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The Walking Dead: Carl’s Death Sent the Show into a Ratings Nosedive, as the Worst Death in Show’s History

Published on February 3rd, 2021 | Updated on February 3rd, 2021 | By FanFest

Carl Grimes was the future of The Walking Dead. Don’t believe me? (Spoilers Ahead!) Carl’s death was also the biggest error in the writing of the series. Still don’t believe me?

Chandler Riggs, who portrayed Carl for 8 seasons didn’t want to leave and Carl Grimes was never supposed to die.

The Source Material

The Walking Dead comic book creator, Robert Kirkman, surprised readers this year when he abruptly ended the book at number 183. The book follows Rick Grimes’ story. However, as Rick aged and became disabled, it was clear that Carl was the future of book and even took on more focus with time. After Rick’s death in the comics, Carl was the focus and the future. Ultimately, in the final book, it was clear that Carl was the central character and gave credit to Rick’s legacy. Carl’s ability to now live and grow up in a civilized world was Rick’s ultimate achievement.

As well, the current story lines on The Walking Dead, the Whisperers, Lydia, and the future story line, with the Commonwealth, all find Carl as the central character in the comics. Henry took on Carl’s story with Lydia on the show. Judith took on Carl’s story with the relationship with Negan. And, who knows who will take on the story line with the Commonwealth now that both Carl and Rick are no longer on the show.

The Show’s Material

Season 8 saw the death of Carl Grimes after he was bitten in the side while protecting Saddiq (Avi Nash). Yes, the episodes with his passing were difficult to watch. The mourning of Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) was gut wrenching. Additionally, watching other characters mourn was equally difficult. However, it didn’t make his death and the timing of his death right in the minds of viewers and for the purpose of telling the overall story of The Walking Dead.

Remember when Lori died? Remember Rick post-Lori? He was a freaking disaster. The impact of Carl’s death did not appear to impact him nearly as it did when Lori died.

Over the course of 8 seasons, Carl’s safety and well-being were the focus for Rick. He wanted to build a future for his son. How many countless times did other individuals sacrifice for Carl? Yes, Judith was also alive, but Carl was the future leader and he was learning from his father how to do so.

Photo Credit: Jackson Lee Davis/AMC

Carl’s death served absolutely no purpose on the show. Carl sacrificed for Siddiq’s safety and Siddiq is now dead. Saddiq was a doctor and did do some positive things but did it really move the story along further or change the world?

The show seemed to force the perspective that his death would somehow create a truce between Rick and Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and their respective groups. However, it didn’t, as it still resulted in fighting.

So what is Carl’s legacy? Maybe the only thing is that he saved Siddiq so Siddiq could father a child. Does that child become something special to the world of The Walking Dead? If so, there is absolutely no emphasis on the child. And, it’s going to take a really long time to develop that story.

Walker Stalker Con/Heather Millsap

Chandler Riggs

Chandler Riggs didn’t want to leave The Walking Dead. Between statements made by Chandler and those made by his father, Will Riggs, it was clear that Chandler did not want to leave. Rumors and accusations of contract disputes, money, and other terms abound. However, it is curious the timing of his contract with his death.

There have been clear, defining moments on The Walking Dead where viewers stopped watching in large chunks: the deaths of Abraham and Glenn, the death of Carl, and the departure of Rick Grimes. These moments are always telling, as they signal viewers’ displeasure in the show, which is the greatest evidence of if the creatives got the story right. Carl Grimes didn’t have to die. Chandler Riggs didn’t have to leave. And, The Walking Dead would be in a better place right now with him on the show.

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51 thoughts on “The Walking Dead: Carl’s Death Sent the Show into a Ratings Nosedive, as the Worst Death in Show’s History

  1. THANK YOU! I quit watching TWD the day I found out they killed off Carl, and haven’t watched it since. It was bad writing, and the EP’s should’ve been fired for it. Carl WAS the future and should’ve continued to be the future.

  2. Amen! I loved the show until they killed off Carl. I have not watched since his last scene and won’t. It has no point without him now. Thank you for writing this as it is the same thinking as many former viewers.

  3. Preaching to the choir. Carl’s death was some bit of petulance on the part of the “powers that be”, I suspect, and WRONG in every way. It wasn’t even a believable accident. Made me think of Adric in Doctor Who, when the producer got annoyed with the actor. I don’t think Rick would have left the show, with all his legitimate reasons, if they hadn’t killed Carl. Glenn and Abraham’s unnecessary deaths, with the lack of the big “pay off” we were promised as the reason it had to happen– those were a knife to my heart. When Carl died the show was over. Rick walked away… can’t blame him (and I miss him). Now the show itself is truly the Walking Dead… just doesn’t know when to fall down. Too bad. So much potential, so many stories left to tell… But the stories of the survivors we were following are over, and what’s left is emptiness.

  4. 100% Agree with this article! We Love and miss Carl so much! What they did to him was so wrong! Bad Bad Writing! Thank you for doing this article so glad somebody finally said it!!!

  5. Everything said here Finally I’ve said it since Carl died. Have not watched that episode and since then my excitement for the series is faded.

  6. It was indeed a mistake to kill off Carl. No changing that but I stopped watching it, or should I say I”tried”, watching it. Rick took his son’s death very mildly compared to his entire being to protect Carl’s future! Damn shame!

  7. Scott MF Gimple. What did the kid ever do to you? I was so pissed when Carl died. What purpose did his death serve, other than completely go off balance with the storyline as presented by the CREATOR, RK? Scott, you’ve shown that you’re not only not perfect, you’re unstable!

  8. It was the worst thing that ever happened on The Walking Dead. I just about quit watching and the show has never been the same since. Dumbest move they ever made.

  9. I stopped watching TWD the day that Rick “left” without carl and Rick their isn’t no such thing as TWD and I use to watch it religiously TWD was my church TWD was my everything but now life goes on for me without the walking dead lol I even closed my TWD site on Facebook after they left

  10. I knew I wasn’t the only one stopping watching the show once Carl died, the show got hurt really bad, it was agonizing… and got killed when Rick disappear, making half of the viewers disappear with him too.

  11. I LOVE this article! It states exactly what I’ve said about Carls, Abes and Glenns deaths. I actually go back even further to Beth’s demise. I know she wasnt typically a fan favorite, but I saw something change in Daryl when they were on the road together. I would’ve like to see that relationship blossom for Daryl bc Beth wasn’t afraid to tell him how HE felt, and I think that really helped him open up and he liked the feeling it gave him. YES, I had shipped them. Who cares abt their age difference, it was an apocalypse, rules change. It wasn’t like Beth was a little girl, and Daryl isn’t pursuant of women so I think he would have treated her well. Anyway, sorry to get off subject….I have only watched the episode with Abe and Glenns deaths the one time it aired, and its the only episode I’ve only watched once throughout the entire series. Then Carls death pushed me further away (totally pointless) and Ricks departure sent me reeling. I have hung in there as a loyal fan, and because I am waiting to see if the words of Beth Greene will hold true. “Daryl will be the last man standing” and based on the original Atlanta crew, he already is. I don’t crave this show like I once used to, and that is because of the writers. How do you take a show that has exploded from day 1, and continuously kill off the characters that helped it get to where it is (or was)? The excuse that its the walking dead and everyone dies doesn’t work for me. Its a story of survival, the lead characters should have survived a little longer, and their deaths should have had more meaning. Most of them had plenty of story left in them.

  12. Thank you!!! I will NEVER forgive Gimple for that! This is not the only mistake he made, but was certainly the biggest! I can’t believe AMC hasn’t fired him yet, but no, they put all forms of TWD in his hands. This is a classic case of “failing upwards”.

  13. I too believe that killing off Carl was a fatal mistake, I do still watch still trying to get back that feeling the show first had for me but it’s just not there , true
    Fan till the end but the feelings gone

  14. I haven’t watched it since Carl’s death either. There was no point to. The future leader was dead.

  15. I too stopped watching TWD after Carl died. With some of the best characters killed off, I thought it fitting not to watch the show anymore. To me, Carl’s death was the end of The Walking Dead.

  16. I stopped watching when they killed off Glenn but then I decided after awhile I was going to just suck it up and watch it again. Only to find out Carl grimes dies so hell naw this show went to the pooper. I’m surprised this show is still going I was in shock.

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