It's long been a thought that 'anyone can die' on The Walking Dead and, throughout the show's run, it's often been proved true, as characters like Dale, Hershel, Tyreese, and Glenn have all bitten the dust.
One of the problems with the show's approach to death, is that it's often done purely for a sake of shocking viewers rather than serving the plot and its characters. We've seen it happen with Andrea, T-Dog, and Beth and, while the show's shock value used to be high, it has dwindled after so many fake-outs.
This is a repeat of their tendency to try and leave viewers shook. Carl is such an important figure, and one considered bulletproof, that it's hard to see any other cause for the death other than to prove to its declining fanbase that they can still cause an upset and no one is safe.
6. Another Dragged Out Death
The Walking Dead also has an annoying habit of dragging out deaths - or potential deaths - across either long gaps between airing or multiple episodes.
It happened with the Glenn fakeout, then the actual deaths of Glenn and Abraham (not just the cliffhanger, but the 20-minute stretch of the Season 7 premiere), and, in Season 8, the question of what was happening with Gabriel and Negan.
The same has now happened with Carl, with the reveal he'd been bitten coming in the mid-season finale, but the actual death not happening until a few months later in the mid-season premiere. It's not until this episode we even see how Carl was bitten, and it means that the death doesn't pack quite the same punch as it would've done being contained to just one episode.
5. It Really Screws The Comics
Carl is still alive in The Walking Dead comic books, which is now way ahead of the show. He's survived All Out War, is still a big part of things after the time jump, and remains heavily involved in the storylines to come involving the Whisperers, which will probably form a big part of Season 9.
The show has deviated from the comics in some big ways before, with Carol's character outliving her graphic novel counterpart and Andrea having her life cut short by some distance, but this is the biggest change yet. Since they still tend to hit the same major milestones and plot points it does cast a lot more uncertainty over where the show is headed, while delivering something akin to a massive f**k you to fans of the comics who want to see those events play out on screen.
4. It Wastes Carl And Negan's Relationship
Despite Jeffrey Dean Morgan's obvious charisma, Negan hasn't translated as well to screen as fans hoped, with the villain too often coming off as being one-note.
One of the best aspects of his charcter, then, and one that does give him a bit more depth and Morgan something different to play, is with his strange relationship with Carl. Negan has an odd respect that even borders on affection for Rick's son, and it allows him to be something other than the swaggering loudmouth, while giving Carl more to do as well.
It gets explored further in the comics, and it could've been fascinating to see on TV. Carl's death means the end of that relationship, robbing Negan of a great on-screen partner and taking away the chance to deepen their relationship and add more layers to both characters in the process.