Growing up in the world of The Walking Dead forces kids to think quickly. In the case of Judith Grimes, her impressive young mind has already realized that she needs to lie as a means to keep some of the people close to her. Following her mother Michonne heading out on a new journey in search of Rick Grimes, Judith finally opened up to Daryl about Michonne's departure. However, in talking to Daryl about Michonne heading out to help new people, she intentionally left out the details of Michonne finding clues to Rick being alive after the group thought him dead when he blew up a bridge in the show's ninth season. The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang says this is because Judith suspects Daryl would also leave her in search of Rick if she told him the full truth.
"In our minds, that was exactly why," Kang told ComicBook.com. "She knows that Daryl... Rick was like Daryl's brother. Daryl was the one that kept searching for him for years out in the woods. She's a child, and I think there's part of it which is she feels like she's not sure that she's supposed to say anything about what her mother's doing, going out there. But I think also she is scared. She's scared that the one remaining parent figure that she has is going to run away too, at a time when they need him."
Having lost so many people already at such a young age, Judith is not exactly eager to say goodbye to anyone else close to her. "I think Judith just is feeling a lot of weight of responsibility beyond her years right now," Kang explained. "She's ultimately a child. She's a child who's very wise, but she doesn't exactly know how to handle everything perfectly either. Nobody does."
Still, the scene at the end of The Walking Dead Episode 10x15 (The Tower) between Daryl and Judith was one of the most touching of the series. As it stands, Daryl has essentially inherited the paternal role in Judith's life as Michonne and Rick are both now absent.
"There was this scene as writers that we really love, I think also in Season 3 between Rick and Carl, where Rick has to take Carl aside at the same age that Judith is now and say, 'A lot of people are going to die. I'm going to die, and Mom's going to die,' and it was just really about the reality of the world," Kang explained. "Now, we're many years later, and we were like, what's the version of that conversation that's Daryl has with Judith? And actually, I think that the conversation is a more hopeful one in some ways, where Rick at the beginning of it had to tell his son, 'It's going to get dark but we'll move on,' and Daryl was like, 'It is dark, but there's still light. There's so many people that care about you.'0comments
While Daryl was unable to promise he will never leave, he is more than willing to help raise Judith for as long as he can, something which offers a bright spot in the apocalyptic series. "I think that that kind of hopeful message is important for that relationship between Daryl and Judith," Kang said. "It's also specific to that relationship of those two characters. So, I'm glad you liked it. It's one that I really loved how the writers pulled that off, and I think Norman [Reedus] and Cailey [Fleming] are always wonderful together onscreen."
For more from ComicBook.com's interview with The Walking Dead showrunner Angela Kang, head over to ComicBook.com/TheWalkingDead following Sunday night's Season 10 finale. Have you enjoyed the show's tenth season? Share your thoughts in the comment section or send them my way on Instagram and Twitter!