Harlan Carson

Harlan CarsonA week passed, but we’re still listing the characters appeared in Knots Untie, last week’s episode of The Walking Dead (I told you it would have taken a while). This time we meet one of the most important characters among the ones introduced lately: Harlan Carson, portrayed by R. Keith Harris. Carson is first seen as a member of a supply-run team from Hilltop Colony, and he’s saved by the attack of some walkers by Glenn and Daryl. It later comes up that he’s a doctor, and that he’ll gladly help Glenn and Maggie with their baby on arrival. Since Hilltop will become more and more present from here on, we can expect to have Harlan and his friends around for a while…waiting to explore him further, let’s take a look at the original one.

Not much is known about Harlan Carson’s life before the Outbreak: he lived in Virginia, in an unspecified area, and he was a medical doctor (specialization unknown). He had a brother, only known by his surname Carson, and they shared a presumably good relation, if it wasn’t from a slight inferiority complex in the younger brother. When the dead started coming back to a non-life, hungry for the flesh of the living, the Carson brothers went on the run as everybody else, and they ended up arriving to Hilltop Colony, a fortified yet small settlement on the top of a hill, with an easily defendable area and a peaceful community waiting for them. Being Harlan a doctor, his presence was more than welcome in the Colony, and its leader, Gregory, immediately allowed him inside along with his brother. Harlan’s presence proved to be essential, as he not only provided to heal the sick and the wounded, but he also delivered two babies in the Colony, the new offsprings that gave hope for a better future. The peaceful life in the Hilltop Colony wasn’t meant to last long, however, as the violent group known as The Saviors set eyes on it: with numbers and fire power, they forced Gregory to accept a humiliating truce, according to which the Colony was forced harlancarsoncomics1to give The Saviors half of everything they had in exchange of not being destroyed. Much to Harlan’s pain and disappointment, then, his own brother chose to leave Hilltop and to join The Saviors, eventually becoming their leader Negan‘s advisor. Harlan’s life from there on was much more difficult, as even part of the medicines was to be given to The Saviors; the lack of medications wasn’t such a problem as long as there was no particular emergency to take care of, considering that The Saviors didn’t mean to attack the Colony as long as they paid what they had to. Even that, however, was a situation that didn’t last long.

Doctor Carson was present when Paul “Jesus” Monroe came back to Hilltop with a new potential ally, the group of Rick Grimes, so he also witnessed the assassination attempt that Ethan, a Hilltop resident blackmailed by Negan, brought on to Gregory. While in shock seeing Rick killing Ethan in self-defense, Harlan was quick enough to provide first aid to Gregory, thus saving his life. He helped him recover, and when the man was back to his feet, he accepted to visit Maggie, a woman from Rick’s group, who was pregnant. While he was visiting Maggie, Gregory “casually” stepped in, thus irritating the doctor, who pretended not to realize the man was shamelessly flirting with the (married) woman, and was praising him and his medical skills just to impress her. After the confrontation with Gregory and the visits, however, some sort of complicity rose between Carson and Maggie, and he was among the ones listening to her speech a few days later, when she was trying to make the people from Hilltop understand their real situation. When Rick moved war to Negan, Harlan was among the people that moved to Alexandria Safe-Zone to help him, and when the local doctor, Denise, was deliberately infected with the zombie virus by The Saviors, he took her place and assisted the wounded. He also harlancarsoncomics2treated Rick and nursed him back to health when he suffered from shock after a grenade’s explosion. During the last phases of the war, Carson treated many of the Safe-Zone combatants: he stitched up the blade wounds of Arnold, Richard and Nicholas, and he took a bolt out of Rick’s back. Seeing that all his patients still had a fever after he allegedly healed them, Carson realised that The Saviors’ weapons were contaminated with walker’s blood, so that even the less serious wound would have had lethal effects. Only at that point, Harlan realised the extent of Negan’s cruelty and folly…and felt totally helpless in aiding his friends, who faced a horrible death without him able to do anything to save them.

Harlan Carson is a good man, naturally bent on helping others the best he can. Despite his selfless and altruistic character, he’s not exactly a hero, and a battlefield is not his environment at all, but he can be of use in many other ways than being a warrior. Respected and well-trusted, Harlan is one of the most needed members of Hilltop Colony, as well as of Alexandria Safe-Zone, a doctor who takes care of building personal bonds with his patients and who truly cares of their well-being: quite a rarity, in the post-Apocalypse world.



  1. […] Harlan Carson […]

  2. […] Carson’s early life: he lived somewhere in Virginia, and he grew up with his older brother Harlan. While the latter was a doctor, it’s unknown what Emmett’s job was, but we know that, […]

  3. […] Jesus came back to Hilltop with a badly injured Darius along, Oscar, who brought the wounded man to Doctor Carson, knew this meant trouble were coming back. There were rumors about a new group, called the […]

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