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'The Walking Dead': Could The Finale Really Kill Off Judith Grimes?

by Kristy Anderson 11 days ago in tv review / pop culture
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They wouldn't.. would they?

Credit: AMC

WARNING!: SPOILERS for The Walking Dead 11x23, 'Family'.

Ever since her birth in the season three episode 'Killer Within', Judith Grimes, the daughter of original series protagonist Rick Grimes, has been a mainstay of The Walking Dead. Judith's birth represented hope for the future, proof that new life was still possible, even in a world overrun by the dead. At first mostly a plot device as a dependant our group needed to protect and provide for, Judith has since become one of The Walking Dead's most beloved characters, especially once the adorable, and talented, Cailey Fleming was cast as an older Judith following Season Nine's time jump.

Having been raised in the apocalypse, Judith is proficient in both the use of her Father Rick's Colt Python, and the Katana, in which she was trained by her asoptive Mother Michonne. While aware of the dangers of the world she has grown up in, she holds hope for the peaceful future once envisioned by her older brother, Carl, who died from a Walker bite in the show's eighth season. As a reminder of Carl, and her assumed dead Father, Rick, Judith is deeply loved and protected by the rest of the group.

So, it came as an unpleasant shock when, in the final minutes of the series penultimate episode, Judith is shot while pushing Maggie clear of a bullet fired by Commonwealth leader Pamela Milton.

Now, some fans theorise that Judith's voice over opening each of the series final batch of episodes is her internal monologue after being shot, possibly choosing whether to live or die. But could The Walking Dead really kill off Judith Grimes? Let's look at the points both for and against Judith's potential death.

Judith has far outlived her comic book death

Credit: Image Comics.

In the long-running comic on which The Walking Dead TV series is based, the life of Judith Grimes is short and tragic. Judith is born while the group of survivors are living in the prison, and unlike in the TV series, Lori survives her daughter's birth. Unfortunately, neither were long for this world. While fleeing from the Prison during the Governor's assault, Lori, with Judith in her arms, is shot dead, and baby Judith crushed to death beneath her Mother's body.

In the aftermath of the TV version of the Prison attack, Judith is briefly believed dead when Rick and Carl discover a blood-soaked baby carrier, but it is soon revealed that she is alive and well, having been rescued by Tyreese. Judith's survival and eventual age-up allowed the character to fill the void left by the death of Carl, an event which never occurred in the comics. However, that does not guarantee her survival now.

'The Walking Dead' is not afraid to kill children

In most films and TV shows, the death of a child is a rare tragedy, especially if said child is a regular character. However, The Walking Dead depicts the Walker form of a young girl in the very first episode. Child-Walkers are a relatively rare occurrence, but not unheard of, and while still uncommon, The Walking Dead is less afraid than most shows of killing off children.

The first example comes in season two, in which our heroes spend half the season searching for Carol's missing daughter, Sophia, only to discover her as a Walker in Hershel's barn. In season four, Carol is forced to kill the mentally unstable Lizzie after she murdered her younger sister, Mika, and in season six, Sam Anderson is devoured by Walkers when a fallen wall allows a herd to swarm into Alexandria. Carl and Henry were in their later teens, but still technically children at the time of their deaths. There's no reason to think that Judith will be spared purely because she is a child.

'The Walking Dead' comic ends with Rick Grimes dying a Martyr's death

Earlier in 11x23, while trying to convince Daryl to let her join the group in the assault on the Commonwealth, Judith claims to want to be involved in creating the world her parents and brother wanted. Carol praises Judith for keeping sight of what comes after the fighting is done, which convinces Daryl to let the girl join them, as the group may benefit from the reminder of Judith's forward thinking. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of Judith's shooting, some fans fear her hope for the future may position her as the perfect candidate to take over her Father's role from the comic's final issues.

Credit: Image Comics.

In The Walking Dead comic's final story arc, Rick Grimes avoids war between his own followers and the people of The Commonwealth by delivering a rousing speech declaring that the best way for humanity to survive into the future is for those who remain to unite as one people, with all being equal. Rick's speech results in the abolishment of The Commonwealth's class system, and Pamela Milton's removal from power, with an election planned to determine a new leader. Rick seems an obvious candidate.

Sadly, before the election takes place, Rick is shot dead by Pamela's son, Sebastian. Displeased by the loss of the privileged life the Class system granted him, Sebastian believes that getting rid of Rick will return things to 'Normal'. Instead, Rick's death makes him a martyr, with both his own people and the survivors of the Commonwealth committing themselves to Rick's vision of the future.

While there has been much speculation as to who could fill Rick's shoes in the TV version of the comic's final storyline, most of these theories centre on adult characters. Some fans fear that Judith's idealism could make her a suitable stand-in as a Martyr, with another character delivering the rousing speech in her name.

It's the Finale

Possibly the most valid of all these points, is that The Walking Dead is about to head into it's final ever episode. In most series finales, particularly in a show like this one, the rules change. All bets are off, and any plot armour is removed. No-one, apart from characters confirmed to appear in the spin-offs, is safe. That, unfortunately, includes our beloved Judith.

However, that does not mean all hope is lost. There are also a few elements at play in Judith's favour.

The Grimes Family have a great track record when it comes to surviving Gun Shots

While Judith is possibly not a Grimes by blood, she is without question a beloved member of the Grimes family, and Grimes Family members have a brilliant track record when surviving gun shots. In The Walking Dead's very first episode, Rick is shot in the line of duty as a Sheriff. He falls into a coma, but recovers, waking alone in Hospital sometime after the zombie apocalypse has begun.

Carl, Judith's brother, miraculously survived two serious gunshot wounds over the course of the series. The first comes early in season two, when he accidentally shot by Otis, unable to see the boy behind a deer.

Thankfully, Carl survives, thanks to the quick work of Hershel Greene, and Rick's donated blood.

In season six, in one of the series most shocking moments, Carl is shot again by a stray bullet fired from Ron Anderson's gun. This shot costs Carl his eye and leaves him seriously scarred, but he eventually recovers.

A theory has arisen that Judith's shooting may be intended to mirror the first episode. She will slip into a coma, but unlike Rick, will wake to a world beginning to improve rather than one that is falling apart.

The Commonwealth has a hospital, and at least one competent Surgeon

One of the greatest advantages The Commonwealth possesses is a fully functional Hospital and surgical facilities. Yumiko's brother, Tomi, works there as a surgeon, and is already somewhat of a hero to our group for performing a successful Tumour removal on Ezekiel.

If Daryl is able to get Judith to the Hospital in time, there's every chance she could be saved.

'The Walking Dead' may be ending, but the 'TWD' Universe is not

While the main series is coming to an end, wider universe of The Walking Dead will continue on. Original spin-off Fear The Walking Dead is soon to enter it's eighth season, Dead City, a Negan and Maggie centric spin-off, is almost completed filming, and a Daryl Dixon centred spin-off is due to start production soon. A series featuring Rick Grimes and Michonne, set to finally reveal where Rick has been since his disappearance.

To kill Judith now would seem a waste of a future heartwarming story reuniting her with her parents. Not to mention that killing off a child whose birth became the group's hope for the future right when that happier future is within reach would feel especially cruel. The Producers likely wouldn't want to leave the main show on such a complete downer ending.. Or would they?

We'll all just have to tune in for The Walking Dead series finale, 'Rest In Peace', to learn Judith's fate.

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Kristy Anderson

Passionate About all things Entertainment!

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