The Walking Dead is always moving forward, but the most recent episode included one revelation that was a major throwback. At the end of the Nov. 13 episode of The Walking Dead , Rick confirmed that Shane is Judith's father. That's something that has been hinted at by the show and wildly speculated or assumed by fans, but never spoken out loud — until now.
Quick refresher, because there have been a lot of villains and survivors since then. Back in Season 1, at the beginning of the apocalypse, Rick found his family in the care of his old partner, Shane. Thinking that Rick was dead, Shane and Rick's wife, Lori, began a relationship. Though Lori and Rick reconciled, Judith's paternity was never really confirmed. It's always been a possibility that Rick was raising his best friend's baby as his own, and it turns out, that's exactly what he's been doing and he's known that all along.
"It was a brilliant way of explaining what Rick was enduring," Andrew Lincoln said in a pre-taped interview shown on Talking Dead, "or capable of enduring." He decided to love Judith as his own daughter, which Lincoln said echoes Rick's decision to give in to the Saviors if it meant saving more lives.
While this was big for Rick to admit, it doesn't really make a huge difference on the show. It's not like Judith is going to start questioning Rick's leadership and attitude about the apocalypse just yet. I also don't really understand what makes raising another man's baby particularly brave, as it was called by almost everyone who appeared on Talking Dead. No matter who her father is, Judith is still Carl's sister, and Lori's daughter. She's still family. Who else was going to take her in when Lori died?
That said, Rick finally speaking about her paternity aloud brought an intimate moment between him and Michonne, and one of the strongest scenes this season. It shows that Rick may have been broken by Negan, but he's not too far gone. The Rick we've always known is still there, and will only get stronger as The Walking Dead continues.
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