WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead, "Honor," which premiered Sunday on AMC and has not yet aired on the west coast as of publication.
The Walking Dead made good on its midseason finale promise tonight. Carl Grimes, the kid we all thought walked around bathed in plot armor, died after getting bitten bringing virtual stranger, Siddiq, to Alexandria. Carl’s fate had been confirmed by The Walking Dead's showrunners after the midseason finale, but audiences had no idea when Carl would actually succumb to his injuries, or how.
The show answered this question with “Honor,” an episode centered around Carl’s last hours on earth, right down to his final minutes. However, while this would appear to be actor Chandler Riggs’ final episode, he let it slip in a recent conference call with CBR and other outlets that this might not be the last we see of our beloved "Coral." When asked whether or not he would appear in any other episodes of Season 8, Riggs paused, laughed and said, “I can't really say. There's, yeah, I'm sorry, I can't really say anything.”
Without jumping to too many conclusions, it feels like there’s a good chance Carl will pop up again in some capacity before the season’s over, be it via dream sequence, flashback or another one of Rick’s psychosomatic hallucinations. Or it could be that Riggs doing his part to combat spoilers by throwing out a red herring one last time -- we’ll have to wait and see.
As for this episode, Riggs had nothing but positive things to say about the way Carl’s death was handled and the revelation that the flash-forwards we’ve been watching all season aren’t flash-forwards at all, but Carl’s hopeful vision of the future as he dies from his wounds:
"I think me and everyone else saw the first episode and the flash forwards, that's kinda what I thought they were -- flash forwards, but when I found out they were Carl's kind of visions and dreams of how life could be, I thought that was even cooler," Riggs said. "Because this reality that Carl is envisioning is definitely a possibility if Rick kind of listens to Carl and understands and sees his side of things."
The question is whether or not Rick will follow in Carl’s footsteps before either side in "All Out War" suffers more catastrophic loss, but his son’s death might turn out to be the only thing that persuades him to seek peace. Maybe we’ll see a little Carl angel pop up on Rick’s shoulder a few times before the season ends. Whether or not we do see Carl ever again, the character’s left a lasting legacy on both the series and its fans, and The Walking Dead is charting some very unknown territory without him.
Airing Sundays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on AMC, The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln as Rick Grimes, Norman Reedus as Daryl Dixon, Lauren Cohan as Maggie Rhee, Danai Gurira as Michonne, Melissa McBride as Carol Peletier, Lennie James as Morgan Jones, Alanna Masterson as Tara Chambler, Josh McDermitt as Eugene Porter, Christian Serratos as Rosita Espinosa and Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Negan.