Hey baby: Could Judith be a game changer with Negan?

Rick, Carl and Judith. The Walking Dead - AMC
Rick, Carl and Judith. The Walking Dead - AMC /

Negan discovered something unexpected in Alexandria during his most recent visit. Does anything change now that Negan has found Judith?

Negan has a soft spot for children. When Carl takes Negan on a tour of his house during “Sing Me a Song,” Carl tries his best to keep Judith hidden, but Negan persists and he discovers Carl’s little sister in her crib.

It’s Negan’s reaction to Judith that’s so shocking. Negan lights up and he gently picks her up, smiling the entire time. Whereas there is definitely a paternal connection between Negan and Carl, something happens when the veritable and undisputed badass sees the little girl. He melts.

Later Negan admits in his inimitable style that he might just have to kill everyone after all so he can stay in Alexandria, retire to the suburbs, and start a family. The whole scene is surreal, with Negan and Carl sitting on the porch with a pitcher of lemonade between them and Judith’s purple baby bottle next to Negan’s leather jacket, which was draped on the back of the chair. Judith is curled in his arms, blissfully unaware that she’s being held by someone so dangerous.

Let’s break this down. Negan clearly has a thing for kids. We know he won’t rape women, either, and he has a twisted moral code for respecting women who don’t welcome his advances, as we saw with Olivia. This suggests that there are lines Negan won’t cross. When he bounces Judith on his knee and tells Carl how he might kill Carl and Rick and bury them in the flower bed, he’s talking in a sing-song voice that an adult would use with a child. It’s creepy. It’s also trademark Negan.

But now that Negan knows about Judith, would he kill her father and brother? Is he that stone-cold callous that he would leave an innocent child without her family? Or is he so stone-cold that he could fathom killing her family and making her his daughter?

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Does Judith’s existence change anything? I’m going to say that she certainly gives Negan more bargaining power for Negan over Rick, Carl, and Michonne. Negan, though crazy, is also a man of his word. It’s highly unlikely that he would ever do harm to Judith. She’s probably safer with him than she is anywhere else. But could her existence protect Rick? Perhaps.

One thing is for certain: Negan discovering Judith was terrifying. Seeing Negan cuddling Judith was shocking.