If you would like to read my review of the last episode, click here.
Synopsis: Rick faces new difficulties after a battle. Meanwhile, the fight continues in other communities as core members face hard decisions. (IMDB)
Writers: Matthew Negrete and Channing Powell
Director: Greg Nicotero
Running Time: 56mins
Goodbye Carl. It was a midseason premiere so it took you a long time to go but hopefully you didn’t die in vain.
Yes, it happened. Another core character is gone, it would’ve been nice to get a little more focus on it but it’s The Walking Dead so there has to be plenty of other things going on as well. In the midseason finale, it was revealed that he got bit by a walker at some point. The consensus was that it happened while he was helping Siddiq so the beginning of the episode confirmed it. From there, he went on as normal and kept it a secret from everyone while writing a series of goodbye notes.
Now in the tunnels, he handed his notes to everyone. Carl explained to Rick how he got bit. Rick showed a lot of restraint seeing that Siddiq was indirectly responsible for Carl getting bit. He was also a medical resident so he tried to do what little he could to help Carl. The next step was to figure out where to go so the plan was to go to the Hilltop but they would have to wait until the Saviors left. Because Carl wouldn’t make it, Rick and Michonne stayed with Carl. He showed boatloads of maturity in coming to terms with what was happening. He gave a great speech as he said goodbye to Judith. To thank Carl, Siddiq vowed to honor him and his actions.
Morgan watched while the Saviors escaped the Sanctuary before heading to Alexandria to pillage it. Meanwhile, Carol was talking care of the residents of the Kingdom before heading in to rescue Ezekiel. Morgan later joined her and they both killed all the Saviors on the way to Ezekiel. While Carol showed some restraint, Morgan was much more brutal, including pulling someone’s intestines out of their bullet hole. This was too much for Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith).
Carl was still hopeful for the future. Rick and Michonne took him to the church where he appropriately confessed for killing a kid back at the prison. This was intercut with Morgan wanting to kill Gavin. Rick forgave Carl who admitted that it became easier to kill. Carl applauded and was inspired by Rick’s restraint and hopeful of what their world could become. Rick promised to Carl that he would make it real. Ezekiel and Carol pleaded Morgan to spare Gavin but Henry, who wanted to go with Carol earlier, made his decision for him and plunged his akido stick through Gavin’s throat.
Rick apologized to Carl for not being able to protect him. Neither Rick nor Michonne could put him down so Carl did it himself and then they buried him.
Also the scenes that looked like flashforwards were not really flashforwards and were just Carl’s Utopian fantasies since Carl is now dead so he won’t make it there anyway. What was surprising about those were the appearances by Siddiq and Negan. Blood-shot eyes Rick come from the fact that he’s bleeding against a tree somewhere.
Overall, this was a good and obviously emotional episode with Carl’s passing. Although Chandler Riggs’ performance was great, its dragged out nature lessened the impact as we knew it was going to happen so we spent most of the episode waiting for it. The episode could have done without the action scenes with Carol and Morgan and his development as it hindered the momentum of Carl’s storyline. It’s a shame that the flashforwards aren’t real but maybe they can make it happen. Hopefully, this back half of the season will be worth it.