The Walking Dead’s Carol Did What Rick Grimes Could Never Do


The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 20, “What’s Lost,” which premiered Sunday, October 23 on AMC.

The Walking DeadThe final episodes of move at lightning speed, and the villains drop like flies. Season 11, episode 18, “A New Deal” saw the death of Sebastian Milton in a well-deserved act of revenge, and season 11, episode 20, “What’s Lost” said goodbye to another Commonwealth antagonist. After a miserable punishment that traumatized him to the core, Lance Hornsby finally met his death through Carol Peletier, who made sure not to make the same mistake Rick Grimes made during the Salvador war.

It seemed like Lance’s death would be a long time coming, even if his character still had a lot of potential left. He was a much more interesting and complex antagonist for the group to deal with than Pamela Milton, who always seems to be in the background of his own story. On the other hand, it was always hard to tell where Lance stood on the morality scale and he was just as unpredictable as he seems. But his wild nature led him to be killed by Carol, who freed him after she promised to help her find the missing people. Lance turned on her and Daryl Dixon at the last second and took an arrow to her throat. Finally, a villain in The Walking Dead he was not saved for the sake of unearned redemption, of which Rick suffered the consequences.

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How Rick’s Decision Caused Long-Term Problems

Throughout seasons 7 and 8 of The Walking Dead, it was assumed that Negan would bite the bullet. Even Jeffrey Dean Morgan thought his Living Dead shelf life had an expiration date. The comic counterpart of him may have lived on, but the show has always gone in a different direction. Negan’s end seemed especially inevitable after the death of Carl Grimes, which sent Rick into a downward spiral. But Carl’s death only convinced Rick to forgive Negan for a “better world,” a concept the show has yet to achieve.

That choice created tension between Maggie Rhee and Rick for months. Maggie refused to visit Alexandria as Negan was incarcerated there, she plotted to kill Negan behind Rick’s back and she hated that Rick didn’t consult anyone else about what should have been a group decision. She also led to the breakdown of Daryl and Rick’s brotherly relationship. All of this indirectly caused Rick to go missing after blowing up a bridge to save the communities. It seemed like that was the end of Negan’s problem. He was closeted and rarely caused any trouble while Alexandria prospered under Michonne’s leadership. But while Michonne was confidently carrying out Rick and Carl’s wishes, Maggie was miles away, still traumatized by the man who killed her husband and left her a single mother.

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How Carol learned from Rick’s biggest mistake

While Carol never explicitly stated that she disagreed with Rick about forgiving Negan, she did state that the Saviors would never listen to Rick. Since Rick’s disappearance, Carol has teamed up with the greatest savior of all. With Negan’s help, she orchestrated Alpha’s death and the two worked together to find Sebastian when Lance was chasing Maggie’s group. Their partnership has proven ingenious, but it doesn’t change the fact that Negan’s survival caused future feuds and resentment that lingers between Negan and many survivors today.

By killing Lance, Carol avoids responsibility. There’s no reason to believe he’s the changed man he claims to be, especially since he tried to kill Carol and Daryl before his death. His survival meant only the slimmest of chances that he would actually be useful in the coming war, and Carol wasn’t taking any chances. It is an act that sacrifices one of the best characters and actors that The Walking Dead has had in years, but tips the scales in favor of the good guys. The only villain left now is Pamela, who at this rate, may meet her demise very soon.

New episodes of The Walking Dead air Sundays at 9:00 p.m. on AMC and air a week earlier on AMC+.

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