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Warning: spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead entered a brand new era with the very hostile zombie apocalypse takeover courtesy of Negan and the Saviors. We'd already gotten a look at Daryl's unfortunate circumstances, and we saw last week that Rick and Michonne are struggling with their new places in the world. Now, "Go Getters" proved that Carl is reacting to the Saviors in his own way, and it's way more badass than we could have imagined. Or at least it could be.
Carl kicked off "Go Getters" with another dose of his standard teenage rebellion as he refused to go scavenging with his dad and tried to talk Enid out of bailing on Alexandria for Hilltop. But his backtalk here isn't just about being petulant, and things started to get a little more interesting when Carl apparently stole a car and hit the road for Hilltop himself. It seemed like chivalry was still alive and kicking when he zoomed up to Enid's rescue, and he even got a kiss for his efforts. That is basically an entire action movie in and of itself.
Unfortunately for the teen romance scene in the zombie apocalypse, however, Carl's quest was all about hunting Negan, not saving Enid, and he wasn't about to give up just because of a little lip-lock action. In fact, the episode ended with the reveal that Carl managed to stow away on a truck headed for Negan.
The reveal of Carl sticking his head out from behind a crate of supplies wasn't the most hardcore twist ever to happen on The Walking Dead. Still, it does show that the series is continuing to slowly build Carl up to Badass status rather than just giving him a totally unearned epic moment. Even though I admit that I laughed at Carl's casual "Hey" in the supply truck, I'm pretty excited about what it means for the rest of Carl's story in Season 7. Instead of brooding from beneath an eyepatch, cowboy hat, and hair-curtain back in Alexandria, Carl is doing his part to get vengeance against Negan, and it's one that goes directly against everything that Rick would want.
Of course, Carl's odds of success in the "killing Negan" department aren't the greatest. There's a reason why even some of the most hardened survivors like Rick and Daryl aren't fighting back at this point. However, going on a mission to murder the guy who murdered his friends is definitely a more awesome way for Carl to spend his days than by losing to himself at darts, but we'll have to wait and see if his boldness backfires on him. If anything, maybe he can convince a couple of Saviors that he's a macho god of war or something.
Hopefully Carl's new level of badass will take him closer to his comic counterpart. The Carl of The Walking Dead comic series matured in a big way after Negan and the Saviors entered the scene. Despite his life-changing injury, he made an attempt on Negan's life that was so bold that Negan wasn't even upset. Instead, he was blown away by Carl's bravery, and it kicked off a bizarre relationship that revealed a lot about Negan and changed Carl's arc as a character forever.
Daryl has already taken some of Carl's comic beats with the Saviors, but we may see him become more and more impressive as a survivor the closer he comes to enacting his vengeance on Negan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan will be around for a while, so we probably shouldn't expect Carl to successfully assassinate him any time too soon. Still, it should be fun to watch him try.
Tune in to AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET to see what's next for Carl and Negan on The Walking Dead.