In an emotional winter premiere for The Walking Dead season 8, Rick says goodbye to his son. Sure, a lot of key characters have been killed off of The Walking Dead, but Carl’s death is definitely one of the tougher ones to handle. Perhaps it’s because we didn’t see it coming. Perhaps it’s because it’s not in the comics. Whatever it is, after eight seasons, “Honor” is definitely one of the more emotional episodes of the series. As Rick deals with the death of his son, there is still a war going on, and Carol and Morgan seem to be going forward with the plan.

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Carl Makes Peace with His Fate

After Carl is bit while fighting walkers in the woods with Siddiq, he hides it and they head back to Alexandria. He sets up Siddiq in the sewer with food and a place to sleep. He spends time playing games with him until Michonne and Rick get back. He also spends a lot of time with Judith and takes time to write goodbye notes to everyone close to him, just in case they don’t make it back in time.

When he reveals to Rick and Michonne that he’s been bit, Rick seems to be in denial. When it sinks in, he immediately thinks his son’s eventual death is because of the Saviors. However, Carl tells him that it just happened when he was with Siddiq in the woods.

As they make Carl comfortable, as his health is fading fast, the war on Alexandria is still going on above them. Michonne yells at Dwight to make it stop. But when Rosita suggests trying to escape and make it to the Hilltop, Dwight tells them that the Saviors will be looking for them. He suggests staying underground until the bombing and gunfire stop and the Saviors leave. So that’s what they do.

Saying Goodbye

The bombing stops, and Michonne wants to get everyone to the Hilltop. Rick tells her that he’s not going, as Carl won’t make the trip. He asks her to take Judith to safety, but she wants to stay. Daryl tells Rick that he’ll keep Judith safe and lead everyone to the Hilltop.

Carl then says goodbye to Judith, telling her that sometimes kids have to do things to teach their parents. He then gives her Rick’s sheriff’s hat that he’s been wearing throughout the Walking Dead series. He tells her it’s always made him feel safe, so he hopes it will make her feel safe. He also tells her that even though he didn’t take on the new world, he knows Judith will. Daryl then says his goodbyes and leaves with everyone. Siddiq is the last person to say goodbye. He tells Carl that he will honor him by showing his family and friends that what he did wasn’t for nothing and that it mattered.

After everyone leaves, Rick and Michonne stay by Carl’s side as his health deteriorates. Carl tells Michonne that she has to be strong for Rick and herself, and she shouldn’t be sad or angry. Rick and Michonne then carry Carl out of the sewer and into Alexandria, which is still burning. They bring him into a building to say their final goodbyes. Carl urges Rick to be the man who stopped fighting again. He tells him there has to be something after the fighting that’s better, for him and the communities. Carl then tells Rick that he’s seen the future, which is the old-man Rick fantasy. He describes a new Alexandria, where there are new buildings, and crops and people working and living. In this fantasy, Eugene is back, and Negan is there too, working in the community just like everyone else.

Rick tells Carl that everything he’s done right from the start back in Atlanta has been for him. He adds that after the prison, everything has been for Carl and Judith. He promises Carl that he’ll make his vision for a future real. And after Carl says he loves them one last time, he takes out his gun and lets them know that he’ll be the one to end his life, as he doesn’t want them to do it. They go outside and wait for the gunshot, and together they bury him.

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Continuing the War

Meanwhile, Morgan escapes the Sanctuary as he sees the Saviors escape. And Carol leads the Kingdom people to safety before Gavin captures Ezekiel and raids the community. She then meets up with Morgan at the Kingdom wall and heads inside to get Ezekiel. They kill Saviors along the way before they come upon Gavin.

Inside the Kingdom walls, Gavin tells Ezekiel that he actually liked him because he had accepted his fate. However, once Rick came along, things had to go south for him. As Gavin and the Saviors wrap things up, he tells Ezekiel that things always have to get dark, ugly and inhuman. Ezekiel tells him it’s not too late to walk back from something that’s been decided. When Gavin doesn’t get a response on his walkie from his crew, Ezekiel repeats his statement about walking back as they all head into a building to safety.

Carol and Morgan go into the building, guns blazing, and soon all of the Saviors are dead. Morgan even pulls out a guy’s intestines to save himself. Gavin does get away, though, so Morgan goes after him. Outside, Gavin taunts Morgan as he threatens to kill him. Carol and Ezekiel come out and urge Morgan to not kill Gavin. However, Henry, Benjamin’s younger brother, sneaks up on them and kills Gavin from behind. This is going to be something Morgan has to live with, as he started training Henry after Benjamin died.

Ezekiel comforts Henry, who tells him that he had to kill Gavin. Carol scolds Henry for leaving the cottage, but Ezekiel tells her to go easy on him. He tells Henry that all will be resolved soon.

What’s Next?

I can’t imagine how the rest of the communities will handle the news of Carl’s death. I’m sure Maggie and Carol, as well as Enid, will be devastated. I assume Rick will put all his energy into winning the war on the Saviors and Negan now, trying to make good on his promise to Carl to make a better future. I just wonder how many more people will have to die, as there’s been a lot of deaths since the war started on both sides.

Even though it’s been long and drawn-out, defeating Negan seems like the only way to get peace. But in Carl’s fantasy, Negan is working right alongside everyone else in Alexandria. Does this mean that Carl believes Negan can change? And if so, will Rick really believe that? Will he trust the man who killed so many of his people?

What did you think of the winter premiere? How do you think Carl’s death will affect Rick? Do you think he’ll eventually make good on his promise to make the world a better place? Do you think that Carl’s fantasy of the future will ever come true or is it just a fantasy? Were you surprised that Carl wanted to end his life himself? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC. Want more news? Like our Walking Dead Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of AMC)


Contributing Writer, BuddyTV