Angela Kang, the showrunner for The Walking Dead, has explained why Carl didn’t appear at all during Rick’s final episode.
Rick Grimes has now made his departure from The Walking Dead and his last episode was certainly a somber one, especially for long-time fans of the show. During the episode, Rick saw visions of figures from his past, including the likes of Shane (Jon Bernthal) and Hershel (Scott Wilson).
But what about his deceased son, Carl? Why didn’t he appear to Rick in the episode? Well, showrunner Angela Kang revealed why to the Huffington Post:
“We dove into this idea of the ‘third man phenomenon.’ When people are close to death, sometimes they imagine seeing somebody that they knew or that they don’t know that helped drive them to survive and keep them going. We had these three particular characters [Shane, Hershel and Sasha] who are sort of filling an emotional need for him in the moment, but Rick’s entire journey is looking for his family, and I felt, creatively felt, that if he sees Lori or Carl he would feel like, ‘OK, I fulfilled my mission. I found them. I’m home. I can lay down and die now.’
“He needed to keep going for the family that is still there, and so to have that kind of restlessness of like, ‘I still haven’t found them. Where are they? Where are they?’ bringing him back to realizing his family has always been there all along – that the people he’s fighting for now are still his family – that’s what keeps him going. So he can’t find them, otherwise it’d be too easy for him to give up.”
It’s an explanation that certainly makes a lot of sense but regardless, were you disappointed not to see Carl turn up in the episode?
The Walking Dead season 9 airs on Sundays in the US and on Mondays in the UK.