There are very few characters left from the first episode of The Walking Dead. You've got Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), of course. Morgan Jones (Lennie James) was introduced in the pilot, then disappeared for a while before becoming a permanent part of the cast. And then you have Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs), who has literally grown up in front of our eyes over the past eight seasons.
When Riggs was first cast on the show, he was just 10 years old. Now, at the old age of 18, Carl has grown from a whiny kid who was constantly wandering into danger, to a leader of entire communities. On this week's midseason finale, "How It's Gotta Be," Carl — along with Michonne (Danai Gurira) — is the last hope for the Alexandria Safe-Zone to stay, er, safe, during an attack by the villainous Saviors.
"We've just got to survive the night," Carl says in a promo for the episode... So in case he doesn't survive, as some of our speculation here at TV Guide has pointed to, let's take a look back through Carl's absolute most memorable moments.
1. Back in the third episode Rick reunited with his family for the first time since the zombie apocalypse began, and it was as emotional as you might expect.
2. But for a while there, Carl was a plot device — like when he saw that damn deer in the woods, only to get shot right in the gut.
3. He had to grow up fast after that. When Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) died, he was there to protect her, and help her give birth to his little half-sister Judith. Oh, and also shoot her in the head so she wouldn't turn into a zombie. Regular kid stuff.
4. Hey, at least this horrific event gave us the most meme-worthy moment on the show when Carl told his Dad he had to kill his own Mom, right? (Coooorrraaalll)
5. Later, Rick giving Carl his gun was a rite of passage, as much a testament to Riggs' skills growing on the show as Carl's.
6. Things got worse, though, when Rick and Carl thought Judith had died (she hadn't).
7. Things got better, though, when Carl found an enormous can of pudding and sat on a roof, eating all of it while zombies tried to grab him from nearby windows. You do you, Carl.
8. That wasn't the only memorable food moment with Carl: a budding friendship with Michonne (Danai Gurira), who would eventually become his de facto replacement mom, started with some Cheez Whiz.
9. ...and continued with a bet about a candy bar, while on the road to the cannibal stronghold Terminus.
10. And then this happened:
11. But it was fine, because he survived GETTING SHOT RIGHT IN THE FACE (here is where Negan forced him to take off his bandage and show off his scar and then sing him a song, one of the more uncomfortable moments on a show filled with uncomfortable moments).
12. He even found love in a hopeless tree, courtesy of Enid (Katelyn Nacon). Later on they'd take a very silly roller-skating trip, but let's forget that ever happened.
13. So here's to you, Carl, you little psychopath. We hope you survive the night — and many more episodes beyond this one.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.