By: Casey Johnston (@DarthHockey)
WARNING: There are spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
It’s rare that The Walking Dead lives up to things when it promises a shocking ending but the writers managed to pull it off. We learned at the very end of this episode that Carl Grimes, the only cast member left from the pilot episode besides Rick, was bitten in the ribcage in the last episode while saving Siddiq. I think it’s safe to say no one saw this coming. After last week’s episode, I predicted the death of Daryl. Other people said maybe Negan’s time would come to an end. Very few people predicted the death of Carl. He’s come a long way from the days of “stay in the house, Carl.” He’s grown into a legitimate fan-favorite. He’s been the subject a popular fan-theory that posits that the story, both the show and the comic where he is still alive, is actually being told from the point-of-view of an adult Carl.
But this isn’t the final goodbye. Chandler Riggs will be back for the mid-season premiere where we will get our final look at the younger Grimes who began to serve as the moral compass for Rick. To say this will be a tough loss for Rick is an understatement. We all remember the walker-killing rampage he went on in season 3 after the death of Lori. I would say I expect the same thing from Rick now but Carl’s words of a better way forward will probably be etched in his brain for the last eight episodes of this season. I would expect Rick to go on a Savior-killing rampage but I think in the end he will choose a better way in Carl’s honor.
A Plot: Daryl’s Massive Blunder and Negan’s Return
Negan is back and that turned out to be a stunningly bad thing for Alexandria. We all knew Negan wasn’t just going to go down in his own home surrounded by walkers. I’m not at all surprised that he immediately went to Alexandria while his lieutenants went after the Kingdom and Hilltop. I am surprised that Negan totally destroyed the place. Aside from the fact that it’s still an active colony in the comics, it seems like prime real estate for anyone wanting to set up a safe encampment to hide from walkers and people. I thought for sure the Saviors, who are currently without a safe haven, would snatch that place up for themselves.
As for Daryl, he almost redeemed himself by taking out a good chunk of the Saviors as he led the other survivors away from Alexandria. However, his part in the Saviors’ escape remains unresolved. It was kind of annoying that he and Tara feel no remorse for facilitating that and I hope it doesn’t get forgotten in the back half of this season.
B Plot: Maggie’s Last Stand
Maggie is not playing around. I never in a million years would have expected her to acquiesce to Simon so easily but I also didn’t think she would go back to the Hilltop and immediately execute a Savior in retaliation for the death of one of her own. The best part is that she’s not even trying to hide it. She put the guy in a box with a message for the Saviors that she has 38 more people left to kill. For Maggie, this is still very much a war and she’s not surrendering anytime soon.
C Plot: Ezekial’s Sacrifice
Ezekial didn’t go down without a fight either. After coming back to the Kingdom and licking his wounds for a couple of episodes, he got back on his feet and created a distraction that allowed his people to escape. His fate was left hanging as the episode ended. It looked like he might be executed but Morgan was also in a position to possibly help. Part of me thinks Ezekial is a goner (he’s dead in the comic) but I can’t believe the writers would have any death in the mid-season premiere that would distract from Carl’s death. So, Ezekial will live to fight another day.
Thanks for reading!