“Honor” is the ninth episode in this travesty known as The Walking Dead season eight. Back from the mid-season hiatus, we finally see the heartbreaking fate of Carl and nothing will ever be the same again.
So let’s get into it shall we?
The show opens the same way the season did; Rick staring into the sun with red-rimmed eyes reciting the quote he and Carl heard Siddiq reciting about wrath and mercy. In a weird transition that has become a trademark for season eight, we go to the hazy flash-forward vision of Rick and Judy walking up to Jerry who is working with Siddiq on some random structure. When Rick asks Jerry why he’s not at the Kingdom, Jerry tells Rick that it’s hard to say no to Siddiq (oh please). Though I was happy to see Jerry alive in this future, it was tempered by Siddiq’s presence because I was reminded of how he became a part of the story.
After the flash forward transitions to Rick and Michonne digging in the ground :(, it is then followed by a flashback to the moment Carl got bit. While I hated this scene because of what it means for Carl and his family, I have to acknowledge how good of an actor Chandler Riggs has become. In a few seconds, you could see all the thoughts and emotions that Carl experienced in that moment. There was pain, fear, grief, and acceptance and Chandler showed all of them in the most subtle but impactful way because my heart broke all over again (I hate this so much).
In what I consider to be the most horrible and tacky montage I’ve ever seen on The Walking Dead, we see Carl go through the day. He arrives at Alexandria with Siddiq, takes a shower, receives a note that Michonne left for him with Toby; goes into the sewer to prepare a cot; he and Siddiq share a Big Kat chocolate bar; Carl goes back outside, plants a tree and as Judith plays in the background he looks up and waves goodbye to Michonne as she drives out the gates, then looks up to the sky with an expression of peace on his face.
Now you might think this doesn’t sound too bad, but let me break down exactly why this whole sequence was a joke – an insult to not only the fans – but the characters most of all and exemplifies everything that has gone wrong with TWD since season 7.
1. “I had to see for myself. Sorry, I didn’t get to say goodbye, I’ll be back soon.” This note that Michonne left for Carl is proof of how lazy the writing for TWD has gotten because these are the exact words Michonne told Rick in “Hearts Still Beating.” The other problem with this note is that it creates a burden of guilt on Michonne because she left (when there was no need) and waved goodbye to Carl not knowing he was actively dying.
2. Having Carl literally prepare the cot that would act as his deathbed is probably one of the most morbid and depressing things they’ve done on this show. Instead of spending time with his parents, the writers placed Carl in a dark, dirty sewer and had him setting out the cot like he was making up his bed before leaving for school.
3. Carl sharing a Big Kat chocolate bar with Siddiq made me so angry because Big Kats are Michonne’s favorite candy bar and sharing them with Carl was ‘their thing’. To have him share that with Siddiq -a man he just met – was the writers telling us that Carl’s most cherished moments with Michonne are easily replaceable and in essence don’t mean anything, and to me that is a betrayal not easily forgiven.
4. Carl planting a tree wasn’t only symbolic of him leaving something behind, but it was a clear call back to when he and Rick spent a short time as farmers during the prison days. While this may seem like a heartfelt moment I saw it as another moment that was stolen from Carl and Rick.
Back at the Sanctuary, Morgan is looking through his scope and notices Saviors starting to shoot walkers that were in the courtyard, but instead of taking out the shooters, Morgan sits and watches them make a path out of the building. After seeing more of them make it out of the building, Morgan makes his getaway when they start shooting at his hide-out.
In the next scene, it’s night and Carol has led Nabila and the other from The Kingdom to her cabin, she tells them to stay put until she returns with Ezekiel. In a somewhat jarring transition, Rick and Michonne are leaning over Carl as he lies on his death be.. sorry I mean cot and hands a stack of letters he wrote to his friends and family before telling Rick he got bit and I got angry and sad all over again. Morgan and Carol meet up outside the gates of The Kingdom and make a plan to rescue Ezekiel.
While Rick and Michonne try to come to grips with what’s happening to Carl, Siddiq interrupts them to offer medicine and, frankly, I got highly annoyed because I didn’t want to hear one dang word outta his mouth. Eventually, Rick and Michonne move Carl out of the sewers to the burnt out husk of the church and I scoffed because at this point it’s symbolic of the state of the show. I know, I know I sound bitter and you would be right.
As Carl lays dying, he confesses to his killing of the young boy who was turning over his gun from season 3. When Rick tries to reassure him that he was young, Carl tells Rick that he can go back to who he was at the prison, a peaceful farmer, and there is no need to kill all of the Saviors, that things don’t need to be this way. As Rick and Carl talk, Carol and Ezekiel try to dissuade Morgan from killing Gavin but before Morgan can do anything, Gavin is stabbed through the throat from behind and the killer revealed to be young Henry. This scene was a predictable juxtaposition to what Carl and Rick were discussing, because once again this is another plot that is being recycled from previous seasons.
In a scene that completely broke my heart, Carl removes his gun from its holster. When Michonne tearfully tells him that it should be her, he says that as long as he can still do it, it should be him and for the first time tells Michonne that he loves her. With Rick and Michonne standing on the porch, the sound of a gunshot muffled by a silencer is heard.
I hate that this is how Carl died, I hate that Michonne lost her best friend and another son. I hate that Rick is being broken again, I hate that the writers seem to believe the only way to make a show seem compelling is to have their lead characters in perpetual pain. But what I hate most of all is that in the end after Carl kills himself, we learn the flash forwards were Carl’s vision of the future and Negan is there. REALLY?
We’re really supposed to believe that Negan exists in Carl’s idea of utopia? After everything that Negan has done to Carl’s family, the murder, the threats and mental torture, Carl doesn’t see him imprisoned in a cell but gardening and acting friendly with Judith. Instead of flashbacks with Rick and Michonne remembering happier times with Carl, the last image of an episode that was supposed to be a farewell to Carl the last image we see of Negan’s stupid smirk…if this ain’t some bull….
One Final Thought..
Apart from everything that happened, you know what really got me about this episode? The title. At first, I thought the “Honor” it referenced was about Carl, that he died with honor but I realized it wasn’t about him at all. It was about Siddiq. After Carl gave his cherished hat to Judith and said goodbye, Siddiq once again put himself in the discussion by telling Carl that he was going to honor Carl by making sure the others knew what Carl did wasn’t for nothing. The only time the word “honor” was mentioned in the entire episode it was said by Siddiq and that pissed me off because if anyone was to say that to Carl it should’ve been Rick.
Stuff & Thangs
- This episode was bad on all fronts, the directing, writing, editing…all of it was crap.
- As one of the most coincidental plot devices ever, Siddiq turns out to be a medical resident cause yuh know that is supposed to make Carl’s death worth it, Siddiq is supposed to be an acceptable replacement because he has skills. Bite me, writers.
- The dialogue for the Saviors is boring and overly dramatic.