Carl's death has been the number one subject of conversation for Walking Dead during the show's long hiatus, with many voicing their disapproval over the show killing off such a central character. Rick (Andrew Lincoln) sits beneath a tree with stained glass windows hanging from its boughs. "I know that some fans online have been very upset, but that's by design", he said. There's certainly a lot of story to tell without that central character. "I know you will", he tells her.
Beyond this, of course, the most intriguing aspect to Morgan's scenes is enforced by the fact that - in seven episodes time - Morgan will have somehow made his way into the centre of action alongside Madison (Kim Dickens) and company in the forthcoming season of Fear the Walking Dead.
Biggest question: There's a good chance that numerous people watching this episode felt uncomfortable when Eugene and Negan appeared in Carl's dream, both cheerfully talking to Judith as if neither of them had ever been part of the savage group that destroyed her home. But I don't think you should read too much into that. (Or the red, as it were.) Rick's bloodshot eyes have been teased ever since the season premiere, to be sure, as well as him uttering Saddiq's quasi-mantra about letting mercy prevail over his wrath.
Speaking to Metro.co.uk, Lennie James, who plays Morgan in the show and features throughout latest episode Honor, paid tribute to Chandler describing his departure as a "real loss". But it wasn't clear at the time that a big bloody wound was responsible for Rick being all sweat-soaked and weak.
Carl urged his father and Michonne to find mercy and compassion for the future, that it's something worth living for, finding a better way. Here's how Scott Gimple explained it to THR. Carol joins up with Morgan a moment after he sees young Henry sneak into the compound.
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However, though there was a grace and dignity in how Carl chose to end it all, the episode itself struggled to give his death that same respect; repeatedly cutting away and delaying the moment in an effort to make the additional airtime feel earned.
Here's another gut-punch: When Carl first reaches for his gun, Michonne stops him, "It should be - " she begins, clearly about to say that she wants to be the one to end his life. And it really sets it up for its next evolution. In that case, this scene could take place directly after Rick's final confrontation with Negan, and the sheriff would allow his nemesis to live.
But unfortunately, more often than not, he's been the catalyst for some of the show's worst decisions, precisely because he's stupidly important to the show. We've got the main talking point from the first half of the season out of the way quickly without lingering on it; it'll be fascinating to see where the show goes from here. Not a flashforward, not Rick's dream, but Carl's perspective, a hope for a better future, not just for the good guys, but for Negan as well. It's always been about him, you see - and as a gunshot rings out signaling the end of his son, Rick's objective lies around him in tatters.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 p.m. ET. Probably not, since it took nine episodes to get to answers behind the flash-forwards. He still has Michonne and Judith, but it will be interesting to see how he responds in the episodes to come without Carl in the picture. Then head to our midseason premiere schedule to see when all the other new and returning shows will be hitting primetime.