Spoilers ahead for the midseries finale of The Walking Dead.
Season 8 of The Walking Dead has been pure chaos. With All Out War against Negan and The Saviors in full swing, we've seen an endless supply of gunfights and action on the apocalyptic drama. But for the first half of the season, we only saw unnamed or unimportant Walking Dead characters killed in the conflict, which actually stopped the stakes from feeling appropriately high. But that all changed with the midseason finale episode "How It's Gotta Be". After stalling Negan and getting the Alexandrians to safety, Carl Grimes revealed a walker bite on his abdomen to Rick and Michonne, delivering a gut punch to the audience. But how will Rick deal with this loss, and continue battling The Saviors? Andrew Lincoln recently opened up about just that, saying:
The back half is him trying to live through the unbelievable pain, in the middle of a war, and trying to reconcile this loss with what he's fighting for. This is his worst nightmare being realized.
It looks like the back half of Season 8 will pack a serious emotional punch, as one of the original Walking Dead characters is about to take his final bow. Carl is largely what Rick has been fighting for all this time, so it's unclear exactly how he'll be able to continue the conflict with The Saviors without his son.
When Carl revealed his injury in the finale, both Rick and Michonne looked absolutely stunned and horrified. Carl is one of the only characters that's been around since the original Atlanta group, alongside Rick, Daryl, and Carol. Rick has has quite a few fantasies about his new family unit surviving in peace, an idea that's all but dashed following Carl's sacrifice to recruit newcomer Siddiq. And like Andrew Lincoln's comments to EW indicated, his dream has soon become his worst nightmare.
Of course, Rick still does have a ton to fight for. In particular, it seems like baby Judith will become a larger presence in the series, as was hinted during the mysterious flash forward from the season premiere. Judith has been a non entity in the past few years, alternating between being safe in The Hilltop and back home in Alexandria. Additionally, Rick has Michonne to fight for, and must continue on with the commitment he made to end The Saviors once and for all.
Carl's sudden death seems to have really shaken the world of The Walking Dead, especially actor Chandler Riggs and his family. His father originally slammed production for killing Riggs after his long tenure on the series, while his mother wrote a sweet letter thanking fans for their support. Some fans have even started a petition to get the showrunner fired over the decision. Luckily, Carl should appear at least one more time in The Walking Dead before the virus truly kills him.