Published: Thu, March 01, 2018
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

The Walking Dead Season 8: Old Man Rick Explained

The Walking Dead Season 8: Old Man Rick Explained

The Walking Dead's mid-season finale ended with Carl Grimes, the badass kid with an equally cool eyepatch, revealing he suffered a bite few episodes prior and, because of its location on his body, there's no way to amputate the infected area. Just as Carl stepped up to end Lori's suffering before she could become a walker, so sounds his bullet tonight, as Rick and Michonne wait outside. Everything toward the end of this season is charging toward a conclusion of who these people are going to be - or who they were - and in that way, it really concludes a huge swath of story for the show.

It was an emotional night for many members of The Walking Dead family, including newcomer Jeffrey Dean Morgan. There exists a well-acted, strongly-written and suspenseful series somewhere within The Walking Dead, if only they would trim the fat.

Khary Payton as Ezekiel in "The Walking Dead" season 8, episode 9. This episode gives a character who has been there since the beginning their due while also shifting the series into a new paradigm: no one is safe.

The mid-season finale a year ago revealed that Carl had been bit on his torso by a walker, meaning his death was imminent.

The actor did have one of the show's traditional death dinners, but left the possibility open he may not be done yet, telling THR, "It does suck to know that I might not work with any of them again but Carl can always come back in flashbacks or hallucinations or something like that".

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He then went on to say he had a vision for the future, which is what all of the dream-like sequences had been in the first half of the season. The genius plan of Eugene's that allows the Saviors to escape from their walker-infested Sanctuary is revealed and it is clever if a bit simpler than most viewers were likely expecting.

This episode was jam-packed full of emotional callbacks for fans of Carl and Michonne's relationship. If the heaven-like visions with Negan are just Carl's ideal, the more realistically shot tree scene appears to be a glimpse into the very real near future. Lincoln told The Hollywood Reporter, "It's at the core of the back eight episodes". Case in point: the candy bar Carl and Siddiq shared in the sewers. To say their own goodbyes, the crew came up with a fitting way to send Carl off into the great unknown. "All of us together", Daryl mutters, "we'll be their worst damn nightmare". We knew his days were numbered, but the show wasted no time (surprisingly) in burying him. Which brings us to Morgan, the King, and Carol. No wonder Carol and Ezekiel exchanged the anxious looks, and Gavin ran away so quickly. It's an intersection between mercy and wrath: Rick doesn't kill his enemy, but he doesn't forgive him, either. He then held his little sister and attempted to say goodbye to Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Rick (Andrew Lincoln), before realizing they had gone to fight the Saviors. Rick almost lost himself, but he ultimately came back with a Ricktatorship resolve.

However, despite being on a killing spree, it seemed as though Morgan was going to spare Gavin's life. He changed from innocent child to brooding teen to a young leader. Also, this is sure to make for some awkward introductions once he arrives at the Hilltop. It's obvious whose grave they're digging.

So Rick might not die, but it looks like he's going to be put through the ringer.

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