In the season eight penultimate episode of ‘The Walking Dead’, we finally learn what Carl’s letters to both Rick and Carl read.
Carl is long gone on The Walking Dead, but his spirit lives on in letter format as season eight comes to a close. In the opening scene of the April 8 episode, we watch as Rick (Andrew Lincoln) sits outside at The Hilltop and finally reads his son’s dying words. The letter is even read to us viewers by Carl himself (aka Chandler Riggs) in a voiceover as we watch the words hit Rick in the heart like a dagger. Although the letter clearly has an emotional affect on Rick, it’s left unclear if Carl’s words will inspire his father to turn the war against Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) around.
The episode closes with another letter from Carl — this time to Negan. Michonne (Danai Gurira) makes it her duty to get Carl’s letter to Negan before the war has a chance to continue, so she gets as close as she can and contacts him over the walkie talkie. Negan is short with Michonne, but he listens carefully as she reads Carl’s words to him. They clearly impact him on an emotional level, just like they did Rick. However, when Michonne is done, Negan tells her it’s far too late for any of Carl’s suggestions to work.
Here’s Carl’s letter to his dad, Rick, finally revealed:
“I remember my eighth birthday at the KCCU with the giant cake and Aunt Evie showing up on leave surprising all of us. I remember mom. I remember Codger. I remember school and going to the movies and Friday night pizza and cartoons and grandma and grandpa and church. Those summer barbecues and the kiddie pool you got me — could’ve used that at the prison. You told me about the walks we’d take when I was three, you holding me hand around the neighborhood all the way to Ross’ farm. I didn’t know that I remembered them, but I do, cause I see the sun and the corn and that cow that walked up to the fence and looked me in the eye. You told me about all that stuff but it isn’t just that stuff, it’s how I felt holding your hand. I felt happy and special. I felt safe. I thought growing up was about getting a job and maybe a family, being an adult. But growing up is making yourself and the people you love safe. As safe as you can because things happen. They happened before — you were shot before things went bad. It kind of felt like things went bad because you were shot. I want to make you feel safe, dad. I want you to feel like I Felt when you held my hand, just to feel that way for five minutes. I’d give anyway to make you feel that way right now.
I wanted to kill Negan. I wish I did, maybe it would’ve been done. I don’t think it’s done now. You went out there again but I don’t think they surrendered. I don’t think they will surrender. There are workers in there, dad. They’re just regular people. Old people, young people, families. You don’t want them to die, dad. We’re so close to starting everything over, and we have friends now. It’s that bigger world Jesus talked about. The Kingdom, the Hilltop. There’s gotta be more places. More people out there, a chance for everything to change and keep changing. Everyone giving everyone the opportunity to have a life. A real life. So if they won’t end it, you have to. You have to give them a way out. You have to find peace with Negan. Find a way forward somehow. We don’t have to forget what happened, but you can make it so that it won’t happen again. That nobody has to live this way. That every life is worth something. Start everything over. Show everyone that they can be safe again without killing. That it can feel safe again. That it can go back to being birthdays, and school and jobs and even Friday night pizza somehow. And walks with a dad and a three year old holding hands. Make that come back dad. And go on those walks with Judith. She’ll remember them. I love you. Carl.”
Lastly, here’s Carl’s letter to Negan which was read to him by Michonne over the walkie:
“Negan: This is Carl. I was helping someone, I got bit. I didn’t even have to be doing what we were doing, I was just helping someone and now I’m gone. You might be gone. Maybe my dad made your people give you up and maybe he killed you, but I don’t think so. I think you’re still around and you’re working on a way out. Maybe you got out. Maybe you think we’re a lost cause and you just want to kill all of us. I think you think you have to be who you are. I just wonder if this is what you wanted. I wanted to ask you, I wish I could’ve. Maybe you’ll beat us and if you do there will just be someone else to fight. The way out is working together. It’s forgiveness. It’s believing that it doesn’t have to be a fight anymore. Because it doesn’t. I hope my dad offers you peace. I hope you take it. I hope everything can change. It did for me. Start over. You still can. Carl.”
How will these letters affect the all-out war? Will Rick and Negan come to some sort of compromise, or is Negan right and it’s far too late for that? We’ll find out the answers to these questions (hopefully) on Sunday, April 15 when the season eight finale of The Walking Dead airs at 9pm ET on AMC.