Last Stand - The Walking Dead
Where are we now?
It would be hard to deny that part one of season eight had no shortage of action and carnage. The survivors of Alexandria, the Hilltop Colony, and The Kingdom joined forces to take on Negan and the Saviors. We lost Sasha by her own hand, we lost Eric from Alexandria, Eugene and Dwight switched sides, we lost our beloved tiger, Shiva, and Gabriel, Jerry, and the King were all captured by the Saviors. Morales earned five more minutes of fame as the original member of the Atlanta group butted heads with Rick and was ultimately killed by Daryl. In the final moments of the mid-season finale, we discovered that Carl had been bitten by a walker and we all remembered that no one is safe in this universe and the only constant will be change.
We've watched Rick's group fight to survive and make a life in this post apocalyptic world for the past eight years. In that time, we assimilated new survivors in to our camp and it was easy to confuse those who were there from the start, and those, like the Green family and Michonne, that we picked up along the way.
With the loss of Carl looming on the horizon, we realize that Rick, Carol, Daryl, and Carl were the final four from Atlanta and now, there will be three.
This first episode will be a look at the last moments of Carl's short life and it will be an emotional roller coaster that is necessary to remind us what these people are fighting for. We too, have watched Carl grow up and while we have been angered by his lack of judgement, (Carl won't stay in the house and now Dale is dead!), and fearful for his mental stability, he's like an annoying little brother who was evolving in to a voice of hope for the future.
Earlier in the season, we heard Rick mutter the words, "Let mercy reign over my wrath." but we should expect no mercy from Rick in the second half as losing Carl will surely be the tipping point that sends him over the edge.
I would expect Carl's death to be the catalyst our survivors need to reignite their courage and bring a speedy end to the war with the Saviors, and yes, Negan will be captured or dead in an early episode.
After War There is Peace
Jesus told Morgan, "After war there is peace. We have to live with these people after." but what will peace look like once Negan is no longer a threat and who will still be standing? Alexandria has been crippled and burned, survivors are still in jeopardy, and Rick has confessed that when the dust settles, Maggie will be in charge of the future.
I believe that once the dust settles, the show will experience the major time jump that show runners have alluded to since last year. With the loss of Carl, there is no worry about aging actor, Chandler Riggs, so that a time jump could be possible. He truly was the only obstacle to pulling off a trip to the future.
What does the future look like? Perhaps, a rebuilt Kingdom and Hilltop Colony that have welcomed in the Alexandria survivors. One community led by Maggie and the other by Carol? Or, in keeping with the comics, Alexandria too, will rebuild and be led by Rick.
Whisper to a Scream
One thing that's certain in The Walking Dead Universe. Peace is a short lived luxury. So, what should we expect after our time jump? The most obvious answer would be the creepiest group of survivors ever, The Whisperers. The show story line is coming close to the point in the comics when these strange people who wear walker flesh and travel among the herds make their appearance and show runner, Scott Gimple has confirmed that we will meet this group on the show.
We may have seen a hint to this in the Season 8 episode "Time for After" when Carol and Ezekiel stumble upon a strange walker in the woods. The creature is missing large patches of flesh and Ezekiel asks, "What befell this creature?" Perhaps he was used to make a Whisperer skin suit.
If the Whisperers are to be the next threat, where have they come from? Some believe that the walker ridden spin off, Fear the Walking Dead could be the birthplace of the group.