Post Mortems

Rick Grimes' Walking Dead Farewell: Where the Heck Was Carl?!

Rick Carl Season 9

A number of deceased MVPs bid Rick Grimes adieu during Andrew Lincoln’s sorta-final Walking Dead episode on Sunday, but the character’s dearly departed son Carl, played by Chandler Riggs, was conspicuously MIA. His omission — as well as that of Rick’s late wife Lori (played by Sarah Wayne Callies) — perplexed viewers. However, showrunner Angela Kang tells HuffPost “there is a reason” the pair were excluded.

“We dove into this idea of the ‘third man phenomenon,’” Kang told the site. “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,” she added, “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.”

Thoughts? Were you bummed Carl and Lori were missing from the episode? Does Kang’s explanation track for you? Hit the comments!