How The Walking Dead Changed Carl's Big Scene

Warning: major spoilers ahead for the midseason premiere of Season 6 of The Walking Dead.

Hiatuses are never easy, and Walking Dead hiatuses are always especially difficult, thanks to the series mastering the art of closing on a variety of cliffhangers. The midseason premiere was one of the most thrilling episodes of The Walking Dead in a long time, and the surprise twist of young Carl Grimes getting an eyeful of bullet was a big part of it. According to actor Chandler Riggs, however, the big scene that aired is different from the scene that was scripted.

It’s a big thing for him, especially since originally in the scripts it wasn’t just a stray shot from Ron. It was very quick when we shot it; it was Ron aiming the gun at Rick and Carl standing up and taking the bullet for Rick and essentially saving Rick’s life. They edited it in a different and more innocent way, which is really cool. It’ll be cool to see how it ends up turning out.

Chandler Riggs’ reveal to THR that Carl’s injury had been written differently puts a spin on the most shocking moment of the midseason premiere. Carl deliberately taking the bullet for his father would have been more heroic, and surely any character who will be forced to live out the rest of his time in the zombie apocalypse without any depth perception deserves a hero moment.

Still, the incident wouldn’t have been nearly as gut-wrenching or shocking if Carl had taken the bullet on purpose. It was that moment after Michonne skewered Ron and before Carl collapsed that really ratcheted up the tension of the entire episode. Carl’s “Dad?” was perhaps the most affecting line of the entire episode. Carl might have gotten a hero moment if he’d gotten to jump in front of the bullet, but Carl taking a stray to the face is definitely more tragic.

Also, more awesome.

Of course, comic readers were likely not as shocked as the rest of us when Carl was shot in the face. Even those comic fans who might not have believed that the show would really go so far as to take out the eye of its youngest non-baby cast member--especially considering the ways that the show has watered down other graphic moments from the source material--had to suspect that Carl might be reduced to one eye. Still, surprise or not, Carl’s big scene in the midseason premiere will surely be changing both the character and the show forever.

Tragic as the loss is for Rick and Carl, however, at least it did come in the middle of a mishap that saw the end of the Anderson clan. Sure, having two eyes in the zombie apocalypse is helpful toward survival, but the Andersons were way bigger liabilities to the survivors. In fact, they were pretty awful.

Only time will tell how Carl will deal with the loss of his eye on The Walking Dead, but I certainly can’t wait to see what happens next. The Walking Dead airs on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on AMC. Here's what else is coming up at midseason.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. Resident of One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and Northeast Ohio. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).