The Walking Dead show runner Scott M.Gimple has opened up on the divisive finale to the show’s eighth season, and explained how Rick’s change of heart was inspired by his son Carl.
As All Out War aired on Sunday night, Negan and Rick Grimes had a brutal showdown that saw Grimes slashing the throat of his nemesis.
But while Negan’s death looked a certainty, Grimes ultimately chose to save his life – and it seems that the death of his son Carl could be the reason for it.
In an interview with EntertainmentWeekly, Gimple revealed how Rick had been inspired by Carl’s letter to Negan, in which he claimed that redemption was still possible.
“He said that out loud and heard the words that he said,” Gimple explained.
“He was making a play and it was in the name of his son, and is there some piece of Carl or Rick within himself that when you put air to those words, that it affects him, and there is a subliminal purpose to that?”
He added: “In my mind, it’s saying those words [from Carl] out loud, it’s hearing those words, it’s going through with the play and seeing what he did. And really being faced with a choice and choosing what his son wanted. Did Carl’s words come back to haunt him?
“I think he just went too far by invoking those words and doing what he did. He cornered himself. He was using his son’s last wishes to get his revenge. He couldn’t go through with it, but is there something inside him that knew that? And really, was there any way to stop Negan without incapacitating him severely?”
Although Negan’s survival bodes interestingly for the show’s ninth season, it seems that viewers aren’t so sure – with many accusing it of “jumping the shark”.