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As for Carl's death, well, they certainly dragged it out with one poignant sequence after another: Carl penning good-bye letters to family and friends ...
One Twitter user said: "Today's new episode of The Walking Dead got me so f***** up and emotional".
When Rick returned and saw Carl reveal the bandage that covered his bite mark, it was the most distraught we'd seen of him since his first meeting with Negan.
As for his evolution, Santiago sees Pablo as going from a pushover in the first season to someone very important and potentially very powerful in the third season. And two others from seasons two and three. There has to be something after, for Rick, and for The Saviors, and as Carl notes, he can't kill them all.
Despite everything happening, Carl saying goodbye to Judith is hands down the most heartbreaking moment of the episode. In the show, Rick suffers delusions in the wake of Lori's death-a death "Honor" is keen to bring up again. Now we know why, but has that been the case since the season began? They showed Rick as an older manwith Michonne and his sister, and Alexandria rebuilt. It's during one of these goodbyes that Carl shares with Rick and Michonne an interesting dream he's been having. The end is nigh.
Going into Sunday's Walking Dead premiere, Carl's demise was both certain and pivotal-a major moment of transition in the series, and a huge digression from the comics.
What did you think of Carl's final moments?
What was your last day on set like? It's probably the happiest montage to ever hit this show, even if it is bittersweet. Initially, Morgan's brief tangle with the Saviors fleeing the Sanctuary was kinetic and exciting, redolent of the vérité shaky-cam of Children of Men.
Back in the sewers with the Alexandrians, Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) are trying to grapple with seeing Carl in his condition, while they all wait out the attack above from the Saviors, so they can escape to the Hilltop. This world needs hope. This is exactly the Carl we love and exactly what we would expect from him. Gavin does get away, though, so Morgan goes after him. Guerira does a creditable job as Michonne tries to remain stoic and strong for Rick while still betraying her inner sadness, and looking upset and distracted is Andrew Lincoln's stock in trade these days. It's nearly a question of which Morgan you'll get on any given Sunday. But then, the flashback was done, and we were back in the tunnels beneath Alexandria while the Saviors firebombed the town above. This theory supposes this repeated vision may be telling us Judith and even Michonne, are not long for this world. Carl is definitely going out a hero in many ways, with rescuing Siddiq [who is a doctor] too. Lizzie greets Tyreese and Carol with a smile and tells them she was about to kill Judith next. Wow. Hard to say, but I'm predicting no. He was giving it up and I just - I shot him.
CR: Well they were originally kind of Carl's ideal future of what life could be like, but with the end of the episode and everything with Rick with the blood all over him, I mean I don't really know.
Will you continue to watch the show? . So there you go. "And to what I wound up". It's all been Carl's fever dream. Nice try TWD showrunners!
There was then one final cryptic flash-forward that showed Negan happily living alongside Rick and the rest of the Alexandrians, perhaps hinting at better times to come.