Ever wonder who Judith’s father actually is? The Walking Dead finally set the record straight in Sunday’s episode, “Service.”
Full spoilers for The Walking Dead continue below.
It’s been a while since The Walking Dead spent much time reflecting on original main characters Shane and Lori, but Rick got introspective about his now-dead best friend and wife during the fourth episode of Season 7. They were brought up as Rick was trying to explain to Michonne his decision to bend a knee to Negan, retelling the story of how Shane and Lori hooked up way back in the events of Season 1 when they thought he was dead.
The point of the story was how Rick had to come to terms with the fact Lori and Shane were intimate, and that she then got pregnant with a child who wasn’t his. His decision to raise and love Judith as his own so he could live his life is his explanation for why the Alexandrians need to accept Negan’s rule, but there’s no glossing over the fact The Walking Dead dropped the bombshell that Judith is definitely Shane’s daughter.
While there wasn’t a DNA test involved and maybe there’s a slim chance Judith truly is Rick’s daughter, let’s consider this The Walking Dead definitively answering this seasons-long question. After Rick found out Lori was pregnant and the child could be Shane’s, his decision to raise Judith as his own was a major storyline in Season 3. His embracing of Judith was as far as the show went in clarifying who’s baby it actually was, but fans were pretty sure they had figured it out anyway.
Just a quick Google search of “who is Judith’s father on The Walking Dead?” brings up results where viewers did the math and concluded the same thing Rick did: Judith is Shane’s daughter. The timeline of when Shane and Lori would have hooked up and when she found out she was pregnant aligns with when she gave birth to Judith more than the timeline following Rick’s reunion with Lori. Even Jon Bernthal, who played Shane, said back at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con in 2013 (on the eve of Season 4’s premiere) that Judith is “100 percent Shane’s baby.”
In the comics, the general consensus is that Judith was Shane’s child and not Rick’s, but Robert Kirkman never clarified one way or another. That’s likely because Judith died at the same time Lori did in the comics, so there wasn’t as much of a lingering question there as there is in the show where Judith remains a presence.
Maybe the question of who Judith’s real father is wasn’t the most pressing concern on The Walking Dead, but it certainly was a lingering one. Now, as she gets older, the real question is whether she’ll have Shane’s “big, old busted nose and giant-a– ears” as Bernthal predicted.
Terri Schwartz is Entertainment Editor at IGN. Talk to her on Twitter at @Terri_Schwartz.