The Walking Dead returns with a powerful and emotionally devastating loss. Honor saw the tragic death of Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). It is a benchmark moment for the series, truly moving into uncharted territory. It seems unreal that Rick's (Andrew Lincoln) beloved son, a primary character, is gone. Carl's swansong was bittersweet. We learn that the vision of old man Rick was actually Carl's dream for peace. His hope for a united future is lost on Morgan (Lennie James), who has transformed into a lethal killing machine.
Honor opens with a bereaved Rick. As tears stream down his face, a montage begins. At first we see old man Rick in a vision. He walks with Judith, saying hello to Jerry (Cooper Andrews) and Eugene (Josh McDermitt) in Alexandria's garden. Then we see the heartbroken Rick and Michonne (Danai Gurira) filling in a grave. The scene cuts back to the moment where Carl helped Siddiq (Avi Nash) escape, but gets bitten on the stomach. He hides Siddiq in the sewer, before going home to look at his wound.
Carl cleans the wound, but realizes the gravity of what has happened. He writes goodbye letters to his family and friends. He goes back to the sewer to bring Siddiq supplies. He speaks with Tobbin, at the gate, who passes him a note from Michonne. She had to see what was happening at the Sanctuary. Carl then plays with Judith for the last time, putting their handprints on the house, and taking treasured pictures together. He takes his hat off, enjoying the warmth of the sun.
At the Sanctuary, Morgan watches as the Saviors gun down the walkers in the front. He realizes they're creating a barrier to escape. He calls in the alarm, but is forced to flee under gunfire. He escapes the warehouse by drawing the walkers towards him. They, in turn, attack the Saviors on his tail. He runs into the woods. As he emerges on the road, he sees the Savior convoy heading towards the Kingdom.
Outside the Kingdom, Carol (Melissa McBride) is leading everyone to safety. She tells Nabila to take the survivors to her house. They will be safe and there are supplies. Henry wants to come with her to rescue Ezekiel (Khary Payton). Carol refuses; she leaves alone into the night.
In the Alexandria sewers, everyone is in shock. Michonne and Rick sit with Carl as the Saviors burn their homes. Carl tells his father what happened. It wasn't the Saviors. He was bitten saving Siddiq. At the Kingdom, Gavin (Jayson Warner Smith) and his men have Ezekiel tied up. Gavin is exasperated by the violence. He blames Rick for putting ideas in Ezekiel's head. Ezekiel says he made a choice, and Gavin must now choose his.
Morgan is horrified to see Henry sneaking back into the Kingdom. He walks towards him, but runs into Carol. Morgan is eager to take the Saviors out one by one. Carol says them may have to him them at once. In the sewers, Siddiq brings anti-inflammatory medicine for Carl. Rick asks if he was a doctor. Siddiq replies that he was a resident, that the medicine helped his parents before they died.
The explosions continue overhead. Michonne begs Dwight (Austin Amelio) to ask the Saviors to stop. It's too late. Rosita (Christian Serratos) says they must escape to the Hilltop. Daryl (Norman Reedus) wants to leave immediately, but Dwight disagrees. They must wait until the Saviors leave before escaping. Daryl relents, then says everyone together will be "their worst nightmare".
Morgan and Carol kill the Saviors one by one. Morgan spears them all in the head with lethal efficiency. Meanwhile, Ezekiel is getting in Gavin's head. The Savior lieutenant did not want this war. He had hoped everything would "settle". In the sewers, Carl tells Michonne that they must make peace. It is the only way. The explosions above stop.
We cut away to the vision of old man Rick, then back to Rick and Michonne burying. They get ready to leave the sewer. Rick says Carl can't make the trip. He and Michonne will stay with him. Daryl offers to take Judith. In the most powerful scene of the episode, Carl says goodbye to his sister. He tells her to listen to their father, but not always. Carl gives her his trademark hat, passing on the words their mother told him. The future will belong to her. "You will beat this world. I didn't, but I know you will". Judith cries as Daryl takes her away. Before he leaves, Daryl turns to Rick and says, "You saved all of these people." Siddiq kneels before Carl and promises him that he will honor him. Carl lovingly replies that Siddiq is now stuck with them.
At the Kingdom, Gavin radios his men to leave. Silence. He hears gunshots. The Saviors take Ezekiel into the theater to regroup. Ezekiel reminds him of the choice. Gavin punches him. The front door explodes. As the Saviors turn their fire on the blast, Carol and Morgan ambush them from the stage. They mow them down. Gavin is shot in the leg. Ezekiel grabs his gun. A Savior jumps on Morgan, who reaches into the man's wound and pulls his intestines out. Everyone is horrified by this act. Gavin limps away in terror. Morgan walks towards him slowly. They have killed everyone else.
In the sewer, Carl tells Michonne to be strong, to not carry his death. She will need to have courage for his father, for Judith, for herself. Rick and Michonne lift Carl up, to take him outside for his final moments. At the Kingdom, Gavin painfully runs from Morgan. Just as he thinks he's safe, Morgan opens a door and drags him away.
Rick and Michonne place Carl inside the burned out church. Rick apologizes for not keeping his son safe. Carl recounts a story of how he shot a kid at the prison. He laments how easy it was to kill. At the Kingdom, Gavin yells at Morgan. They can't beat Negan. They will never be able to go back. Killing him won't change anything. They will still be in a world of sh*t.
Carl reminds Rick that he let the Woodbury survivors stay with them. He put away his gun. He can do it again. He can stop fighting and make peace. Meanwhile, Ezekiel and Carol beg Morgan to spare Gavin. Morgan replies that he cannot. Just as he's about to kill him, Henry comes up from behind and spears Gavin through the neck.
As Carl slips away, he tells his father about his dream of the future. Rick with the gray beard, Alexandria rebuilt, Judith a happy little girl. Everyone living and working together in peace. Rick replies that everything was for Carl, and that he will make his son's dream a reality. At the Kingdom, Ezekiel embraces Henry. He tells him not to look at Gavin's body, everything will be resolved.
Carl's breathing becomes labored. Rick laments that he failed to protect his son. Carl disagrees, everything was for love. He reaches down for his pistol. He is able to take his own life and spare them. Carl says "I love you". Rick kisses his son goodbye, and promises again to make his dream a reality. Rick and Michonne sit outside the church. There is a muffled shot from Carl's silenced gun. They break down in tears. We see them completing Carl's burial. Then a shocking return to the dream sequence. Judith is playing with Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan). The episode ends with Rick, sitting under a tree, with blood on his hands.
The Walking Dead breaks our hearts once again. Honor was riveting, a brilliant goodbye for Carl Grimes. It's doubtful that his dream will ever be realized. The Walking Dead without Carl is a whole different animal. Negan has taken too much blood to be forgiven. The war with Saviors now moves into a new phase. Who else will fall in the carnage to come? Tune in next week on AMC.