The Mid-Season 8 premiere of The Walking Dead entitled ‘Honor‘, aired on AMC this past Sunday evening and confirmed millions of Walking Dead fan’s fears. Carl Gimes as played by young Chandler Riggs, has indeed died due to a walker bite, sustained while trying to be a moral person in the immoral world of the Walking Dead.
Much of the episode centered around Carl and also served as an homage of sorts to the beloved and fan-favorite character Carl, who has been on the show since it first aired. While the fan base has roared in disbelief and even anger, it is official and a done deal. In a touching moment, Carl passed his father’s police hat to his little sister Judith, before she is taken away to the safety of the Hilltop by Daryl.
But is this the beginning of the end for the show, or is this the beginning of a new chapter in what has for the most part been an extremely popular show!? Can the Walking Dead survive the death of some of its most beloved characters? Especially for those fans of the show that are both fans of Robert Kirkman’s highly acclaimed Image comic as well as fans of the AMC hit zombie show? While only time will tell, ‘Honor‘ may have left some fans feeling as if something is missing from the show, as it did for me.
While most of the show focused on Carl’s passing, with some very heart felt moments showing Carl coming to terms with his impending death, and spending precious last moments with his younger sister Judith, we also saw the war between the Saviors and Rick’s rebellion continue to heat up.
Negan’s forces were shown escaping their zombie infested fortress, as both Morgan as played by Lennie James, and Carol played by Melissa McBride, brutally stormed the occupied halls of the Kingdom. Both warriors were able to save young Henry played by Macsen Lintz, who seemed to come of age as a zombie survivor, as well as King Ezekial played by Khary Payton.
Apart from losing Carl, what was perhaps most distressing was the level of murder to which we see Morgan stoop to in his efforts to fight the Saviors. A level of murder that seems to have surpassed even Carol, Rick, or Daryl at their worst. It seems that Morgan’s capacity to swing from one side of the killing pendulum to the other, depends perhaps on who is writing the storyline, rather than the character’s progression.
Seeing Morgan go from a scared survivor, to a crazed loss driven scavenger, to a zen-like zombie priest who refuses to kill, seemed like amazing character development, which made sense in the world of the Walking Dead. But to see Morgan once again embracing the kind of madness that got Shane killed, almost seems as if he is loosing his grip on a humanity that he only recently found.
Perhaps this is part of the plan that will eventually lead to his leaving the group and traveling across the country, and ending up in Fear The Walking Dead. But it was quite disturbing to see his character, while an amazing bad ass; descend into the kind of violence that is usually reserved only for the bad guys.
In the wake of Carl’s death, and seeing Morgan revert to a dangerous killing machine with a blunt walking stick, I found myself worried that my favorite show was somehow loosing its faith. But only time will tell.
With that said however, I did enjoy many moments of the episode, and found a certain level of respect that was rightfully shown to such a well loved and important character to not just the series, but to the fans as well. We will miss you Carl.