Another original character has fallen on The Walking Dead and in the midseason premiere fans said their farewell to Carl Grimes
The Walking Dead midseason finale divided fans who were felt that the show took a wrong turn by killing off one of the original characters, Carl Grimes. But in the midseason premiere fans put aside their differences and came together to watch Chandler Riggs deliver an amazing performance as his last performance on the show.
While Carl’s death throws the future of some highly anticipated storylines into disarray as the show moves forward there is no question that Carl’s influence will continue to drive Rick, Michonne, and the other survivors.
In episode 809 “Honor” The Walking Dead gave us all the chance to live Carl’s last day with him and to say goodbye as he went out in the most Carl way possible. He killed himself, to spare Rick and Michonne the trauma of putting him down the way he had to put his mother down after she died giving birth to Judith.
When Carl ‘s death was imminent he, Rick and Michonne took shelter in the burned out church. After saying their emotional goodbyes Michonne and Rick left Carl in the church, with a gun. Together they waited outside the church. When they heard the shot they finally broke down to mourn together their son.
Carl’s Last Day
After Carl was bitten he knew he was on borrowed time so he made sure to spend as much time as possible leaving behind memories for his loved ones. He wrote letters for Michonne, Rick, and Judith. He played with Judith making handprints in paint and taking many Polaroid photos with her so that she would remember her brother’s face. He knows how important those photos are.
It was on a trek to fetch the last remaining photo of Lori, Rick and Carl that he decided Michonne should be part of the group after the two of them together got the photo from a bar near the old Grimes home in season 3’s “Clear” episode.
Then as Alexandria was attacked he launched a plan to get everyone to safety and faced off with Negan, knowing that the fever was setting in as he did. Carl put the safety of the people he loved ahead of his own until the end.
Carl’s Last Words
The flash forwards turned out be Carl’s vision of how things could be. He saw an older Rick, and a happy Michonne, and everyone working together and thriving in the rebuilt communities, including Eugene and Negan. As Carl neared the end lying in the church with Rick and Michonne with him he talked to Rick about the boy from Woodbury that he killed. Carl told Rick that he needed to stop fighting. That there had to be something after. He talked about his vision and Rick promised him he would make it happen.
Carl tells Michonne he loves her. And he has some powerful last words for Rick. Rick tells Carl that everything he has done has been to keep him safe. From Atlanta, to the farm, to the prison, it was all for Carl. Rick tells Carl that he failed him because he failed to protect him and that’s a father’s job. Carl tells him no, a father’s job is just to love.
Carl’s death will have a profound impact on Rick and Michonne. Carl’s last wish for Rick is to put away his gun and return to the peace loving Rick he was back in season 4. But Rick can’t do that until Negan and The Saviors are vanquished once and for all. Now Rick has even more reason to finally finish All Out War – so that he can live Carl’s legacy the way that Maggie is living Glenn and Hershel’s.
The communities are once again on the edge of a new world. They are working together to form the basis of a new society. A society that Carl hoped would be built on justice, reason, fairness, and cooperation. Rick and Michonne will work and fight to make that happen to honor Carl and to give the rest of the people they love the chance to live and thrive instead of just survive.
Rick is now the only member of his original family left. And he will spend whatever time he has left as a living legacy to Lori and Carl, trying to create the world that they knew was still possible. A world in which humanity wasn’t a luxury and wasn’t a weakness.
In The Walking Dead season 8 premiere, “Mercy” the newly introduced character Siddiq mentions to Carl a line from the Quran that says, “May my mercy prevail over my wrath.” If Carl’s legacy was to be put into words it would be those words. Carl’s hope for Rick and Michonne and all the others that he loves is that they will never lose their humanity and that they will choose peace and justice over vengeance.
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Rest in peace Carl. You may not have beaten this world but you left a sheriff’s hat sized hole in our hearts that will never be filled.