Chandler Riggs is one of the best actors on The Walking Dead. This is a sentiment we’ve held firm to over the past several years; as a matter of fact, we’ve suggested him as a prospective Emmy nominee in the past under the Supporting Actor category. He’s excelled in doing some personal, intimate material — even though this may be a series stuffed full of violence and gore, he’s been a constant reminder that its beating heart lies within its people.
Before this season, “After” from season 4 was one of our favorite episodes — it showed a personal side to Carl that we were thrilled to see, both in terms of his determination but also a little bit of the childlike sense of wonder he still had. The pudding scene still remains a personal favorite for us here at CarterMatt.
Yet, this season he broke the mold in the heartbreaking, gut-wrenching midseason premiere “Honor.” This is the episode that showed Carl’s final struggle, but then also his mission to spread his message of hope for the future before his eventual death. There was a determination in Riggs’ performance that surpassed all of his previous work, but also such a perspective and life experience that came not only from his lines but also his his facial expressions and body language. Even though Carl was facing death, he was still more than capable of offering up something more to the rest of the world. Riggs was able to make this episode everything that you could want — it is a look into his heart and a glimmer of hope that life can be more than just surviving. It was physically demanding and then also emotionally stunning.
Did we lose Carl from the show far earlier than we would have liked? Absolutely, but it is worth noting that if we were going to lose Chandler Riggs, it’s great that his final farewell proved to be one of the best episodes for any actor in the eight-year history of The Walking Dead.
Why has he been so routinely snubbed? – The main purpose of our Emmy Hopefuls series is looking at performers who have not received proper recognition over the years — that is certainly true in this case with Riggs. The unfortunate thing that he is going up against here is that The Walking Dead in general is not a show that receives much attention in terms of acting awards. In general it is harder for genre series to get that sort of attention, especially one with zombies as such a big component to it. It’s something that awards voters, time and time again, have unfortunately stuck up their noses at.
To go along with this, we almost feel like the popularity of The Walking Dead over the years has somehow hurt it. It’s almost as though voters have determined that the record ratings are a reward enough for all of the cast and crew and they don’t need to recognize it further.
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