With a month to go until The Walking Dead returns for the second half of season 8, many fans appear to be in the “bargaining” stage of grief, where they refuse to accept the most recent pending death on the show.
That would of course be Carl Grimes, who was revealed to be bitten in the abdomen in the midseason finale, meaning there’s no saving him. The stated plan is that Carl has one more episode left in him, but he’s a goner for certain.
“But what if it’s all big hoax????”
That’s the question I’m hearing from an optimistic portion of the Walking Dead community. After all, The Walking Dead did the same thing with Glenn’s dumpster death, right? So couldn’t they be doing that here as well?
No. I’m sorry, but no. And I think I can literally count down the reasons that there’s no way that this is happening:
7. None of the story explanations make sense. So far I’ve heard that:
– Carl was bitten through his shirt (pretty sure a zombie can do that but if he tore a chunk out of you, it still counts).
– Carl was bitten by a Whisperer (a human wearing a Walker skin) but Whisperers don’t behave like that in the comics at all and Carl is showing bite symptoms.
– Carl is about to be saved by magical people in that helicopter who have a cure (this would effectively end the entire series and there’s no way this is happening).
– But Glenn’s dumpster! (I would hope that The Walking Dead learned its lesson about fake-outs after fans tore them apart for that move).
6. Chandler Riggs has not been seen on set since shooting began. Despite filming one last episode, with the amount of spoiler-hounds around The Walking Dead we would have heard something about his return by now if that was happening. But alas, nothing at all. In fact, Chandler Riggs personally reached out to spoiler sites to ensure they didn’t spoil his death. I doubt he would have bothered to do that if the secret plan was to actually keep him alive.
5. Both showrunner Scott Gimple and series creator Robert Kirkman have both spoken about Carl’s death, with Gimple saying it was “very important” and Kirkman saying that Gimple approached him with the idea which seemed radical, but he believed in where Gimple was taking the story.
4. Cast members Andrew Lincoln and Norman Reedus among other have also been interviewed about Carl’s death, with Lincoln talking about how important it is for Rick and the rest of the series going forward, while Reedus has openly questioned the decision to kill Carl, implying that the show needs to be careful with how it treats its oldest cast members, saying the decision to kill Carl made him profoundly sad. We really saw nothing like any of these interviews when Glenn was fake-killed previously.
3. We have seen previews for the second half of this season that have Rick and Michonne surveying a grave that almost certainly has to be Carl’s. We also saw flash-forwards of a red-eyed Rick mourning at a grave in the season premiere, and while some assumed it could be Judith who dies, clearly, it’s Carl.
2. Chandler Riggs has cut his hair, something The Walking Dead has refused to let him do for years now, and has moved on to other projects, namely making music which seems to be one of his primary interests.
1. Both Chandler Riggs and his family have publicly commented on his death, with Riggs coming across as especially sad and surprised about it all:
“I was planning on going to college until I found out. I found out when I was doing rehearsals for episode six back in June. It was quite the shocker for me, Andy and everyone because I don’t think anyone saw it coming. It’s definitely not a bad thing because it has been awesome being on the show, but now I get to go and do a lot of other stuff that I haven’t gotten to do before. Scott wanted to meet in person because it was such a big deal. We had just finished rehearsing for a scene in episode six and he wanted to meet with me and my mom and dad and talk about what’s going to happen.”
Later, his father posted a now-deleted Facebook rant about the situation that attracted a lot of attention:
“Watching Gimple fire my son 2 weeks before his 18th birthday after telling him they wanted him for the next 3 years was disappointing,” wrote William Riggs. “I never trusted Gimple or AMC but Chandler did. I know how much it hurt him.”
These are….not the kinds of things you say publicly when Carl is going to end up surviving. So through all this, either this is the most elaborate fake death cover-up ever both in and outside of the show, or…Carl is actually going to die.
Sorry folks, he’s gone, and no matter how dumb a decision this may have been, wishful thinking won’t change that.
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