The following contains spoilers for The Walking Dead Season 11, Episode 23, “Family,” which debuted Sunday, Nov. 13 on AMC.
After 12 years, 11 seasons and 146 episodes, there’s only one The Walking Dead episode left. Fans are simultaneously thrilled and appalled, especially after TWD’s penultimate hour. Season 11, Episode 23, “Family” featured action, intrigue and plenty of variant zombies. The episode also set fans up for a major tragedy — but one the show is unlikely to see through.
“Family” started out at Alexandria on the day when things really changed. Everyone there packed their things, took up arms and made ready. Clearly, it was the day that Pamela Milton would get her comeuppance. Back at the Commonwealth, Mercer set up a way for everyone to make it back into the city, while Eugene Porter tried to stay hidden. They had the makings of a perfect uprising until the unthinkable happened: Judith Grimes was shot.
Why Judith Grimes Was Shot on The Walking Dead
Daryl, a newly redeemed Negan and the rest of their group snuck into the Commonwealth through old tunnels to emerge inside Union Station. When they arrived, Pamela was ready for them. She had chained the doors and stationed gunmen on the upper level of the building, so an intense firefight erupted. Even Pamela picked up a rifle and began shooting. The act showed her tenacity, but one of her first shots hit Judith.
From a plot perspective, Pamela being the one to shoot Judith was a gut punch. Pamela had seen her son Sebastian killed by walkers, so she knew the pain of losing a child. Yet she showed only minimal remorse. The first thing she did was yell that everything was the attackers’ fault. Pamela blaming others was a great way to for The Walking Dead to show she was beyond all redemption.
Judith being shot came with a lot of precedent. Her father Rick Grimes woke up in the series opener after being shot and missing the beginning of the apocalypse. In Season 2, her brother Carl was accidentally shot by a hunter and almost didn’t make it. A few seasons later Carl was shot again in the eye. Being a Grimes apparently necessitates being shot at some point, so Judith was likely to be wounded. But she’s not likely to die.
Why The Walking Dead Won’t Kill Judith Grimes
The Walking Dead finale’s burning question will be whether or not Judith survives. There are multiple reasons why the show won’t kill her. For one, it would ruin the tone of the last episode. While no one is ever safe on The Walking Dead, the finale needs to end on a somewhat positive note after 11 seasons of hardship and loss. Killing Judith would completely defeat the “what comes after” message, especially with many fans still upset about Carl’s death.
Killing Judith would also set Rick on a tear. There’s a remote chance that he could show up in the finale, and returning to find his daughter dead wouldn’t be the way to have him come back into the picture. Along those lines, Judith’s death would be a strange and difficult note on which to transition into the TWD spinoffs, since it would affect multiple characters going forward. But most importantly, killing Judith would be a pitiful way to end a great series. She has repeatedly been portrayed as a strong character, so she should be able to pull through and be a part of whatever does come after.
To see if Judith survives, watch the series finale of The Walking Dead on Nov. 20 at 9:00 p.m. on AMC and AMC+.