Henry (The Walking Dead)
|The Walking Dead character|
|First appearance||"The Well" (2016)|
|Last appearance||"The Calm Before" (2019)|
|Portrayed by||Macsen Lintz and Matt Lintz|
Henry is a fictional character from the horror drama television series The Walking Dead, which airs on AMC in the United States and is based on the comic book series of the same name. He was portrayed by Macsen Lintz in seasons 7 and 8 and the first part of season 9, and by Matt Lintz in the rest of season 9. Henry is an original character in the television series and has no counterpart in the comics.
Fictional character biography
Henry is a resident of the Kingdom and Benjamin's naive younger brother. Following Benjamin's death, Henry is trained in armed and unarmed combat by Carol and Morgan at his request and fights in the war against the Saviors against their wishes. Henry kills the Savior lieutenant Gavin and later attempts to discover the identity of his brother's killer without success. After the war against Negan and the Saviors, he is adopted by Ezekiel and Carol. Years after Rick's apparent death at the destruction of the bridge, he works to keep the Kingdom from falling apart; he travels to the Hilltop to apprentice as a blacksmith. He falls in love with Lydia, the daughter of Alpha, the leader of the Whisperers. Henry is murdered by Alpha alongside several others and his decapitated head displayed on a pike.
In the episode "The Well", ten year old Henry is seen with his brother Benjamin in as Morgan shows Carol around the Kingdom. Later, Henry eats dinner with Benjamin and Morgan and excuses himself early to catch the movie being shown later for the community's residents. In the episode "Rock in the Road", Benjamin watches as Ezekiel puts Henry to bed, and then speaks with Ezekiel about helping Rick's group fight against the Saviors. In the episode "Bury Me Here", Morgan trains Henry how to fight with a stick. Later he learns of Benjamin's death at the hands of Jared from Savior lieutenant Gavin's group. He later appears with Carol and Ezekiel, working to repair the recently burned royal garden that had been infested with weevils.
In the episode "Some Guy", Henry is seen in flashback talking with Ezekiel about the fight against the Saviors and how many people will lose their loved ones, and later looks in sadness as he sees Ezekiel injured and upset after the fighting. In the episode "The King, the Widow, and Rick", Carol works to prepare other able-bodied residents to help in Rick's plan. Henry desperately wants to participate despite her hesitation, but she relents. In the episode "Honor", after the Kingdom is taken over by Gavin and the Saviors, Carol leads the Kingdom survivors far enough away and instructs them to continue towards the house she used outside of the Kingdom for shelter, while she goes back to rescue Ezekiel. Henry, who is trained in both firearm and melee combat, insists that he come along to assist, but Carol orders him to stay with the others. Henry instead follows Carol, and fatally stabs Gavin through the neck from behind. In the episode "Dead or Alive Or", Henry guards the Saviors being held prisoner at the Hilltop, and remains unconvinced when Morgan lies to him that Gavin was Benjamin's killer and that he already had his revenge. In the episode "Do Not Send Us Astray", Henry accosts the Savior prisoners with a gun, demanding to know which one of them killed Benjamin. When none of them respond, Henry unlocks the pen and enters to threaten them directly, but one of the prisoners who had died reanimates and starts attacking them. In the confusion, another Savior, Jared, wrestles the gun from Henry and leads the other Saviors to escape from the Hilltop during the turmoil. When dawn breaks, Henry is also missing. In the episode "Still Gotta Mean Something", Morgan feels guilt for Henry's disappearance, as Henry had been seeking vengeance on Jared. He goes out to look for Henry, accompanied by Carol. They find a walker with Henry's weapon through it, and Morgan believes Henry must be dead and instead heads further down the road, while Carol goes in the direction the walker came from to find Henry. Morgan meets up with Rick, and they are captured by the escaped Saviors, led by Jared. Rick and Morgan break free when walkers attack, and Morgan chases down Jared and purposely traps him in a room with walkers, leaving Jared to die. Meanwhile, Carol is able to find Henry fending off walkers. She helps rescue him and takes him back to the Hilltop for a happy reunion. Rick and Morgan return, and Morgan sullenly informs Henry he killed Jared. Henry says he's sorry, but Morgan tells him to never say one's sorry, and walks off alone. In the season finale "Wrath", Morgan starts hallucinating again and nearly kills Henry before Carol stops him.
In the episode "The Bridge", as Henry is passing out water to the Saviors as they help build Rick's bridge, Justin, a Savior, tries to take more than his share and pushes Henry. Daryl rushes in to subdue Justin before Rick can assert his control on the group.
In the episode "Who Are You Now?", six years later a now teenaged Henry is allowed to travel to Hilltop to be apprenticed in the art of being a blacksmith to help effect repairs, as Ezekiel recognizes the needs to have a trained blacksmith. Carol brings Henry along with a number of supplies she plans to bring to the Hilltop too. En route, they are attacked by the remains of the Saviors, aside from those who joined the other communities. In the episode "Stradivarius", Daryl leads Carol and Henry to his camp, and introduces them to his dog, named Dog. That night, as Daryl takes Dog to check his traps, they are followed by Henry. Dog gets stuck in one of the traps, and while Daryl frees it, they are overwhelmed by walkers. Henry steps in to help dispatch them. When they return to camp, Henry explains that he's learned that it is better to look at the big picture of everyone's survival than just one person. The three continue on to Hilltop, where they learn of Rosita's injury, and that Eugene is still out there. In the mid-season finale "Evolution", Henry gets settled into the Hilltop as apprentice to blacksmith Earl, as Carol returns to the Kingdom, but discovers that Enid, his crush, is in a relationship with Alden. Depressed, Henry meets with a group of teenagers, who invite him to join them that evening for some debauchery at a secret shelter outside the gates. After drinking heavily, they show him a walker that they have been using as a plaything, but Henry quickly dispatches it and the rest of the group abandons him. When he returns on his own, Tara and Earl put him in a cell for drunken disobedience. Though Earl considers sending Henry back to the Kingdom, he becomes sympathetic to Henry due to his own drunken mistakes and promises to speak to Jesus on his behalf.
In the mid-season premiere "Adaptation", the corpse of Jesus and a young girl prisoner from the group that killed him are brought to Hilltop. The Hilltop prepares to bury Jesus' body and Daryl, upset over the loss, rushes down to interrogate the girl again in earshot of Henry, who is also still locked up for past transgressions. Daryl finds that the girl's mother may still be out there, leading walkers against the various communities. After Daryl leaves, the girl introduces herself as Lydia to Henry and the two start to get to know each other; Daryl overhears this conversation. In the episode "Omega", Lydia describes her backstory to Henry while both are in the community prison, unaware Daryl is listening in. As Lydia explains, Henry starts to become more compassionate towards Lydia, his own family having gone through similar hardships. Soon after, Daryl drags Henry away, fearing he may be becoming too close, though Henry claims he's trying to get more information to help them. Daryl continues to talk to her as well, trying to scope out the size of her group. He eventually walks off, claiming Lydia is Tara's problem, but Henry tries to convince him that Lydia is coming to face her past now. Henry mentions his surrogate mother, Carol, who had cut her hair short due to abuse from her first husband, Ed, has finally grown to feel safe enough to let it grow again now. Daryl agrees to work with Henry to try to help Lydia. Henry decides to let Lydia out of her cell for a while and discreetly shows her the safety and facilities the Hilltop has to offer. While Lydia has an opportunity to take a hammer and strike Henry with it to escape, the cries of a baby cause her to panic and flashback to her past, and she begs to be returned to her cell. She asks Henry to stay with her through the night. In the episode "Bounty", Henry and Lydia escape as her mother Alpha comes to take her back, and they hide in an abandoned house where Henry provided her with a new set of clothes. Enid tries to convince Henry to not let the bad things change him and allow them to turn over Lydia, recalling how much death she herself has seen and the advice Carl had given her before he died. Lydia opts to leave on her own accord after sharing a kiss with Henry, and is traded for Alden and Luke. That evening, Henry leaves a note and sneaks out of the Kingdom to follow Lydia. Daryl learns of his departure, and goes to chase him down, but Connie stops him, insisting to let her join him as she feels the same way as Henry.
In the episode "Guardians", Henry eventually catches up with Lydia and the Whisperers, and watches them from a close distance as they rest, but is found and grabbed by Beta, Alpha's second-in-command. Beta tosses Henry in front of Alpha, who questions the boy. Henry reveals that he came alone to get Lydia; Alpha decides that Henry is coming with them. On their way back to camp, Alpha asks Lydia why she didn't mention Henry. Lydia explains that he wasn't worth mentioning, but Alpha reminds her that he just risked his life to save her, so she must be lying. At the Whisperer's camp, Alpha taunts a secured Henry and explains to him why they disguise themselves as walkers, as the strong adapt while the weak die. A tied up Henry watches in horror as Alpha brutally kills two Whisperers who challenged her leadership. At night, Beta takes Henry to Alpha. Unmasked, Alpha drops her knife and makes Lydia pick it up, commanding her to kill Henry with it so that she can prove what side she's on; Lydia picks up the knife and begins to cry. Her mother warns her not to be weak and that Beta will kill them both if she doesn't kill Henry. Suddenly, a small horde of walkers show up and begin eating the unmasked Whisperers, creating mass confusion. Alpha and the others quickly put on their masks so that they can try to lure the herd away. Moments later, Daryl and Connie arrive disguised as Whisperers to free and rescue Henry; they prepare to retreat. Daryl grabs Henry, who grabs Lydia, and together the four escape. In the episode "Chokepoint", Daryl and Connie flee with Henry and Lydia from a group of Whisperers led by Beta within a horde of walkers. Connie directs them to an uncompleted high-rise that her group had taken shelter in before, where she shows to Daryl that they could isolate the Whisperers by laying an ambush on the upper floors. Beta and his allies are forced to abandon the walkers on the ground floor. Henry ends up injuring his leg. With the Whisperers subdued, the group work to lure the walkers out of the ground floor so that they can escape, unaware that Beta is still alive. In the episode "Scars", they arrive at the Alexandria gates, and Daryl vouches for Lydia to convince Michonne to let them take shelter. They stay long enough for Henry to get the medical care he needs, but Michonne refuses to provide them an escort to Kingdom. That evening, Daryl, Connie, Henry, and Lydia take off to return to Kingdom, with Michonne seeing them off. In the episode "The Calm Before", they arrive at the Kingdom, and Henry reunites with Carol and Ezekiel. Henry is later found as one of the decapitated reanimated heads that Alpha leaves on pikes at a border of her territory, as a warning to the other survivor groups. Sometime later, Daryl and Lydia return to the border. Lydia leaves the necklace Henry made for her on the ground by the pike that once held Henry's head.
Development and reception
Henry is portrayed by Macsen Lintz, the younger brother of Madison Lintz, the actress who portrayed Sophia. The scene in "Still Gotta Mean Something", the scene in which Carol saves Henry from walkers while he is trapped among tree roots mirrors the scene from the season two premiere episode, "What Lies Ahead", in which Rick ushers Carol's daughter, Sophia, into a similar set of tree roots to have her hide from walkers; this was the last time Sophia was seen alive in the series, as she was found turned to a walker in the mid-season finale episode, "Pretty Much Dead Already".
The episode "Who Are You Now?" introduces Matt Lintz as the older Henry; Matt is the older brother of Macsen Lintz who had played Henry in previous seasons, and brother to Madison Lintz, who had played Carol's daughter Sophia on the first two seasons of the show. Kang explained how Henry's role in the show assuming parts of Carl's story from the comics: "The show has often diverged from storylines in the comic. It’s always a process remixing things for us. There’s nobody that’s going to exactly replace Carl. Carl is his own character, but there are definitely plotlines from the comic that we didn’t want to completely lose. Henry just organically would be with this time jump about the age of Carl in the comics. There were certain aspects that we felt play well with Henry, especially because Carol is now that parent." Erik Kain of Forbes noted that Henry was "now a young teenager played by the very capable Matt Lintz. Henry is full of fire and verve, a passionate young man itching to break free of his father’s protective embrace. On the road to Hilltop (though not really) he and Carol are ambushed by some of the Saviors we thought we saw the last of during the shootout at the bridge. They take their supplies and even Carol’s wedding ring, and Henry is mortified when she goes down without a fight."
Matt Fowler of IGN reviewed the episode "Chokepoint" and commented that "The entire sequence involving the Whisperers flooding that top floor and scrapping with Daryl, Connie and Henry was just good, simple storytelling. Also, with regards to how much we expect Henry to screw up because he loves Lydia, he at least iss only dumb in a way that hurts himself - not others. His reluctance to kill Lydia's "family members" get him shanked in the leg. So as long as his mistakes just keep coming back around on him, we can be cool." Fowler added that "Henry and Lydia got all kissy this week. Blerf. Have your teen romance, nightmare kids." Erik Kain of Forbes also reviewed the episode and commented on important parts of the story that have been hurried or glossed over, and that "Henry and Lydia's relationship, for instance, seems to have popped out of nowhere and blossomed much too quickly, with Henry falling head over heels for Lydia much too quickly. That's already gotten him in plenty of trouble, and it would have been more believable if their relationship had more time to grow and develop before Alpha came and took Lydia back." Kain ended his review by saying that "I'm hoping they can start writing Henry better---his naivete is just ridiculous when you consider they've written the far younger Judith as little miss badass---but I have hope. And I like Lydia."
The writers chose Henry as one of the characters to be killed in the episode "The Calm Before" because they felt this was necessary to cement storylines for Ezekiel, Carol, and Daryl going forward. Because the identities of the victims were decided so late, production then had to rush to produce the head props for filming. Some of the heads were made from molds of the actors and given limited animatronics to make their mouths move. For Henry, Tara, and Enid, they used a combination of these animatronic heads alongside digital placements of the actors themselves acting out their dying roles. Erik Kain of Forbes commented on the deaths of Tara, Enid, and Henry in his review of the episode: "Henry was perhaps the biggest surprise of these three, having been built up as New Carl all season. I figured he'd be around for quite a lot longer. I was wrong. It makes sense, of course, for Alpha to kill her daughter's fling. One final act of vengeance and horribleness just to cement their break. I should have known better, of course." Alex McLevy writing for The A.V. Club commented in his review that "Henry, much to the displeasure of myself and many others, has been a key part of this season, and offing him is significant, mostly because of the effect it will have on the people we actually care about. Poor Carol, in particular, is going to be dealing with the emotional fallout of this for some time."
- Bradley, Bill (April 2, 2018). "'Walking Dead' Delivers A Carol Easter Egg On Easter". HuffPost. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
- Ross, Dalton (November 11, 2018). "The Walking Dead showrunner on that huge Rick and Michonne child reveal". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved November 13, 2018.
- Kain, Erik. "'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 6 Review: A Brave New Show". Forbes.
- Fowler, Matt (March 10, 2019). "The Walking Dead Season 9 Episode 13: "Chokepoint" Recap". IGN. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- Kain, Erik (March 10, 2019). "'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 13 Review: 'Chokepoint' Is The Best Episode In Ages". Forbes. Retrieved March 10, 2019.
- Wigler, Josh (March 25, 2019). "'Walking Dead' Exec Producer Explains the "Organic Decision" Behind Those Three Big Deaths". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved March 25, 2019.
- Kain, Erik (March 24, 2019). "'The Walking Dead' Season 9, Episode 15 Review: 'The Calm Before' Is Shockingly Brutal". Forbes. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
- McLevy, Alex (March 24, 2019). "In facing a huge reckoning, The Walking Dead gets back to what it does best". The A.V. Club. Retrieved March 24, 2019.
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