- Warning: There are spoilers ahead for season 11, episode 23 of “The Walking Dead,” “Family.”
- In a twist from the comics, a major character unexpectedly gets shot near the episode’s end.
- Fans are wondering if the narration at the start of the past few episodes offers a clue about their fate.
Sunday’s penultimate episode of “The Walking Dead” ended on a surprising cliffhanger.
In a major twist from the comics, Rick’s daughter, Judith (Cailey Fleming), was accidentally shot by Governor Milton (Laila Robins) towards the episode’s end as she attempted to take out Maggie.
Now, Daryl’s on the run with an unconscious Judith as a horde of the undead and smarter variant zombies, who can climb walls and open doors, close in on him and the other survivors.
For Daryl, it’s déjà vu all over again.
On season six, Rick ran with a similarly wounded Carl through a swarm of the undead at Alexandria as Michonne single-handedly cleared a path for him. (For what it’s worth, on AMC+, showrunner Angela Kang said the event is supposed to mirror Rick running with Carl after he was shot at the beginning of season two.)
Carl survived both gunshot wounds following imperative surgeries only to die seasons later due to a silly zombie bite.
Daryl’s currently on his way to Ezekiel’s underground clinic, but, with one episode of the “TWD” left, fans are concerned Grimes’ daughter may not survive the series.
Here’s how Sunday’s events compare to the comics and how the fallout of this event may play out in next week’s series’ finale.
A great twist from the comics
In the comics, Milton’s son, Sebastian, winds up shooting Rick Grimes dead in his bed. It was a controversial death for the series’ badass protagonist to go out defenseless.
With Rick no longer on the series, it seemed like no one was going to receive his comic death. Instead, it appeared the show decided to switch things up by simply killing off Sebastian a few episodes ago on season 11, episode 18, removing the idea of a controversial death entirely.
Pamela shooting Judith was a great, and unexpected, twist from the comics, creating a much more satisfying adaptation of that moment.
Instead of a despised son shooting a revered father and leader, the show delivered the reverse with a reviled mother and leader shooting a daughter who became a symbol of hope in the apocalypse. We still get a Milton shooting a Grimes, but in a very different context.
Some fans are worried Judith may never reunite with her father now
Will Judith survive? If we go by the comics, Judith could suffer the same fate as her comic dad.
As Judith’s life hangs in the balance, some fans, who watched the episode when it was released a week early on AMC+, are concerned she may never reunite with her father who’s getting his own “TWD” spin-off series next year.
—naomi | twd season 10 (@aurifilms) November 6, 2022
—JazzBliss🦇✨ (@JJazzbliss) November 10, 2022
A few fans, and us included, have been worried Judith could possibly die ever since the fall’s premiere opened on Judith narrating the series.
—Kirsten (@KirstenAcuna) October 3, 2022
—#OnTheStrength (@FromMilhouse) November 7, 2022
Each of the past seven episodes has opened with Judith reflecting on the series at large leaving fans to wonder whether she has been narrating from the future or as she is about to take her final breaths.
The comics flash-forward 25 years in the final issue to show Carl living out his days happily married and with a child. Since Judith’s been narrating in her same voice, it’s difficult to imagine she’s narrating from years in the future.
Why killing Judith would be a mistake
It’s tough to believe “TWD” would kill off Judith.
In the comics, her brother, Carl, survives the comic. With him no longer on the series, it feels appropriate that Judith should be the one to make it to the end of the show.
Since her birth on the show’s third season, Judith has served as a beacon of hope and a driving force for the group of survivors to carry forward in search of a better life. Many of the choices and risks Rick’s group took were to ensure they were building a better world for the next generation, including Judith. If she’s not around to experience that better life, what was the point of all the sacrifices that have been made?
Judith’s death would extinguish that hope, ending the show on a morbid note.
You could argue that since Judith passed Rick’s iconic sheriff’s hat — gifted to her by Carl — to her brother, R.J., that he’s the character we’ll see grow old at the show’s end. But so much of this series has revolved around keeping Judith safe.
Additionally, as fans have noted, it would be extremely weird if “TWD” killed Judith off before she’s able to reunite with her mom and dad in the newly-announced Rick and Michonne spin-off.
Fans are hoping Judith’s narrations signify she’s actually alive
While Judith’s narrations have felt a bit ominous to us, some fans are hoping they mean she pulls through.
If Judith isn’t narrating from the future, a really good fan theory is that Judith is relaying this narration in the not-too-distant future to her brother, Hershel, Gracie, and the rest of the kids to tell them the story of “TWD” and of the sacrifices their friends and family made to give them a better life.
This would be a decent alternative to skipping 20+ years ahead into the future as the comics do since we know we’re about to get three more “TWD” spin-offs next year taking place in, what appears to be, the current timeline.
You can follow along with our “TWD” coverage here.