THE WALKING DEAD is back to finish off this eighth season of unbridled mediocrity that the soon to be departed showrunner Scott Gimple vomited out for an unsuspecting TV audience. When last we left our group of zombie apocalypse survivors things had really gotten awful: their homes have been destroyed, The Saviors are on the attack and Carl revealed that he had been bitten by a walker. Can things possibly get any worse? My guess is yes.
So Carl’s dying. Rick and Michonne are gutted, the rest of the Alexandria crew is despondent and they are currently hiding in a sewer to keep Negan and The Saviors from killing them all. This portion of the show is such an exercise in drudgery. If you are like me and think the idea of killing off Carl is the dumbest thing that anyone involved with THE WALKING DEAD could ever come up with then all of this is torture. Watching a character you like and who should bethe center of this show’s universe slowly succumbing to the zombie virus as he says his goodbyes to family and friends is not fun. And if this was a well thought out character death that had potential to kickstart tons of meaty future storylines then I would be cool with it but everything about the decision to kill Carl smacks of a moderately talented showrunner watching the show he is in charge of slowly dying the death of a thousand cuts and deciding that he needs to do something extra shocking to try and stop the bleeding of viewers, the barbs of critics and the grumbling of fans. Nothing about Carl’s death storyline is well done. The fact that Carl got bit several episodes ago in the most hacky way possible doesn’t help things either. Carl is a badass so having Carl get bit while saving the new character of Siddiq from a handful of shambling zombies flies in the face of the total badass that Carl has been since before his growth spurt. If Carl was going to be taken out then it should have been in a blaze of glory saving the day and killing the bad guys. Being bitten by the equivalent of a Day Player Zombie while saving a new character who I don’t give a damn about is not a good look and just proves what a bum Scott Gimple is as a showrunner.
The one scene that really grinded my gears during Carl’s dying was when he and Michonne were bonding over their special relationship and declaring they were one anothers “best friend”. Now once upon a time I would have called Carl and Michonne besties. The bond between Carl and Michonne was one of my favorite relationships on the show for a while. But that relationship really has not gotten much screen time in years. Sure, Carl and Michonne had formed a little blended family with Rick and Judith but we were not given very many Carl and Michonne scenes and when those two did have scenes there was none of the old connection that they had developed with one another. Both characters bond with Rick was well defined and had been shown in detail on the show but over time the Carl/Michonne relationship lost a bit of it’s luster and had become just about the same as the relationship that most of the group have with one another and not all that special. Which is sad because if the show hadn’t dropped the ball with Carl and Michonne then these scenes would have be really heartbreaking but instead I just had the gas face during them because none of what was said was actually what we had been shown on the the screen.