Season three of AMC's acclaimed series The Walking Dead marked the beginning of Carl's transition from sweet and innocent kid into a walker killing machine. He has become very cold and frighteningly calm about the brutality of surviving the zombie apocalypse. He has shot down a Woodbury soldier who was trying to surrender and does not feel any remorse for the murder. Of course it makes sense considering what he has been through and the things he has seen since the start. He has had to kill his own mother to keep her from turning, seen group members die right in front of him, the confrontation with Shane, the hordes, etc. Carl is being raised in a totally different world now. But is it possible that he might become a more terrifying threat than the walkers?
Yes! For one thing, he is really starting to scare Rick and Hershel with his new behavior. Comic creator and show producer/writer Robert Kirkman has stated the new season will feature a lot of drama around the new Carl. The challenge for Rick and the group in the coming episodes will be to keep Carl sane and grounded. Much of the suspense will be from whether or not Carl will lose it and do something like gunning down the Woodbury soldier again. What will Rick do if he can't get through to him? It will be an interesting relationship for him and his son from here on out because of the new power dynamic. Carl says his mind and has his own positions on issues the group face. They will fight over Rick's decisions and the best interests of the group. He has already suggested that Rick step down is leader. Imagine what would happen if he took his place. It would be total chaos.
He recognizes that the group has already been through way too much to trust anyone at this point, but where is the line drawn with losing one's humanity? The world has turned to a harsh place, but does that make it okay to execute human beings? Sure Carl is merely a product of the new hostile environment around him, but what could happen if he truly loses all sense of right and wrong? Could he become as unstable as the governor? Well, Rick and the group would likely have to start worrying about him a lot more than the governor or walkers. He really has become just as frightening as the shows common antagonists. We certainly don't want him to turn into a "little governor"
At this point it would appear that he has identified more with the survival views of Shane or even the governor in some ways. He is losing sight of what Rick and the group have been fighting for: To preserve humanity. Instead he only sees that it is simply kill or be killed situation.
Season three will return in the fall. The power battle between Rick and Carl will form the basis of the new conflict and should make for some great dialog. This season will likely have a different pace because of the issues in the father-son relationship. It's important to keep in mind that in the world of the zombie apocalypse, it is often the other HUMANS that become the more serious threat. Let's hope the good guys can still keep our little zombie slayer focused and not crazy! At least for a couple episodes! Check out the preview for the new exciting season below.