A couple of weeks ago, Chandler Riggs, who plays Carl on The Walking Dead, tweeted "idk if i'll ever be as successful as i am right now, but im so glad i got this chance to help tell a story that actually impacts people." That set fans a-speculating that Carl was about to get deaded. Here's the thing about that: even though people are probably reading too much into the tweet (it doesn't seem like the past-tense phrasing is on purpose), Carl is probably still a dead cyclops walking anyway for a couple different reasons.
One is that more major characters than usual are going to have to die this season (it is a war, after all), and Carl's death would have more of an impact than most. He's one of the only original characters left and we've watched him grow up. It would be absolutely devastating to Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira).
The timing would be extra-devastating to Rick right now, because Rick's conscience is starting to be reawakened now that he's been confronted with what a brute he's become. And in the season premiere, Carl tried to impress the necessity of having a conscience on Rick when they met that hungry guy at the gas station, who Carl went back and left food for later. And no good deed goes unpunished on The Walking Dead. Carl's death will be a test for Rick's rediscovered moral compass, and he'll show mercy, for Carl. That scene from the premiere where Rick has red-ringed eyes? We're guessing he's at Carl's grave, telling his dead son that he spared Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan).
Red-Eye Rick is connected to Old Man Rick, because the mourning scenes are connected to what are obviously fantasy scenes of Rick's idea of a perfect, peaceful future. But a sour note in the fantasy is that Carl is barely there. In the brief moment he's seen, he walks past the camera without showing his face. This indicates that there's something wrong. Maybe he can't fully manifest Carl's presence in his fantasy because of the boy's absence in reality.
What do you think? Will Carl eat his last bowl of pudding sometime soon?
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9/8c on AMC.