Let’s be real about The Walking Dead — we may all originally have come for the zombies and post-apocalyptic survival fantasy, but when we stayed, we stayed for the drama. So it’s only fitting that we get some majorly emotional music to go with it. So if you were getting feels and you just desperately need to know what the song in The Walking Dead’s midseason premiere is, you're not alone.
The emotional and expressive music that plays during a montage of Carl’s actions during the midseason premiere is “At The Bottom of Everything,” by Bright Eyes. The song was originally released on the 2005 album I'm Wide Awake, It's Morning, an album which I have to admit I definitely have had Feels to at least once. So if you’re getting nostalgic flashbacks you can’t quite place, that’s probably why.
The song, whose lyrics are about facing down the inevitable and finding meaning in things (in the context of a plane crash, but I’ll roll with it) was kind of a perfect choice for the scene. In a long montage, fans saw Carl making his peace with approaching death. After discovering that he had been bitten by a walker, Carl gets himself ready for death through what may be the last actions of his life — some practical, like changing out of his bloody clothes and washing himself, and some about his loved ones who will survive after him— writing notes to his family, taking a photo with little sister Judith and sitting with her, rocking her on the porch.
I'm not crying, you're crying.
And the Feels really weren't helped along by the quietly passionate song's lyrics. It goes,
We must blend into the choir, sing as static with the whole / We must memorize nine numbers and deny we have a soul / And in this endless race for property and privilege to be won / We must run, we must run, we must run
We must hang up in the belfry where the bats and moonlight laugh / We must stare into a crystal ball and only see the past / Into the caverns of tomorrow with just our flashlights and our love / We must plunge, we must plunge, we must plunge / (and the we'll get down there, way down to the bottom of everything / And then we'll see it, we'll see it, we'll see it)
The “plunging into the caverns” part was extra sad, because of what we saw in the midseason finale.
Fans were already emotional after Carl revealed in the midseason finale that he had been bitten by a walker. In the final moments of the episode, all our faves reunited in the sewers under Alexandria, and everything seemed lost. But after Carl, Rick, and crew had survived so much, I thought everything would work out. Maybe Alexandria hadn't made it, maybe Rick hadn't defeated Negan, but everyone was still alive, and that was the important thing, right? They had each other?
And then Carl lifted up his shirt to show that he had been bitten, and all that went out the window.
Fans, of course, were distraught.
So what I'm saying is that basically everyone was primed to have All The Feels, and the music selection is setting us all off. (Side note: good job, music people. Very effective choice, two thumbs up on the cathartic cry scale.)
As for Carl's ultimate fate, well, even now I'm still hoping for some kind of deus ex showrunners magical immunity or fake out reprieve of some sort, and I will continue hoping for it for as long as this show is on TV. No, I don't care what so-called "proof" it offers about Carl dying. I choose to believe, and I believe in Carl.