In The Walking Dead episode “Judge, Jury, Executioner” Carl became the most unlikable character on the show. But is that his fault?

While Carl has mostly spent time obeying his Mom, he’s ready to man up. And things have seemed peaceful enough on the farm that he probably thinks he’s earned a bit of rebellion. Does that make him stupid or a jerky kid?

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This life is hardening him, but he’s also probably just going through “that age” I suspect (I’m not a parent so I’m not sure what all the phases are. Plus, in a zombie apocalypse kid’s phrases might be altered…) He “sassed” (a Southern term, but yea) someone, spoke out defiantly (honestly but also far too rudely) about his thoughts on heaven, “borrowed” a gun, constantly defied what his parents told him to do, and even went traipsing around alone in the woods.

Once he was in the woods and he saw a Walker, he realized it was stuck and gave us the unnerving scene of walking around it closely to examine it (and I partially can understand why Carl would do this, he’s a kid and he’s interested.) Carl even then threw rocks at it – this seemed mean, but perhaps it was his anger at losing so many people. Perhaps it was also because he wanted, not to taunt it, but to see how it would react.

He also went in to spy on Randall, and egged his Dad on to kill him while he watched. (Cold-blooded or just trying to mimic what Shane and his Dad say and do?) All of these actions made Carl seem like a little jerk! But is it his fault? Now that he’s lost the only other kid (Sophia) he’s got so much less incentive to keep trying to stay young and innocent. (Hell, how can you ever stay innocent in this kind of a world?) Hershel might want to curl up and pretend he is sheltered, but Carl wants to put on the rest of his Dad’s outfit and be important.

I honestly don’t know how I feel about Carl right now. Will he grow up to be a jerk because of his circumstances? Or do you think it’s all about who he’d be in general no matter what was going on?