Wow, Gimple really does not learn. I stopped watching this show regularly at the beginning of Season 6 because of my frustration with the writing. Still, I keep up (bad habits die hard) on the show thanks to you fine folks and your excellent snark, hoping that, with the ratings tanking, the writing might actually get better since they can no longer take their viewers for granted. Guess not.
I have no idea how Carl dying drives Rick or Michonne's forward, and not in the good way. Crazytown!Rick talks to ghosts and will kill you using his teeth, so not computing how Carl's death is going to keep Negan alive. I would think it would make him more homicidal. Meanwhile, from the comments, it seems like the bloated cast of thousands continues, and they spend no time focusing on characters viewers actually care about (Who the hell is Neil, by the way?). From the live chat thread comments, it seemed like there was a ton of Savior talking and tertiary characters, while Rick, Michonne, Carol, and Morgan, were MIA without explanation for most of the extra-long episode. If they killed off Tara, Eugene, Jesus, Enid, Rosita, the trash lady, and all the other dead weight in the "series regular" cast, and actually focused on the core cast, the episodes would probably be more well-received. It's very difficult to care about main characters that only show up for 3-4 episodes out of 16 every season.