Airing Mondays at 9pm in the UK on FOX
Writers: Channing Powell and Matthew Negrete
Director: Greg Nicotero
Essential Plot Points:
- Carl (Chandler Riggs) has rescued everyone from the Saviours, but he’s been hiding a walker bite and is dying.
- As Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) plans to transport King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) to Negan’s Sanctuary, Carol and Morgan attempt a rescue.
Crack open a fresh pack of tissues, as you’re going to need them. Because if this was an episode of Friends, it’d be called The One Where Carl Dies.
This is Carl’s episode, for obvious reasons, and is a fitting send-off that captures the essence of the character and his journey. We’ve been seeing some flash forwards of Rick looking pretty dazed over the course of this season, and the death of his son is likely to do that to a person, even in this messed-up post-apocalypse.
However, the key reveal here is that those rose-tinted, sepia-like flash forwards to a better, happier life in what appears to be a post-Negan world are Carl’s visions of what might have been had he survived. Whether they’ll come to pass, and whether Rick will heed Carl’s call to put away his gun as he did with the remnants of the Governor’s army following that battle, are still not a sure-fire bet.
Elsewhere, Carol and Morgan go a bit Die Hard, as they stalk the Kingdom in search of King Ezekiel. Morgan’s a particularly frustrating character who refuses to be pinned down. Is he killer Morgan, happy to wipe out entire squads of Negan’s troops to help win the war, as he seems in half this episode? Or is he pacifist Morgan, for some reason unable to pull the trigger on his sniper rifle even as he watches Eugene’s escape plan being put into action. Seriously, dude, you had one job! Although his no guts, no glory attack move while fighting the guy on the stage deserves some props.
Even as they’re planning King Ezekiel’s rescue, the ruler himself is working on Gavin to try and make him see the error of his ways and that it’s still not too late to walk away from Negan. Again, this ties into the message that Carl tries to spread before his death – there’ll be a world after this, and the Saviours don’t all need to die if they’re willing to be a part of it.
A final image of rick under a tree, lost and bewildered, almost as if he dreamed everything we’ve just seen, is a worrying one. Almost as worrying as seeing a happy, smiley Negan greet Judith in a future world that’s surely too nuts to exist.
- Ezekiel’s pleas to Gavin are a nice symmetry with Carl’s sentiments, as is Gavin’s death at the hands of a child, which echoes the choices Carl had to make himself as a kid growing up in this world.
- The literal passing of Rick’s hat from Carl to his (half) sister Judith. We think we have something in our eye!
- For all the talk of Eugene’s brilliant plan, it looked a little simplistic, and we were expecting something much more involved.
- Negan’s inclusion in the bright new world. As much as we applaud Carl’s ability to see the good in everyone, we’re not sure you let a mass murderer work the cabbage garden when you’ve defeated him in battle.
Darryl, taking his final leave of Carl:
“These people, you saved them all. It’s all you, man.”
Review by Matt Chapman