The Walking Dead returned from its mid-season hiatus last night, bringing with it a moment fans of the show have been dreading for months.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead.]
The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale ended with Carl Grimes, the badass kid with an equally cool eyepatch, revealing he suffered a bite few episodes prior and, because of its location on his body, there’s no way to amputate the infected area. Carl’s fate seemed to be sealed with the realization that he couldn’t go on, but it wasn’t until the premiere that we saw Carl buried six feet underground.
Actor Chandler Riggs tweeted about the episode before it aired, thanking fans for their ongoing support.
“None of us could have done this without you,” Riggs tweeted. “It was always for the fans, and it always will be. So thank you for giving me this chance to let me pursue my dream and continue to make you angry, sad, happy, and everything in between. I won’t let you down.”
It was an emotional night for many members of The Walking Dead family, including newcomer Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Morgan, who plays the disturbing Negan on the series, posted his own photo on Instagram with a note for Riggs.
You, my friend, are an incredible young man. Well before joining this cast I was a fan... a fan that loved watching you grow up in front of a camera. From the moment you first put on the way too large sheriffs hat as a boy... to the end, the hat so befitting of the man Carl had become. Wiser and more compassionate than all of us. You held all of our hearts. Honestly... a huge reason I wanted so badly to join this band of misfits... was because I was such a fan of the Negan Carl relationship in the comics... that storyline was one of my favorites, as I know it was one of yours. I’ll forever be dissaponted we only scratched the surface of what could have been. BUT... I can take total solace in the fact that you are out there... doing your thing. You’ve grown into an amazing young man as well as a powerful actor... the world is your oyster Riggs. We all get to sit back and watch you kill it. So.. know you are missed on the show... but know you have a big ole group of family all here for you if needed... and eagerly awaiting whatever comes next. Love you Riggs. See you soon.
Riggs noted last year that it wasn’t his decision to leave the show, but told The Hollywood Reporter “it made sense story-wise for it to happen for Rick and Michonne and all the other characters.”
The Walking Dead airs Sunday nights at 9 p.m. ET on AMC.