He’s not dead yet. And that leaves us with some questions.
At the very end of this past Sunday night’s mid-season finale of “The Walking Dead” (Season 8), we were left with something of a cliffhanger. Carl revealed to Rick, and to us, that he had sustained a zombie bite to his stomach, suggesting that it’s only a matter of time before Carl is either a) put down, or b) starts getting *really* hungry.
But what’s interesting is that Carl hasn’t actually died yet. Couple that with showrunner Scott M. Gimple’s coy comments on “Talking Dead” immediately after the episode aired – Gimple skirted around the issue of whether or not Carl is actually going to die, even if he did seem to suggest that Carl’s days are indeed numbered – and you wouldn’t be too out of line to posit that maybe, just maybe, the show is pulling a fast one on us.
After all, Glenn’s infamous dumpster incident made it clear that AMC is not above resorting to pretty sleazy tactics as a means of getting us talking and tuning in.
Granted, actor Chandler Riggs’ father has publicly proclaimed that his son was “fired” from the series, thus why he was killed off, but let’s have a little fun here, shall we?
There are a few conceivable ways that Carl could live…
1) THE BITE DOESN’T ACTUALLY KILL CARL
According to “The Walking Dead” creator Robert Kirkman, it’s not actually a bite from a walker that turns a human into a walker, but rather the infection (or blood loss) that results from that bite. As we learned back in Season 2, every human being left alive on the planet is already infected, meaning that anyone who dies – no matter the circumstances – comes back to life as a zombie. So it’s not the bite that’s been turning characters such as Deanna, for example; rather, she died as a result of an infection from the bite, and in death she became a zombie.
So then, armed with this information, is it so hard to believe that Carl will somehow survive infection from the bite itself, therefore not dying and not becoming a walker?
All Scott Gimple really said on “Talking Dead” this past Sunday night is that “the bite will play out the way bites play out on the show,” which is a pretty coy way of speaking about the Carl shocker that certainly leaves room to line up with this particular theory. Carl will become infected by the bite (as he clearly already is), as we’ve seen bites affect characters on the show in the past, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the bite will actually kill him… now does it?
2) CARL IS IMMUNE
Another theory suggests that Carl Grimes is one of any number of humans left alive who is actually immune to the zombie virus, but this particular theory operates under the assumption that it’s the bite itself that infects the bitten with said virus. If Carl is indeed immune, sure, he wouldn’t become a zombie after he dies from the bite, which would certainly be an interesting twist for the show – a twist that could perhaps lead to a cure that would put an end to the walkers altogether.
But given the rules of the series, Carl would still die from the infection caused by the bite in this scenario, which shoots a big hole through it as a means of keeping Carl alive.
3) A CURE IS COMING
Again, a cure for the virus inside every living human being wouldn’t actually save Carl’s life, so there’s no sense exploring this theory in relation to his survival.
4) CARL WASN’T EVEN BITTEN BY A WALKER
The wackiest theory about this one, just for fun, is that when Carl was bitten by what we assume was a walker back in Episode 6, he actually wasn’t bitten by a walker at all.
This theory is that Carl was bitten by a Whisperer, a clan – not yet introduced within the series – of survivors who cloak themselves in zombie skins as a means of blending in and avoiding detection by the walkers. An amusing theory, if nothing more, but if you go back and watch the moment where Carl is bitten in Episode 6, it was clearly at the hands of an actual walker.
What do you think? Is Carl going to die? If not, how will they keep him alive?