about.
This moment was the first time that Carl killed someone deliberately. It wouldn’t be the last. Hershel was concerned that Carl would develop a twisted sense of morality growing up in a world where killing was just a necessary part of surviving. But as Carl grew up he learned how to walk the fine line between killing out of necessity and killing for pleasure. He accepted that in order to protect the people that he loved he would sometimes have to kill the living. And that acceptance started with this moment.