I give this episode a 55 on Robin's Scale. Overall, I didn't feel as devastated as I thought I would feel with Carl's passing. (SEE: The bad). Carl is/was one of five surviving characters that span the length of the whole series (Rick, Daryl, Carol and Morgan are the others.) Such a long journey for Carl, which did feel sad; however no more so than I felt for Tyreese or Andrea. Losing Hershel was more devastating then Carl for me and I think that shouldn't be the case.
I like the idea of a child having hope for the future and trust in people (regardless of their past missteps) and reengaging in civilization and civility. Perhaps it's their innocence of being absent to the politics of every day life; clamoring to have an identity and a voice, that lends itself naturally to that view point? It's therefore, believable to me that Carl would hold or run with that mindset; even in his final moments of existence.
I guess, the 'Honor' in this episode is Rick embracing Carl's wishes because it keeps a fragment of his psyche alive in the post apocalyptic construct Rick and company have been surviving in; rather then embracing it for it's own sake to further humanity(?)
Rick's viewpoint appears to be fairly consistent with canon (if he is agreeing to civility to honor Carl.) Everything he has done selfishly for himself and his family before the group is taken into consideration. He has shown past humility to change his viewpoint; so changing it now to one that embodies a future with Negan picking strawberries, and Eugene working in his community is believable (only if it's for Carl.) If Rick has the humility to see it's the right thing for mankind, then that's confusing. That's because the first half of the season I have been grappling as to what specifically *is* Rick's viewpoint and plans with the Saviors; knowing his viewpoint brings better context to the scenes here with Rick and Carl. I would know how far Rick has to work at changing his viewpoint from an emotional and mental standpoint.
Michonne wasn't given much in here which was surprising; seeing how she and Carl bonded deeply going back a few seasons. That's in the writing unfortunately.
Morgan was used to move the story along in this one and he seems to be back in his *Clear* mode of thinking and dealing with enemies. He just wants to kill. It's understandable, however it's getting old; vacillating between a more understanding Morgan and the psychotic one.
Plot Summary with comments:
* Carl says his goodbyes and gives his hat to Judith.
* Daryl takes Judith to the Hilltop with other Alexandrians after the Savior assault passes. Rick and Michonne stay with Carl and wait for him to die.
* Carl shares with Rick how he saved Siddiq because he deserved a chance and how the Saviors also deserve one after the war. It becomes clear the visions we are seeing were always Carl's and not Rick's. ('Another one Rides the Bus' makes sense coming from the mind of a child.)
* Rick promises he will make Carl's vision (of the way life should be) a reality.
* Carl Grimes takes his own life with a silencer on his gun. Rick and Michonne grieve while waiting outside. ( I don't think the Grime's family is religious so I don't understand what the implications are of suicide done in a sacred setting to them.)
* Morgan (and other snipers) fail to snipe off the Saviors; who escape and manage then to launch offenses on Alexandria, The Kingdom and Maggie and her fellow Hill-toppers on the road.
* He flees and then meets Carol at her house and then goes and rescues Ezekiel from Gavin who dies at the hands of Henry who is the young brother of the boy Morgan sought to avenge.
* Rick and Michonne bury Carl.
* I really didn't like this episode. I would say the only good thing was the practical effects.
* Is Rick only 'honoring' Carl's wishes or does he fully embrace the notion of being civil to his enemies after the war to get mankind back on the track of the civilization that used to exist? Hard to say because we really don't know what Rick thinks this season. This has been a growing problem all season. We never knew the plans against the Saviors and how he reflects personally on those plans.
* Carl's death was just too long for me and a bit hollow and I really don't know why. This is a character I have known for 8 years. Is it because of the acting over the years? (Chandler Riggs has gotten better). Maybe... I think it has more to do with the writing. There were a few of the stages of grief Greg Nicotero mentions in Talking Dead that are stitched into the episode with Michonne and Rick over Carl's gradual passing. (These stages usually affect survivors *after* someone's passing, however it's pretty clear in this world you are basically dead once you are bitten.) I didn't see all the stages portrayed in this episode and there was enough time to make that possible.
*Shock*: definitely was there (for Rick and Michonne).
*Anger*: Rick did seem angry upon dealing with this however, it was more of mixture of emotions that leaned more towards hopeless despair and personal failure to stop what has happened.
*Bargaining*: I didn't see anyone do that with any higher power (regardless of them being in the Church area.) I suppose Honoring Carl's wishes could be thought of in some sense as bargaining.
*Depression*: I am sure is coming. There was a little of that with the flashes to Rick with red eyes.
*Acceptance*: Carl showed acceptance. I didn't get that sense really from Rick or Michonne.
* The Saviors escaping from the prison didn't make sense to me. Their ability to leave Sanctuary; especially after it was compromised by Daryl should have caused their demise. They fought their way out into the courtyard; fully exposed to sniper fire and spend minutes killing enough walkers to form a wall of bodies to protect them. Why weren't the snipers who were in controlled positions above them outside the Sanctuary able to pick them off (one by one) while they were in the open exposed? Huge plot hole for me.
* What happened to the other Alexandrian snipers at the Sanctuary? Are we to assume they were killed by Saviors when they shot their way out of the prison or fled?
* If the snipers have the high ground and are in hidden positions and there are a number of them, how they heck were the Saviors able to escape?