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My bet Carl will die
The Walking Dead: Why Carl’s Death Could Be a Sign of Hope
The way Carl’s death unfolded proves that the series might finally be ready to tackle one of its biggest problems.
by LAURA BRADLEY
FEBRUARY 26, 2018 8:00 AM
hen did The Walking Dead go wrong? Maybe it was Season 5’s eighth episode, when the group’s mission to save Beth Greene from Grady Memorial Hospital—an arc that had consumed the better part of the season’s opening half—ended in failure. Daryl—who had just formed a strong bond with Beth—carried her lifeless body out of the hospital, handing it to her devastated sister Maggie. When the show returned, it kicked off the back half of the season by killing another beloved character, Tyreese—a one-two gut punch that, in retrospect, did shockingly little to advance the show’s plot or develop its characters in any truly memorable way. When asked to explain show-runner Scott Gimple’s reasoning for killing off his character, actor Chad L. Coleman provided a telling answer: it was “a necessary evil.”
“When people are endeared to a character to a degree that they are with Tyreese and have been with others, The Walking Dead needs an impactful death to remind us of the value of human life,” Coleman said. Killing characters like Tyreese also allowed the show “to give other characters the opportunity to bounce off that death,” he continued.
It’s precisely that thinking that has steered the series wrong again and again. By relying on traumatic character deaths to grease the wheels of its ongoing plot, The Walking Dead soon lost sight of what its characters are actually fighting for. The problem got even worse after Glenn and Abraham’s deaths in Season 7, which were gruesome and theatrical; they followed an inescapable promotional campaign centered on learning which of the 11 beloved central characters might die. But as viewers literally watched Glenn’s eye pop out of its socket, many reacted differently than the show’s writers perhaps anticipated: they weren’t riveted, but disgusted and angry. (Especially because the series had already pretended to kill Glenn weeks before, and saved him at the last minute—only to dispense with him a few months later.)
Sunday’s midseason premiere, however, might have been a turning point, both for The Walking Dead’s characters and for the show itself. The long-coming death of Carl serves as the episode’s A-plot; as he prepares to shuttle off this mortal coil, he writes letters to his loved ones and takes selfies with Judith. He looks around with a fresh, somewhat relieved perspective. And, most importantly, he thinks about the future—in those dream-like visions we’ve been seeing all season. As it turns out, they’re Carl’s daydreams of what the future could hold for his loved ones: a utopia in which everyone works together for the safety and security of all. It’s that vision Carl describes to Rick and Michonne on his deathbed, and it’s that future that Rick promises to protect.
The episode’s B-plot, however, finds another character on the opposite path: Morgan, who has been traveling a dark path following the death of his former apprentice, Benjamin. Throughout his mission to save Ezekiel from the Saviors, Morgan kills when he doesn’t have to—and when he and Carol finally find Ezekiel, Morgan contemplates killing his captor, too. Viewers flit between Morgan’s dilemma and Carl’s death as the younger Grimes tells his father about killing a boy who had already surrendered—a moment that, for a long time, made Carl worry he had become a monster beyond redemption. As Carl looks back on that moment, he tells Rick, “That’s why you changed. You brought those people from Woodbury in. . . . We were enemies. You put away your gun. You did it so I could change. So I could be who I am now. What you did then, how you stopped fighting, it was right. It still is.”
“You can’t kill all of them, Dad,” Carl adds. “There’s got to be something after. For you. For them. There’s got to be something after.”
The Morgan plot comes to an end when Henry—Benjamin’s little brother—kills the captor before Morgan can. The parallel between his experience and Carl’s is clear, as is the message: unless everyone stops fighting soon, there won’t be anything left to fight for. Because what’s worth protecting about a world in which children feel they must commit murder?
Almost every moment of this series is steeped in gloom, and a blind fight for survival. Why do these characters even want to survive? What, beyond living to fight another day, is everyone actually fighting for? For too long, the show has opted to let those questions hang in the air. But with his dying breath, Carl reminds Rick that they actually have an answer: they’re fighting for a better world than this one. And that better world can’t happen unless all this indiscriminate slaughtering ends. Over time, the goal of defeating the Saviors has morphed into the intent to annihilate them completely. At Carl’s urging, it seems likely Rick will instead choose a new path—one that includes teaming up with Negan, which (comics spoilers!) does happen in The Walking Dead’s source material.
As of now, the surviving characters of The Walking Dead have two options before them: keep fighting, or think bigger-picture. That’s basically the decision the series must make as well—and with several planned seasons still ahead of it, a tonal shift will be necessary to keep the show from devolving. Things have been too dour for too long. Fans need moments of levity and triumph—like Michonne stealing a cat statue from a café, or Glenn and Maggie finally reuniting after weeks of trying to find each other—to make the more bitter parts of this reality seem worthwhile. It’s an encouraging sign that unlike Glenn and Abraham’s deaths, Carl’s actual demise took place off-camera: he sent Rick and Michonne away and shot himself inside a burned-down church. Unlike those graphic murders, or Beth’s heartbreaking last-minute death, Carl’s was not something to be reveled in, and it was not used to create suspense; fans knew unequivocally that he was going to die before they tuned in. Instead, the loss of Carl appears to be the start of something meaningful—both for the people he loves, and the series itself.
|The Walking Dead|
Posted: 4/11/2018 2:05:57 AM
|^ Not gonna read that post. Not gonna read that post. Not gonna read that post. Hehe. Till I resume watching what I have about a year or two more from now.|
|The Walking Dead|
Posted: 10/7/2018 10:37:07 PM
|Season 9 premiered tonight. |
I was apprehensive because Carl's gone and this is the last season for Rick and Maggie. Still it was better than I'd expected. Some things did strike me odd like why was everyone so nervous about walking on the glass floor, then willing to take that wagon down the stairs and onto it?
What did you think?
|The Walking Dead|
Posted: 10/8/2018 8:31:37 AM
|Happenin then shermans'? Now i must say yous lot have made some brilliant telly shows recently. Top notch must see tv.|
Although I've no watched The Walking Dead to be fair. A few of my mates like it though.
The top one being The Sopranos. It was shown in the prisons over here as well. A geezer i know was in jail at the time. He said the biggest cheer was when Ritchie Aprile got bumped off. Greenock jail erupted.
Then Game Of Thrones. My pal took me to Belfast last year and we visited some of the locations. Dark Hedges. The rope bridge. One of the ruined castles that got computer generated to make a full castle.
The boozer up from the rope bridge where the production crew base themselves. Even got a photie done on the iron throne (well hard plastic anyway.
The Wire. Fantastic telly as well. Top notch acting.
The SHIELD. That was boss as well.
Watched Sons Of Anarchy as well. Lots of dafties walking around Edinburgh dressed in merchandise.
Caught some of Mayans MC as well.
So any other shows in that vein to look out for?
As for our telly that you might like if you like the above.
Bodyguard it is the most watched telly show since Dowton Abbey. It starts on netflix this month over the pond.
Happy Valley. Both series were on netflix over the pond.
Three Girls. It was a short series made by the bbc. Based on the child exploitation scandals that were covered up by politicians, social services and the police for years.
Good well acted dramas.
So there's a heads up from me. I await reciprocation.
Toodle pip from a rainy Edinburgh.
|The Walking Dead|
Posted: 10/8/2018 6:15:49 PM
|Vlad, you should be able to catch the first 8 seasons of The Walking Dead on Netflix. The first 5 seasons were, in my opinion, the best with session 6 straying with silly soap opera gimmicks. 7 was just ok, but 8 was disappointing. There's a new show runner so I'm giving her a chance.|
I love shows from the UK. Big Red Dwarf fan here. Also loved Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley and Death in Paradise. My list goes on. I'll keep my eye open for Bodyguard and Three Girls.
You might enjoy Longmire, Designated Survivor, The Blacklist, The 100 and, yes, even Supernatural. This the short list.
Happy viewing from rainy Everett.
|The Walking Dead|
Posted: 10/9/2018 3:55:05 AM
|"Vlad, you should be able to catch the first 8 seasons of The Walking Dead on Netflix. The first 5 seasons were, in my opinion, the best with session 6 straying with silly soap opera gimmicks. 7 was just ok, but 8 was disappointing. There's a new show runner so I'm giving her a chance."|
Thank you for the heads up. Unfortunately netflix over here does not have as many show options as over the pond...........
"What’s found in the UK library is not available in the US library and vice versa."
But some kind folks who are citizen friendly have what are known over here as 'dodgy boxes' where you can have 3,126 tv stations from around the world.
I'm no a big zombie fan. It's entertaining enough watching the zombies shuffle up to the chemist every morning for their methadone.
I started to watch the blacklist and i quite enjoyed the first series of the following.
Homeland was good to start with then went a bit barking.
Prison break i just thought was ridiculous. How many bloody jails can you get banged up in!!!!!!!!!
I loved the sherman telly show Tour Of Duty. Me and my missus used to stay up to watch it as it was on quite late.
I also enjoyed the simpsons and south park.
But your best ever comedy show was Married With Children. It had a cult following over here.
"You might enjoy Longmire, Designated Survivor, The Blacklist, The 100 and, yes, even Supernatural. This the short list."
I will read up on them first and watch a couple of episodes and see how they progress.
As for comedy over here have you heard of Only Fools And Horses? Probably the uk's all time favourite (up there with Fawlty Towers, Rising Damp and Steptoe And Son).
Greetings from a sunny, windy, rainy Edinburgh today
|The Walking Dead|
Posted: 10/9/2018 10:02:55 AM
|I have heard that Netflix is different in other countries. Shame. Fortunately I also have Prime. That's where I caught (and binged) Downton Abbey. |
To tell the truth I'm not a zombie fan. TWD is more about people. I found it by accident while channel surfing when they were running a marathon during the first season. I couldn't believe I watched it and got hooked. I've repeatedly laughed at myself.
I'm one that re-watches what I love. One of my favorite US comedies is 3rd Rock from the Sun. It's not on Netflix anymore. Hopefully they bring it back one day. My son recommends Parks and Recreation (he's a bigger fan of Fawlty Towers than I am). It's finally on my waitlist.
I will keep my eye out for Only Fools And Horses and Steptoe and Son. What did you think of Moone Boy?
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Posted: 10/10/2018 12:16:29 PM
|I also watch Fear The Walking Dead.|
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