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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. It was the biggest mistake Gimple did killing off Carl.Ive been saying it for years.It in turn made Rick leave and so many viewers with him.Carl was supposed to be the future. I stopped watching when Rick left and never went back.If they don’t bring Rick back for the final season you might as well cancel it now.It all started with Rick it should end with Rick.The saddest part for me is it was my favorite show.Now I keep looking for news of Rick’s return. Carl survived being shot losing a eye only to die from a bite we never even saw how disgusting.

  2. I was done after Carl’s dead and Rick leaving the show. What a waste of talent. I can’t get into it as much I love Carol and Daryl. Rick was and Carl were the heart of the show.

  3. Everyone that has read the comics, self included, knew Carl was not supposed die yet. It has not been the same. I used to make sure I watched the episode as it aired. Now I record it and watch whenever.. Heck, people used to say my son looked like Carl for years. Even as he got older, my son grew his hair out like Carl..

  4. You LOST a WHOLE very large multi-generational family and extended family (13 children, 39 grandchildren and 3 great- granchildren! Plus all of our friends, who ALL loved TWD and FTWD!!!) Bad choices!!! We all quit when Carl died and now WE DON’TMISS IT!!!

  5. Carl’s death was possibly their biggest mistake but not the only mistake. There were many. While I generally agree with this article I also have to say they killed too many people too fast, choked off storylines before they truly developed and blew the concept of building a new world for future generations by killing most of said gen. Not only that but what cop loses that many fights that badly and give characters remarkable talents and then not use them? Many things could have been done better.

  6. Yes…..killing Carl so soon was one of their biggest mistakes.Killing Glenn and Abraham didn’t really help much either,but when they wrote Rick off what a HUGE mistake that was.The Walking Dead’s ratings went down.Great story lines with the Whisperers was good.Negan killing Alpha was awsome!! But the ratings still went down.
    I think the only thing that could save them is to bring Rick and Machine back and somehow sneak Carl back or let Rick have memories of Carl.I think Carol and Daryl really held held the show above water.
    Its so very sad that The Walking Dead is ending when not to long ago they said the story line could go on for years and years.
    I truly hate what the writers did.

  7. I loved the show until they killed Carl! He was the future of the show and showed more strength than others! I say, bring back Carl and you will have better ratings!

  8. I was sad for Rick and Michonne as they grieved the loss of Carl but he was not one of my fave characters so I did not stop watching because he was killed off. I kind of lost interest a bit because of The Whisperers. Just seemed implausible to me that so many of them would choose to live that way (yuck) and follow Alpha. I have to say though that Alpha was played brilliantly by whoever that actress is!!
    Judith way more likeable than Carl but he probably didn’t need to die.

  9. Yes that was a bad mood and I remember when Lori told Carl he was going to beat this world a way better story to love out instead of saving sadiq

  10. The ratings price it. Killing off all the invested characters like Carl that doesn’t move the story along just makes viewers disappointed and quit watching it.

  11. You are all right. The show really started to fall apart after the death of Carl. Meaningless comes to mind along with fragmented story telling and new characters nobody really cares about. But after Rick left things became even worse. The show became wildly uninteresting. Really too bad considering the incredible run it had.

  12. Carl is missed, but not to the degree I am hearing. Sorry! Rick’s departure was far more damaging to the show, than Carl dying off. We survived that, and the lost of so many wonderful actors that have made The Walking Dead the great show it’s been over all these years. Carl is a fine young actor and no doubt will do much more over the coming years. This was a great start for his resume, I would think. Less than 30 more episodes and The Walking Dead will be no more. Now that is something to cry about. A faithful fan!

  13. So much disappointed when carl was died…! Im walking dead fanatic of course when the original cast died their characters like Glenn, abraham, tara, enid, and carl. When i watch season 9 and season 10, less appetite to watch twd i always find the main casts. Im not contented !

  14. Glenn and Abraham’s death were epic, awesome, and very necessary. They both die in the comics, and give way to the new era with Negan. Just because you didn’t like how Glenn and Abraham died doesn’t mean it wasn’t necessary. It was. You just couldn’t handle it.

  15. The show lost its soul after this. That, and when Rick “died.” Haven’t watched it since.

  16. You can’t keep getting rid of so many characters we are invested in and expect us to stay and want to care about any more.

  17. I quit watching when Carl was killed off too! Wtf were they thinking?? It almost seems like someone was personally trying to sabotage the success of the show!? And this whole Rick movie thing is BS! It never going to happen!

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