The Walking Dead season 8 finale is ending Carl’s story in the best way possible

When it wants to, The Walking Dead season 8 sure can pull at the heartstrings. We’ve already had Carl depart – a lone gunshot sealing his fate – but, letters aside, we (and Rick) haven’t had the chance to say goodbye. The season finale, though, looks to be changing all that – and hints at a sweeter ending than we were perhaps expecting. Spoilers to follow. 

In a photo released by AMC ahead of Sunday’s finale, Rick is shown in his pre-shit hitting the fan police uniform, holding hands with Carl as they walk down a country path, something which Carl pointed out as one of his favourite memories in last week’s voiceover. D’aww.

This opens up a whole host of theories about how the season might end, but the most important thing is that Rick has finally come to terms with his son’s death.

Carl’s letter to his dad pleaded for Rick to end his war with Negan – and it sure looks like that’s how it’s going to play out. No bloodshed. Just a peaceful, optimistic ending with a flashback. It would be a brave direction for the show to go in, but would be an absolute brilliant, poetic conclusion to the storyline.

Or… Rick could die. Nothing has been made of Rick being slumped against the tree, bloodied and spent, in a flashforward during the mid-season premiere. Could this be his very last memory before he, himself, dies? That would be even braver – and would make The Walking Dead season 9’s premiere an absolute must-see event. We sure do know how much this show loves to keep us talking in the interim between seasons.

At the very least, though, we’re getting a final goodbye to Carl. Time to fetch those tissues, folks.

This big ol' list of everything hitting our screens in 2018 will make sure you never run out of new TV shows to watch in The Walking Dead's absence.

Bradley Russell

I'm the Senior Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, focusing on news, features, and interviews with some of the biggest names in film and TV. On-site, you'll find me marveling at Marvel and providing analysis and room temperature takes on the newest films, Star Wars and, of course, anime. Outside of GR, I love getting lost in a good 100-hour JRPG, Warzone, and kicking back on the (virtual) field with Football Manager. My work has also been featured in OPM, FourFourTwo, and Game Revolution.