Where Sunday's episode of The Walking Dead is concerned, it was a bit of a mixed bag of emotions.
We learned Maggie is alive (yay), but she and Sasha are at Hilltop under the thumb of sexist dolt Gregory (booooo). We got to see a much more dynamic arc from Jesus (yay), but poor Daryl is still somewhere being tormented by Negan and Dwight (booooo).
The pros and cons of young Carl's role in this week's episode were pretty evenly stacked too. On the plus side, he's becoming more interesting — taking more calculated risks, actually having entire conversations with people.
Also a highlight for Carl? The kid finally got somewhere with, like, the only other moody teenager around, Enid. The two proved to be zombocalyptic teen love goals when they managed to roller skate around holding hands and share a kiss.
Unfortunately for Enid, Carl's sole purpose for ditching Alexandria wasn't just to make goo-goo eyes, erm, eye at her. Rather, he was on a mission to seek out and destroy Negan. The last we see of him in the episode is when he pops out from behind some of the rations Negan's cronies hijacked from Hilltop and shoved in the back of their truck. Of course, he was popping out to give a silent nod and wave to Jesus, who is also on a mission to sniff out Negan's secret hideaway. More on that here.
So what does all of this mean for Carl? The kid hasn't always made the most sound decisions, and his temper has gotten him into trouble more than once. Will things play out the way they did in Robert Kirkland's comic series? Or will AMC stray from the comic series once more?
Here are a few theories about how things might shake out for Rick's progeny.
If this happens, it'll be the comic arc coming to fruition. We will see Carl make it to Negan's camp and actually make an attempt on his life — unsuccessfully. He does take out a few of Negan's men, but then Dwight puts the kibosh on the assassination attempt. Fortunately for Carl, Negan decides not to unleash holy hell on his head with Lucille. Unfortunately for Carl, Negan admires his pluck enough to take him under his wing. The big indicator this may be the case on the show is that Carl hopped in the back of the enemy's truck as they headed away from Hilltop, which is how things started in the comic world.
Well, now obviously this wouldn't be ideal. And since we've already lost two core characters to the business end of Negan's baseball bat this season, I'm inclined to say it will not happen. However, if the show chooses to veer from the comics, they could seriously shake things up for our survivors by offing Carl. After all, Negan is typically absolute when it comes to the rules, and the rules mandate that there must be consequences for actions he doesn't approve of.
In this week's episode, there was quite a bit of focus (eesh, no pun intended) drawn to Carl's missing eye and how it affects him. He is no longer a great shot with the gun. He also kind of sucks at driving, but that could be heredity — we all saw Lori behind the wheel. So if Carl does make it close enough to Negan to get a shot off, it's entirely possible his aim will err slightly to the left and the bullet will lodge itself in Lucille. The only way this scenario would work out for Carl is if he is hidden from sight when this faulty shot is taken and manages to escape. 'Cause, let's be real: even if Lucille was shattered, Negan could do some serious damage with that thing.
Maybe Carl makes it all the way to Negan's camp, but he is discovered before he has time to do anything too crazy. He would likely be smart enough to see this as an opportunity and try to get Negan to let him stay there. This could still wind up with the comic twist of Negan taking Carl under his wing, but without Carl making that first attempt on Negan's life.
At this point, it's safe to say Jesus is a pretty solid dude. He really stepped up for Maggie and Sasha this week, proving the guy is one of the good ones. When he sees Carl hidden in the same truck he is a stowaway on, Jesus definitely seems impressed by the kid's bravado. However, that's not to say he would still stand idly by while Carl walked into what is basically a suicide mission. In this hypothetical scenario, Jesus would either find a way to keep Carl from getting to Negan's camp or he would deflect attention from Carl once they arrived in a way that would prevent Carl from attempting to kill Negan.
Believe me, this is not a scenario I'd like to see exacted. However, since Daryl isn't a character original to the comics, there really is no such thing as sticking to the script with him. Since he seems to be pretty darn broken down these days and already blames himself for Glenn's death, maybe he finds redemption for himself by offering to accept the consequences after Carl tries to kill Negan. In a way, becoming a martyr would be a fitting death for Daryl.
I mean, Carl has Rick and Michonne in his corner — neither of whom is likely to take it sitting down when they discover he is gone. They would probably head straight to Hilltop to see if he showed up there, at which point they would run into Enid. She would reticently tell them what she knows of Carl's plans, and they would set off to save him. And because they are Rick and Michonne, they would somehow pull this off.
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