In fact, it was one of the most gut-wrenching episodes in the entire series, equal or perhaps more kick-in-the-stomach than Carl getting shot in the woods with the deer. And Carl again played an excruciatingly crucial role.
His character has admirably grown this season. He's become a full-fledged member of the team's defense, branding his pistol to deadly effect whenever called for. Last night, he was obliged to use his gun for something much more horrible - to kill Lori, his mother, who had just died or was close to death after the emergency caesarean Maggie had to perform on her with no antiseptic or anesthetic. It was either Lori or the baby. There was no way to carry her to safety. Had Carl and Maggie left Lori there, she would have turned.
This is a horror story, so what else are we to expect? Happy endings would be inconsistent with the show, especially if they happened any more than really infrequently. The show could have survived a happy ending that saved Lori, but I also get why she had to go. After what happened last year, getting Lori and Rick back together would have untrue to the characters.
But, whew, having Carl do the deed was going pretty far. Why not have Maggie pull the trigger? I guess what makes The Walking Dead so good is that it imagines the worst possible situation, and from time to time does just that, goes just there.
So we've lost another major character - and Tyrone, too. And we're left with the Governor sooner or later crossing paths with our team. As Andrew, who opened the gate and enticed the walkers into the camp so chillingly and amply demonstrated, the greatest threat to our group remains: other humans.
See also The Walking Dead 3.3 meets Meadowlands