Major spoilers ahead for the midseason finale of The Walking Dead Season 8.
Season 8 of The Walking Dead has been a unique one. With the various communities uniting against Negan and The Saviors, the first half of the season largely focused on the various battles that took place over the course of a few days. While ratings took a bit of a slump, we saw the cost of war as countless nameless characters fell during the ensuing gunfights. But the midseason finale introduced the first big character death, as Chandler Riggs' Carl Grimes revealed a walker bite on his abdomen. While Carl isn't dead yet, we probably shouldn't expect too much of him when TWD returns from hiatus. Riggs recently revealed how much of his character will be in the back half of the season, saying:
It looks like Carl will most likely die in the midseason premiere of The Walking Dead, or shortly thereafter. We've seen how rapidly the virus kills folks with characters like Bob and Deanna Monroe, and the placement of his wound makes something like amputation impossible.
Carl's death was a major shock for fans, especially those who follow Robert Kirkman's graphic novels. Carl is still alive and well in the comics, and for much of The Walking Dead it seemed like the Grimes boy was on the unkillable list alongside Rick and Daryl. But with Chandler Riggs looking to go to college next year, it also seemed inevitable for Carl to bite the dust, in order for the series to logically continue on.
And plot wise, it seems that Carl's death won't be for nothing. His conversations with Rick this season have been about keeping their humanity, despite the war against The Saviors. Our group of survivors can't just massacre every Savior, as many of them are being kept against their will. Carl's assistance of Siddiq may have been his undoing, but it's an important message that Rick and the others need to hear. If they aren't willing to be merciful and value human life, what's the point of it all?
Chandler Riggs addressed the importance of his character's death in a conversation with THR, saying:
It should be interesting to see how Carl's death affects his father moving forward. Luckily he has a support system in the form of Michonne and Judith, but it's going to be a major loss for the former lawman.