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“The Walking Dead” episode 9: “Honor” recap

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Image Courtesy of IMDB

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“It wasn’t The Saviors. It just happened. I got bit.”

There’s been plenty of heartbreaking deaths throughout the eight-season run of “The Walking Dead,” but the loss in the midseason premiere might’ve just been the most gut-wrenching—especially for Rick (Andrew Lincoln).

The revelation that Carl (Chandler Riggs) suffered a fatal bite during a struggle with a walker in the midseason finale might’ve just been the most shocking twist the show has doled out.

As viewers waited months to see if the show was planning a faux death for Carl, it became quickly apparent that was not the case—as the episode opened with a teary-eyed Rick digging an apparent grave with Michonne (Danai Gurira).

After finally seeing the moment he got bit, a montage ensues of Carl’s final day.

At peace with his fate, a montage ensues in which he writes goodbye letters to everyone closest to him, spends time with Judith and prepares to protect Alexandria from the Saviors.

Back in the sewer, Carl attempts to reassure a broken Rick and Michonne that everything will be okay as the rest of the survivors tearfully look on.

Explosions rack the sewers as they attempt to make Carl comfortable in his last moments, causing Michonne to lash out at Dwight (Austin Amelio) and beg him to get his former companions to cease their attacks.

Once the Saviors leave, the rest of the gang decides to converge on the Hilltop, but not before saying their goodbyes to Carl.

First up—in what may have been the most tear-jerking scene of the entire episode—Judith receives Carl’s hat and begins to cry.

Daryl (Norman Reedus) takes her away from her dying brother and reminds Carl that he saved lives.

The newest member of the group—Siddiq (Avi Nash)—promises him that his death won’t be in vain.

Oddly enough, some of the characters in the sewer didn’t say goodbye—like Tara (Alanna Masterson).

This lack of emotion for some made the presence of some characters feel inappropriate since many others—like Enid (Katelyn Nacon)—deserved to have been with Carl in his final moments.

Meanwhile, Morgan (Lennie James) continues his path of violence as he and Carol (Melissa McBride) work to save Ezekiel (Khary Payton) from his Savior captors.

As they take refuge in the Kingdom’s auditorium, Morgan and Carol quickly overpower their opponents, with Morgan graphically disemboweling one and shooting Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith).

Ezekiel attempts to convinces Morgan not to kill the taunting Savior until Henry (Macsen Lintz) appears and carries out the deed himself—seemingly in honor of his deceased brother, Benjamin (Logan Miller), who was killed under Gavin’s watch last season.

Back in a burning Alexandria, Rick and Michonne struggle to bring Carl to an ecclesiastical location for his final moments.

Once inside the church, Carl reflects on the time he killed a child in the prison they inhabited back in the third season.

To ease his regret Rick assures him that he did what had to be done given the circumstances of the new world, but Carl interjects to tell him that he can’t kill all of the Saviors so there can be “something” after the violence ends.

This “something” that Carl dreams of is a world in which all of the rivaling communities exist as one—a world Rick promises he will make a reality for his dying son.

The father-son duo tearfully proclaim their love for each other as Carl pulls a gun and prepares to take his own life—to spare his father and best friend the pain of killing him—in his most selfless action yet.

Outside, a single shot rings out as the smoke billows around the church—causing Rick and Michonne to break down.

Carl’s body—wrapped in a white cloth—lies next to his makeshift grave as the scene cuts to his dream once again.

This time, Judith walks through a community garden to greet one of the inhabitants: Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan)—toting a flannel instead of his signature leather jacket.

Although “Honor” may go down as the show’s most heartbreaking episode and Carl’s death as the most unnecessary, the execution of this homage to Rick’s now-deceased son contained an element seriously lacking this past season: emotion.

Not only did Carl’s death leave viewers with tears in their eyes, it also makes you wonder what will happen next—especially considering that his death does not align with events in the comics.

“The Walking Dead” airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC. The next episode in the current eighth season is “The Lost and the Plunderers,” which aired on March 4. It will return to the battle on the Hilltop as the characters deal with the devastating loss of Carl.

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“The Walking Dead” episode 9: “Honor” recap