As a loyal television watcher, there are some shows that I cannot live without and others that I find myself watching out of responsibility, becoming more and more like a chore, which isn’t a good sign, right? There are shows that I have to watch as soon as they air because I don’t want anyone to spoil what happened and there are others that I can wait a few days to catch up on via my DVR. However, there are some I have invested quite a bit of time in since the beginning of the series, which just aren’t hooking me in the same way anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I have watched The Walking Dead since the very beginning and would even say I considered it to be one of my absolute favorite shows in the earlier seasons. However, the show has lost that edge for me that it initially had, reserving its shocking over-the-top moments for mid-season and season finales only. However, this sometimes becomes a struggle getting through the fluff episodes in between just to see which main character will not make it through the night. Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not watched the mid-season finale, which aired on Sunday, 12/10/17.
While I am not going to rank my top moments of the mid-season finale, I find it important to talk about Carl. If you type in “Carl” online, you will find hundreds and hundreds of reviews and comments about what was revealed on the mid-season finale. As a loyal fan to Rick, I have to admit that he just isn’t doing it for me anymore. I know he’s been through a lot but it seems like he is always crying or whining about something out of his control. Carl was outshining him, outsmarting the saviors, and making the right decisions to protect the people around him. Last season, the introduction of the enemy, Negan, portrayed by the brilliant Jeffrey Dean Morgan sparked some much needed life into the show, killing off main characters last year in a horrific and violent way. But can one villain carry a show? Sure, the show is about the surviving the undead, but there is not much happening in the episodes throughout the season. For example, Rick and the others have declared war on the saviors. When I first learned that this season would focus completely on the war, I was thrilled. I thought I would get the action and fast pace that I desperately missed from the earlier seasons. However, we didn’t lose any main characters in all of these episodes leading up to the mid-season finale. Rick has been off recruiting others and I sometimes forget where he is in the episodes. That being said, characters like Carl and Maggie have stepped up, proving that a pregnant woman and a boy can be more of a threat than a former police officer.
So why kill off Carl then? In the comic series, the future of all is left in the hands of Carl and now we know that the show is going in a different direction. But what direction is that? While we know that the new episodes will return with a long, drawn out goodbye from Carl, there is no way he is getting out of this alive. In earlier seasons, I didn’t mind us losing Carl, as he seemed like more of a liability to Rick. However, now he has become a force to be reckoned with. Unlike Rick who is constantly making ill decisions because of his emotions, Carl uses his head and knows how to outsmart the enemy. He kept emphasizing that everyone follow his plan, knowing that running off aimlessly would get others killed. When he revealed the bite mark on him, I was genuinely upset. Not because I care so much about Carl as a character, but because the one character with true potential to spark some life into the series was about to fade away, much like fan-favorite, Shane.
So where do we go from here? I have to think that the writers must have a plan and are not just winging it episode to episode. Perhaps Maggie’s unborn child is the key and the future? Either way, there needs to be much more content included in episodes leading up to season finales. I no longer want to watch this show out of obligation. I want to go back to actually wanting to watch the show. I’m hopeful that this can still happen, but will continue to watch the show out of loyalty if need be. I would just prefer to be counting the days down to the season premiere and binge-watching earlier episodes to prepare. Remember those days? RIP Carl. May your death bring some life back into The Walking Dead.
Please feel free to post your comments, thoughts, and theories on The Walking Dead below. Thank you for reading and happy viewing!
Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl