The Walking Dead's latest episode said goodbye to Rick (Andrew Lincoln); here's why it didn't include Carl (Chandler Riggs). AMC's post-apocalyptic series is entering uncharted territory as it goes on without its primary protagonist. And while many were initially skeptical about how things would all play out, the show was able to craft what many consider a proper send-off for the character.
To say that Rick's farewell episode was emotional would be an understatement. The back-and-forth between reality and his hallucinations amped up viewers' experience of watching the show, especially seeing him interact with Shane (Jon Bernthal), Hershel (Scott Wilson) and Sasha (Sonequa Martin-Green). However, many have been asking why Carl, who had an untimely death last season, wasn't in the episode.
Speaking with Huffington Post, Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang offered an explanation as to why Rick's emotional farewell episode didn't feature Carl. As it turns out, it all has to do with the personal journey that the former sheriff was going through, and what seeing his son would've meant in it.
“We dove into this idea of the ‘third man phenomenon.’ When people are close to death, sometimes they imagine seeing somebody that they knew or that they don’t know that helped drive them to survive and keep them going. We had these three particular characters [Shane, Hershel and Sasha] who are sort of filling an emotional need for him in the moment, but Rick’s entire journey is looking for his family, and I felt, creatively felt, that if he sees Lori or Carl he would feel like, ‘OK, I fulfilled my mission. I found them. I’m home. I can lay down and die now.’”
“He needed to keep going for the family that is still there, and so to have that kind of restlessness of like, ‘I still haven’t found them. Where are they? Where are they?’ bringing him back to realizing his family has always been there all along - that the people he’s fighting for now are still his family - that’s what keeps him going. So he can’t find them, otherwise it’d be too easy for him to give up.”
Kang's explanation makes a lot of sense. Throughout Rick's whole ordeal, the main reason why he's kept on going despite several times when he's been ready to give up was his original goal of creating a better future for the remaining survivors, which previously included his wife and son, and currently includes daughter Judith. Seeing Carl in one of his hallucinations would've reminded him of everything that he's lost, and also made him look forward to a reunion with loved ones in the afterlife, dissuading him from going on for the sake of those still among the living.
That said, it's also not a secret that Riggs' sudden exit from The Walking Dead had its own set of controversies. It's possible Riggs wouldn't have wanted to come back, even if he'd been asked to. Seeing the father and son together (despite the former not really dying in the end) would've been something fans loved. Perhaps a reunion can still materialize during the three-film arc centering on Rick that's planned to finish the character's journey.
The Walking Dead season 9 airs Sundays on AMC.
Source: Huffington Post