(Spoilers from AMC’s The Walking Dead will be found below.)
After the surprising death of Carl Grimes last season on The Walking Dead, many fans of the comic series were perplexed as to how the series would handle his departure upon the arrival of the next major villains, The Whisperers. In Robert Kirkman’s source material, Carl plays a major role in the battle with The Whisperers, and it was unclear as to how the television series would handle his upcoming arc. Would Enid fill his role? Or would Judith Grimes, now that she’s much older?
This week’s episode, “Who Are You Now?” the first since the departure of Rick Grimes and the seven-year time jump, started to answer some of the questions as to how Angela Kang would move around characters on the television series to fill the roles in the comic series. Aaron, for instance, fulfill’s Rick’s role while interviewing Magna and the other new characters (apt now that Aaron is missing an arm, as Rick is in the comics) while Michonne — as she has been for a long time — fills Andrea’s role in the comics. The conversation between Judith and Negan lines up with conversations between Carl and Negan in the comics, but that is not where the bulk of Carl’s storyline is this season.
After the time jump in the comics, Carl is older and something of a surly teenager, but it’s also the first time he really has any romantic feelings. However, in this arc of the comics, he doesn’t live in Alexandria. Rick decides that Carl will begin working as an apprentice for the blacksmith Earl Sutton on The Hilltop.
In this week’s episode, we see exactly who takes on that role: Henry, the “son” of Ezekiel and Carol, travels with Carol to The Hilltop to begin working as an apprentice for Earl Sutton. Carol and Henry’s confrontation with the remaining members of the Saviors also lines up with a confrontation that Rick and Carl had with roamers on their way to The Hilltop.
Interestingly, when Henry arrives — if his arc plays out like Carl’s does — he will quickly develop a crush on Lydia, the daughter of The Whisperers leader, who will be played by Cassady McClincy.
In some ways this works better because television Carl was already a teenager — or at least looked like one — before the time jump, and it would have required aging him up several more years. Here, however, Henry looks closer to Carl’s age in the comics during “A New Beginning.”
Funnily enough, the actor who plays the older Henry, Matt Lintz, is the older brother of the actor who played younger Henry, Macsen Lintz, in seasons 7 and 8. Macsen and Matt Lintz’s sister, meanwhile, is Madison Lintz, who plays Carol’s daughter, Sophia, in seasons one and two. The Lintz family is doing very well on The Walking Dead.
We still don’t know who is in charge of The Hilltop with Maggie Rhee out of the pictures. We do know, however, that it’s a “she,” and my money is on either Tara or, possibly, Enid.