The Walking Dead Season 7 Premiere was so thick with gore and tension that viewers may have flinched through a pivotal scene. There is one scene we need to talk about: Rick’s biblical moment. But not for the reasons you may think.
If tears and trauma truncated your focus, Carl’s selfless blessing may have slipped past you.
In a moment borrowed from the Bible, Negan orders Rick to do his son harm. Just as God, satisfied Abraham feared him, retracted his command that Abraham murder his son, so too did Negan retract his command that Rick’s amputate Carl’s arm.
Negan’s God-complex emerges; the hierarchy, firmly established. But what viewers may have missed in all the terror was Carl.
Sprawled on the asphalt like some kind of Christ figure, Carl does not scream, does not beg, does not flinch. In fact, absorbed by his father’s anguish, Carl, who is about to experience unfathomable physical pain, offers Rick relief: “Just do it, Dad.”
In that moment, Carl proves himself perhaps the strongest member of the Grimes family. Negan mistakes Carl’s stoicism for something else, calling Carl a future serial killer. But Carl’s got one target now.
Carl is a product of the new world. He may have vague memories of the old world, but he hardly had time to internalize aspects of conventional adult normalcy. He knows nothing but the apocalypse and he survived two gunshot wounds to boot. At this point, he likely lacks the hangups that tangle adult survivors.
Negan, on the other hand, reacts to the new world which may make him vulnerable. His infrastructure, his hunt, his justice are all relics of the old world. He is reverting, but Carl is the future.
Yes, Negan’s tactics were effective, but for how long? He’s already underestimating Carl because of his age- that’s an old world error, too. Carl’s willingness to offer up his arm to end his father’s suffering and get rid of Negan shows he can let go and move forward. But who will follow him?
After all, Rick is in a fog. For the better part of the episode, Rick was quite literally in the dark and then in the fog of dawn. The fog breaks about the time he kneels, trembling, over his son. Carl calls Rick back to himself, reminding him what matters before he’s too far gone. Before he becomes Negan.
Negan takes a shine to Carl in the comic series, but Daryl may fill that role in the television series. How will the season unfold with the shifting dynamics? The Walking Dead has remained faithful to its source material’s iconic moments, but new series elements add just enough to keep loyal readers guessing.
How long will The Walking Dead maintain the Season 7 premiere’s momentum? Who will seek retribution from Negan first: Carl, Daryl, or Negan?
You can leave your questions, insights, and predictions in the comment section.