In ‘The Walking Dead’ recap, Rick says goodbye to his son Carl while Morgan and Carol go on a rescue mission at the Kingdom…
By Damon Martin — Editor/Lead Writer
It was a torturous couple of months waiting for ‘The Walking Dead’ to return because mid-season finale ended with the shocking reveal that Carl Grimes had been bitten and his time left on this Earth was running out.
Now it’s probably been stated hundreds of times by now but for all the ways that ‘The Walking Dead’ follows the original comic books, this is likely the biggest departure yet because Carl remains a staple in Robert Kirkman’s source material. That’s why it was such a stunning turn of events to see Carl get bitten and the return of ‘The Walking Dead’ on Sunday night spent the majority of the episode saying farewell.
For all the misty eyed goodbyes, the biggest revelation came through Carl’s vision for the future, which finally explained the “Old Man Rick” dream sequences we’ve seen a couple of times this season. Originally those scenes looked like ‘The Walking Dead’ was planning a time jump after the war with The Saviors, which would fall in line with what unfolded in the comic books.
Instead, Carl describes these visions as his hope for the world after this war is finished. He finds his dad, older and a lot greyer walking around a compound where he’s greeted by several familiar faces including Jerry from the Kingdom and even Eugene has rejoined the family. The most surprising appearance comes at the end of his vision as Carl sees a future where even Negan is living side by side with his family, picking tomatoes and giving his sister Judith a big hug when she greets him.
Carl found hope through this hellish new world and he’s trying to pass that along to his father before dying. Rick’s ability to carry out his son’s dying wish almost assuredly sets us up for the final seven episodes of the season.
With that said, let’s recap the latest episode of ‘The Walking Dead’ titled ‘Honor’….
A Long Goodbye
The majority of the episode deals with the fallout after Rick discovers that his son has been bitten and will die sooner rather than later. Of course, Rick wants to blame this on the Saviors, who are still firebombing the hell out of Alexandria just above their heads as they escape through the sewers below. That’s when Carl tells him the truth — he was bitten by a walker while trying to save Siddiq, the guy who Rick scared away with a gun when they spotted him at a gas station several weeks ago.
Through a series of flashbacks, we see Carl go through that zombie attack to help save Siddiq and then the discovery of his wounds once he returned to Alexandria. We see Carl helping to set up Siddiq down in the sewers as the two become friends while he waits for the perfect time to tell his father that he brought home a new member for the community despite his original protests. Carl writes goodbye letters to everybody he cares about and he spends some quality time with his baby sister Judith, even going as far as snapping some Polaroid pictures that are probably ash now after the Saviors bombed Alexandria.
Carl then begins his long string of goodbyes, starting with Daryl and the rest of the survivors who aren’t his father or Michonne. Daryl decides to take Judith and the rest of the survivors to the Hilltop where they will reconvene with Maggie to stand together against Negan and the Saviors. Daryl thanks Carl for saving the day when the Saviors attacked and he leaves with everybody else including Dwight, who is now part of the team.
Meanwhile, Carl finally introduces Rick to Siddiq and explains why he went to such lengths to save him. Carl can’t believe that this world will survive if everybody is just out to kill each other. Somebody has to stop the bloodshed and that’s what he set out to do when saving Siddiq, even if it meant sacrificing his own life. Rick’s rage towards Siddiq subsides while also finding out the latest member to the community could be an asset because he on his way to being a doctor before the zombie apocalypse happened.
Once the bombing finally stops and the Saviors exit Alexandria, Rick and Michonne prepare for one last goodbye with Carl while the rest of the survivors are on their way to the Hilltop.
I Had to Do It
The other major story this week follows Morgan in what will likely be one of his final appearances on this show before moving over to “Fear the Walking Dead”. We catch up with Morgan as the Saviors make their escape from the Sanctuary and follow him as he is forced to avoid capture as well from his sniper’s nest. Morgan creates a diversion and flees in hopes of telling the communities that the Saviors are free.
Unfortunately, Morgan doesn’t make it to the Kingdom until after the Saviors have already sacked the town and taken King Ezekiel hostage. That’s when Morgan runs into Carol, who has also returned in hopes of saving Ezekiel after he was able to free his people and get them outside the city walls before the Saviors could capture them.
As Carol begins to formulate her plan, Morgan has to tell her a bit of bad news — Henry, the younger brother of his former pupil Benjamin, is sneaking around the complex somewhere after he spotted him from outside the Kingdom. Carol told Henry to stay with the rest of the survivors from the Kingdom but much like Carl never stayed in the house, this kid isn’t listening either.
Once they get inside the Kingdom, Morgan goes on a silent but deadly killing spree as he and Carol take out a bunch of Saviors while waiting to spring the attack to finally free King Ezekiel. Along the way, Carol can’t help but notice how much Morgan has taken to this whole killing thing after his previous vow was akin to a doctor because he wanted to do no harm. Now he’s harming everybody who gets in his way.
With Gavin spouting off about how the Saviors never wanted this war, etc while taunting Ezekiel that he’s going to die once they get back to the Sanctuary, gun shots are heard and he realizes that the fight isn’t over yet. Gavin quickly rushes his team into the theater with Ezekiel as a hostage. Gaving figures out that reinforcements aren’t on the way after he calls out on his walkie talkie and no one answers.
Inside the theater, Carol and Morgan finally launch their offensive to take out the rest of the Saviors. Morgan is even forced to engage in one rather gruesome kill where he literally rips the intestines out of one of his attackers. Finally, Gavin takes a bullet in the leg and Ezekiel is set free.
While Gavin seems rather inconsequential at this point, Morgan isn’t about to let him go, not after what happened to his friend Benjamin not that long ago.
Like something out of a horror movie, Gavin hides while Morgan is in pursuit until he finally follows the bloody trail and exposes the Savior commander. Gavin begs for his life while Carol and Ezekiel try to talk Morgan down from killing him. Before Morgan can plunge his staff through Gavin, another comes darting through the back of his neck. When Gavin falls to the floor to die, it’s revealed that little Henry did the killing.
After what Gavin did to his brother Benjamin, Henry felt like his was something he just had to do.
Morgan begins to realize after everything he learned and what he tried to pass on in hopes of saving this world from destroying itself, he’s been doing nothing but adding to the misery with his murderous rampage and now he’s even managed to infect a young boy with his same ideology.
Morgan has some soul searching to do but that will have to happen at the Hilltop after Carol and Ezekiel prepare to escape before the Saviors get any more reinforcements.
At the Bottom of Everything
Carl goes through with his final farewells first starting with his baby sister Judith.
He hands over his hat and remembers the story before his mother Lori died when she told him that he would be the one who would survive this world. Sadly, Carl now knows he won’t but he promises that Judith will make it.
To Michonne, Carl tells her that she’s his best friend and he appreciates all of their time together.
To his father Rick, Carl absolves him when he feels guilty for not protecting him and then tells him the story about the boy he shot back at the prison several seasons ago when there was no threat yet he killed him anyways. At that moment, Carl says he realized just how easy it can be to kill somebody, especially in this horrible new world, but he also says that taught him a valuable lesson to be better.
Carl tells his father the vision he has of the future — where there are no more Saviors or survivors, it’s just all one group living together trying to add a little hope where it feels like there is none. Carl wants his father to follow in those same footsteps. He wants Rick to remember that life is more precious than death and reminds him of the man he was after taking in the refugees from Woodbury following a deadly encounter with the Governor. Carl knows his father can be that man again — a man who had hope for the future.
Rick promises to fulfill his son’s dying wishes and with that Carl pulls out his gun and tells his father and Michonne that he’s going to do this himself so that they aren’t burdened with that kind of torture. Rick and Michonne sit outside in the ruins of Father Gabriel’s burned down church as a single shot rings out signifying Carl is dead.
Throughout the course of ‘The Walking Dead’ season 8, we’ve seen these close ups of Rick Grimes’ eye filled with tears but no real context about where this happened. Now we know as Rick and Michonne dig a grave for Carl and neither of them are able to fight back the tears.
Of course the episode couldn’t end without another flash out of context — this time showing Rick nursing a fresh wound while sitting under a tree with a piece of stained glass hanging above him. It’s unclear what this means — is it a harbinger of the future as Rick continues his war against Negan and the Saviors?
Much like the flash forward scenes that were actually just Carl’s vision of the future, we’ll surely find out why Rick was sitting underneath that tree and perhaps more importantly what happened that got him so bloody.
One more note — the song featured prominently in the episode was ‘At the Bottom of Everything’ by Bright Eyes.
‘The Walking Dead’ returns next Sunday night at 9pm ET on AMC