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The Walking Dead: Is [SPOILER] gone for good? 7 clues they'll be back

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors

Following an intense sequence of events on tonight's episode of The Walking Dead, everyone's favorite suburban badass, Carol, penned a farewell note and bid Alexandria adieu.

More: The Walking Dead spoilers: 6 bloody theories about the rest of Season 6

In full disclosure, this article contains spoilers. So if you haven't yet gotten around to watching "Twice as Far," well, you should probably cue up the ol' DVR before you continue reading.

Now that we've gotten the formalities out of the way, let's talk turkey. And by turkey, I clearly mean Carol who is totally being one right now. I mean, c'mon, did she really just bail like that? Obviously she did, and we're left reeling over the implications.

It's hard to say what finally pushed her over the edge, although it was quite possibly her and Maggie's dramatic capture last week.

More: The Walking Dead: 8 times Carol and Maggie's episode was hard to watch

Or perhaps it was the revelation tonight that Eugene saved the town by biting a bad guy's wiener. More likely though, it was the news that — major spoiler alert! — Dr. Denise had been fatally wounded via an arrow through the eyeball.

Regardless of the catalyst for her departure, Carol left. Gone... as in gone with a 'g.' To borrow an old expression, she took her ball and she is going home. But, uh, where is that? Will she ever be back?

The good news here is that it's unlikely Carol won't return in some way, shape or form. Here are a few telling clues her departure is only temporary.

1. She is one of the OG survivors

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Gene Page/AMC

Just as fans felt when we thought Glenn got ripped to shred by walkers in a brief, unceremonious scene, it simply wouldn't seem right for Carol not to get a bigger send off. You know, where she goes out in a blaze of glory or, at the very least, more people are aware that she even left in the first place.

2. She alluded to her last major departure

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Gene Page/AMC

In the letter Carol leaves for Tobin, she references the first time she left the group, saying, "Rick sent me away, and I wasn't ever gonna come back, but everything happened, and I wound up staying." Of course, we all know that she is alluding to her exile from the prison (and how she saved the day when she resurfaced at Terminus). History has a way of repeating itself, so who's to say this reference isn't prophetic of her swooping in and rescuing some of her friends from Negan?

3. Morgan has been particularly mindful of her

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Gene Page/AMC

As much as Carol would hate to admit it, Morgan has somehow become the voice in her head. The start to her crisis of conscience came after their big showdown over Morgan not doing what Carol felt must be done — killing the rogue member of the Wolves he was holding captive. The characters almost mirror each other, with Carol now entering the peaceful phase Morgan did after his time with Eastman. Since we saw in the season teaser that Morgan sets off on horseback, it's possible he goes to find Carol and bring her back from the brink. Maybe he is her Eastman.

4. Denise's final words speak to Carol's crisis

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Gene Page/AMC

It sucked to see a character finally coming into her own get killed off, but at least her final words were impactful. Was Carol around to hear them? No. But in a broader context, it seems like what Denise said could be foreshadowing a thematic arc moving forward — picking your "hard." Life in this world is hard alone, and it's hard with loved ones. Either way, you're gonna have to pick your hard, and one of the two clearly has more perks than the other. My money is on Carol picking not to go it alone.

5. Her logic was that she can't love anyone

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Gene Page/AMC

Carol claims in her letter that, if she stays, she will have to end up killing for the people there — "but I can't anymore. I can't love anyone, because I can't kill for anyone." However, I'm going to go ahead and call BS on this one. Whether Carol accepts it in this moment or not, we all know that Carol genuinely loves at least one person in Alexandria: Daryl. Surely she would kill again to save her old friend's life.

6. She's been chain-smoking, baking acorn cookies and rubbing rosaries

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Gene Page/AMC

You may be wondering: What could these possibly have to do with Carol leaving? Well, they're all indicative of the fact that Carol is not herself right now. Maybe this person Carol has been lately is shades of the Carol who existed before the world went to shit. But it isn't the person she adapted to become — the survivor we all know and love. Carol says she can't kill anymore, but killing and death and dying are inevitable in the zombpocalypse. When Carol remembers that, she'll remember who she is.

7. No one plays by the rules around here

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Gene Page/AMC

Carol signs off her letter with, "So I'm going, like I always should have. Don't come after me, please." Oh, honey, did you really think that would work? No one plays by the rules in this crew! Telling someone not to do something is practically as good as saying to them, "Yes, definitely do that." So it's highly likely that some of the other OG survivors will follow her. And, unfortunately, that storyline is similar to one in the comic series that leads to another major (gut-wrenching) character death.

A fan favorite in Alexandria just walked off The Walking Dead, and their return could spell trouble for the survivors
Image: Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC
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