Warning – this article will contain spoilers of December 10’s mid-season finale of The Walking Dead.
Season 8 has had no shortage of tense moments. The Walking Dead has transcended from a show about the zombie apocalypse to a show about world building. A wartime environment has seen tragedy and casualties become a regular on the show, with two sides fighting it out for the right to choose how their future will be.
The mid-season finale was as heart-pounding as any episode thus far. The Saviors, the shows primary antagonists, were able to escape their home after being trapped there by the show’s protagonists. The episode revealed that Eugene had helped them escape, but it is also implied a botch attempt to finish them off by a few members of the main group also led to their exit.
Back on the prowl, The Saviors made a statement to each of the show’s main communities. The Kingdom was invaded and all but taken over, Alexandria was attacked and burned to the ground, and the new leadership of The Hilltop got a stern warning and new ground rules (compete with the death of a well-placed minor character).
The Saviors weren’t the only ones who made their exit in this episode – Father Gabriel and Dr. Carson were able to escape after being imprisoned in The Saviors’ facility thanks to some help from Eugene. This continues casting his character in a questionable light, fueling rumors that his allegiance may be split.
The show also revealed a traitor during the finale. Dwight, who had long been a main player in The Saviors, had been working with Daryl and the other to take down his former leader. But after helping the survivors escape, driving his own people into an ambush, then finishing a few of them off himself, his betrayal was discovered by another Savior. It is likely this information will get back to Negan and the other Saviors soon.
Also in the episode, Ezekiel allows himself to be captured by The Saviors so his people can escape The Kingdom. It was previously revealed he was one of three characters Negan had placed a bounty on. Also, Enid gunned down the leader of Oceanside in what seemed to be a goodwill-mission gone wrong.
But the biggest surprise in the entire episode was the reveal that Carl, Rick’s son, had been bitten. Showrunners confirmed the bite would play out like all the others on the show, meaning Carl is a goner. However, they also noted he has some unfinished business in the next episode. The season 8B premiere could be the last time viewers see Carl. The actor who plays him, Chandler Riggs, has said he plans to focus on college and other projects now that his time on the show is done.
This is one of the most radical departures from the source material, on which the show is loosely based. Carl remains a prominent figure in the comics even to this day.