The Walking Dead S08E09: Honor
This week was the highly-anticipated return of The Walking Dead. The mid-season premiere of the popular zombie series kicks off “The Last Stand”, which is the storyline of the final eight episodes of Season 8.
The war with Negan has had a devastating impact on everyone. Each of the communities that have partnered with Rick in the war is fractured and left devastated. The Kingdom is annihilated, with half of the population dead, the other half fleeing for their own safety. King Ezekiel is captured to be brought to Negan to seal his fate. Alexandria has been destroyed, forcing the community to flee to the safety of the sewers. Rick, having been distracted by the conflict, returns to the harsh reality that Carl has been bitten by a walker and is dying.
The most significant impact of the war with Negan was not a casualty of war. It was Carl and his attempt to end the war and maintain peace among the survivors. Carl believed that they should be working towards a world of mercy, forgiveness, and cooperation. His efforts in this movement led, ultimately, to his demise.
Rather than try to skate around the issue, AMC and The Walking Dead’s cast and head honchos decided to address Carl’s death head-on. I guess they learned their lesson from Dumpster Gate with Glenn in season 6. Andrew Lincoln sang a tribute to Carl that was posted on The Walking Dead AMC’s Twitter. The Talking Dead announced Chandler Riggs as a guest (an obvious sign of a character’s departure) well before the episode aired. Chandler cut his trademark long hair and openly talked about his exit from the show to several media outlets. So kudos to them for not trying to hide the death or make it appear that something else might happen. Carl’s fate was written on the wall, and there was no way around it.
Saving the King
Carol is not going to let the Saviors take King Ezekiel back to Negan. She sends the rest of the Kingdomers to safety and goes back to rescue him. Along the way, she joins forces with her once-nemesis, Morgan. Carol must face the reality of killing again. Morgan is caught between his two prior paths—the “Clear” mentality of killing all, and his “Eastman” aikido teachings where all life is precious. This abruptly ends when young Henry appears and offs the Savior Gavin with a swift throat puncture from behind. The innocence lost will likely trigger a reboot of Morgan just in time for him to move over to the Fear the Walking Dead show.
The Walking Dead has had its share of major character deaths over the years. Watching Hershel die in front of his girls still gets me every time. He was one of my favorite characters, and I still feel his loss. So going into this episode, I expected to feel the heart-wrenching loss of one of the original characters that we have literally seen grow over the last 8 seasons. But I didn’t.
There were some touching moments, especially those with his little sister Judith. But I honestly felt little to no emotion over this death. The speeches and long scenes seemed to drag on, and I felt my hand inching towards to remote to fast forward through them. The episode had an extended runtime of 67 minutes, and I really felt that they could easily have edited out those extra minutes.
It will (hopefully) be interesting to see how the writers address the future story now that they’ve written out the main protagonist from the comic series, and if the decision to kill off Carl was a wise one.
Images courtesy of AMC