Is there a way to reverse course on one of the most dramatic turn of events in The Walking Dead history?
It’s well established canon in pretty much all zombie lore that if you get bit, you die, and then turn into a zombie. The same holds true for The Walking Dead. But what if the writers decided to veer really far off course and change that commonly accepted inevitability? All it takes is a creative imagination and clever writing. What’s more, it doesn’t even take a full change to keep an infected character on the show.
For those fans who are unaware of what happened on The Walking Dead mid-season finale, turn back now. Spoilers ahead!
So how does Carl stay on the show? How can he possible remain now that he’s bitten?
Theory #1 – Carl becomes a pet
Is it morbid? Yes. Would it be really cool? Also, yes. Some could consider it an abomination, but if this series has proven anything, it’s that people will go to extreme measures to keep loved ones around. Whether it’s keeping family members locked up in a barn and feeding them, or chaining a daughter by her neck in a back room, this would not be original.
What’s more, one member of the Ricktatorship is already familiar with keeping leashed zombies around. Additionally, she’s very fond of Carl. Almost like a mother figure. That’s right, one way to keep Carl around would be to chain him up like a pet on a leash, just as Michonne did in the past. Jaw removal is optional.
How cool would it be for Chandler Riggs to get the opportunity to be a zombie for a few episodes? He could be chained up, kept on a leash, or maybe someone has a Ketch-All handy?
Theory #2 – Maybe there is a cure?
Carl carrying the antibodies or immunity is a theory that has already been shot down. But that doesn’t necessarily apply to others. Father Gabriel recently got sick, some say from wearing the zombie guts. Maybe he carries the immunity? Furthermore, he just so happens to be with a doctor right now who could potentially know how to weaponize the immunity against the disease’s spread.
Another possibility is the helicopter. A lot of mystery remains about the helicopter. For all we know it could chauffeuring around be a virologist like Will Smith’s character I Am Legend. Maybe the doctor in the chopper already has the cure?
Theory #3 – Quislings
Anyone familiar with World War Z by Max Brooks knows about Quislings. They didn’t make an appearance in that travesty of a movie starring Brad Pitt, but the source material provides an excellent and creative out for the The Walking Dead writers if they want to take it.
Essentially, Quislings are humans so psychologically damaged they resort to acting like zombies. Similar to Stockholm Syndrome, their trauma causes them to seek appeasement from their attackers. Therefore, they begin to move and act like zombies, even going so far as biting other humans.
Since Carl is such a fan of approaching random people without so much as a step of hesitation, it’s entirely possible he was bitten by someone undergoing the psychological trauma of a Quisling.
So what do you think? Is Carl going to live? Or has the show officially veered far away from the comic source material? Will the writers of The Walking Dead actually kill off the one character that symbolized hope for the future since the first episode? Chime in with a comment if you have your own theory!
The Walking Dead returns to AMC in February.