Well, you can’t say we weren’t warned.
Throughout AMC’s summer-long marketing campaign for The Walking Dead, everyone from Andrew Lincoln to series showrunner Scott Gimple warned viewers that season 8 contained some of the biggest and most soul-crushing deaths in the show’s history. And last night, “How It’s Gotta Be” delivered in spades.
Truth be told, season 8’s super-sized mid-season finale wasn’t without its flaws – barring the final few moments, the Michael Satrazemis-directed episode struggled to keep its audience on tenterhooks – but thanks to ComicBook.com, lead star Andrew Lincoln has now shared his reaction to last night’s gut-wrenching twist.
Fair warning: Lincoln’s response strays far into spoiler territory, even if the actor uses a pseudonym when referring to that character.
This was the hardest… Losing Steven was… the thought of the journey without Steven in the cast was unbearable but this is… I didn’t see it coming. I had no idea. Scott called me up and said, ‘You’re gonna hate this one. I want to just forewarn you.’ Even then, I was waiting to say, ‘This is a really cool way of telling me that I’m off the show, you know that?’ That’s what I thought he was about to say. He said, ‘It’s the kid.’ I couldn’t even say, ‘No.’ I was silent for a minute. He said, twice, ‘Are you still there?’ I just didn’t see it coming.
Yes, after more than seven years of killing walkers and living to fight another day, it is Chandler Riggs’ Carl who has his head on the chopping block, after it was revealed that he had suffered a fatal walker bite at the tail-end of season 8’s mid-season finale.
As for what’s next…well, that’s where things get a little murky. The Walking Dead season 8 won’t resume until 2018, but Andrew Lincoln did offer some insight into Rick’s fractured mindset:
He has his extended family. He’s not Judith’s father but he’s her dad. And, of course, Michonne. They’re in love. But this is… There are times in the back eight that I felt that the show was very courageous in that we didn’t know what we’re doing. Season 1 through 4, we’re still investigating [to] work out what the show is. Still, I think we’re trying to do that, but it felt like a bit like those seasons in this back eight. He’s lost the things that he’s fighting this war for. That has a huge effect on him and it changes him irrevocably.
Season 8 of The Walking Dead returns via AMC on February 25th, 2018. That’s a little later than usual, but we can readily expect Carl’s impending death to cast a big shadow over season 8B.