The Walking Dead: What if Rick read Carl’s letter sooner?

Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC
Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes - The Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 14 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC /

Rick finally read the letter Carl sent him at the end of The Walking Dead 814. Would Rick have killed the Saviors had he read Carl’s letter first?

When Carl died on The Walking Dead we were fortunate enough to be left with his letters that expressed his dying wishes. Rick didn’t read Carl’s letter right away, and we have to wonder whether or not Rick would have killed the wayward Saviors had he read his son’s wishes before going on a mission to find them.

Carl’s letters and his final wishes were very telling. We got a glimpse of his vision for the future in the dream sequences that showed everything from Old Man Rick to Negan saying good morning to a cheerful Judith. When it came to Negan, Carl hoped that the violence could end and he could lead an honorable life. When it came to Rick, Carl’s wish for his father was to maintain control and not lose his humanity to the darkness that was already threatening to overtake him.

Rick read Negan’s letter early on, which led to Rick’s heated call to the Saviors’ leader. However Rick avoided reading his own letter for a while. By the time he was able to read it, he had already gone out to find the Savior prisoners. He gave them his word that they would be able to return to the Hilltop, and then he killed them once they were done fighting the Walkers.

Would Rick have killed them if he had read Carl’s letter sooner?

My guess is that it would have made him stop and think about killing them. Whether it would have stopped him outright is a whole other issue.

It’s safe to say that when Rick makes up his mind (and especially when he isn’t thinking clearly) he won’t stop until he gets what he wants. However, knowing Carl wanted him to be a better person could have been the impetus needed to keep him from flying off the rails. We know Alden wanted Rick to spare his friends’ lives, and the decision to kill them was Rick’s alone. They didn’t have to die, but Rick decided that they had to and so they were killed.

Rick has a tendency to lose himself when he’s upset. We saw this when Lori died, and we’re still seeing it now. Carl knew his father would be lost, and he hoped his letter would be able to stop him from falling too far from his remaining humanity. Carl believed his father would be the one to broker peace, and so he wanted his message to Rick to reflect the need to be merciful.

Next: Whose word means more: Rick or Negan's?

Rick needs to do some healing before he can truly be merciful, because right now he’s more reactive than anything else, and we all know that being reactive is one of the most dangerous things in the world of The Walking Dead.