Spoilers ahead if you aren’t caught up with The Walking Dead.
Longtime fans of both Collider and AMC’s The Walking Dead may have noticed that the former’s coverage of the latter has been lessening over the last couple of years. It was never planned to be that way, it just kind of happened. Reviewers, recappers, and readers, myself included, simply lost interest in the weekly bludgeoning of drudgery that the series has become over the years. A good number of fans are sticking with it, even if it looks like the ratings are on their way back down from a series high, but the show itself seems more willing than ever to double-down on just how much they despise the fanbase.
Perhaps the best example of this strange phenomenon–other than the fiasco of stringing out the reveal of the first major character death at the hands of Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) between Seasons 6 and 7; the Season 6 finale is the second-lowest rated episode and the second-most voted on over at IMDb–is the show’s most recent episode, the Season 8 midseason finale, “How It’s Gotta Be.” The overlong episode, most of which meandered back and forth between various areas, times, and shades of pitch-black darkness, resulted in the likely doom of one of The Walking Dead‘s original and most beloved characters. Spoilers ahead.
By episode’s end, it was revealed that Carl–who has already been shot, twice–had been bit by a Walker. (I mean, we’re assuming it was a Walker. It could have been some weirdo Savior or one of the Trash People because who even knows what this show is up to anymore.) Now, if things were to play out the way they do for everyone else, Carl should bite it sooner than later; he’ll have to die, turn, and be put down. Chandler Riggs is likely going to appear in at least one more episode, but if his dad’s Facebook reaction and showrunner Scott Gimple‘s quotes are to be believed, this is the end of the road for Young Master Grimes.
In a Facebook post that’s been deleted/blocked, the elder Riggs (a proxy for the elder Grimes) said the following (via THR):
“Watching Gimple fire my son 2 weeks before his 18th birthday after telling him they wanted him for the next 3 years was disappointing. I never trusted Gimple or AMC, but Chandler did. I know how much it hurt him. But we do absolutely know how lucky we have been to be a part of it all and appreciate all the love from fans all these years!”
Riggs the Younger followed suit and spoke briefly about his acceptance to Auburn University:
“I’m taking a gap year right now to focus on acting for a while. Leaving Walking Dead wasn’t my decision. I was planning on going to college until I found out. I found out when I was doing rehearsals for episode six back in June. It was quite the shocker for me, Andy and everyone because I don’t think anyone saw it coming. It’s definitely not a bad thing because it has been awesome being on the show but now I get to go and do a lot of other stuff that I haven’t gotten to do before. Scott wanted to meet in person because it was such a big deal. We had just finished rehearsing for a scene in episode six and he wanted to meet with me and my mom and dad and talk about what’s going to happen.
“I was excited to do a lot of those storylines in the comics because there’s a lot of really cool stuff. I’m more excited to do other things than The Walking Dead than I was excited about doing those things on Walking Dead.”
Appearing on AMC’s Talking Dead, Gimple was sticking to his story as well, though I trust literally nothing that comes out of the PR side of this show:
“That is a bite on his side.… It will play out as bites play out on the show. It’s very important to Carl’s story and the entire story, what happens in the next episode. I’m just focused on the fact that Carl right now is alive and he has some business to attend to. That is a one-way ticket. But I’d like to think that the things we see in the next episode are so important to his life and the other characters’ lives.”
Right. Like Glenn was originally “dead” back in the day, or the bait-and-switch where Glenn was brutally murdered by Negan (sticking to the comic books, at least) after the fact. It’s worth mentioning that, should Carl die on the show, that’ll be a big departure from Robert Kirkman‘s comics; should he survive, that’ll be a shift from the show’s mythology so far. If Andrew Lincoln knows something else, he’s not telling:
“My first reaction was silence. Scott Gimple called me up and said, ‘You’re going to hate this one.’ He’s very good about alerting the cast when there’s going to be a [character] death. I tried guessing four times and was nowhere near Chandler Riggs’ name. Scott had to say that it was Carl. I just didn’t speak for a minute. I always thought Carl was going to be the one who led the show forward; that Rick would hand over his boots and revolver when he walked off into the sunset in season 28.”