(Spoiler warning, again, for the mid-season finale of AMC’s “The Walking Dead”)
So that happened.
“The Walking Dead” Season 8 went into its mid-season finale by leaving the outcome of Rick’s war against Negan in doubt, and another major fan-favorite going down for good.
After they managed to escape the Sanctuary, which started the season surrounded by walkers, Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the Saviors returned to the war path, attacking the Kingdom and Alexandria, with some pretty devastating results. The Saviors burned most of Alexandria to the ground as they hunted for its survivors, and though the subjects of the Kingdom managed to escape, Ezekiel (Khary Payton) allowed himself to be captured in order to cover for them.
But while fans might have expected Episode 10 of Season 8 to be the end of Ezekiel, or maybe Morgan (Lennie James), who’s set to appear on the next season of “The Walking Dead” spinoff “The Talking Dead,” the big loss of the mid-season finale was someone no one expected: Carl (Chandler Riggs), son of Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln).
The episode ended with Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) finding Carl after the attack on Alexandria, slowly succumbing to walker bite on his side. And as fans know, walker bites are fatal — the only way to survive them is by amputation, and even that isn’t guaranteed. But Carl’s injury isn’t something that can be stopped by surgery.
There is now the question of when it happened. Considering Carl was basically daring Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) to kill him midway through the episode, it’s likely he’d already been bitten by that point — probably suffering the wound two weeks ago when he tussled with walkers while helping out his new buddy Siddiq (Avi Nash). This season has been taking placed on a pretty compressed timetable, and the events of that episode probably happened earlier in the same day the mid-season finale takes place during.
On “The Walking Dead” aftershow “The Talking Dead,” Showrunner Scott Gimple confirmed that Carl’s wound is fatal.
“It will play out the way bites play out on the show,” Gimple said. But he also said that Carl isn’t dead yet, and he has “unfinished business” in the second half of the season.
It’s a departure from what fans expected because Season 8 opened with a flash-forward of Rick sometime in the future. In those scenes, Rick, Carl and Michonne were safe in Alexandria, apparently having weathered the war against Negan. It seems those scenes aren’t actually a view of the future; Alexandria is in ruins and Carl won’t still be around by the time Rick has grey hair.
Carl’s death on the show is also a departure from “The Walking Dead” comics on which the show is based. In the comic version, Carl is still alive and fighting.