(Spoilers ahead for, well, “The Walking Dead”)
We’re a month away from the Season 8 mid-season premiere of “The Walking Dead” on AMC (it comes back Feb. 25), and the wait is a dread-filled one.
For the most part, fans are not expecting Carl (Chandler Riggs) to make it out of that episode alive, thanks to the walker bite he revealed in the last scene of the mid-season finale back in December. While often a punchline for fans early in the show’s run (Season 2 in particular), Carl has become a fan favorite in more recent years — he’s one of the more heroic and genuinely good characters left at this point.
And so a lot of fans are taking this development pretty hard. And some are taking every opportunity to figure out how Carl might survive this.
Such an opportunity arose on the main “Walking Dead” subreddit, when one eagle-eyed viewer noted that the bite was on roughly the same spot on his body where he sustained a gunshot wound back in Season 2: halfway up the right side of the front of his torso. The poster noted it as irony, but then one of the responses suggested casually that “Maybe the scar tissue will stop the infection from spreading.” The original poster then agreed that the thought had crossed their mind.
While there is probably a zero chance that Carl will somehow make it out alive somehow, all signs point the other direction — including comments from the people who run the show. In the episode of “Talking Dead” after the mid-season finale, showrunner Scott Gimple said that the bite “will play out the way bites play out on the show.” And “Walking Dead” executive producer Greg Nicotero drove the point home when he discussed the mid-season premiere with EW this week: “It’s a beautiful episode and the people that clearly are upset about losing Carl and questioning where the show goes without Carl — I really do believe that a lot of people will put those feelings aside when they watch this episode because they’re really going to get an opportunity to make some peace with it.”
All that seems pretty explicit. The sort of vague phrasing I would chalk up to them wanting to keep the particulars secret, because Carl may not actually succumb to the bite — he could try getting out ahead of it by going out in a blaze of glory to help the war effort against the Saviors. After all, it feels pretty obvious in retrospect that Carl being so gung ho in the mid-season finale, even going so far as to suggest to Negan’s face that Negan kill him instead of his father, was because he knew he was going to die anyway.
But we’ll see for ourselves in just a few incredibly long weeks.