In the final moments of “How it’s Gotta Be,” the explosive mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” Season 8, fans were delivered crushing news. Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) had been bitten by a walker in a previous episode. His father Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) drop their mouths in horror as they gaze at the bite wound, and it’s safe to say most viewers at home did the same. Carl has been a vital character since the first season of the hit series. So how will the show kill off a main character? Explore the likely options and then vote in our poll below before watching the mid-season premiere “Honor” on Sunday, February 25.
Self Sacrifice – The most likely scenario involves Carl using his final moments on Earth to help his loved ones get a leg up in the fight against bad guy Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The boy showed great courage by standing up to the villain in the previous episode in order to buy Alexandria time to prepare for invasion. Re-watching the scene with his bite in mind, it becomes clear that he was ready to die for his people. A bitten Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) went out in a blaze of glory in order to help Rick and others escape a zombie infested house. It would be fitting for “The Walking Dead” to send off one of its longest surviving characters in a similarly badass manner.
Execution – Rick and Michonne will have serious emotions over Carl’s impending death, and neither may be able to stomach the idea of seeing him slain by Negan and the Saviors. Even if it is part of a plan to help Alexandria. But time is ticking for Carl, who has already spent the better part of a day with the walker virus coursing through his body. Could Rick kill his own son to prevent him from turning? Would Siddiq (Avi Nash) blame himself for Carl’s fate and offer to be the executioner? Those still not recovered from Carol’s (Melissa McBride) snuffing of young Lizzie in Season 4 will have to cover their eyes if we are to bear witness to another child murder.
Zombification – What if Carl doesn’t want any of his loved ones to live with the pain of having to put him down? Carl could simply write his goodbye messages to those important to him, and slip away from Alexandria to let the virus consume him. Eric (Jordan Woods-Robinson) chose this path earlier in the season as he bled out from a gunshot wound. Carl might opt to die alone and join the walkers before causing Rick anymore pain.
Carl Gets Cured – Is a zombie cure highly unlikely? You bet. But unlike the comic books, ballooning production costs and salary increases mean the TV series will have to find an ending at some point. Finding a cure in time to save Carl, or revealing that he is somehow immune to the virus, would give the series a path toward a conclusion. Working towards a zombie-free world instead of fighting the next apocalypse dictator would certainly set up a change of pace for the show. And after years of grizzly deaths and bleak circumstances, it might be nice to eventually leave these characters with a sense of hope.