The Walking Dead's second to last episode of Season 8 opened with an serious emotional bang. Tonight the contents of the letter that Carl left for his dad before he tragically died were revealed. And man was it hard to get through without tearing up — not just because Carl is so missed, but also because of his powerful plea for a cease-fire (so to speak) between Rick and Negan. So what did Carl's letter to Rick say, and might it be enough to make him end the "All Out War" with Negan?
Carl began with reminiscing about what life was like before the apocalypse; the birthday parties, going to the movies, pizza parties — you know, the simple stuff. He talked about how he remembers holding his dad's hand, and feeling safe. And he started to explain how he wants Rick to bring back that safe feeling to the world again. Carl wrote,
Growing up is making yourself and the people you love safe. As safe as you can, because things happen... I wanna make you feel safe dad. I want you to feel like I felt when you held my hand, just to feel that way for 5 minutes I’d give anything to make you feel that way now.
Then Carl got into how he feels about Negan and the Saviors' crusade. He said he wanted to kill Negan when he had the chance and he wishes that he did, and explained that he doesn't think the he'll ever surrender to Rick, followed by asking his dad to end the war once and for all. Carl says,
I don’t think they [the Saviors] surrendered, I don’t think they will surrender... So if they won’t end it, you have to. You have to give them the way out, you have to find peace with Negan. Find a way for it 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 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 that.
Ugh, the feels.
Can I just say that even though Carl is no longer with us, it was so great to at least get to hear his voice again as Rick was reading his letter. We knew that Carl had written several letters to a couple of different people when he knew his death was imminent, but we didn't get to see what he had to say. Tonight we got the whole thing, and boy was it an emotional mouthful.
But will the letter from beyond the grave be enough to change Rick's mind? We know that Rick already knew that Carl wanted him to come to a truce with Negan, because back in Episode 10 when he informed Negan of Carl's death, he told him that they both got letters and that Carl wants them to bring peace. But Rick also told Negan that it's "too late for that now," which is not promising.
Is Rick reconsidering Carl's plea tonight? It definitely looks like it. Toward the end of the letter when Carl mentions his sister Judith, Rick looks over to find Michonne walking her and holding her hand and starts to get teary-eyed. Is this a hint that Rick is going to try to get Negan to end the war between them? This setup is definitely making for an interesting season finale next week.