The Walking Dead's happy flashforward scene which kicked off Season 8 might be more grim than anyone could have imagined.
Spoilers for The Walking Dead midseason 8 finale follow!
In the wake of a season which saw Rick Grimes being bullied by Negan only to finally rise up and chase him out of town in the Season 7 finale, Season 8 launched with the show's 100th episode by teasing a flashforward scene. In the scene, Rick was very much an old man, his little girl Judith had grown to be about six years old, Michonne waited happily for him in the living room, while his son Carl played music for everyone to enjoy.
The only problem with the vision (so far) is that Carl won't be around to fulfill it. Carl's death turns the vision into more of a terrifying and heartbreaking nightmare for both characters and fans.
While many suspect the vision of the future to have been Rick's, such a scenario would be a worst case at this point. If Rick were having an hallucination of what life could have been, similar to the vision he had in the Season 7 premiere which saw Glenn, Abraham, and Alexandria gathered around a dinner table, there may be more characters in danger. The leader of Alexandria saw everyone he loved gathered in his house for a joyous morning before attending the festival outside. With Carl gone, both Michonne and Judith remain as possibilities to bow out, prompting Rick to imagine his life as it could have been had they survived.
It's a horrifying future for Rick, who was once defined as nothing more than "a man looking for his wife and son."
Then, there is the best case scenario, which remains a bitter pill to swallow: the vision was actually Carl's.
When The Walking Dead returns for the rest of its eighth season, Carl Grimes will succumb to his walker bite. Similar to Andrea in The Walking Dead comics, the character will likely have a living funeral of sorts. Such a sendoff will allow him to say goodbye to the people he has journeyed from Alexandria to Atlanta with, and each new face encountered along the way.
While bidding his father farewell, Carl will likely make a plea for humanity. After all, Carl actor Chandler Riggs claims the character's death is meant to help Negan stay alive following the All Out War storyline, meaning Rick Grimes will show him mercy. Should Carl's farewell be one packed with the character's heartbreaking vision of what the future could have been and can still be should Rick choose to allow life to prosper.
Both scenarios are dark and unfortunate but with Carl Grimes beyond saving, the only hope for Rick, his family, and his fans, is that no one else who lives under his roof is claimed during the war with Negan.
The Walking Dead returns for the second half of its eighth season on February 25, 2018. For complete coverage and insider info all season long, follow @BrandonDavisBD on Twitter.