Warning: Spoilers for Season 7 of The Walking Dead follow!
If you've been following along with the current episodes of #TheWalkingDead, you know last week's episode "Go-Getters" wasn't as thrilling as previous episodes this season — but the episode did depict Carl heading out on a solo mission to assassinate #Negan. The scene was placed towards the conclusion of the episode, which foreshadowed Carl's excursion to Negan's Sanctuary in the following one. Carl was also seen accompanied by Jesus, who was on his own recon mission for Sasha. The two met unexpectedly in the back of Negan's van, and they'll likely have an interesting existential debate during "Swear."
When we account for Jesus being much more compassionate than Carl, along with the inevitability of Jesus finding out Carl's purpose in the van, Jesus will likely have some enlightening words for the young boy and will try to discourage his current course of action. Although, considering how much of Season 7 has been loyal to the comics, it's fair to assume Carl will make it to the Sanctuary anyway. Regardless of what Jesus says to him, Carl is going to meet with Negan in "Swear" and their meeting will be quite eventful, seeing as the two have formed an odd friendship in the comics.
Carl And Negan's Budding Friendship In The Walking Dead Comics
In the comics, when Negan finds out Carl has stowed away in one of his vans and is now avidly threatening several Saviors's lives, Negan doesn't punish him for his actions and actually gives him a tour of the Sanctuary. He then attempts to convince Carl that despite having killed so many people, he's not that bad of a guy. Eventually, Carl gives in to Negan's manipulation tactics, but not before Negan psychologically forces him into that defensive position.
To do so, Negan goads Carl into showing him the empty socket where his eye used to be. At first, Carl doesn't oblige, but the cruel Negan pushes him and makes some crass comments as soon as Carl removes the bandage. That gets Carl to lower his defenses and begin to tear up.
The following page from The Walking Dead comics contains explicit language used by Negan; you've been warned.
Negan: "Fucking christ, Man! No wonder you cover that shit up. You look disgusting, have you seen it?!
I mean — have you looked in a mirror? I wouldn't blame you if you hadn't. It's fucking gross. I can see your fucking eye socket — your goddamn skull is exposed.
Now I want to touch it. Can I touch it?"
In comparison to The Walking Dead television series, Carl has been hiding the fact that losing his eye is bothering him, mainly because his excellent aim has been reduced to amateur quality.
Before he lost his eye, Carl took pride in his ability to not miss a shot, now he can't even hit the broadside of a barn. While he hasn't accepted that he's still grieving over the loss of his eye, Negan's crass comments towards it will be the breaking point that forces him to deal with his injury.
Negan Might Do Something Good For Carl In "Swear"
Eventually, Carl will be able to move past the trauma and accept it for what it is. Not much has been said towards the effect of Carl losing his eye, but now that Negan is forcing him to come face-to-face with the reality of it, he will be able to come to terms with the loss and move forward from this point on. You could say Negan's crude comments are good for Carl. Without Negan to push him towards that final step in grieving and acceptance, he would remain in a state of grieving for an indefinite period of time.
While you might think that Negan meeting Carl is too speculative, the similarities between the comics and the television series have been so recurring in Season 7 that it's reasonable to assume they'll meet when the Saviors find Carl held up in Negan's truck. Or Negan will be the one to find Carl, but there's a more important question here.
What Will Happen To Carl After He Learns Where The Saviors Are?
After Carl finds out where the Saviors are holding up, will Negan allow him to leave? Or will he hold him captive in order to keep him from telling anyone where the Saviors's Sanctuary is actually located?
What we do know is that while it may seem unreasonable to consider Carl becoming friends with Negan, the source material in the comics says otherwise.
What do you think will transpire between Negan and Carl during next week's episode "Swear"? Will Negan accidentally kill Carl? Or will Carl do something that is unforgivable to Negan, resulting in permanent imprisonment until Rick and company can rescue him? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.