The mid-season break is over and we finally got to return to the world of The Walking Dead.
Now, if you aren’t up to date then we would suggest you click away now and read another article as the following contains spoilers galore.
The big questions after episode 8 were “What would happen to those hiding in the sewers at Alexandria”? And “How will Rick react to Carl’s walker bite”?
We would get the answer to both of these questions and the episode would also tie up a few loose ends with regards to some other characters.
The majority of the episode followed two main plots, Rick and the other survivors taking shelter in the sewers whilst saying their goodbyes to Carl and back at The Kingdom we saw Morgan and Carol fighting their way through gangs of Saviours to rescue King Ezekiel.
Carl is no more
So the main theme would, of course, be a long goodbye to Carl, something that most fans will have mixed emotions about.
Whilst he has been the anchor in the series that has given Rick his focus he’s also been seriously annoying at times and we think we’ve all wished for him to meet his end on more than one occasion.
That said, this was genuinely emotional farewell that was hard to watch in places. Seeing him say goodbye to Judith while telling her how sorry he was that he wouldn’t see her grow up was tear-jerking, to say the least.
It was also good to see his relationship with Michonne reach a genuine Step Mum and best friend level, something that the writers should have been working on a long time ago.
Throughout all of this Rick remained surprisingly stoic although we aren’t sure how he should have really reacted. Would it have worked better if he was a blubbering angry mess? Maybe.
It was still heart wrenching to see the two of them say goodbye and it was a good move to have Carl giving his dad advice at the end. Cat’s in the cradle indeed.
Daryl had a typically Daryl goodbye as he comforted Judith and gave him a nod. Siddiq gave a good speech, telling Carl he would show the others he was right to come for him and that he would live every day to do his memory proud.
We really like Siddiq and feel he’s going to play a pivotal role in the coming seasons, something tells us Rick may not feel the same for a while though as no doubt he’ll be blamed for Carl’s death.
Strangely a number of main Walking Dead characters didn’t say anything to Carl and just left as though they’d never met him. Now it’s hard to have everyone say their goodbyes without it getting clichéd and cheesy but having them just leave was equally as weird.
In the end, none of us were sure how they would finish him off, would they wait for him to turn and then have Rick or Michonne put a knife in his skull? Well, no not in the end. Carl stepped up and put a bullet in his own skull, proving how far he had come, this wasn’t the whining little boy that had annoyed us in previous seasons, this is the Carl we had all hoped to see all along.
All of this was done in the highest of quality and will rank among some of the finest Walking Dead writing, directing and acting we have seen yet, unfortunately so much of the potential emotion was lost thanks to two things that have become a staple of this show. Constant cutaways to something happening elsewhere and a return to last season’s bizarre “flash forward dreams”.
Let’s start with those flash-forwards shall we?
While last season it was all in Rick’s head, seeing a future Alexandria with everyone getting along and no more threats or violence, this time it was Carl who was having the visions. What’s unclear is whether these are visions of how Carl wants Rick to shape the future or just a way of Carl saying goodbye to some other characters who weren’t there, for example, Eugene and Negan both show up in these flash forwards.
Something else we can’t be sure of is whether the sequences were even in Carls’ head as the final one which included Negan ended with Rick looking shaken in present-day sat beneath a tree, so could it have been in his head all along?
Morgan, Carol and the King
At the end of Episode 8, Morgan was nowhere to be found and Ezekiel had sacrificed himself to the saviours to save Carol and the other residents of the Kingdom.
Morgan and Carol spend most of the episode taking out Saviours until they finally reach Ezekiel who is being held captive in his own theatre by Gavin, the worst name for an evil henchman ever. If nothing else this episode introduced us to the new and completely off the leash Morgan who it seems can’t stop killing once he starts. Carol and Ezekiel both tried to curb his bloodlust and almost succeed as he was about to kill Gavin, a character that Ezekiel seemed to think could have joined them.
This doesn’t really help though as despite Morgan standing down for a second Gavin is killed by that annoying kid that’s been hounding Carol for a few episodes. Once again Carol showed she’s practically in the SAS by this point as she cut down and sharp shot her way through Negan’s men with ease.
Yet again the writers appear to have done a complete switch on her character as she’s gone from timid abused wife to tough independent woman to hardened fighter to traumatised and frail spinster and back again to hard as nails fighter. Sometimes it does seem as though they don’t know how to continue with certain characters as they change face from episode to episode.
Something this episode failed to do was set up the rest of the season, it really was a standalone episode to say goodbye to Carl and rescue Ezekiel.
What will happen from here on in on The Walking Dead is a mystery but one thing we do know is that we are due some Negan action fairly soon.
What did you think of this week’s The Walking Dead? How will Rick react following the death of his son? Why not let us know in the comments.