This is Carl...
Firstly I have to start with saying there is a spoiler in this review, most already know about the mid season shocker but if you don’t you have been warned.
Wow, that’s all I can say. A major depart from the graphic novels happened last night in what was a closely guarded mid season finale. We find out that Carl got a little ribcage nibbling so he steps up, defends Alexandria with his life and saves the day. What at first seems really heroic is diluted a little when we realise he was going to die all along. If you rewatch the episode you can see little cookies.
(images courtesy of AMC, first and last episode of Carl Grimes)
During the eight and a half years that Chandler Riggs has graced the screen his character is one that has traveled the gambit, a quiet shy boy, brought out of his shell, after the death of his mother. Hershall losing his head and months on the road when the jail is lost hardens him to the reality of the World he lives in. He is still a young boy coming to terms with the ending of the world and learning how to survive. At the start of this episode he reminds Rick that they can’t kill all the Saviours and that not all of them are bad. As soon as a character becomes a beacon of hope and the moral compass of the series you can tell they are going to die. One of my fave characters was Dale...and look how that turned out.
I’ve religiously watched and rewatched every episode of the Walking Dead and read quite a few of the comics (although not nearly enough of them yet) but the writing has gone downhill the last couple of years. I think the killing-off of Carl is a last ditch attempt to salvage a dying brand. Actually, when you think of it a lot of post-apocalypse series fall in the same way. Once they learn how to live in the new World, there is the inevitable fighting over limited resources. The moral question of how far will they go do keep themselves and their family safe. When the main conflicts are resolved what next?
Well, we know that Rick has nobody left. Judith is not his, Carl and Lorie are gone. Will this send him over the edge or will he just hunker down? Michonne is the one to watch, she had turned into a passive character the last 10 episodes or so but with her latest hack and slash job is the old AND BETTER Michonne re-emerging. She has been Carl’s mother figure for years and even before Rick & her came together had forged a great relationship with Carl. Yes, Michonne is the one to watch for.
In saying all that, Carl isn’t finished, he is still alive and what will he do in episode 9, will he finally finish Neegan in a duel to the death with an agreed outcome that whatever happens peace will reign?
Unfortunately, most fans would agree the writing has let the series down in the last couple of years so something drastic is needed. With the actuality that Chandler Riggs is off to college the writers grabbed the opportunity and made something of it. Will it be enough to return to a more gritty interesting series, I doubt it although Season 9 has only recently been confirmed it will probably be another season of fighting and main characters dying. It’s hard to see how it should or will go. There will be a cross-over for Morgan between the Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead next year and that could be interesting. Maybe that’s the way to go, have a kind of mini reboot, you know when a series starts and an episode is devoted to introducing us to a character. Maybe do that, concentrate on some of the main characters and their new lives now. I actually like the sections in The Stand when they are discussing laws, morality, justice and rebuilding the community, getting the electricity back and all that. I would like to see a few episodes of the Walking Dead with the new community of Hilltop/Alexandria/The Kingdom coming together (maybe with some Saviours) and how they start rebuilding.
And this brings us nicely to Maggie. Now there’s a woman large and in charge. Her story is going to get very interesting, but it should have happened two seasons ago, too little too late probably, she should have stepped up when Glen had that lovely little party with Lucille but maybe now, AT LAST, Maggie will be master and commander of everything.
(images courtesy of AMC, the real people in charge now?)
Since the start of Season 7 (Glenn & Abraham’s date with Lucille) there have been 24 episodes of floundering. The Negan story arch has gone on about 25 episodes too long. Just move the frack on already.
We should exclude the whole of Season 7 from the canon of the series. I’m really torn with giving a rating for the first half of Season 8 but I’m going with a 7 out of 10. It’s just been too slow going anywhere, the flashback storytelling style has been really annoying and it should be Carl leading the new and improved Hilltoppers/Kingdomees & Alexandrians.