‘The Walking Dead’ Season 3: Carl Grows Up

Published 3 years ago by

Chandler Riggs The Walking Dead The Walking Dead Season 3: Carl Grows Up

Along with the enormous fan base enjoyed by The Walking Dead – in both television and comic book formats – comes a vocal group of detractors looking to air their displeasure at aspects of the show they may find annoying or incomprehensible. One facet that constantly earned the derision of zombie fans everywhere was the characterization of Carl (Chandler Riggs), and his increased irresponsibility – even while facing mortal danger.

Carl’s inability to remain in one place (like the house) or under the less-than-watchful eye of his mother, Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies), became such a constant in the show that it – along with many other facets – led to the creation of a number of Internet memes. While most fans were laughing, many called for the removal of Carl and Lori from the show based on the characters’ flagrant ineptitude at surviving in a fictional zombie apocalypse.

Well, fans, executive producer Glen Mazzarra has heard the complaints, and in a recent interview with TV Guide, says the days of Carl wandering in and out of dangerous situations, or inadvertently contributing to the deaths of righteously indignant characters, are at an end. What exactly brings about this change in character is unknown; perhaps Carl has learned from his blunders on Hershel’s farm, or perhaps he comes to realize that in a world where the dead roam the streets and people like The Governor (David Morrissey) exist, it’s simply time to do away with childish behavior.

Mazzara stated:

“We’re interested in exploring Carl as a child soldier in this war against the walkers. He becomes a very, very effective, strong part of the group. He’s no longer the young child who needs to be cared for and who needs to be minded. That Carl is gone.”

While many might cringe at the term “child soldier,” the intent is clear: Carl’s season 3 story arc will revolve around him being a productive member of the group that his father Rick (Andrew Lincoln) is trying so hard to keep alive. Whether or not that will do anything to quiet critics of the character is another question entirely, but Mazzara would like to offer some explanation for Carl’s actions.

Carl Grimes in action The Walking Dead The Walking Dead Season 3: Carl Grows Up

That's some good work, Carl

In a separate interview with The Los Angeles Times, Mazzara pointed out that the writers took a risk portraying Carl the way that they did, and at the end of the day, the littlest Grimes is just a boy, prone to do foolish boy things. Mazzara said:

“Everyone wants to know why Carl’s not in the house. Well, it’s boring to sit in a house. And he’s a little boy and he wants to mix it up and stuff. And he’s walking through the woods and finds a zombie trapped in the mud and he starts doing what any Huck Finn would do and starts throwing rocks at the monster. And then later that is the same zombie that pulls itself free and kills Dale. And the writers were very nervous about that, you know? It feels earned, but it’s a risk. Because Dale is a beloved character and if this other character is involved and responsible for that death, is the audience going to now hate Carl? But I thought the story was worth the chance.”

Season 2 wasn’t without its faults, but it did noticeably pick up in later episodes – which should be credited to Mazzara’s steering of the ship. Also, the showrunner’s willingness to address the concerns/complaints of fans without simply kowtowing to the masses is a sign that season 3 of The Walking Dead is likely in the right hands.

The Walking Dead season 3 will premiere this fall on AMC.

Source: TV Guide, The Los Angeles Times

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  1. About time he started growing up and being written in as he is in the graphic novels!

    • Ten bucks says he’s suddenly a gun-toting badass that no other person in the group could possibly contend with, even though he’s a kid and has been less than useless up to this point.

      • Dude I’ll take that bet. I have a whole lot more faith in the writers than that! Sure he’ll change into a much better character but nothing that will put him above characters like his dad Rick and of course the best character in my opinion Daryl Dixon.

        • SPOILER
          Let’s just say that he is a lot more involved in the killings this season as oppose to the last 2 seasons if that helps any LOL. Is he the Rick/Daryl type? No

    • what Teresa replied I’m taken by surprise that any one can get8000 in one month on the network. did you read this

    • I am agreed with you….!!

  2. I just find it hard to believe that Carl is going from completely useless to unstoppable badass (you know they’ll make him tougher than Michonne) in a short time. Season 2 picked up exactly where season 1 ended, so it’s safe to assume that season 3 will pick up the day after where season 2 left off.

    So how is the audience supposed to shut off their brains and believe that a useless little brat who can’t listen to anything said to him by an adult is going to become anything more than a bigger piece of uselessness than what he already is.

    And how hypocritical are Rick and his brain-dead wife? Lori didn’t trust Shane because he was unhinged and dangerous, and the way Rick was acting in the season finale, he’s essentially become Shane, but Lori and the others are ready to bow at his feet? I know it made it look like the group is frightened by Rick’s new behavior, but I bet that’ll be forgotten in the season 3 premiere, which as I said before, will probably begin the day after season 2’s finale.

    • It’s just a show. Calm down.

      • just because his comment is long doesn’t mean that he isn’t calm…

        • LOL…get used to it. Rick is going to take on that darker tone. Is the group afraid? I don’t think they are but I think they know sometimes it’s better to stick together than to go off alone. Is Carl going to be a “badass” like Michonne? No. He is going to take care of himself more now this year instead of somebody else doing it.

    • I don’t think “unstoppable badass” is a very fair or accurate description. They’re just saying he’s no longer a kid in need of protection and now a member of the group who’s on a little more equal footing, just like in the books.

  3. So…………..

    Is it fall yet?

  4. Gary: easy. Just let something terrifying, near-death experience, happen to Carl in the first episode, which makes him change is mind about how to behave. Something that makes him realize he needs to change and act differently.

    I’m really looking forward to season 3!

    • As if what you described hasn’t happened yet in this zombie apocalypse story? The kid should have matured long ago, and his mother, who has let him wonder about repeatedly, should have also matured long ago…

      • “…and his mother, who has let him wander about repeatedly…”

        Should have written “…and his mother and father, who have let him wander about repeatedly…”

        Yes, Rick is alot more involved the hard decisions and actions in the groups survival, but there were times that he should have put some parental authority down on Carl, and never really did.

    • what like shooting someone in the head….oh wait

  5. man i cant wait till october

  6. carl doesn’t act like a normal boy…
    this isn’t how any normal kid would behave in a situation of great danger.

    • It’s due to some questionable writing. The fact that his mother has let him escape her watchful eye so many times is also due to some questionable writing.

      • its hard to keep track of kids .. just saying ..

        • …just one kid, in a zombie apocalypse. Shouldn’t be that hard.

  7. I just wish they kill off Lori…PLZ!! :)

    • You and me both. That character needs to die.

      • That Lori you don’t like….She’s a sweetheart compared to the raging nag in the comic

        • LOL, sooo true

        • Meh… she just seems like an average female to me.

          Add to that the living dead… and well… you have annoyance.


      Read the comics, she does die by getting shot in the back… She also falls on the baby and crushes it.

      Sooner or later you see her die.


      • I read the comic and I know she and the baby die.
        I still want to see her die on the show.

        • Dude. thats pretty lame of you to put that.

          • Spoilers based on the comics might not be even close to being a spoiler in the show; there are far too many differences with character development and deaths, even. Take any observation based on the comic with a grain of salt.

  8. Yes, Carl was problematic too, particularly in light of the comic books and normal kid behavior. My kid his age would NEVER act that way. Think about this, in a Zombie Apocalypse where the mother wants her son to live how did she not beat the kids butt on multiple and occasions, her an Rick both? To me this was just poor story planning on the part of writers. But to their credit, Shane was becoming a storyline nuisance, and he never played much of a role in the comics although I see why they kept him in the series.

    But I don’t find it hard to believe that Carl can “grow up”. Kids are so highly adaptable, and look at child soldiers in other parts of the world. So it will be interesting to see what happens, and it is great to see Rick finally growing some balls.

    Hopefully he will slap the hell out of hypocritical and disrespectful Lori. That end of the series plot turn made no sense.

    • I just dont understand how people consider him so annoying? he’s a child. Every child does not behave the way they should, even during a catastrophic event. Some mature quick, some dont at all sadly, and some need time or something to occur to bring out the responsibility.

      My thing is that people tend to use the whole “My kids would never” argument. All kids are NOT the same and thats why the parents must do their best to punish or teach them better ways, and even thats not a guarantee. I think that Carl is being portrayed perfectly on the show (even though different from the book). If he were a perfect kid, it would be fine, yes. But I laugh at you guys complaining about a kid thats not being portrayed believably, in a world where the dead is walking around, feasting on the living. lmfao

      Cant wait for FALL!!!!

      • But I laugh at you guys complaining about a kid thats not being portrayed believably, in a world where the dead is walking around, feasting on the living. lmfao)

        LOL you tell’m!

  9. i’m i the only one who doesn’t like this program, i hate all the characters..

    • I was just thinking that. I watch the show, but im starting to wonder why we’re supposed to care if this group survives or not. Which characters am i supposed to really care about? When i watched Lost, i was completely attatched to several characters, and i was totally invested in their well being. In walking dead, it really doesnt bother me to think of none of these people making it out alive.. Ill still watch, but an entertaining death of any of these characters would be better then watching them survive.

      • Yeah, the only character that I still sort of liked was Dale, so now I’m not even sure if I want to keep watching.

        • LOL, unless you’re Rick, Carl, Michonne, or Glenn then you’re not really safe in this series. People will say oh, well Dale made it farther in the comics then in the series. Well, yes, but the actor also asked to leave the show to follow Frank soo off he went. Morrissey will completely change this series for the better IMO, LOL.
          Let’s just say that Season 3 is nothing like Season 2 as far as that “dragging” feeling.

      • Naahh, at Lost I only cared about Sawyer, Jin and Sun in the end. The rest became a whiny nuisance as well. TWD has great characters!

      • This show is the s***

      • Oh come on now, Daryl by far is so much more entertaining alive! Love the opposing dynamic he brings to the personalities in the group. He’s GOT to stick around IMO

  10. I don’t like Lori but I think the way she reacted to Shanes death at the end of season 2 makes her seem much more interesting. Hopefully they will take that reaction and the impact it will have on her marriage and develop it in season 3. Also Rick seems to be toughening up so Carl may follow in his fathers footsteps

    • Frankly, I didn’t understand her reaction to Shane’s death, since she all but suggested to her husband that he must die. I thought her reaction was either a result of poor writing or poor acting. She could have been cold about it, but seemingly angry?! It didn’t make sense.

      • Agreed. There’s such a lack of continuity (and logic) in this show that it gets frustrating. I for one, liked how Darabont made it his own interpretation. Mazarra seems too intent on bringing things back to the comic books that the quality is dipping dramatically.

        • I think most of that reaction was based on Carl shooting Shane and you throw in the fact that I don’t think she ever thought Rick would actually kill his best friend….yeah, she’s starting to realize that Rick is becoming more of a darker person. I think you will see more of that struggle in season 3.

          • I actually think she was mad because he didn’t share with them that they were already infected.

  11. Carl realises wat a usless b**ch his mother is and puts a bullet in her head, he then feels guilty and does the same to himself.

  12. This show is awesome I’ve really enjoyed it. Season 1 was great season 2 started slow but ended strong. Season 3 will definately be intense I can’t wait for the show to return in October.

  13. Please kill Lori.

  14. This show is by far the best show on TV to date.I think the writers have set up for a great season 3. Each character have there issues butall are great in there own rite.

  15. Guess Carl will have no choice to toughen up, prison will do that to a boy. Lori on the other hand as written is just a real dirt-bag in my opinion. The way I look at it if the zombie apocalypse didn’t happen and Rick had of woken up the mess with him and Shane would have happened anyway. She’s just hiding behind Carl and now the baby she is carrying, and the way she pays attention to Carl he seems expendable to. If not for those two factors Rick might have left her on the side of the road and wished her good luck.

    • I agree.

  16. I for one really hope they go way off track of the damn books. I’m in the prison sections and I’m rooting for the Zombies….Many those characters are a bunch of dumb whiny jerks as the story progresses. I kept hearing that people were upset that the series wasn’t following the book enough….Had they…That first few shows of season one would have been it….

    • I stopped reading the comics around the prison setting too. I realized I was reading to see who would die next instead of how everyone would survive.

  17. I don’t regard this show as being in the realm as the books. They’ve taken certain elements too far in this show . Left others alive longer than they should’ve been for dramas sake, and overall not let the characters develope as they do in the comics. Granted this is a great watch. I’m glad Lori dies at the end of this season THANK GOD!! That chick can’t act which makes it even worse.

  18. Let’s all wear tank tops and shorts. Let’s all just do whatever reckless things we want to do. Let’s all walk alone at night. Let’s none of us watch the children. Ever. It’s not like they had to worry, the real danger in season 2 was the people drama, not zombies. It’s not a show about a zombie apocalypse, it’s a soap opera with zombies.

  19. The “please kill lori fans” will have to wait until the end of season 4, maybe the end of 3, but since 2 seasons are at the prison, it will probably be the end of 4.

  20. i am so pod at lori . its like what the f was rick suppose to do .. let shane kill him .. what a bia .. i hope she turns next season and is blasted in the head ..

  21. Good. I hate Carl, he killed my favourite character – Daryl.

    • Not Daryl. Dale. Always got those two mixed up 😛

      • yeah, I agree with you. Dale was my favorite character also.

  22. Man… did anyone else HARD at the pick of Carl being grabbed by the walker, and the caption “That’s some good work, Carl”

    Ah man.. I scrolled down and burst into a laughing fit.

    • *pic

  23. i think we shall see a different Carl in S3

  24. Cant believe no one has hated on Carl. Cant believe this kid turns bad ass. No way! Carl? Lets not forget this kid let a walker live!!! If this little twirp was part of my clan I would make him walk around naked on a leash as walker bait. The worthless, pale faced loser kid who kills off good characters and wastes film with his pathetic acting is all of a sudden going to turn Mel Gibson on us? No freaking way and if he does, well then the show just signed its own personal death warrant, cause no one will buy it. Every time the camera turns to him I want him to become the next victim, but instead he’s asking some stupid question, doing homework, or stealing guns. He’s written like a kid whose got no clue and acts like a character that has never once taken an acting class. I have a severe suspicion that this kid is the producers dumb kid who needs attention, or maybe the directors bastard kid? I got an idea. How about Carl walks into a fridge looking for some Kool Aid and BAMM a frozen walker rips out his heart and washes it down with a Capri Sun?

    KILL CARL SEASON 3 please!

  25. Season 3 looks to Comic book/resident evil movie stupid. And I’m basing this on the sword wielding broad who’s name escapes me right now. It looks like it’s going to turn into a resident evil ripoff type thing where she is running around doing backflips and chopping zombies apart with no fear or realism. She had zombies on a chain for godsake. Just because they have no arms they have somehow lost all aggression or desire to attack this cloaked moron wandering around the woods at 2am. I like the first 2 seasons cause they somewhat acted like normal people would act similar to night of the living dead which is a classic but this inclusion of this ninja woman is making me not want to watch it I’ll give it a shot if she’s an undefeatable terminator I’m done.

  26. How about you run them over in your truck.

  27. People who are ragging on Michonne(the ‘ninja chick’): The zombies she has haven’t lost all aggression, she cut their lower jaws off so they can’t bite. Because she is surrounded by zombies who are not attacking her; other zombies leave her alone. She is a loner who has survived BY HERSELF. So yes, she can hold her own. What’s wrong with having her be able to fight awesomely? She has had too.

    People who hate Carl. OMG. He was raised in a city, going to 2nd grade. His parents were always fighting. They never let him on anything. Now the dynamics have changed. But his parents still parent him the same way: protecting him from information. They don’t think about the fact that he has already changed from a 2nd grader doing math to a child in a dangerous situation. He wants to know whats going on, and since they will not tell him because they want things to be ‘normal’ for Carl, he has to find out on his own. His parents are not going to win Best Parents of the Year. But Carl is alive right? Yes, I know Lori needs to either lock him up (yeah, cause that will help) or understand that he will never be ‘normal’ and let him become what he needs to be to survive. And Rick needs to realize that he has to parent more. These are normal realization for parents who are imperfect (OMG all of us!). I do think Lori is annoying but that is because she wasn’t raised to live in this situation and she hasn’t adapted. Some people take a long time to totally accept what is happening. So she does illogical things. But I think she is real character: a confused woman who thought she lost her husband, fell in love with his BFF, and then found out that he isn’t dead and BFF is an jerk. Anymore questions, email me at keewee.ville@yahoo.com

    • Second grade? Thats one old second grader he looks between 10 to 12

  28. Totally agree with kelsie. You wrote down my thoughts exactly!!!

  29. Why are people going on and on about the comic!?
    They are obviously doing the T.V series differently so that it doesn’t get stale and predictable. Can’t anyone just see this as the same story but just another possible way that things may have happened.
    I mean no one has complained about Sophia dying in season 2….. I was gutted and couldn’t believe that they would even kill off such an important character (to Carl) which probably contributes to him becoming more ‘soldier’ like in season 3. I mean he won’t have her to play with like he does in the comic any more, so I suppose being surrounded by adults will also make him grow up.
    Kelsie I completely agree with what you have said. I just wish people would stop complaining and just enjoy TWD for what it is.

    • nice work sean