Welcome back! It has been a long couple of months waiting for the show to return from the annual winter break, especially knowing what we were coming back to. Ever since young Carl lifted up his shirt to reveal a rib bite from a walker there has been much debate amongst fans about the decision to kill Carl off. So on this holiday (NHL Trade Deadline, don’t judge) lets look back on the episode Honor. Before we jump into the final moments of CORAL we need to look at what else happened. The only other story line the show tackled was…
FULL SPOILER ALERT! TURN AWAY IF YOU HAVEN’T WATCHED! DON’T ENTER, DEAD INSIDE!
Carol and Morgan’s Rescue of the King
The other major plot point left over from the mid-season finale was the capture of King Ezekiel. The Saviors had finally come to the front gates of the Kingdom to make Ezekiel pay for the war he had joined. With overwhelming numbers the Saviors brought Ezekiel sacrificed his freedom to save his people. After the death of Shiva, Ezekiel was in a funk. However, Jerry helped the King get back up on that apocalypse horse to kick butt. Ezekiel was caught by the Saviors after leading his people away.
I’ll be honest, it felt like this was going to be the dragged out plot point of the second half of the season. Ezekiel being taken to Negan, Negan taunting him, a decent back and forth dialogue, finally ending in Ezekiel’s death or a massive rescue mission. As it turns out it just takes two baby. With the guts of Navy Seals, Carol and Morgan rush into the Kingdom to save Ezekiel. After systematically whittling down the Saviors numbers, we get a big shoot out in the great hall. Although it was mostly gun fire that took everyone out, Morgan gets my vote for most disgusting, gruesome, gnarly live kill ever on the show. I WILL NOT SPOIL IT HERE! If you don’t know what I’m talking about well, just make sure you have a strong or empty stomach when you watch this episode. The leader of this group of Saviors is Gavin, who meets his end by Henry, the young man that Ezekiel has been looking after. This gave the end of his rescue an emotional weight to it, one that I enjoyed. If it hadn’t been for this entire plot line for the episode it may have been the slowest ever (I’m looking at you Oceansiders introduction!), thankfully we get to see just enough action to make the other half of the show bearable. Speaking of that…
Carl’s Death Watch
I must confess that the death of Carl gives me hope for the future. What a weird statement to make, right? The comic is so good at killing off characters when stories get too loaded. When the forest gets too thick to survive, a purging fire is needed. In my not so humble opinion, the greatest problem the show has today is the dearth of characters. So. Many. People. I know, I know. That is a horrible thing to say. But, too many plot points and story lines lead to slow episodes and lower ratings. So I salute the show for showing that no one is ever truly safe. That means anyone. Not Negan, Michonne, Carol, even Rick. If gives that edge back which has been lacking. So bravo writers, I golf clap in your general direction.
As for the actual death watch itself I think it was done very well. It was nice to see them show when the bite actually happened, as well as Carl’s reaction to it. Instead of the freak out Carl takes it in stride. He is able to go out of this horrible world on his own terms. Carl spends time, and takes one last picture, with his sister Judith. Carl writes down what he wants to say to several people. Carl also shows how much he has changed from murderous Carl by helping Siddiq join the gang. The fact Siddiq happens to be a doctor has little bearing on Carl’s help. He has seen what he could have become, i.e. just like his Dad, yet he chooses to be a light in this dark world.
@banterjosh and I never held back in our hatred for Carl on the old podcast, but I think they did a great job with his exit. As the writers have said, we have so many characters to choose from that Carl’s comic story line can still live on, just with a different person, such as Enid or Judith. As you look back over the first eight and a half seasons, Carl has been there every step of the way. We have watched him grow up as the show went on. The last act of taking his own life instead of Rick or Michonne having to do it was very selfless. If Rick is/was going to truly crack from all the pressure, having to kill his own son would have been the last straw. So rest easy CORAL, your work here is done.
Potential Flash Forward
Something I need to briefly touch on is Carl’s vision for the future. We now have context for seeing Old Man Rick this season. The comic plot line of rebuilding after the war, WITH Negan a part of the group now. It shows what Carl’s biggest hope was. We’ll have to see in the future what way they go with, but if they slide a different direction from the comic, I’m glad they gave a tip of the cap to the rebuild. Seeing Rick leaning against a tree, blood on his hand and his leg bent an awkward direction, is a huge hint to the end of this season. Will the writers go with Negan living beyond this season? Will Rick kill Negan as he has promised from the beginning? Will Judith learn how to make spaghetti? Hopefully all these questions will be answered by the end of the season. Until Carol’s next murder spree, ta ta.