Friday, August 3, 2018

Ethics and Zootopia, Part 2: Was Judy Hopps Morally Good?

Welcome to the second entry in my Ethics and Zootopia series. In the first entry, I considered whether or not we could conclude that Nick Wilde was morally good at the end of the film, and I argued that we couldn’t make that judgment just yet. So now let’s think about the film’s other main character: Judy Hopps. Could we say that Judy was morally good at the end of the film? Does she fare better in this respect then her vulpine colleague? Keep reading to find out.

In Zootopia’s opening, Judy professes her intentions to become a police officer and her desire to “make the world a better place.” There’s no denying the noble nature of these intentions, but whether Judy lives up to them over the course of the film is another matter. The obvious shortcoming of Judy’s moral character for most of the film is her latent bias against predators, as I’ve written about elsewhere. As the film unfolds, Judy gains greater awareness of these biases and the ways in which they threaten her integrity. Her words indicate that she wants to regard all species as equal, but her attitudes – and the behaviors that stem from them – run counter to this ideal. This inconsistency between what she claims to value and how she acts in other contexts makes her believe that she has failed to uphold the integrity required by officers in the ZPD, which is the main reason that she resigns from the force at the end of the film’s second act.

But here’s the catch: most people give Judy a pass on these latent biases. Overwhelmingly, they believe that Judy can still be morally good even though she harbors these biases for most of the film and even though she probably hasn’t purged them completely at the film’s conclusion (because it’s quite difficult to alter one’s subconscious associations). Is it really legitimate to give Judy’s character a positive evaluation despite her hidden prejudices? Actually, yes. For three reasons.

First, we usually excuse people for traits and actions that are beyond their control. This is why we don’t typically hold people responsible for what they do when they are coerced, under duress, or suffering from mental illness. Latent biases are the result of automatic associations made by a person’s brain. So, they aren’t really within your control. You can decide to raise your arm, but you can’t just decide to alter your subconscious attitudes. Since they can’t be changed very easily, there’s a case to be made that people shouldn’t be held responsible for them – at least not in the same way that they are held responsible for their voluntary actions.

Second, we often excuse people for things they do that are wrong when those things are done out of ignorance. Latent biases, since they originate in subconscious thought, are difficult to discern, and Judy has no clear evidence – prior to Nick pointing it out to her – that she holds these biases. She criticizes her parents for what they say about predators right before she boards the train for Zootopia and persistently reiterates the message that “anyone can be anything” in this special city. Such remarks suggest that Judy views herself as an advocate for species equality rather than an opponent of it.

Third, when Judy becomes aware that she had these hidden biases, she wants to change them and takes action to make that happen. Beyond resuming her quest to solve the mystery concerning predators going savage, she goes so far as to allow a predator to clamp his jaws around her neck at the film’s climax. That’s pretty conclusive evidence of an effort to become more trusting of predators and not regard them as prone to violent behavior.

All this considered, it’s perfectly reasonable to conclude that Judy’s biases are a forgivable aspect of her personality. We shouldn’t condemn her moral character on these grounds alone. But that doesn’t mean she’s off the hook just yet. The film gives us a lot of other information about her moral character, and it’s not all positive. Let’s start with her claim that she wants to make the world a better place.

Judy voices a desire to improve the world around her on many occasions in the film. That’s a worthy aspiration, but is that really what motivates her behavior? On many occasions, she seems motivated primarily by a desire to prove herself to others. Think about how she handles being assigned to parking duty by Chief Bogo. When he mentions that she shouldn’t have trouble writing 100 tickets a day, she responds by trying to write 200 tickets before noon. However, she doesn’t seem to do this because she thinks it will help improve the city in some way; it’s just to demonstrate that the chief was wrong to doubt her abilities. When she takes off after Weaselton to prevent his thievery, she seems compelled to do so by a desire to prove that she’s a “real cop” moreso than a deeply held desire to keep the city safe. (If you doubt this, you might consider refreshing yourself on the dialogue at the start of that scene and note the joyful “woo woo” when she tells Officer McHorn that she is in pursuit.)

This aspect of Judy’s personality is so pronounced that Chief Bogo exploits it later in the film. He uses Judy’s penchant for trying to silence her skeptics to entice her into a deal that clearly works to her disadvantage. She agrees to wager her career as a police officer on the chance to crack a missing mammal case with few resources, virtually no leads, and a two-day time limit. While wanting to prove one’s critics wrong is an understandable motivation, it isn’t a selfless one, and it often causes Judy to make questionable decisions. As Bogo points out, for instance, Judy’s confronting Weasleton prompted a scurry that seriously endangered the residents of Little Rodentia.

There is also another source of Judy’s questionable decision-making: her foolhardiness. We would all acknowledge that Judy has a lot of courage: she’s willing to risk life and limb to help others and apprehend wrongdoers. But she actually has too much courage. Normally, of course, courage is a good thing to have: if you lack it, then it’s going to be pretty tough to stand up for your convictions, overcome adversity, or take risks that could benefit you in the long run. That’s why courage is almost always regarded as a virtue – a desirable character trait that typically embodies a type of human excellence. (Some other examples of virtues include honesty, loyalty, temperance, generosity, and integrity.)

Most virtues are found in the golden mean between two related vices. Specifically, a virtue will usually be the desirable middle ground between a vice of excess and a vice of deficiency. Take loyalty as an initial illustration. If you lack it, then you’re a traitor, and it’s not good to be a traitor. But if you have too much loyalty – such that you won’t abandon a particular cause or betray a certain person no matter what – then you’re a zealot. And being a zealot could be just as bad as being a traitor, depending on the details. Bottom line: it’s generally good to be loyal, but it is possible to be too loyal.

When we think about courage, we are most familiar with its associated vice of deficiency: cowardice. We have all had experiences where we struggled to find the courage to do something, so it’s easy to understand the phenomenon and see why it’s an undesirable character trait. Judy’s problem, however, lies at the other end of the spectrum. She is too headstrong and does not accurately appraise the danger that she faces. There are times, of course, where Judy is appropriately courageous. A paradigm example is when she defends her friends from Gideon’s bullying near the start of the film. But too often her bravery crosses the threshold of what’s courageous and enters the realm of foolhardiness. Let’s consider a few examples.

I already mentioned Judy’s decision to chase down Weaselton, which could be attributable to her desire to prove herself. But it may also be reflective of her recklessness, since she didn’t really appraise the situation and may have underestimated how easy it would be to apprehend a single weasel. This almost got a number of Little Rodentia residences harmed or killed, though (so far as we know) there were no casualties. Another instance of foolhardiness is in her antagonizing Mr. Big while surrounded by his polar bear bodyguards. Nick also clearly tries to discourage this behavior, and Judy ignores him. Judy’s brazen remarks would have gotten both of them killed if not for Fru Fru’s conveniently timed entrance into the scene and the fortunate coincidence that Judy had saved her from being crushed during the Weaselton chase sequence.

Perhaps Judy’s most iconic act of reckless behavior occurs when she hijacks the train that contains Doug’s drug lab. Nick warns her many times not to try anything rash and to just take the dart gun with the Night Howler serum in it. Judy has no knowledge of where the tracks lead, and her decision puts Doug’s mobile hideout on a collision course with a freight train. This could have been an utter disaster: beyond our rabbit and fox pair not surviving to expose the conspiracy, it could have surely resulted in a lot of innocent deaths. (The train is on an elevated track where its contents could have easily fallen onto the roadway below if it were derailed.) That outcome was just barely avoided.

Now you might look back at these choices and say, “Well, so what? Nothing bad happened. Our heroes survived, and casualties were ultimately kept to a minimum.” The problem is that in all of these cases, Judy was not justified in thinking that things would turn out for the best. She overestimated her own abilities and underestimated the danger of the situation. The results – actions that endanger the lives of others – are not characteristic of someone who is morally good. A morally virtuous person would be a little more mindful of how their actions could affect others, and moreover, this seems like an especially important skill for a police officer.

Finally, I would be remiss not to mention the ways that Judy bypasses police protocol or uses otherwise nefarious means to accomplish her goals. (There was already a discussion about this matter on Reddit long ago.) Judy blackmails Nick using information about his tax returns to gain his cooperation, she investigates the Tundra Town limo service without warrant (and a dubious appeal to probable cause), she threatens the life of Weaselton to get him to provide her information, and the list goes on. In some sense, her tactics are successful, but are these really the methods that a morally good person uses to get results? Shouldn’t some other strategies have been attempted before resorting to such drastic measures, at least in some of these cases? I’m not going to belabor this point, but give it a little thought on your own.

At the end of Zootopia, we can reasonably conclude that Judy has made good progress in identifying and correcting her latent biases against predators, but that does not in itself make her morally good because she has plenty of moral flaws in other areas. We don’t have any evidence that she’s improved her decision-making or that she is less prone to foolhardiness. We also don’t have any evidence that she’s abandoned or condemned the morally questionable techniques she used to help her solve the Night Howler case, and we have no idea what’s become of her association with Mr. Big. (If she just lets his mafia continue with business as usual, then that’s gotta be a further strike against her moral character.)

Judy's vices are offset to some degree by her more admirable qualities, such as her tenacity and compassion, but these flaws nonetheless reveal some areas in which her character and conduct could be improved. Thus, much like her vulpine companion, Judy is far from being evil but still morally flawed in some important ways. If we want to label Judy as morally good, then we’ll have to wait for a sequel and hope that the creators illustrate some further moral improvement on her part.


  1. Yes Judy was morally flawed...and thank goodness she was. There's a term for characters with none of these types of defects, they're called a 'Mary Sue.' If Judy had been a better character, she wouldn't have been nearly as interesting a one.

    Hijackiing the train:
    Before I'm going to pass judgement on that action, I have to ask myself, "What was the alternative?" There was only one way in or out of that subway car and Doug and his goons had it covered. Yes, Judy could have broken a window, but she would have been overheard immediately. I always thought her motivation in grabbing that train was that she saw it as her best means of getting away. (She may also have been thinking back to the incident in the Rainforest District; this time she was going to present Chief Bogo with some evidence that even HE couldn't deny,)

    One minor point: It wasn't a passenger train nearly went head with Nick and Judy, it was freight train. (I just checked.)

    1. Yes, you are right about the train. I amended a couple sentences regarding the train collision near the end of the film.

      The escape explanation for hijacking the train would be more plausible if it were stated, even if only briefly, but her dialogue only indicates a desire to get all the evidence to the ZPD. I'm not sure Judy had thoroughly considered her possible escape options, and Nick may have had some ideas that aren't discussed -- elsewhere in the film, he seems to think on his feet pretty well.

    2. Not quite. Judy may not have said anything but Nick said very specifically, "What are you doing? You just trapped us in here!"

  2. Judy had latent biases that caused great harm later and a recklessness that almost got others hurt at times, but I think she is a fundamentally good character with her desire to be better.

    Her moral fiber was also vindicated in the shame she felt in the aftermath of the press conference.

    With her recklessness and questionable methods, it's important to keep in mind that she was under extreme circumstances.

    The Weasleton chase started with noone around to catch him, and she was completely justified in going after him at the start. She was enthusiastic because it was both a break from monotany and perhaps her one chance to prove herself to Bogo, who had been extremely cold and hostile to her. She should have stopped to try to safely negotiate Weasleton out of Little Rodentia, but I'd really chalk that up to an absurd failure in security measures. There should have been gaurds at every entrance to the gates given the low cost relative to how much safer it would make so many people. The size of Little Rodentia isn't clear in the movie, but I like to think that rodents may be near half of Zootopia's population with their low costs of living and space.

    Back to Judy, she was going to lose her dream job and fail to help find Emmit if she didn't meet the case deadline, and Nick had been a complete jerk in refusing to mention where he saw him go. Thus she used him as much as she could to try to solve the case on time.

    Intimidating Mr. Big was simply foolish, though.

    So far as Judy knew interrogating Weasleton was her only lead to finding the source of the poisonings, and the future of Zootopia and the lives of many afflicted predators were on the line. She probably should have told the ZPD first, but she may not have known who she could trust.

    When Judy almost wrecked the train without thinking, she was dealing with a heavy guilt which, combined with a hero complex, made her want to make everything right with no regard for her own safety. And with her recklessness and heated emotions, that turned into no regard for others' safety.

    Under more normal conditions I think she'd be much more cautious and considerate.

    1. Fair points on her recklessness. Still, pretty sure they would train a cop to handle crises better than that - especially better than she handled her interview with Mr. Big.

  3. There are interesting and detailed conclusions about both characters. If it's not disturbing, I'm writing both of them here.
    My own thoughts come in hand and nobody will be angry with it.
    You, I and many others, make the mistake of being judged sooner than we know.
    Judy and Nick's life are known only in small parts.
    Nick's past is hardly known (except the ranger thing), so his "gray lifestyle" is barely known.
    Take the Pawsicle example. He takes 15 (zoo) dollars for a Jumbo pop, "processes" and sells for $ 2 for pawsicle. In real life is similar. You buy a smaller unit package more expensive
      the same thing as the bigger one (what's in our country).
    He does this because a hamster does not buy a Jumbo. Which is to be condemned by the way Pawsicle is made (and the tax).
    This is something that is not a real scam. You get what you buy.
    The red tree is rather a rogue trick. However, the builder's mouse is also defective because it does not have a "build material" (probably cheap) in an unknown location. It does not shine Nick's methods, but he would not be able to bend the law alone unless others are willing to play it.
    2. Where is going 200 zollars per day (I stay this way). Many fanfiction worked on the possibilities. A: Luxurious life (sports car, rich apartman, etc.) B: Prodigal boy (drinking, girls) C .: (my favorite) Helps a family member by withdrawing money (mother, sibling)
    Ultimately, it is morally questionable that the wrong purpose is intended. We steal, do we cheat money to survive, or to be rich?
    3. Mr. Big
    Well, work for a mafia boss is not a good soul's club. There are really questions here as well. How did he meet the shrew? Why did he work for him? Why did such a foolish decision make a smart fox like a skunk carpet ?!
    My theory (!) A young, underrated fox makes the windmill life, one day someone goes to find a stranger and offers work for him. Nothing serious, listen to this, deal with someone else. No problem. The fox is talented, honored, will be part of the family.
    Here's the problem! As a member of a mafia family, there is great responsibility. To leave the family can only be one way, tombstones above your head!
    If you do not want to blackmail families, do a dark business, there is no other way.
    Or .... Trick the boss, make money from him, and run as far in the city as far as you can.
    Clever? No. Any other option? I do not know.
    Nick Morally good or not, hard queston. We not live his life, but if he became a policeman, he did not lawfully do anything serious. Now he has a chance to live a new life, the rest are on him. It was not morally good, but it could be.

    1. Regarding Nick's daily earnings, I actually wonder whether he exaggerated them just so it sounded more impressive to Judy. He may have wanted her to think that he was more successful than he actually was. While he was genuinely worried about her charge of tax evasion, that could have been true even if his earnings were far lower than what he claimed. If he were telling the truth, his salary would be $73,000 per year, and intuitively one would think that this would translate to a much better living arrangement than his. Then again, maybe he was in debt to some shady characters around town. I hope we get more information on his backstory in a sequel.

    2. My own theory on that is that he probably lived below his means to avoid looking like a money launderer. Since it's fair to assume prejudice would hinder a fox from earning a high-paying job, a lot of mammals in that society might see a successful fox and automatically figure him for a crook.
      Besides, from what I understand (as per Dave Ramsey, a well-known financial advisor), most actual millionaires don't dress, drive, or live like the ones on TV. That's how they get to be millionaires.

  4. Now. Judy.
    I agree that many good qualities are a bit too much. Reckless, implúzív, naive idealist, he wants to prove too much.
    One "mistake" is that he came from a far-away country who did not know her new environment. Bunnies had a place, probably a low crime, and a public place urination and carrot theft is characteristic.
    She know there are a lot of crime elsewhere and she want to change.
    Can she be a good officer and morally good? Yes! They did help? No.
    As a supporting actor I will show you the tough, strict, top of Chief Bogo.
    Do not know why he does not like Judy. Because bunny? Farm Girl? Headstrong? (Rookie?). Whatever the prejudice he made for two big mistakes.
    1. He wasted an officer for something banal instead of using the case.
    2. No Support !!!
    Judy can not enter the database and most importantly she has no partner!
    An highly experienced officer who could discipline a rookie is vital. It can save civilians, co-workers and her own life. This is not Judy, it's Bogo's fault.
    One partner would stop in recklessness, but let her have courage. Do not let it be lazy, do not let the violence go. Her partner teach her.
    Judy's moral development is the cause of her own grave mistakes. That's why she resigned, apologized for a fox he had been taught to avoid them all her life.
    At the end of the film, we can only trust that while Nick was at the academy, Judy had a partner.
    With recent experience and new vision, their mistakes are corrected by each other's virtues.
    It was long, I hope it was not boring.

  5. I'd have to say this is fairly good, however, a lot of points are made by jumping to conclusions about what Judy's motives were, what she did in time that wasn't shown in the movie, etc, etc. The conclusion is jumped to that she probably didn't change these by saying, "shouldn't she have tried other methods?"

    We don't know what other methods she could have tried as they aren't shown in the movie. So much time in this film is skipped that we don't know a whole lot of how the characters change except for the major, important scenes. For instance, we can't judge Judy or Nick at all about their moral character at the end of the movie. Period. At all.


    Because nine whole months had passed since anything they did. Think about that. Nine months. How much could have happened to them in that time we did not see. How much could they have changed? We don't know, as the only scenes we see at the end are Judy giving the speech at Nick's promotion, them stopping a speeder, and the Gazelle concert.

    "Shouldn’t some other strategies have been attempted before resorting to such drastic measures, at least in some of these cases?" This is the worst offending statement for this argument however. Again, I'd love to know how you know they tried nothing else in all of these cases and each action they took were the first actions thought of. So many outside influences on their decisions and none of them are brought up here, even though they greatly affected their final chosen actions.

    I think to try and judge Judy or Nick as morally good or bad is something that we can't do with the information we have. At all, really. We probably have less than 1% of the information we would need to make a rational, calculated guess about their behaviors, as every train ride, car ride, truck ride, walking, phone call, nine months of Nick's academy time, are all gone. So for a movie that spans an entire year of time, and we see 1 hour of that time, we can't make any assumptions on their characters by the end of the movie.


    1. If you set the bar for making assessments of moral character this high, then I worry you'll be left unable to make moral assessments of very many people -- fictional or otherwise. Sure, we have incomplete information about Nick and Judy. We always have to make these judgments based on incomplete information. (Even when we're assessing ourselves, there will be some things that escape our notice.) But we do have quite a bit of evidence that bears on our duo's behavior and character. Here, I've used that evidence to construct a prima facie case that Judy shouldn't be labeled as morally good at the end of the film. (Prima facie is a Latin term, typically used in law and philosophy, to describe something that is taken as true until demonstrated otherwise. So, a suspect's fingerprints on the murder weapon would be prima facie evidence that the suspect committed the murder.)

      In sequels or other material tied to the film, we may learn that there was more going on in these scenes than we originally thought. Or we may get insight into something that happened between scenes that was previously unknown to us. The same is true in real life: we have to make judgments about other people so that we can decide who to associate with, and sometimes we learn things that make us revise our original judgments. Sometimes, people we thought were good turn out to be rotten and people we thought were callous wind up having good reasons for their actions. But we don't typically revise our views of these people until that further information is presented. And that's where I think we stand with Judy: we can revise our judgments in the future if new information warrants doing so, but until that information is presented, our judgment should rest on the evidence we have about her. Is it possible that she's changed in some important ways in the 9 months between the confrontation with Bellwether? Of course. But is there evidence that such a change has taken place? No. Or at least not yet. So I'm inclined to stick by my assessment here until there's positive evidence that points in the other direction.

    2. Though to say that by the end of the film that Judy is not morally good isn't the least bit accurate as you just stated. So let's take what we have of the film. 1 hour (rounded) before Nick heads off to the academy and they solve the case. We then have nine months of behavior we have not seen, nor can we judge their characters within this time frame. So, how many hours are in nine months? And let's just go with 30 days as an average.

      9x30x24=6480 hours.

      So you are basing your entire argument on one hour of time, which could have been the absolute worst both characters have been, or absolute best, off of .0001543% of that timeframe. I'm sure we could do the same with the best men and women in history, base whether they are morally good or evil off of that same amount of time frame, such as Lincoln, Ghandi, MLK Jr, or any random guy or gal on the street.

      Without stating these types of facts, the time frame you're basing your ideas from, your showing this is an extremely biased way to show Judy and Nick in the worst light possible and claim them as morally bad. I think this article should come with a heavy disclaimer about, to quote Judy, "the facts of the case." As I'm sure that we could show Ghandi as a completely evil person based on .0001543% of nine months of his life, too.


    3. I clearly did not present either Nick or Judy in the worst possible light. I acknowledged their heroic actions and in both cases stated that they were on a path to moral improvement but that (for differing reasons) they haven't reached the threshold of moral goodness yet. Or at least we don't have sufficient evidence to conclude that they have, and we have good reasons to think they haven't. In both write-ups, I tried to explain those reasons for doubting their moral goodness.

      Your argument about the amount of time we see of Nick and Judy's lives is interesting but only persuasive if you assume that the things we have seen are not representative of their characters. If we were only seeing random events and extracts from their day-to-day lives, then indeed that might not say much about their moral character on the whole. But that's not what we see: we see a coherent narrative with a lot of background context, and we see a lot of decisions that clearly have moral significance. In various places, we see the characters express their moral values through both what they say and what they do. In several instances, we see behaviors that are clearly representative of a pattern. Judy's recklessness, for instance, doesn't just emerge once or twice: it's a persistent aspect of her decision-making. So there's every reason to think that trait is a feature of her personality. What other conclusion could we reach? Suggesting otherwise in the absence of existing evidence would be akin to defending the honesty of a habitual liar.

      Second, we should remember that Zootopia is a film, which means that it has an intentionally crafted narrative. Given that the creators seemed pretty thoughtful about how they crafted the world and the characters that inhabit it, I'm not sold on the idea that they misrepresented what the characters were like in the scenes that they chose to show us. I think they knew what they were doing and wanted us to have an accurate understanding of what the characters were like.

      Finally, to elaborate on a point I mentioned earlier, I think living in accordance with your view would require radically altering how we typically interact with people. We routinely make judgments about other people's character based on fragmented bits of information, which are usually far less elaborate and coherent than what we have with respect to Nick and Judy. On your view, it would seem that making these judgments -- whether good or bad -- would be inappropriate, yet it seems like we have to make these judgments so that we can determine whether other people are worth associating with. We need to judge whether they are trustworthy/untrustworthy, reliable/unreliable, honest/dishonest, and so on. That's a pretty important skill: we need to be able to distinguish a legitimate salesman from a con artist and a good friend from a moocher. So I think we're stuck making these kinds of judgments, and given that fact, we should try to make them as well as we can based on the evidence that's available.

    4. I have to agree with WildeCard on this one. I've often heard it said, and honestly believe, that more often than not what's really inside someone comes out under pressure, which was certainly descriptive of the movie. It's unrealistic to say Judy was usually as different from what we see of her on screen as you seem to think, Cimar. As Judy herself says at the end of the movie, "Real life is messy."

  6. Great analysis, as ever. I don't have much to add aside from noting that Judy's recklessness is, I think, the perfect character flaw for her; borne of a genuine desire to improve the world, but frequently worsening problems if not outright creating new ones. Even if Judy hasn't quite achieved capital-G Goodness, she's a fantastic protagonist to follow

    1. Yes, for complicated reasons, I actually think the flaws in the main characters are one of the central reasons the film outshines a lot of other Disney films and provides more meaningful ethical lessons. I'll be going into some detail on those points in Part 3.

  7. Will you be looking at Bogo's ethics next?

    I'm wondering how far this will continue.

    1. You know, I hadn't considered doing that, but it's possible. Part 3 will be about how we understand moral progress and what we can learn about it from the film. In Part 4, I was planning to look at a specific action -- Lionheart's cover up -- and consider whether it could be morally justified. (It was obviously illegal, but law and morality can diverge so that's not decisive.)

      So that would put the earliest discussion of Bogo at Part 5. Given that he's a relatively minor character, I doubt I could try to make the broad assessments done in Parts 1 and 2; it would probably have to focus more specifically on his role as police chief and his treatment of Judy.

      So will I be looking at Bogo next? No. Will I do that in the future? Maybe.

    2. That sounds interesting either way, then.

  8. Hmm. As usual, very well thought-out. I especially like your point about the fine line between virtue and vice; it calls to mind the old adage, "Depart neither to the right hand, nor to the left."
    You raise some very good points about Judy's methods; it is only fair to note that she operates more by luck than good sense. Of course, in real life police do sometimes have to resort to gray methods like her stunt of blackmailing Nick, so there is some debate on that one. Threatening Weaselton's life? Hmm, yeah, I'd say that's going pretty far, and getting brisk with Mr. Big like she did was definitely reckless and motivated by pride rather than purpose. I'd like to see the issue of her alliance with Mr. Big brought up in the next movie, if it were handled well.
    One point on which I could see some interesting debate is the matter of how she handled the train car. It seems to me that the legal thing to do - and the most sane one knowing what she knew at the time - would be to slip away quietly and notify the police. True, it could be argued that if she had delayed then the cheetah might have been hit and more mammals injured or killed, and if she had not done what she did then the sheep could have gotten away and Bellwether would not have been implicated (or at least been much harder to pin). I actually have a fanfic addressing that, but I digress. Back to the subject at hand, it's only fair to argue that since none of these considerations came up, we must assume (unless they come up in a sequel) that she never thought of them and was driven by impulse.
    I must confess, this does compel me to rethink my assessment of Judy as a role model for kids, which was admittedly sketchy already. I do hope they make her a bit more level-headed in later material.