While I had some very mixed thoughts on last night's Season 8 mid-season premiere of AMC's The Walking Dead (check out Bleeding Cool's recap video of 'Honor' here), I'd be a heartless, soulless freak if I didn't acknowledge that there were some truly heart-wrenching moments leading up to Carl's (Chandler Riggs) death. His final words to his sister Judith (Kinsley Isla Dillon), where he speaks to her of honor and survival before giving her their father Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) sheriff's hat and she screams uncontrollably. Daryl (Norman Reedus) stepping up to protect Judith, and reminding Carl that none of them would be alive if it wasn't for Carl's leadership under fire. His crushing exchange with Michonne (Danai Gurira), as best friends say goodbye one last time.
But it was the final words exchanged between father and son that resonated the most: words of love, remorse and hope. Words that Rick vows will have meaning in the world still to come:
Here's the most recent mid-season trailer for the second-half of The Walking Dead's eighth season (try saying that fast five times) along with the official AMC synopsis:
All out war has had a devastating impact on every person involved. The communities themselves are fractured. Alexandria has been destroyed, the Hilltop finds themselves pinned, and the Kingdom is shattered — half of them dead, the other half controlled by the Saviors.
At the very center — Rick, having been distracted by the conflict, has just returned home to learn that Carl, who heroically shepherded the Alexandrians to safety during Negan's attack, has been bitten by a walker. Once his sole motivation in this otherwise stark existence, Rick is forced to deal with this reality. Carl has always been a beacon of hope, a symbol for the remaining thread of humanity — lessons that the survivors around him would be wise to take with them as this war surges onward.
But Rick isn't the only person who's living in peril. Aaron and Enid are in a dire situation at Oceanside — unclear if they're in friendly territory, or if they've just made new enemies. Father Gabriel will do his part in attempting to smuggle Dr. Carson safely back to the Hilltop and a pregnant Maggie is wrestling with the many moral gray areas that come with leadership during war. In a standoff with the Saviors, she must decide how to proceed with the dozens of POW lives she's currently in control of, as well as new complications that come with being a leader.
In addition to the war, Negan continues to deal with struggles within his ranks as workers, traitors, and others' thirst for power cause conflict at the Sanctuary. Having gifted the Saviors a major victory, Eugene's loyalty is repeatedly tested as new obstacles present themselves.
As all-out-war consumes us, the line between good and evil continues to blur. People fighting for what they believe in. Everybody working together for something bigger — to feel safe and have a world worth living in.
The Walking Dead stars Andrew Lincoln (Rick Grimes), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan), Norman Reedus (Daryl Dixon), Lauren Cohan (Maggie Greene), Danai Gurira (Michonne), Melissa McBride (Carol Peletier), Lennie James (Morgan Jones), Seth Gilliam (Father Gabriel Stokes), Alanna Masterson (Tara Chambler), Khary Payton (King Ezekiel), and Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes); with Gale Anne Hurd, Greg Nicotero, David Alpert, out-going showrunner Scott M. Gimple and franchise creator Robert Kirkman serving as executive producers.