Fans of The Walking Dead were rocked by a death on the show in this year’s midseason finale. If you haven’t watched it yet, turn back now, because there are MASSIVE spoilers ahead.
The Walking Dead fandom is used to characters dying. We’ve bid farewell to Rick’s own wife and his best friend, to fan favorites like Glenn and characters just as they come into their own (read: Beth and Sasha). The list goes on and on. Death is a part of the show, as bleak as that sounds.
But for the most part, the deaths are kind of expected. Sure, the show has deviated from the original Robert Kirkman comics in places (for instance, Andrea is still alive and with Rick in the comics, and Abraham wasn’t killed by Negan before Glenn). But by and large, fans of the comics know what’s coming.
However, the Walking Dead Season 8 midseason finale featured a death that massively deviated from the comics.
In the episode, Rick’s son Carl reveals a walker bite on his torso (i.e. not something that can be amputated like Hershel’s leg). So while he didn’t actually die in the episode, he is going to die in the midseason premiere on February 25th.
“I was desperately unhappy about that [Carl’s death],” Reedus told Entertainment Weekly. I’ve seen Chandler grow up from a little boy. I’ve known that kid so long, and it always hurts when you lose a family member on the show. Chandler is definitely a family member to me. I was not happy about it. I always thought Chandler would be the last man standing, to be honest.”
Reedus isn’t the only one to think Carl would be one of the sole survivors of the group.
Carl was often painted as the physical embodiment of hope for a future brighter than the world Rick’s group lives through on the show. Rick and his group hunt, travel, fight, and kill to find a place to build a home so Carl and others can grow up and make the world a good place to live again. Though there are other children on the show (like Carl’s own younger sister, Judith, for one), Carl has always been a very visible part of the group, working right alongside his father and found family to help build a better future, making this loss even more difficult.
With the loss of the group’s moral compass (Glenn) back in Season 7, and now the group’s physical representation of hope, we’re not sure what the future holds for our survivors. But we’d be lying if we said we weren’t low-key hoping for some sort of medical miracle to keep Carl and Chandler Riggs on the show a bit longer. For now, we’re just going to have tissues ready for that inevitable death.