REVIEW: The Walking Dead S8 E8 “How It’s Gotta Be” delivers the biggest shock of the series
The Walking Dead‘s midseason finale did the absolutely unthinkable, killing one of the show’s “untouchables” in the biggest shocker of the series so far.
The Walking Dead has always been somewhat predictable. Being based on a comic series means certain characters are always earmarked for death. New characters tend to last around a season and a half before meeting their gruesome end. A certain few individuals are immune from death, no matter the odds. All that has changed, as of “How It’s Gotta Be”.
The death of Carl Grimes changes everything. Yes, the death has been confirmed. At least according to Chandler Riggs himself, this isn’t a Jon Snow situation. Carl isn’t coming back. This could go one of two ways. The shock could lead to a new lease of life for a tired show, or else it is the beginning of the end for The Walking Dead. Killing off a character who has grown with the audience, becoming both powerful and compassionate, is a risky move. Time will tell if it’s successful.
One cynical reason for The Walking Dead including such a traumatic ending could be to distract from the rest of the episode, which was substandard at best. For one thing, no amount of adjusting the screen brightness made most the episode easier to see.
Perhaps that was to detract from the jumbled nature of the plot, bouncing around characters and stories at a far too quick pace. The long and the short of it is that the plan to destroy the Saviours has failed. Negan is out and wreaking revenge. “How It’s Gotta Be” shows the characters responding to this terrible failure.
The best moments of the episode are the moments focused on Carl, particularly his interactions with both Rick and Negan. Carl-the-sudden-humanitarian had some beautiful speeches this season, but it doesn’t make up for what might well be a terrible mistake.