Warning: spoilers ahead for the latest episode of The Walking Dead.
The Walking Dead has entered a brand new era in Season 7 thanks to Negan and the Saviors, and the latest episode gave a closer look at what the world of the zombie apocalypse will look like under Negan's control. Luckily for those of us who sometimes need a little bit of relief from constant doom and gloom, the supersized "Service" answered a question that has been picking at the minds of many fans for years now. We finally have the true identity of Judith Grimes' biological father, and it's not Rick.
In the final minutes of "Service," Rick told Michonne the story of Shane and Lori. He admitted flat-out that Judith isn't his biological daughter, but he stressed that he loves her anyway and wants to teach her to survive. Judith Grimes might have been a Judith Walsh if circumstances had been different; regardless, Rick accepted her because the zombie apocalypse required it of him.
All in all, the reveal that Shane is Judith's biological dad doesn't come as a huge surprise, but the confirmation is nonetheless welcomed. The math has always indicated that Rick probably isn't Judith's father, since Lori wasn't pregnant before the end of the world, and she found out that she was pregnant not too long after reuniting with Rick again. Sure, Mr. and Mrs. Grimes got at least one romantic night in a tent together (with Carl sleeping a few feet away), but only after Lori and Shane had been hooking up on a seemingly regular basis. It was possible that Judith was Rick's; it just wasn't particularly likely.
Back in Season 2, when she was still alive to play Lady Macbeth to Rick and Shane, Lori made it clear to both men that the baby was going to be Rick's, regardless of biology. Shane obviously didn't take too well to the fact that Lori was going to keep him away from what was probably his kid, but Rick killed him before it became too much of an issue. After Judith was born and Rick got back from his grief-stricken trip to Crazytown, he accepted her as his own.
Of course, we'll probably never know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Judith is Shane's kid. The survivors haven't stumbled across any labs offering DNA testing services, and Judith has been such a miraculous survivor that she actually may have been conceived by some super fast swimmers of Rick's. Unless Season 23 features a Judith who shaves her head after a traumatizing experience, or Michonne stumbles across a doctor's report that Rick has been sterile for years, we'll never know for sure.
At the end of the day, Judith is 100% Rick's daughter. Even if she's the offspring of Lori and Shane, and even if she begins to look less precious and more like Shane, Rick has raised her as his own from almost the very beginning, and she'll be a Grimes girl until the end. The Walking Dead's confirmation of Judith's parentage doesn't really change much, but we fans can rests easier having an answer to one of the longest-running mysteries of the series.
Besides, if The Walking Dead has proved anything over the years, it's that family isn't always formed by blood. Michonne has become a mom to the Grimes kids. Rick has called Daryl his brother. Judith is Rick's daughter. We can only hope that the bonds of family won't all be totally destroyed by Negan and the Saviors.
Tune in to AMC on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET to see what's next for Rick and Co. on The Walking Dead.