A weak and feverish Carl reunited with Rick and Michonne in the closing moments of the midseason finale, lifting his shirt to reveal an incurable bite.
Alexandria has been deserted. Only Rick, Michonne and Carl remain.
Carl is taken to the weary church where the Grimes family say their goodbyes.
"Carl, I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you," Rick says. "A father's job is to protect his son."
"Love," Carl tells him. "It's just to love."
He's done that.
Time to go. Carl unholsters a gun.
"No. No," Rick says.
"Carl," stars Michonne, "it should be—"
"I know. Somebody you love," Carl says. "But you can't do it yourself if I still can. I grew up. I have to do this. Me. I love you."
"I love you too."
Carl mutters his strongest "I love you, dad."
"I love you, Carl. I love you so much," Rick says, kissing his son's forehead. "I'll make it real. I will."
Those visions, the glimpses into a future that could be with a lush and thriving Alexandria free from war and conflict, is a fantasy for Rick to strive towards.
A daydream Carl will never get to see.
Outside, in the break of day, Rick and Michonne wait for the inevitable.
There, within the ruins of the church, the boy turns the gun on himself. A muffled bang. It's over.
"Michonne is definitely a very mother-like figure for him," actor Chandler Riggs told ComicBook.com.
"They've always been really good friends and before Enid came along, she was probably his closest friend and the only person that he really opened up to. The same goes for her."
The katana-wielding warrior has acted as mother to the Grimes children after their mother, Lori, died in season 3. Even before forging a later romantic relationship with Rick, Michonne developed a bond with Carl — and actor Chandler Riggs.
"Everything she and Rick do is to protect Carl, so this is kind of the worst nightmare realized for him to reveal [the bite] at the end of the last episode," Michonne actress Danai Gurira told HuffingtonPost.
"These are very resourceful people who do everything they can. Rick and Michonne don't really stop easily. What do you do when that's what you're facing? I was devastated. Michonne was devastated."
"The back eight is completely different from the front eight. This episode happens and everything changes. We spin off into a completely different new world."
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.0comments