Since the heartbreaking mid season premiere featuring the death of the beloved Carl Grimes, the season has already started to feel less and less like The Walking Dead. Many fans have stopped watching. I, however, am one of the few who will stay and bear with it until the end..even if it kills me.
The tenth episode of season eight was arguably one of the more eventful episodes, a step up from the hardly eventful midseason premiere, leading up to a very heated debate across social media platforms- who is the bad guy at the end of this episode?
But first, a recap. We see an altercation arise between Simon and Jadis, which soon leaves Jadis as the last one standing in the pile of trash.
Enid and Aaron get captured by Oceanside, who I had forgotten even had a part in this story. At this point, I can’t see where their story will go with the group. I find it hard to imagine them in warfare and as if feels like the war is dying down and coming to a close by the season finale, I can’t be bothered to care about them. They seem out of place, and as much as I love the creative liberties they take in the show, they really have no place in this war. There were already too many characters, and adding another group really draws attention away from the real issue at hand by the name of Negan.I will say it wasn’t all bad, however, as they only played a very slim part in the episode.
The more exciting and plot based part came in very sparse moments which referenced the letters Carl had handwritten. (seeing references back to him still makes the show feel so empty.)
We see Michonne and Rick driving away from a slow burning Alexandria, and she is holding the letters in her hand. Flipping through them, it is revealed that Carl also wrote a letter to Negan, which Rick refuses to read in that moment. I found this a very sweet, yet, insufficient replacement for their comic counterparts’ storyline. I liked it, but I would have preferred real interaction rather than from beyond the grave, but I digress.
Eventually, between all the action that are cutscenes involving Enid and Aaron and the saviors, Rick does read the letter, but the audience does not get a good look. Rick calls Negan on his radio, and this is where it really started to get nasty.
Rick tells Negan that Carl had written a letter, detailing that his dying wish was for a future of peace between Negan and Rick. After, he tells Negan that Carl is dead, and the reaction Negan has may come as a shock to non comic readers. Negan is notably hurt, disappointed, and upset by his death, going as far as to question what had happened. He makes it a point to specifically asked if it was his fault (or rather his team, but he had given the orders after all) and specified grenades as being a probably cause, but Rick stated a clear and firm no. Rick then tells Negan that he had died trying to help someone and got bit. So clearly Rick knows it wasn’t Negan’s doing.
Negan responds with total remorse.
Shit...I um...I am sorry. You know I wanted him to be part of things. I had plans. THat kid, that kid was the future.
To which Rick responds angrily that the only future is one where Negan is dead. Negan asks Rick why he’s fighting, and tells him “Carl is dead because of you.” Which… can you blame him?
I see a lot of discourse about whether Rick was in the wrong or Negan, and truth be told…
Rick. You are so wrong for this.
I’m sorry, but Rick pushed Negan. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, he did not see his reaction and thus could not see how sincere he was in his apology, but even so it was evident in his done how much he cared about Carl. Negan saw something in Carl the moment he lay eyes on him, and to hear about his death shocked him because Negan thought he could survive. He was always impressed by how much a kid could withstand ever since the moment he had met him, even as he shot up the Sanctuary compounds.
But then you have Rick, who pushed that last button by stating, after telling Negan that Carl wanted peace, that he was going to kill him. I’m sure somewhere in Negan’s mind that was the last straw. How can a father know his son wants a positive and peaceful future and then blatantly state that the only future is one with death? In a sense, Negan was right. In that moment, Rick did not care about Carl or his wishes. Carl wanted to help and Rick was being selfish, and that was the one flaw in the entire plan. The one hole that could have prevented things.
That being said, Negan was also in the wrong. I will also give him the benefit of the doubt and say he did not know how Carl died exactly, all Rick said was he was trying to help- this could have been in war or not. So, Negan assumed it was war, and if in his mind he believed Rick caused the war, that would mean that Rick indirectly caused Carl’s death.
They both crossed lines, but in the end I’m siding with Negan.
Rick, your son wanted peace. He wanted a future where things weren’t full of war and death and bloodshed, and people were helping each other. He dreamt of it, and you are blatantly going out of your way to avoid it because you are too high on your horse.
Negan is right. Rick, you are acting right selfish.
I'm interested in seeing how this pans out, even if I have a good feeling I know where it will lead. While I still disagree with the idea of killing off Carl, it's clear that they have some sort of idea of where it's going and I will be watching because it is refreshing, not because I'm a fan. A pass time is a pass time, no matter how difficult.