judith in TWD 11C

‘The Walking Dead’ Penultimate Episode Reminds Us Why Judith is One of the Most Important Characters

Everyone loves Judith

“For the longest time, we were just fighting to survive. Trying to get back what we lost. This family, my family, we would do anything to protect each other. And we’re fighting now for something else. Something bigger. A new beginning. But that comes with a cost. There’s always a cost.”

– Judith Grimes
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For years we as fans imagined our own ending or at least wondered about the ending of The Walking Dead. Would they be able to stick to the comics, would they steer away from the comics, and fuck up the story etc? The answer to those questions varies person to person (I’m someone who wished they had been able to stick to the source material), especially if you stopped watching at a certain point. Now we’ve officially reached the end and it’s slightly underwhelming (plot wise at least).

Spoilers ahead!!

“Family” (Season 11, Episode 23) saw the remaining members of Team Family fighting for their lives (what else is new) and trying to reconcile with a new future. With the ongoing conflict with the Commonwealth and the return of more intelligent walkers (it’s all about evolving strains, baby), everyone has got a lot on their plate. Including Judith (Cailey Flemming) who misses Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and Michonne (Danai Gurira), her late brother Carl (Chandler Riggs), and essentially how things used to be. Her emotional maturity is still so astounding (yes, they live in a post-apocalyptic world but she’s still a child) and she’s essentially a bridge to a former life and the future.

Judith represents the past and the future because her birth changed everything for everyone. From the moment she was born, the group was forced to change how they functioned. Rick choosing to raise her, despite her not being his biological child, further cemented the show’s idea of family. They all choose to be a family and define their own individual relationships with one another.

daryl in s11 of The Walking Dead
Daryl has gradually become the main caregiver of Judith. (AMC)

Despite the extreme losses and pain over the years, Judith still inspires hope for those that love her. And Daryl (Norman Reedus) reminds her/us that she’s been loved since she was born—a very touching moment in the penultimate episode, I might add.

Unfortunately, in typical TWD fashion, Judith got unnecessarily shot by Pamela Milton (Laila Robbins) during the group’s violent return to the Commonwealth. Something that everyone responds angrily to because Judith truly is loved by them all, especially her uncle Daryl, who has taken on the role of parenting. Her fate does linger in the air because she certainly doesn’t have her own upcoming spin-off (AMC will forever be clowned by the very early announcements of the spin-offs). If Judith survives then her importance will carry on and likely bleed into the Rick/Michonne spin-off airing next year. After all, the children of this series are who will carry on legacies and the stories of those who came before them.

And even if Judith is surprisingly killed off, she remained an important force since the day she was born. Obviously, Judith’s survival will bring relief to us as the audience and will clear the dark cloud over the characters. Death is coming for some of the characters; we can’t avoid that truth. But let’s cross our fingers that Judith isn’t among the causalities.

(featured image: AMC)

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Vanessa Maki
Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.