Despite all the zombie bites, eerie visions, and, yes, that bloody helicopter, The Walking Dead season 8 (opens in new tab) seems to reach out and grab that extra little bit of quality when it quietens down. Case in point: dearly departed Carl and his letters to both Negan and his dad, Rick. We’ve already seen what Carl wrote to Negan (opens in new tab), but what about his father? You can wait until next week or, if you like, find out right now. How about that?
At the end of The Walking Dead season 8, episode 14, Rick finally decided to read Carl’s final message, one that he has been putting off for so long. I’m guessing he wishes he hadn’t. It’s a real tear-jerker. The scenes, from the opening minutes of episode 15, is above and soon to be available on the AMC site (opens in new tab) for US users, with the full, agonising transcript available below. Be warned: it’s super long.
I remember my 8th birthday at the KCC with that giant cake and Aunt Evie showing up on leave surprising all of us. I remember Mom. I remember Codger. I remember school and going to the movies and Friday night pizza, and cartoons and Grandma and Grandpa and church; those summer barbecues and the kiddie pool you got me. Could have used that at the prison.
You told me about the walks we'd take when I was three. You holding my hand around the neighbourhood all the way to Ross' farm. I didn't know that I remembered them, but I do because I see the sun and the corn and that cow that walked up to the fence and looked me in the eye and you told me about all that stuff but it isn't just that stuff, it's how I felt. Holding your hand, I felt happy and special and I felt safe.
I thought growing was about getting a job and maybe a family, being an adult. But growing up is making yourself and the people you love safe, as safe as you can because things happen. They happened before. You were shot before things went bad. I kind of felt like things went bad because you were shot. I want to make you feel safe, Dad. I want you to feel just like I felt when you held my hand. Just to feel that way for five minutes, I'd give anything to make you feel that way now.
I wanted to kill Negan. I wish I did, maybe it would have been done. I don't think it's done now. You went out there again, but I don't think they surrendered. I don't think they will surrender. There were workers in there, Dad. They're just regular people, old people, young people, families. You don't want them to die, Dad.
We're so close to starting everything over and we have friends now. That bigger world Jesus talked about: the Kingdom, the Hilltop, there's got to be more places, more people out there, a chance for everything to change and keep changing. Everyone giving everyone the opportunity to have a life, a real life. So, if they won't end it, you have to. You have to give them a way out.
You have to find peace with Negan. Find a way forward, somehow. We don't have to forget what happened, but you can make it so that it won't happen again… that nobody has to live this way, that every life is worth something.
Start everything over. Show everyone that they can be safe again without killing. They can feel safe again. That it can go back to being birthdays and school and jobs, and even Friday night pizza somehow, and walks with a Dad and a three-year-old holding hands. Make that come back, Dad. And go on those walks with Judith. She'll remember them.
I love you. Carl.
Don’t mind me, I’m just chopping onions. I’m not crying, you’re crying.
Carl, much like in his letter to Negan, speaks hopefully about a peaceful future between Rick and Negan. Will it happen? Almost definitely not, but it’s nice to see that - even in death - Carl remains a beacon of benevolence on the show. If nothing else, it might see Rick think twice about waging his never-ending war against the Saviors and its posse of wannabe Negans.
While The Walking Dead season 8 is drawing to an end, this year has a lot more to offer: here are the best upcoming TV shows in 2018. (opens in new tab)