Spoiler For The Mid-Season Premiere Below!!!
After the shocking reveal of Carl’s coming death in the mid-season finale fans knew to expect episode nine to hold some emotion, myself included knew it would, but I didn’t expect it to have such a lasting impact on me.
The episode begins showing us how the bite occurred and Carl’s actions leading up to the Saviours attack on Alexandria, and to no surprise features a song perfect for the story being told. ‘The Walking Dead’ is no stranger to using music in the show and they always nail it with song selection. I really felt playing Bright Eyes “At the Bottom of Everything” while watching Carl accept his fate has by-far been the shows greatest decision on music.
Chandler Riggs portrayal of a boy, not a man coming to terms with his enviable death provides us with one of the most emotionally powerful episodes we’ve seen yet. The expression on his face when he takes off his shirt and looks at his bite mark and the actions of taking a picture for his sister and writing letters for his loved ones hit it all home for me. On a show that shouldn’t be this deep it had me wondering if I myself could possibly act this way knowing my own death was coming. It made me realize how scared of death I really am, a zombie show shouldn’t be able to do this. But ‘The Walking Dead’ did.
The other focus of this episode was the rescue effort of Morgan and Carol for King Ezekiel. Morgan seems to be slipping to his old ways, killing ruthlessly and relentlessly. The pair made quick work of the Saviours occupying the town while Ezekiel and Gavin share constant moments where Gavin actually doesn’t want Ezekiel to die and never wanted it to come to this. Finally, when the pair reaches Ezekiel they make quick work the group with Morgan even ripping a mans guts out, maybe showing the show is ready to get gory again after the violence has been seemingly toned down since Negan’s murders of Glen and Abraham.
Morgan does begin to show a little humanity as it appears he doesn’t want to kill Gavin but claims he has to do this. That being said Gavin is murdered by Benjamin’s little brother Henry. I believe Morgan set this up for Henry as revenge for his brother, whom Morgan became fond of.
All this takes place as the group plans to leave the sanctuary to travel to the hilltop. We then get a very emotional goodbye between Carl and Judith where he passes down Rick’s cowboy hat to her. Daryl then gives his goodbye by really just trying to make Carl feel proud for saving these people. Shadik gives the most emotional goodbye to Carl outside of his family (I’m including Michone as his family) which is a bit of a waste. Not one main character acknowledges Carl other than Daryl, who like I said, gives a lacklustre goodbye. They could have built the moment more I feel, as Daryl has known Carl since the start.
After everyone has left Rick and Michone bring Carl to the church where they would say their goodbyes. Carl talks about the need for this war to end and how killing became so easy in the world and how that needed to change. He mentioned when he killed the kid outside the prison and it was easy to do that and he felt remorseful. He told Rick his vision of the world. We had already seen some of it as we assumed it was a time jump or even just Rick’s dream. Carl believed this could end and that Rick couldn’t kill them all there had to be something after the war was over.
Finally, Carl grabs his gun saying if he can still do it he has to kill himself. The tears then begin to flow as Carl tells the two he loves them and Rick promises Carl he’ll make it happen. We then cut two the pair sitting outside the church, we hear a gunshot, the two flinch and you can see the pain and sadness they experience. There have been some emotional deaths on the show, and we didn’t even see Carl’s but I believe it was by far the most devastating death on the show.
We get the final shot of Carl’s vision after. Judith walks to a man gardening only for it to be revealed as Negan himself.An impactful moment as it shows Carl believed even Negan shouldn’t be killed. We end on Rick sitting under a tree looking like hell in the same spot we’ve heard the line “my mercy prevailed over my wrath.” Assuming that this is the end of the war the show should follow the comics and Rick will fulfil his promise to Carl.
I feel this episode shouldn’t have been our mid-season premiere. It felt more like an episode that should have been towards the end of the season and provided more time for Carl. It really was the best part of the episode was Chandler Riggs performance and the subplot of King Ezekiel felt like it dragged the emotional impact of the episode down. Overall this episode definitely will not be forgotten for a long time. Not one person could have seen this death coming and the loss of Carl will impact the show forever.
let us know your thoughts on the episode by tweeting us at @SuperBroMovies. Come back each week after the show for our review.