I’m gonna be real with you. I was ready to hate this episode. For months I had been looking down at it this mid-season premiere with disdain, skepticism, and doubt. There was no way The Walking Dead could take away Carl Grimes and leave me feeling like I still want to watch the show.
It was inconceivable!
Yet here I am, about to hit play again on the mid-season premiere where we see the kid turned man, that has been there since day one, pass and never come back. Because “Honor” wasn’t a disappointment. It was the kind of goodbye you wish your character would have after years of fighting, growing, and learning in a world half destroyed.
That’s why this episode of The Walking Dead might be my favorite of them all.
In some respects it reminded me of the episode of Buffy where her mom died titled, “The Body.” That episode pulled back from the supernatural and left us with a family grieving the loss of someone they loved because of something they couldn’t combat with a stake or a spell. For The Walking Dead, that thing that they couldn’t combat against was a walker bite.
Too long we have been focused on the people still alive, the people our survivors are fighting against and those who destroyed Alexandria. This simple fucking bite, that destroyed a young man’s life, was a reminder to us and those on screen that the walkers are the things that destroyed the world. They are the pain, they are the destruction, and we don’t need to be like them to survive.
We can be better.
We can try again.
We can be like Carl and grow into someone who recognizes that change is possible and that we can use the time we have here on Earth to do some good for a change. We can give others a chance as a means of not just making it through to the next day but because we want to live. That’s what Carl was asking every single person in his family to do once he was gone and why he spent his last days helping people instead of collapsing upon himself and not fighting anymore.
Carl lived. He didn’t let this world destroy him, no matter how much he stumbled along the way, or how hard/lonely/confusing shit got along the way. He lived for himself, for his mom, for his dad, for Michonne, and for every single person he connected with; even the young man that he killed in the forest, Carl lived for him. And yes, he’s gone now. He won’t physically there to gift us with a peek of his signature long locks, eye patch, and Sheriff’s hat. But that doesn’t mean that who he is and what he’s done along the way won’t stay with the people he loved.
And because of that I think that Lori was right. He did what was right. He didn’t let it spoil him.
Carl Grimes beat this world.
EVERY. SINGLE. GOODBYE. BETWEEN. CARL. AND. HIS. FAMILY. He needed to make sure that they didn’t carry this inside of them, that they kept changing, that they survived when he was gone. Let’s honor Carl by doing just that.
Since I don’t want to devastate you all over again let’s just look at this gif of Carl w/ Judith. This, right here, was his happy place. With family.
Check out the trailer for The Walking Dead‘s ‘The Lost and the Plunderers”:
Also check out this sneak peek:
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.