Why that one character appeared in the Old Man Rick visions

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Warning: There are major spoilers in this post.

The show could mirror these developments or drag things out even further.

As for the significance of Carl Grimes being the one to pull the trigger, Nicotero believes The Walking Dead's latest casualty shouldered the burden - valiantly, we might add - to spare Rick from killing another one of his own. He said goodbye to his family with no fear, wanting nothing more than to soothe them and leave them feeling as strong as he felt. Carl tells Judith she has honor.

The actor reveals that he is satisfied with how the goodbye is handled by the show and the crew. At least it resolved one mystery: the visions of a bearded Rick happy in Alexandria turned out to be Carl's hope for the future, one which saw even the likes of Eugene and Negan given a second chance. In retrospect, this is likely when he was bitten.

"Probably now a little too big", Gimple said.

The last we see of Carl is the white sheet that covers his lifeless form as his parents dig a burial plot in silent agony, and you're crying; we're crying. So although he downplays it in typically stoical Grimes fashion, Carl's fate was sealed from this moment. That's clearly the same flash-forward from earlier in the episode when he says: "My mercy prevails over my wrath". Below those videos, you can also take a look at AMC's video on Carl's farewell, a look at a talked about scene, and a behind-the-scenes clip.

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Back in season four, episode 15 titled "Us", Carl and Michonne keep themselves amused while scavenging by playing a game: whoever was able to stay on the railroad tracks they were walking along, got their pick of the two candy bars they found. Carl wins, and picks a Big Cat over a Cruncho bar - but ends up sharing it with Michonne anyway, because they always share.

While the episode did feature Morgan and Carol moving covertly through the village, killing every member of the Saviors in their way and freeing Ezekiel, it is Carl's last moments, huddled close by Rick and Michonne, that are the primary focus of this episode. "I didn't, but I know you will". "The fact that I'm equating something, I think, probably gives you an impression that it exists in the real world of the show".

Best pitfall avoidance: In a flawless world, we wish Carl hadn't been killed off so we could continue to follow his ongoing comic book arc. "I liked you, Ezekiel!" he pleads.

MVP: Michonne, for her reaction to Carl's passing. On the bright side, we've gotten to see some comic book staples (The Governor, Negan, The Wolves) grace the screen. "Or really what any of the letters say". So when "At the Bottom of Everything" kicked in at the head of this episode, it was a blast from the past - I was reminded this song existed, and I enjoyed listening to it again while watching a montage of Carl going through his day and preparing for death. He clearly didn't go (he's been on TWD for the past two years), but now that he's been cut free from the show, perhaps it's time to get a little book learnin'.

Saving the most brutal for last, here. His death has huge ramifications for The Walking Dead, as Carl was one of just a handful of the original characters still around from the first season. He still has Michonne and Judith, but it will be interesting to see how he responds in the episodes to come without Carl in the picture. "I'm sorry I couldn't protect you". We don't expect that Carl's vision of Negan and Rick working together in harmony is ever going to be a thing, but we do think that Rick is going to do what he can to try to make some of it happen with anyone will to be part of it. His mother's dying moment, one of the most heartrending scenes in the show's entire run, when she told her little boy he was going to beat this horrific world he was growing up in. So if it feels wrong, don't do it, all right? In that case, this scene could take place directly after Rick's final confrontation with Negan, and the sheriff would allow his nemesis to live. "What Carl says to [Rick], he says to Michonne too", he said. There's got to be something after.

Carl was truly too pure for this world.

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