‘The Walking Dead’ Season 8 Mid-Season Finale Review: How It’s Gotta Be

I’ve been in firm denial that Carl Grimes has bit the big one in The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale titled “How It’s Gotta Be.” He’s an OG cast member who ends up taking over for his father in the comics and his death feels unreal and kind of unfair.

Like Negan said, this life ain’t fair. The shit they do isn’t fair. It’s just the world they live in now. But why did Carl Grimes have to die like this? By a random walker bite? After everything he’s been through, the hardships he’s faced, and what he means to The Walking Dead family in general (a symbol of hope, understanding, and trying to do better) he was killed off by a simple bite.

In a way it makes sense because it’s the zombie apocalypse and we’ve known since day one that a simple zombie bite can ruin all. Still doesn’t stop the hurt we feel and the dissatisfaction that his end should’ve been as epic as his character was. Don’t get me wrong, before he got bit he was tearing it up and being all sorts of epic with his speech to Negan and the smoke bombs he was throwing about Alexandria.

That was badass. Randomly finding out that he got bit off screen after everything he’s accomplished, isn’t badass. It’s lazy.

The Walking Dead reminded us about the real boogie man at the end of the world in “How It’s Gotta Be” but left us feeling dissatisfied and like they didn’t put much thought into Carl’s actual death besides as a means to shock us, shock Rick & Michonne, and to set the stage for Rick to want to think more about a future where he doesn’t have to kill Negan and all his Saviors.

If Batman has taught me anything, the bad guys always come back. They always cause trouble, they always destroy what you love, and they usually don’t change their colors. Even Dwight, who is helping Daryl & Co. right now, is still the same selfish man. He switched sides to survive and kill Negan. Nothing more, nothing less. And if the right opportunity came around he’d betray Rick just like Jadis did.

In a world like this you can’t just let you enemies live and act like everything that led you here didn’t happen. Glenn and Abraham were violently killed by Negan and there’s no way I can let that stand or believe that Rick will let that stand just because Carl died a “martyrs” death. It’s unbelievable and another person that’s kicked the bucket to get Rick out of a rut.

Carl’s sorry excuse of a death doesn’t negate the great work this actor has done or the fact that we have loved watching him grow over 8 seasons. It’s crazy to think that the actor started on the show when he was 11 and now he’s on his way to college. His character has suffered the loss of his world, his mother, sexual assault, PTSD, getting shot twice, and a permanent physical disability.

He’s been a survivor who has journeyed through this hell hole of an apocalypse and still come out with hope in his heart. And maybe that’s where the problem lies, hope. We all know that as soon as a character shifts over and starts talking about hope and the state of their world, that they’re going to die. Hope, you evil bastard, is a way of closing things off and will now be looked at (by me) with a wary eye when it comes creeping along or spoken by any of my favs. Hope. (This is the part where you imagine me scoffing and crossing my arms like a grumpy child because hope is a beautiful thing and Carl was a lovely addition to our cast who will stop Rick from spiraling into a “kill everyone” spree.)

Carl Grimes, Chandler Riggs, shall be missed. And until The Walking Dead returns next year I’m going to be in firm denial that he’s dead and that this will break Rick and Michonne’s heart, because this is basically her son now too. Maybe he’s the first of the humans to be immune from the bite? Right? RIGHT?!

P.S. Here’s a little something to hit you in the feels. Carl didn’t beat this world. But he didn’t let it spoil him.


The Walking Dead returns February 25, 2018 at 9/8c on AMC.

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