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The time has come. The Negan War is drawing to a close with only eight episodes of The Walking Dead left until the arc is resolved and we move on to…honestly, I’m not sure, come season 9, given how far the show has strayed from the source material recently.
As is Walking Dead tradition, we ended the midseason finale on a rather shocking note, the reveal that (spoilers ahead) Carl has been bitten for a little while now after scuffling with a walker in the woods trying to help new recruit Siddiq. The placement of the bite almost certainly means he’s dead, though he’s been promised one last moment to shine in the midseason premiere tonight.
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I will skip the arguments about whether or not Carl should have been bitten (more on that again later), but I want to focus on a popular dream among fans that despite Carl’s abdominal bite, that he somehow may survive going forward. That this was another “Glenn under the dumpster” moment where The Walking Dead was just trying to fake us out, and surprise, there’s a deus ex machina that will arrive to save Carl at the last minute, or reveal that all is not how it seems.the walking dead serie
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I will say up front that I believe exactly zero of these theories as to how Carl may survive his bite. Overlooking the fact that this would have to be the most elaborate behind-the-scenes performance from the showrunners, the cast, Chandler Riggs and his family, all acting like Carl is really going to die, I take issue with the actual explanations themselves from a story perspective, but it’s important to go through them anyway, I suppose.the walking dead series.
Carl is immune to walker bites. At some point, fans believe, we’re going to have to start working on a cure for the zombie plague in order to fix the world. Surely someone out there has to be immune to walker bites, and as such, could possibly have a cure reverse-engineered from them. Why can’t that be Carl? Why can’t the show turn him into the chosen one, and have the storyline move forward about how he can be protected, studied and his immunity used to help the whole world?
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This is actually one of my favorite theories because of its simplicity.the walking dead michonne I do believe that The Walking Dead needs a “long term goal” like an immune person who could lead to a cure, but I don’t think the show is about to turn Carl into Ellie from The Last of Us.the walking dead michonne That would fundamentally alter everything about the source material to the point where there would be no coming back, and it would also feel a little bit cheap, like a do-over after everyone complained so much about Carl’s death.the walking dead michonne
The mysterious helicopter has a cure. We have seen a helicopter a few times this season, and if someone has enough resources to go out on chopper patrols, who knows what kind of community they might have. Are they government? Could they have a cure for Carl?
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I am trying to imagine a sequence of events where a helicopter suddenly lands after weeks of strafing, people get out, announce they have a cure, give it to Carl and save him. It’s just too sudden and goofy to be a real possibility.the walking dead season 1 episode 1. While I’m sure the helicopter will come into play in some fashion in the future, it’s definitely not going to be to save Carl.the walking dead season 1 episode 1
Judith’s blood can save Carl. There’s a long-running theory that children conceived and born after the zombie plague was already spread may be immune to it. Judith is one such child, and perhaps her blood/DNA/etc could be utilized to cure Carl.
While I don’t mind the idea of the “next generation” being immune, which would create a somewhat hopeful future, there’s no way at all that Judith could be used to save Carl. The Walking Dead is not going to suddenly have Carol or Daryl say “well what if we cut open Judith and drizzle some of her blood on Carl?” Even if Judith was immune, getting a cure from her would be infinitely harder than just infusing her blood into Carl. Not to mention it would be rather silly for anyone in the cast to have this idea in the first place. It’s the kind of thing that would first have to be discovered by accident like say, Judith being bit but not turning, which could still happen, who knows, but not in time to alter Carl’s fate.
A Whisperer bit Carl. This is a mild comic spoiler here, but the next group Rick’s group is supposed to fight in the comics are the Whisperers, who are mildly insane people who survive by wearing zombie skins to stay hidden from them at all times, often acting like zombies themselves. The idea is that a Whisperer, not a real walker bit Carl, and as such he wouldn’t turn.
Whisperers don’t…actually bite people. They still fight with knives and bows and guns and such, so this would be very out of character for them, and nothing about that encounter indicated those were Whisperers, not regular walkers, like the one roaming around with a pole through its stomach. While it could be a neat way to introduce the gang, this seems like the wrong time and wrong way to do it, and I highly doubt this is the case. Also, Carl is clearly exhibiting all the trademark symptoms of an actual bite, so there’s no reason to think it’s anything else.
Carl’s bite is near where Otis shot him, and the scar tissue will prevent the infection from spreading. This is a new theory I hadn’t heard until recently, with the idea being that Carl’s old injury could save him from his fate. I’ll admit it’s pretty damn creative.
This is another one of those “imagine how this would play out onscreen.” How on earth would the show be able to say with a straight face “ah look, Carl’s scar tissue is containing the infection, what luck!” and have him saved that way. It’s like trying to get out of jail on a technicality. It could work but in practice you’re more likely to stay behind bars 99% of the time. I appreciate the effort that went in to thinking of this, but there’s no way I can see it happening.
Again, out of all of these, my favorite would be “Carl is immune” and the story takes a dramatic left turn from there in pursuit of some sort of endgame. But I also have little faith that will happen, and I do believe that this is the last time we’ll see Carl on The Walking Dead tonight, which is a damn, damn shame.