The Season 8 mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead aired last night, February 25th, and we were witness to the final hours of one of the few remaining original characters on the show. By now, you’ve probably heard that Carl Grimes is the latest character to shuffle off this mortal coil, but there will absolutely be Walking Dead spoilers ahead from the mid-season premiere, so don’t read on until you’ve watched the episode, “Honor.” (Or do, if spoilers are your thing. YOU DO YOU.)
Chandler Riggs has been playing Carl Grimes on The Walking Dead for the better part of a decade. While death is a constant threat to most of the characters on the show, Carl’s came as a shock since he’s still alive and kicking ass in the comic books. Unfortunately, he was bitten by a walker in the mid-season finale, and the mid-season premiere was set to be the character’s big swan song.
And that had many fans curious about exactly how Carl would spend his final moments.
Sure, we all know how the zombie virus works in the Walking Dead-verse, but we weren’t sure if he would end up turning, if someone else would kill him before he was able to turn completely, or if he’d do the deed himself. In a move that surprised a lot of fans, while Carl did end up spending his final moments with Rick, Michonne, and Judith, he requested that he be allowed to take his own life.
So why did Carl make such a bleak request?
Riggs explained to Entertainment Weekly that it was largely a selfless move on Carl’s part, that it was meant to be a kindness to his father, Rick.
While that’s an incredibly dark choice for a young man to have to make, it makes sense that Carl would never want to put such a heavy task on another person.
When his mother, Lori, died after giving birth to Judith, it was a startlingly young Carl who ended up pulling the trigger to stop Lori from turning into a walker. He knows firsthand the toll that takes on a person, so it makes sense that Carl would never want to put that burden onto his father, especially when Carl’s final charge to his dad was to make the world better for his younger sister.
The episode was an absolute gut-punch, and it just makes us miss Carl more knowing that everything about his final moments was meant to help those he left behind. Carl evolved so much from the kid who couldn’t stay in the damn house when danger was afoot, and he grew into a young man with courage and conviction. Riggs did a great job bringing this character to life, and we’ll definitely miss seeing him on our TVs every week.
We only hope that Rick, Michonne, and Judith will remember Carl’s final moments and do everything they can to make the world a better place. We’ll miss you, Carl.