Matt...How does Carl not shooting Rick equal "dumb and directionless?" The point of the episode was that Carl has been building up resentment for his dad and feels he doesn't need him. Him NOT shooting Rick signaled his realization that he'd rather die than be alone. Thinking Rick is zombified, he'd actually rather just end it all right there versus going on alone. That's not dumb - its actually pretty powerful character development. And it's obviously taking a main character in a new, more mature direction. Could it be that the show is solid and it's you who just doesn't get it?
By the way, Kirkman is on record as saying the WD is "Rick's Story," so killing him off for shock value would be a pretty stupid move. You want to compare this to Breaking Bad, but you're offering up the equivalent of Walter getting killed in season 2 and the rest of the story focusing on Jesse.
Beyond MY opinion, I think Nick and others are just bothered by the constant ripping on the show. This is obviously a thread for people that really like the show. That doesn't mean you can't point out things that bother you or that you wish had happened differently, but saying the storyline sucks or the writers constantly "blow it" isn't going to make you a lot of friends here. And frankly, it makes you sound pretty stupid for continuing to waste your time on a show you don't like.