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The Walking Dead Finds Its True Carling

Rick's son takes a very, very, very long time to say goodbye on a very special episode of Zombie Bites Still Bad. Omar has your EPIC OLD-SCHOOL RECAP!

Well, hello there! Welcome to another half season of Old School Recaps of The Walking Dead! Do you remember way back in December when we found out Carl got himself bit by a zombie? And that Morgan was kind of going crazy and trying to put a stick through everybody after years of pacifism like he was making up for lost killing time? And how Negan's crew was burning down Alexandria while Rick and his friends hid in a tunnel like mole people? And how Ezekiel lost a bunch of his warriors and briefly dropped the "thee" and "thou" before deciding to go out like a king when he got captured by The Saviors? Well, that's about all you need to remember if the holidays made gravy out of your brain. Let's trudge on in the tradition of the titular dead, shall we?


Hey, remember red-rimmed-eyed Rick from the beginning of the season? We now have a pretty good idea what could have shattered his world so completely as we open on this image again. It's the beginning of an old Visine commercial, basically. The camera floats down to Rick's lips as he says, "My mercy is greater than my wrath." Are you sure about that? Is it Wednesday yet? Usually by Wednesday, Rick starts getting hangry from having to eat cabbage stew for the fifty-seventh time and all hell breaks loose.

We cut to a dream-hazy flashforward or dream of long-white-beard Rick walking with an older Judith through a rebuilt Alexandria. We see Jerry, still wearing some of his Kingdom armor, working on a pile of bricks with others. Why is he the only one wearing armor? Hmm. "Jerry!" Judith calls, and Jerry picks her up in his arms, crying, "'Sup, dude!"


I might start weeping right now, because this is the cutest thing I've ever seen in my life, and I've been inside a Sanrio shop. Rick asks if everything's all right. Jerry says he's visiting (ahhh, makes sense now) to get some of the bar-nuts skillet cake they're so famous for. Rick asks if he rode all the way from The Kingdom just for that. "Hells yeah," Jerry says. Jerry for president! He says he got roped into masonry duty by Siddiq, who's impossible to say no to.

We cut away from Jerry, which seems like a huge mistake, and come upon present-day Rick digging a hole under a hot sun. Michonne is next to him and she's digging, too. Michonne is struggling not to cry as she works. Rick keeps digging because he's great at comforting people.

A cut back to when Carl was in the woods saving Siddiq from zombies. Siddiq tells him to go, but Carl won't leave. He's struggling with a walker in front of him, and then suddenly Carl's face reacts in pain.


Carl looks down, and there's a second walker chomping down on his side. The walker detaches, taking some flesh with him before Carl uses his gun to take down both of them. Carl breathes hard, not sure to believe what happened. "You okay?" Siddiq asks. Carl just says, "Yeah," but his face is awash in alarm.

The song "At The Bottom Of Everything" by Bright Eyes begins to play over the next few scenes, and it's worth noting that it's an incredibly jaunty-sounding song that, if you listen to the lyrics, also happens to be a super-depressing track about death. And for this episode, it's pretty on the nose.


We must hang up in the belfry

Where the bats and moonlight laugh

We must stare into a crystal ball

And only see the past

And into the caverns of tomorrow

With just our flashlights and our love

We must plunge, we must plunge, we must plunge

And then we'll get down there

Way down to the very bottom of everything

And then we'll see it, we'll see it, we'll see it

We don't actually hear that part of the song -- it cuts off much earlier -- but it's the most relevant to the episode. Did Conor Oberst ever imagine that this plane-crash song would be used on a show about zombies? Probably not, but maybe he'll write a song about it.

We begin a musical montage of Carl's last day on Earth. It starts with him hiding Siddiq in the underground tunnel, where he says he'll have to stay until Carl can talk to Rick. Carl climbs down, and Siddiq reluctantly follows.

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In the bathroom of his Alexandria house, Carl takes off his hat and shirt to inspect his wound, and it is pretty freakin' gnarly. Carl examines the shirt he had on, and there's a circle of blood with bite marks ripped right through it. Yep, there's really no way to Glenn our way out of this one with a Dumpster this time, folks. Carl 'bout to die. Carl stares at the mirror, his face freaking out a little.

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But it doesn't last long; Carl's soon bandaged up and wearing a new shirt. There's really no time for grief. He puts the hat back on and nods to himself. Yup. Dead teen walking.

Over by the edge of Alexandria, Carl asks Tobin about his father, who's gone off to attack Negan's army. Tobin says that if Rick's not back soon, they're going off to meet him. "What about Michonne?" Carl asks. Tobin remembers that he had a note to give Carl and hands it over. It reads: "I had to see it for myself. I'm sorry I didn't say goodbye first. Will be back soon. Michonne."


Look, I know Michonne is good with a sword and all, but have you seen her penmanship? Shit's mightier than the sword, I'd say! No scribble scrabble for Michonne, I tell you what. It occurs to Carl at that moment that he is running out of time.

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In a corner of his house, Carl is sitting down to write goodbye notes, including ones to Michonne and to "Dad." He's starting to sweat.

Carl is now down in the tunnel with Siddiq. He lights some small candles and sets up Siddiq with some bedding.

We cut back to Carl's note collection. He puts one on the stack for Enid.

Now Carl is on the porch sitting in a rocking chair with Judith on his lap. They paint their hands blue and set matching handprints on the wood boards of the porch floor. They high-five painted hands.

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Then Carl takes a Polaroid selfie of the two of them, and it might be the most heartbreaking moment of the whole episode.

Carl has also brought Siddiq some canned food and half of a "Big Cat" (Kit Kat, basically) chocolate bar. Siddiq offers some back to Carl, and the young man who was once a boy who ate a giant can of chocolate pudding gets to eat some chocolate before he dies. The two smile and enjoy a moment together.

Carl plants a tree. He looks up and sees Michonne arriving in a car. They each wave to each other. Carl takes off his hat and closes his eyes, allowing his face to bathe in the sun just as the lyrics, "While my mother waters plants / My father loads his gun / He says death will give us back to God / Just like the setting sun" play and conclude the song early.

Weird choice not to jump into the opening credits on that shot, but I'm not the genius who decided this episode needed to go twenty-three minutes over its usual running time. We're at The Sanctuary, or across from it as Morgan is watching, through the scope of a sniper rifle, the zombies that have overrun the outside perimeter.


Morgan notices a bunch of Saviors go to the broken windows and start shooting down at the walkers in the yard. Someone on a walkie-talkie asks Morgan what they're doing. He figures out that they're not trying to eliminate all the walkers; they're just trying to lay enough down to clear a path they can escape through. "They're gonna get out, we need to tell everybody," says Morgan. But before that can happen, a group of Saviors runs outside and starts shooting his way. Morgan ducks and crawls as bullets spray around him. He runs downstairs, but it looks like he might be surrounded. Morgan makes it outside, and there are walkers in his way as opera music blasts from an outdoor speaker. Morgan starts making noise against a chain-link fence to attract the walkers, and leads them to the door he just walked out of so that his pursuers will get caught in them. It works! Morgan appears to be home free.

Later on, Morgan is shown watching from the woods as three vehicles led by Gavin are passing by. Morgan, stick in hand, gives chase, and now we go to opening credits. I liked the Carl bit better.


We return from commercials to a pathetic, desiccated walker who fell over on a trip wire with cans on it. The thing looks like it could barely have been able to stand. Carol comes over and puts a knife in its head. She's telling a group of survivors from The Kingdom, including Nabila and the boy Henry, how to find the house where she used to live and where she's got some food for them; she says they'll be safe until she returns with Ezekiel. "You versus all of them?" Nabila asks. "Yeah," Carol says. "They don't stand a chance," Nabila tells her, smiling. She's not wrong! Henry says she won't be alone, because he's going, too. Carol is like, no way, but Henry insists that they killed his brother, so he must get THE VENGEANCE on them. Hasn't he seen Boyz N The Hood? You know, now that I think about it, it's almost certain he has not. "Morgan taught me the stick. You taught me the gun," Henry tells Carol. You know, he's got a point. That's two whole weapons. Carol says it's not happening and walks off, as it that's going to deter the boy one bit.

We go back to the moment from the end of the last episode where Carl, down in the tunnel, reveals his wound to Rick and Michonne. Neither of them reacts right away. Daryl, nearby, is holding Judith in his arms and waiting to see if someone wants him to chime in with a sympathetic grunt or "Bro." An explosion thunders overhead. "I-- I don't-- How?" Rick begins. Carl says it's all right; it has to be. He's looking exhausted as he tells Rick he didn't know if he'd be back in time, so he wrote some notes: "I wanted to make sure I was able to say goodbye." Oh, just wait, you'll have about another hour of that. Michonne reacts in horror to the notes while Rick tries to deflect, looking around and blaming "them" as more explosions are heard. Michonne starts to freak out. Carl finally says simply, "I got bit." He explains that it happened when he was bringing back Siddiq, the guy from the gas station. "It wasn't The Saviors," Carl says. "It just happened." And even if The Saviors did somehow get Carl bitten, how would that change things, exactly? It's not like their plan of avenging Glenn, Abraham, and the others killed by Negan is going so well. "I got bit," Carl repeats. Rick rolls his head around like, "My idiot son," perhaps for the last time.


Now we're at The Kingdom, where Gavin is trying to rattle Ezekiel, telling him that soon Negan is going to kill him. Ezekiel says there's nothing he can do to stop that; he ferried his people to freedom, and what happens now "matters not." Did he forget the part where he got a bunch of those people mowed down before that? Gavin, frustrated, says, "I liked you, Ezekiel! You got it!" Star power! Razzmatazz! That certain something! Gavin says Ezekiel understood that he couldn't do better than he was already doing until Rick came along and planted the idea in his head that things could be different. "Shit gets shittier and you're gonna die," Gavin complains. Is this how people connect now that OKCupid is gone? Ezekiel challenges Gavin to make a choice he can live with.

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Morgan has already made it to The Kingdom, and when he arrives, he spots Henry running across an empty area. Morgan is about to follow, but he finds Carol, who has arrived at exactly the same time. And somehow Henry beat them both there. The two strategize based on Ezekiel being on the other side of the complex, so that if they start taking people out, someone might sound an alarm. Morgan lets Carol know that he saw Henry. She says that if they have to take people out, so be it. New Bloodthirsty Morgan likes that plan a lot.

In the tunnel, after a commercial, Rick and Michonne have moved Carl to a cot and are trying to make him comfortable before his horrible death and possible zombification. Rick is still struggling to find words, and at that moment Siddiq offers them some over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills. He says it'll help the fever a little, like it did for his mom and dad: "Please take them. Your son should have them." Rick takes them and asks, "You're a doctor?" Siddiq says he was a resident before. Rick asks if that's why Carl brought him back. No, it's because he was alone and needed them, Carl explains. Rick is still trying to process that this was the guy from the gas station he didn't want to save. Just then, an explosion sends rubble falling down. Rick tries to block it with his body, but Carl still starts a coughing fit. Another explosion causes Michonne to lose her cool. "Make it stop!" she demands of Dwight, who was just standing around minding his own business. "Make them stop," she insists. He says he can't. Michonne starts to beg.


Rosita comes over to try to form a plan. She says that Hilltop is safe, so they should go there and take Carl. Dwight thinks they'll get caught in the woods, and that the best play is to stay in the tunnel until Negan's crew is gone. Daryl thinks they're all dead if they're found. Dwight says it was never about destroying Alexandria; they don't have the ammo for that. He thinks they'll leave on their own. And that's when they should go. Judith is shown in close-up looking scared. Rosita agrees with Dwight that they should wait. Michonne reluctantly agrees, too. Dwight asks whether going to Hilltop, all of them together in one place, is really the best move. "Together," Daryl insists, "we'll be their worst damn nightmare." Very convincing argument when you're holding a scared toddler in your arms.

After more commercials, Carol and Morgan are sneaking up to an area near the big brick building where Saviors are using fire extinguishers to put out a random fire. Morgan thinks they're going to have to go straight through the courtyard, exposed. "This is it," he tells Carol, twice.

Moments later, Morgan is plunging his bo through a guy's chest, and Carol is taking out another guy with her gun, though not as violently; in fact it looks like she's just grazing the guy with the side of her gun across the face. Morgan stabs that guy with his stick just to keep him nice and dead. They wait below some stairs for more bad guys to come down. "You want me to just do it?" Carol whispers. Morgan says no. Two more guys come down, and while Carol efficiently drops one of them, Morgan has to stab the other guy three times after he's gurgling from a neck wound. "No. No!" Morgan tells the dude, who by this point is not even listening. "Got all of 'em," Morgan explains. "They could have found Henry!" Carol says seriously, "I know. I'm not worried about them." Yeah, slow your fucking roll, Morgan, this isn't even a Morgan episode.

Gavin is still waiting for word from Negan, and wants his men to hurry. "Get the gum off your shoes!" he yells, which is something I'm going to try on my kids to totally confuse them. "Gum? Daddy, there's no gum on our shoes, are you going senile already like Mama says you always would?" Gavin comes over to Ezekiel and asks if this night's gonna go badly. Jeez, it's a midseason premiere; what do you think? Ezekiel, grimacing, says that Gavin is the author of this night, and the fashion designer of his own night clothing, or some shit. Gavin just frowns, trying to figure out if that was a dis of some sort. He just walks away because that's easier than trying to have a conversation with Ezekiel.


Carl is looking pretty gaunt. Michonne is stroking his cheek. Carl says she was supposed to be resting instead of leaving earlier. "I'm not tired," Michonne says, somewhere between crying and smiling at him. "Yeah," he says wryly, "you look great." Carl tells her this all has to stop -- that it can all be better. Rick touches Michonne's arm. The sound of trucks heading out can be heard. Dwight and Rosita agree that the Saviors are leaving, but Daryl weighs in: "Maybe." He hands over Judith to Rick and goes off to take a look, but not before giving Rick a reassuring brush on the shoulder. Daryl glances at Carl before he goes.

Carol and Morgan do some more sneaking. They find an entrance to the building, but Morgan hears some men nearby and isn't going to just let them live. "Leave it," Carol keeps telling him. But he goes off on his own to go stab some necks and chests. There are too many of them, and one almost gets the drop on Morgan, but Carol is there with her silenced pistol to shoot the last one. Sad music plays as Morgan follows Carol.

The truck is almost ready to go, and Gavin is telling his men to make some room for Ezekiel in the back and maybe get him a pillow or something. He wants to make Ezekiel's last ride comfortable, at least. Ezekiel does not acknowledge the effort. Gavin explains that he just wants things to settle and achieve equilibrium. "It always comes down to this. It always has to get dark and ugly. And inhuman." Yeah, this show, we get it. With total sincerity, Gavin says, "You know I don't like this, right?" Ezekiel spouts off some bullshit about it not being too late to walk back from something decided. "You did. And look where it got you," Gavin tells him. He walkie-talkies someone who is probably just "picking dingles," and gets no response. Uh oh. Gavin gets worried when someone named Gomez doesn't answer, which reminds me of Gomez from the syndicated show Cheaters. Anybody remember that? Gavin hears gunshots, so they get Ezekiel and rush him inside a nearby building -- the one with the theater. Slowly, Carol and Morgan are creeping over. Then commercials.

Rick is exhausted and bleary-eyed, breathing heavily. We cut right from that to a dream or flashforward, with old-beard Rick and Judith walking up to a lush garden area where Eugene is doing some apple gardening.


Eugene gives Judith a Golden Delicious and makes a joke about her being a sous chef for baked apples. "Thanks, Eugene!" she says brightly. Rick thanks him, too.

That doesn't last long before we're back to shovel duty with Rick and Michonne, from the grave's point of view.

Back in the tunnel, Michonne comes up to Rick and tells him the coast is clear; they can get everybody to The Hilltop, including Carl. "Carl? No," says Rick. Rick says that Carl won't make it, and that he has to stay with him. Michonne doesn't argue. She nods and says, "We'll both stay." Rick insists that she needs to take Judith, because if something happens...and that's when he breaks down crying. "I'll take her," Daryl interjects. He promises to keep Judith safe: "I got this."

Carl asks to say goodbye. Oh boy, here we go. Carl sits up. Judith just stares at him. He tells her to be good for Michonne and for their dad; he says that Judith needs to honor him and listen when he tells her stuff. "You don't have to always," Carl says. "Sometimes kids gotta show their parents the way." Siddiq and Rick both look at Carl as if he just dropped the wisdom of the ages on their asses. Carl picks up his weathered hat. "This was dad's before it was mine," he tells Judith. "Now it's yours." Judith just looks at him. Carl says that just having it always kept Dad with him and made him feel as strong as Rick. Sad music plays, of course. "It helped me. Maybe it'll help you too," says Carl. He tells Judith that before Lori died, she told him he was gonna beat this world. "I didn't," Carl says. Rick shakes his head sadly. "But you will. I know you will," Carl tells Judith. She pouts, and the camera cuts away to another angle so we don't see that a crying child's voice was dubbed in to make it sound like she's overcome with emotion. (She's not.) Rick hands off a screaming Judith to Daryl without trying to comfort her for even a moment. She quiets down immediately, which means somebody just lowered the volume on the fake crying track.







Before he goes, Daryl tells Carl, "These people. You saved them all. That's all you, man." Carl just blinks and looks sad. Tara gives Carl a little point with her finger before she follows Daryl out.

Now it's Siddiq's turn to say goodbye. He thanks Carl for helping honor his mother. Carl says it wasn't just Siddiq's mom, but his own, too. Siddiq is grateful that Carl brought him and gave him a chance. He says he can't repay Carl, but he can honor him by showing his friends and family that what he did wasn't for nothing. All right, this is getting a little heavy-handed, and by "a little" I mean a lot even by Walking Dead standards. Siddiq goes on to say that what Carl did matters: "That's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna honor you, Carl." Carl smiles and offers his hand. He says congratulations, Siddiq is stuck with them. Siddiq cries a little and then goes, walking past Rick and heading down the tunnel holding a lantern like the one they hung on this scene. Carl lies down, his eyes watery.

Inside the Kingdom theater, Gavin is telling his men to secure the entrances. There's an awful lot of them. Gavin wants this shit settled so he doesn't get Negan's bat. Ezekiel reminds him that he still has a choice. Gavin slaps him in the face and tells him to shut up about that. Gavin says it's too late, whining, "I'm the author, you're the dead man, and that's how it's gonna be!" Somewhat pathetically, he adds that this is who he is and this is who lives and dies. Ezekiel, suddenly defiant, says that the compromises he made to keep his people safe were what was keeping Gavin alive. "No more," he promises. There's a big explosion at one of the doors, suddenly. Everybody scrambles. Gunfire. Smoke. Everybody is pointing guns toward the back entrance of the theater. "Get up or he's dead," Gavin orders, as he points a gun at Ezekiel. One of the flats on stage falls, and Carol and Morgan start firing at everybody. Ezekiel dives for the floor as Carol and Morgan make the worst entrance since the doors wouldn't open at a performance of Noises Off!. They manage to hit Gavin in the leg, and everybody else on other parts of their bodies, without taking any wounds themselves. Because Carol and Morgan are magic. Carol does have to dive out of the way of some bullets, and Morgan gets tackled, but that's about as bad as it gets. Even Ezekiel finds a pistol and starts to take out Saviors from the audience seats. Morgan, struggling with the guy who tackled him, reaches into a bullet wound in the guy's belly, grabs some intestines, and pulls them out.


Holy fuck, Morgan! Angry, much?

Gavin, in the aisle, just saw that, and wishes he were the author of some other play that didn't involve intestines all over the stage. He tries to scramble and run out on one bad leg, but Morgan fires after him, and then grabs his bo and follows. Ezekiel says they should take their leave. "We don't need to go. All of them are dead," Morgan informs him. Really? Are you sure nobody else got away? There seemed to be a lot of them.

Back to Carl's death cot of saying goodbye. Michonne and Rick are still giving him water and trying to comfort him. I think we're due for some more speeches. "I don't want you to be sad after this. Or angry," Carl tells Michonne. He says she'll have to be strong for Rick and Judith. Why does Michonne always have to be the strong one? "And for yourself," Carl tells her. She says she will. "Don't carry this," Carl tells her. "Not this part." He smiles. "You're my best friend, Michonne," he announces. She cries and grins and replies fiercely, "You're mine, too." And I'm not crying, you're crying, shut up! "You're mine," Michonne repeats, and kisses Carl's hand. A lantern goes out. Sniffles all around. Rick tells Michonne he needs her help. "With what?" she asks. "Getting him out of here," Rick tells her. They couldn't have asked Daryl and the others for help with that?

Gavin is still fleeing. Morgan is still following.

Instead of carrying Carl on a cot, Michonne and Rick are clumsily dragging him by the shoulders across Alexandria, where a bunch of buildings are burning. Despite all the smoke, nobody's coughing. They're trying to get Carl to a house, any house. They finally do just as he's ready to give up walking.

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Gavin is cowering. Morgan follows, trailing his stick in the dirt. Morgan finds Gavin easily inside a trailer and opens the door to make him fall out.

Carl lies inside the house. He thanks Rick and Michonne for getting him there. Rick says he didn't want Carl out there. "For getting me here," Carl says. "For making it so I could be who I wound up." Rick's heart is breaking, obviously. Carl brings up an old memory: back at the prison, when they were being attacked, there was a kid a little older than him. Carl remembers shooting the boy, who was about to put his gun down. The kid was giving it up, but Carl shot him anyway. "I think about him," Carl says. "What I did to him and how easy it was to just kill him."

Here's a problem with this episode: instead of letting Carl's scene play out and get to its point, it's interrupted by Gavin and Morgan. Gavin accuses Morgan of being a sick man for killing him like this. Morgan spins his bo. "You think I wanted this?" Gavin asks. He insists that he ran a good crew and kept his word. Morgan just frowns. Gavin tells Morgan they can go back to The Hilltop. It's safe. "You think you can beat Negan? You can't," says Gavin. Morgan points his stick. "No," he says.

Back to Carl's scene. Rick keeps insisting that it wasn't Carl's fault. "What happened, what you've lost, all those things you had to do, you were just a boy," Rick says, faltering a little. Let the boy speak! Oh, no, wait, that might be a terrible mistake in such a long episode. Carl says that Rick saw what it did and how easy it got to kill others. See, now wouldn't that have been a more interesting show -- if Rick had really struggled with that and done something drastic to put Carl on the right path instead of things just sorting themselves out? If Carl had turned into a good person -- instead of just making soft suggestions to Rick about helping people, if he actually had turned on his father and created a faction (a religious one, even) denouncing Rick's killing ways? Wouldn't that have been a much more interesting series than this lukewarm father-son shit of the last few seasons?

Back to Gavin and Morgan. Gavin tells Morgan that killing him won't make any of this go away. "You'll still wake up to the same shit tomorrow." Morgan makes him get up. Gavin has a point, but Morgan's not listening.

Carl says that that's why Rick changed, brought the people in from Woodbury and put away his gun. So that Carl could change, too. "So I could be who I am now," he says. Carl reminds Rick that he once stopped fighting. "It was right," he insists, "it still is. It can be like that again. You can still be like that again." Rick is unsure.

Morgan is about to attack when Ezekiel and Carol show up. Ezekiel wants Morgan to stand down and not choose "the coward's way." Ezekiel says that they've won. They don't have to kill him, and Gavin will have to see what he brought on and live with it. Honestly, living long enough to have regrets about your life isn't really an occupational hazard on this show, if you catch my rotting driftwood.

Rick tells Carl he can't be who he was, and that things are different now. Carl says that they can't kill all of them. "There has to be something after for you and for them," Carl explains. I mean, syndication, right?

Carol tells Morgan to stop it. That he doesn't have to do this. She reminds him that they can be better than the Saviors. Are you sure, because this whole last season doesn't really bear that out. Morgan has tears in his eyes. "I have to," he tells her. He says it twice more. HE JUST HAS TO, DAMMIT! MORGAN SMASH! AND POKE WITH STICK! Gavin just stands there waiting. Morgan points his stick, but before he can, another stick stabs Gavin in the back of the neck.


Gavin falls. Henry is standing behind him holding his own bloody bo. Plot twist! Ezekiel and Carol are horrified. Morgan wipes his nose because this all just made his brain melt. Henry's like, "What? Can we play Connect Four, now?"

Carl says that Rick can't see yet how things could be, but that Carl's seen it. It's revealed that all the flashforwards we've been seeing are in Carl's imagining of a peaceful future -- one with Rick's big gray beard, a happy home with Michonne, and a peaceful Alexandria. Judith is older and listening to music. Jerry is there. Eugene is there. New houses are built. Carl says that everybody helps each other, and Rick is who he was. "That's how it could be," Carl says. "It could." "Car-ul," Rick says one last time, "it was all for you. Right from the start." The farm, everything -- it was all for his son and for Judith: "It still is. And nothing is gonna change that." Carl says that he wants this for Rick. Having had a change of heart, Rick promises that he's going to make it real. The three of them -- Carl, Michonne, and Rick -- hold hands together as we go to a final commercial break.

We return to see Carol in the background of the Kingdom scene, taking a knife out of Gavin's head as Ezekiel speaks to Henry. "You, young boy, are the author of this man's death, and you chose poorly! Demons await!" No, not really, but if I have to punish my daughters for not putting their clean laundry away and leaving dirty dishes at the dinner table, murder deserves at least a grounding. Ezekiel instead tells Henry that it's okay. It's all right. Is it, though? Does Gavin's ghost think it's fine? Henry starts to turn, but Ezekiel stops him, telling him not to look. Henry says he had to do it. Carol has had enough of this shit, and sternly tells him he was supposed to stay behind and that this wasn't for Henry. "Carol," Ezekiel says, trying as warmly as he can to stop her from making Henry feel worse. "All will be resolved," Ezekiel tells the boy, then hugs him close. Morgan, bloodied up, says nothing.

Back at the world's longest death scene, Rick is apologizing for not protecting Carl. He says that a father's job is to protect his son. "No," Carl mutters. "It's just to love." Oh, just fucking die already, jeez. Carl cries a little. His hand goes to a gun in a holster at his side. Rick says no. Michonne starts to tell him it should be her. Carl agrees that it should be someone you love who shoots your head if you can't do it yourself. But he says he still can. "I grew up," he says ruefully. "I have to do this. Me." He tells Michonne he loves her. She says she loves him too. "I love you, Dad," Carl tells Rick as he cries. Rick makes a Robin Williams face and leans down to kiss Carl's head and tell him he loves his son. "I'll make it real. I will," Rick tells him. We pull back on a side shot to reveal a gigantic, broken stained-glass window behind the three of them because Carl wasn't enough of a Christ figure in this episode without it.


Later, in daylight, Michonne and Rick are standing outside a smoking ruin of their house. They wait, Rick bent over with his shoulders on his knees as he sits on the edge of the porch. They hear the report of a silenced pistol and both wince. Rick sobs while Michonne stands behind him and cries. Rick is not about comforting those around him for this.

Then Rick and Michonne are digging that grave together. Carl, in a white shroud, lies in front of them as they work.

In Carl's future dream, Judith is walking through a row of tomato plants in a vast garden. She comes upon a man working the soil. "Good morning," Judith says. The man stands up. It's Negan, wearing a plaid shirt and white undershirt, bearded and smiling. "Good mornin' to you, darlin'!" he says brightly. Please do not hit the child with a bat wrapped in barbed wire, Negan.


Mystery end scene: Rick is sitting alone, sweaty and with red-rimmed eyes beneath a swinging pane of stained glass. He's outside. In a wide shot, we see him sitting against a tree. He has a wounded right side and his right hand is bloodied up, too. He appears to be out in a vast field, but we don't know where or why. The episode ends on this shot, where we don't know the time or the location or what has happened to Rick to get him here.


And that's it! See you next week for a Carl-less episode. Expect lots of angst from Rick.

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