(Carl's letter to Rick/ Carl Grimes narration)
Carl: I remember my 8th birthday at the KCC with that giant cake and Aunt Evie showing up on leave, surprising all of us. I remember Mom. I remember Codger. I remember school and going to the movies and Friday-night pizza and cartoons and Grandma and Grandpa and church, those summer barbecues and the kiddie pool you got me. Could've used that at the prison. You told me about the walks we'd take when I was 3, you holding my hand, around the neighborhood, all the way to Ross' farm. I didn't know that I remembered them, but I do. 'Cause I see the sun and the corn and that cow that walked up to the fence and looked me in the eye. And you told me about all that stuff, but it isn't just that stuff. It's how I felt. Holding your hand, I felt happy and special. I felt safe. I thought growing up was about getting a job and maybe a family, being an adult, but growing up is making yourself and the people you love safe... As safe as you can, because things happen. They happened before. You were shot before things went bad. Kind of felt like things went bad because you were shot. I wanna make you feel safe, Dad. I want you to feel like I felt when you held my hand. Just to feel that way for five minutes. I'd give anything to make you feel that way now. I wanted to kill Negan. I wish I did. Maybe it would've been done. I don't think it's done now. You went out there again, but I don't think they surrendered. I don't think they will surrender. There are workers in there, Dad. They're just regular people... Old people, young people, families. You don't want them to die, Dad. We're so close to starting everything over, and we have friends now. It's that bigger world Jesus talked about... The Kingdom, the Hilltop... There's... there's got to be more places, more people out there, a chance for everything to change and keep changing, everyone giving everyone the opportunity to have a life... A real life. So if they won't end it, you have to. You have to give them a way out. You have to find peace with Negan, find a way forward somehow. We don't have to forget what happened, but you can make it so that it won't happen again, that nobody has to live this way, that every life is worth something. Start everything over. Show everyone that they can be safe again without killing, that it can feel safe again, that it could go back to being birthdays and school and jobs and even Friday-night pizza somehow. And walks with a dad and a 3-year-old holding hands. Make that come back, Dad. And go on those walks with Judith. She'll remember them. I love you. Carl.
Rick Grimes: Carl... I'm sorry. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you. A father's job is to protect his son.
Carl Grimes: Love. It's just to love.
(Carl reaches for his gun)
Rick Grimes: No. No.
Michonne: Carl... It... It... It... It should be...
Carl Grimes: I know. I know. Somebody you love. When you can't do it yourself. But I still can. I grew up. I have to do this. Me. I love you.
Michonne: I love you, too.
Carl Grimes: I love you, Dad.
Rick Grimes: I love you, Carl. I love you so much. I'll make it real. I will. I will.
Rick Grimes: I can't be who I was. It's different now.
Carl Grimes: You can't kill all of 'em, Dad. There's gotta be something after. For you... and for them. There's gotta be something after. I know... you can't see it yet... how it could be. But I have... You have a beard. It's... It's bigger... and grayer... Michonne's happy... Judith is older, and she's listening to the songs that I used to before... Alexandria's bigger. There's... There's new houses... crops... and people working. Everybody living... helping everybody else live. If you can still be who you were... that's how it could be. It could.
Rick Grimes: Carl. It was all for you. Right from the start. Back in Atlanta, the farm... Everything I did, it was for you. Then, at the prison, it was for you and Judith. It still is. It's gonna be. And nothing... Nothing is gonna change that.
Carl Grimes: I want this for you, Dad.
Rick Grimes: I'm gonna make it real, Carl. I promise. I'm gonna make it real.
Carl Grimes: Back at the prison... when we got attacked... there was a kid, a little older than me. He had a gun. He was... He was starting to put it down, and I-I s... I shot him. He was... He was giving it up, and I... I just... I shot him. I think about him. What I did to him and how... How easy it was to just... kill him.
Rick Grimes: Carl, no. No. What happened... what you'd lost... All those things you had to... All those thing you had to do... You... You... You... You were just... You were just a boy.
Carl Grimes: And you saw it. What it did. How... How easy it got. That's why you changed... why you brought those people from Woodbury in... You brought them in, and we all lived together. We were enemies. You put away your gun. You did it so I could change, so I could be who I am now. What you did then... How you... How you stopped fighting... it was right. It still is. It can be like that again. You can still be like that again.
Carl Grimes: Thanks... for... For getting me here.
Rick Grimes: I'm... I'm sorry. I-I just... I didn't... I didn't want you out there. I-I...
Carl Grimes: No. No... for getting me here. For... For making it so I could be who... Who I wound up.
Carl Grimes: I don't want you to be sad after this.
Carl Grimes: Or angry. You're gonna have to be strong. For my dad. For Judith. For yourself.
Michonne: I will.
Carl Grimes: Don't carry this. Not this part. You're my best friend, Michonne.
Michonne: You're mine, too. You're mine.
Siddiq: You were helping me honor my mom...
Carl Grimes: Not just yours. Mine, too.
Siddiq: You brought me here. You gave me a chance. I know I can never repay you... but I can honor you by showing your people, your f-friends, your... your family that what you did wasn't for nothing. That it mattered. That it... That it meant something. Because it did. So that's what I'm gonna do. I'm gonna honor you, Carl.
Carl Grimes: Congratulations. You're stuck with us.
Carl Grimes: Kill me.
Negan: What did you say?
Carl Grimes: If you have to kill someone, if there has to be punishment, then kill me. I'm serious.
Negan: You wanna die?
Carl Grimes: No, I don't. But I will. It's gonna happen. And i... if me dying could stop this, if it can make things different... for us, for you, for all those other kids... It'd be worth it. I mean, was this the plan? Was it supposed to be this way? Is this who you wanted to be?
Carl Grimes: He's not home.
Negan: Oh-ho-holy shit! Everybody hold your fire. It's Carl. Look at you. Answering the door like a big boy. I am so proud.
Carl Grimes: You're gonna live, dad. Why are we doing this? Why are we fighting them? So it isn't like how they want it, with everyone working for them, everyone living for them? We're fighting so it's all of us working together for something more than just killing other people.
Rick Grimes: Well, you think we're gonna be out there, picking strawberries with Negan?
Carl Grimes: If that's what it takes. It's more than just hope. What, are we just gonna kill all of them? Finding some way forward, that's harder. That's something more. Dad, that's how it's got to be.