Yes ladies and gentlemen, The Walking Dead is back. (I know. I almost forgot about it, too).
When we left the show back in 2017 (“How It’s Gotta Be”), Carl had been bitten by a zombie in the middle of his torso. Barring any magical dumpsters appearing for him to crawl under, it looks like Rick’s one-eyed son might actually be heading to the the big barber shop in the sky.
Young Man’s Dreams
Remember all those weird visions we thought Rick was having? Well we get to flash back/forward to those, which are rudely interrupted by present day Rick and Michonne digging Carl’s grave. We also get a flashback of Carl being bitten when he saved Siddiq.
From there, we’re treated to more flashbacks, this time of Carl’s amazing main character antibodies fighting the zombie virus well enough for him to do all types of “I’m dying soon” sentimental stuff like write notes to everyone he loves and eat chocolate.
There was one admittedly nice moment where he takes a picture with Judith and puts their handprints on the porch. Otherwise, however, it made me wonder if the mass of people on social media crying over Carl’s death were watching the same show I was.
A Hero is Born
As Carl is showing off his new bite mark to Rick and Michonne, Carol is leading the displaced residents from the Kingdom to safety. After revealing that she’s going to go back to rescue Ezekiel, Henry (Bo Staff Jr.) asks to go with her. Carol predictably says no. Henry predictably follows her anyway.
Speaking of Ezekiel, Gavin is super angry that he has to kill him because he thinks Ezekiel is kind of swell guy. Ezekiel spouts back some asinine nonsense in his dinner theater voice, so you can probably guess how that’s going to play out.
Back underground, Siddiq offers valuable to waste medicine on helping Carl feel better. Rick says he realizes Carl saved Siddiq because he was a doctor or something. Carl says he did it because it was the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, Michonne angrily asks Dwight to tell The Saviors to stop fire bombing their homes. Dwight (understandably) says he can’t.
Above ground, Carol and Morgan meet up and start kicking names and taking ass. When Gavin tells his guards to radio in and they don’t, he realizes his goose is cooked and evacuates everyone (including Ezekiel) into the auditorium.
After another Old Man Rick vision, Michonne decides it would be a good idea to get Carl up to the Hilltop…which would TOTALLY be done for any character suffering near death. This gives us an opportunity for Carl to say a bunch of overwrought goodbyes and give Judith his hat (which was admittedly pretty cute).
They get Carl up the the Hilltop. Carl makes some more speeches about what’s important in life. Blah, blah, blah…
The real action starts back in the auditorium. Michonne and Morgan burst in like an R-rated version of the A-Team and start busting caps in everybody. One unlucky guy decides to try and tackle Morgan. Morgan responds by going full-on beast mode and ripping out the dude’s intestines (!).
Despite a gunshot wound to the leg, Gavin manages to run away. Morgan follows him. Just as he’s about to kill him, Carol starts saying a bunch of BS about how we don’t have to kill (nevermind the fact they just mowed down a crapload of Saviors literally five minutes beforehand). Morgan says he has to, but is spared having to do the job when little Henry stabs Gavin through the neck with his bo staff–which was not only all types of awesome, but spared us having to hear any more of that “We can be better people!” crap that cycles through this show every 4-6 episodes.
Weird, Stupid, or Both
generic emotional goodbyes, Carl asks to be left alone to put a bullet in his own head. We get one more vision of the future, this time featuring Negan being a friend to Judith and working in a garden.
Yeah, I don’t get it either.
Looks, I’m not heartless or unemotional. Show me the last five minutes of Homeward Bound and I’m liable to straight up ugly cry.
But aside from the fact that Carl operated at full capacity a RIDICULOUSLY long time after getting bitten, every goodbye moment felt like a better acted scene from a standard Hallmark movie. Add in the ridiculous future visions (including that really dumb one with Negan) and I’m more than ready to move on.
Even the episode’s good part (Morgan going full on badass) was nearly ruined by yet another “WE DON’T KILL” moment before Henry stepped up and did what needed to be done.
I’m not sure where the show goes from here, but I have a bad feeling that its future isn’t nearly as rosy as Carl’s death fever dreams.