Warning: The following contains spoilers from the midseason premiere of “The Walking Dead.” If you haven’t watched and don’t feel like being spoiled, you should probably turn away now.
“The Walking Dead” just took a page right out of the graphic novels that fans have been waiting for and it was as gruesome and sobering as they imagined it would be. During a scuffle with a rather large hoard of walkers, a shot went off, hitting Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs) right in the eye.
The show did change how Carl ended up on the wrong side of a gun, though. In the comics it’s Douglas Monroe — the character that was changed to Deanna (Tovah Feldshuh) on the show — who accidentally fired on him in the comics, while being attacked by walkers. On the TV series, it’s Ron (Austin Abrams), Jessie’s eldest son, who pops off a shot while his family is being devoured.
While some might have expected a bullet to the head would be the death of him, luckily that’s not the case. Instead, the moment introduced the next chapter of the character’s life — one in which he relies on a single eye.
In the comics, the change is a big one for Carl as he grapples with the reality that he is now half-blind and permanently disfigured. That realization puts him down a road of self-pity as he struggles with the possibility that he’s not of use to the group like he previously was.
Of course, this isn’t how things transpire. Though he’s injured, Carl is still a strong force in a world filled with walkers. Regardless of how many eyes he has, he has the survival experience that’s needed.
Eventually, his missing eye also leads to his first real sexual encounter. The character of Lydia has yet to be introduced in the show — and she may never appear, depending on what route the series decides to take — but in the graphic novels she becomes a main love interest for Carl and the woman he loses his virginity too. She happens to find his injury “sexy.”
Should the show eventually tackle the Lydia story, there’s still quite a bit of time before that moment arrives. After all, every sign is pointing to Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) for the rest of Season 6 — and beyond.
That character is going to bring about major changes to the show, most likely including some very sad deaths that are going to stick with fans for a very long time.