Warning: Major spoilers ahead.
If you are an avid watcher of The Walking Dead, it is difficult to forget the horrific death of the beloved Glenn Rhee that occurred way back at the beginning of season seven. Being such a significant turning point in the show, to many it still feels like it was just yesterday that Negan took away one of the show favorites. Yet, despite this still fresh and unforgettable wound, The Walking Dead writers have chosen to deal us another striking blow — something that many of us hoped we would not have to experience again. The death of Carl Grimes is surely something we will never forget, perhaps even never forgive.
In the final moments of the eighth mid-season finale, things appear to have calmed down — at least, as calm as things can be with all the Saviours on the loose again and Alexandria in the process of burning to the ground. Rick and Michonne are reunited with each other after too many episodes of being apart, and as they make their way through the tunnels with the rest of the characters toward the oddly illuminated figure of Judith, it seems that everything might be okay for a bit. However, we should have known not to let our guard down in such a moment. When have the writers ever let us off that easy before? If alarms weren’t triggered in your head when Carl muttered “that’s how it happened,” I honestly don’t think we were watching the same show. If your heart did not stop when he then proceeded to rip off a bandage to reveal a walker bite, then we most definitely were not.
A significant death is something perhaps most people expected when watching this mid-season finale, but did anyone believe the writers would even consider killing Carl Grimes? I think not. Arguably the most significant character on the show apart from Rick as one of the remaining original group and certainly one of the longest-running actors, it is quite incomprehensible and devastating to fans that Carl’s story is to end.
We have watched Carl grow through eight seasons, from a child to a teen, and the fact that there is to be no more to watch is absolutely heart-breaking.
There is a considerable amount of outrage from fans who have identified just how largely this plot twist diverges the show from the comics. In the comics, Carl is also a character so major that he takes over as the leader when Rick dies. However, this will now never be the case in the show adaptation, leaving many wondering where the writers intend to go with this new development.
Who could possibly replace the hole Carl will leave in the show? Just how badly will Rick react to this? Can the show ever be the same? Unfortunately, we will have to wait until February 2018 to find out, when The Walking Dead returns for the second half-season of season eight.