I know, I know. Andrea is one of like, four people currently alive in Robert Kirkman's The Walking Dead comic. (The other three are Laurie's ghost, Carl's hat, and Arya Stark.) But the TV version of TWD has proven that it don't mind going off book — like with lack of Michonne's game-changing rape, ghost Lori, and the general existence of Daryl Dixon, to name a few. So, after tonight's Andrea-centric episode, a major question burns: would the show dare to change canon by killing off the not as maligned as Lori, but still very much maligned Andrea? Because blondie is stuck between a very sh***y prison rock and a crazy hard place, and no one on either side (except for Carol, who is useless) really likes her. Her death wouldn't be a completely shocking, or unrealistic, turn of events.
But I, for one, seriously hope that Andrea sticks around for the long haul. Yes, she has horrible taste in men, and her desire for post-apocalyptic respect and a strong male partner has often clouded her judgment. But she's also one of the few characters on the show who isn't solidly black or white — likable or unlikable — now that the terribly annoying Lori and Shane are gone, and TWD would suffer without Laurie Holden's presence. First, Andrea is a highly effective Walker-killer (up there with Michonne and Daryl), and if she wasn't so easily influenced, she'd be one of the more capable leaders on the show. She doesn't second-guess her decisions and torture herself like Rick does, and she's more capable of forming genuine human relationships than Daryl. She's emotionally tougher than Maggie, and able to positively influence a group (unlike, say, Michonne). But still, there's something that's just not quite right. I enjoy the fact that Andrea could be so, so much better than she is — and she's trying. It's like all of the pieces are there, but something in the way they're assembled has her not quite right. Just like pretty much everyone else in real life, but not enough characters on this messy TV show. And Andrea knows she's a screwball. She knows that hooking up with Philip and ditching Michonne was the wrong choice, and she's trying the best she can to fix it. But there's no "fixing it" this time around, and her ridiculous optimism could just be her downfall. We shall see.
Anyway, let's move away from Andrea for a sec. The Grimes Gang are f***ed. The Grimes Gang are no food, no-ammo, Beth eerily singing Tom Waits to somehow improve morale f***ed. They can't get rid of the Walkers in the yard without blowing through their ammo, and now that the Gov knows their location, he has men waiting on the road to blow them to bits if they go for a run. They're trapped like rats in a cage, which is driving everyone slightly insane but Merle, who still seems to be pleasantly amused by the whole scenario. "That whole truck through the door thing?" he said. "That's just him ringing the doorbell… He could just starve us out if he wanted to."
It's true. And their dire circumstances were causing some division within the group. Hershel wanted to leave, but Rick was demanding they stay put. Hershel pointed out that Rick once stated that the group wasn't a democracy (it was a cheer-ocracy), and now he had to own up to that. Basically, he needed to step down, because his cray-cray self wasn't capable of leading the Grimes Gang to some sort of safe spot 2.0. The episode is called "I Ain't a Judas" — and of course, they're referring to Andrea — but the same could arguably be said of other members of the Grimes Gang.
Like Carl! Guys, did you ever think you'd see a day where Carl was more competent and capable than Rick? Did you think that that day would come in Season 3? I didn't! But when Carl pulled Rick aside and asked him to step down to let Hershel and Daryl "handle things," it was a powerful and well-acted moment. "You should stop," Carl said. "Being the leader… you deserve a rest." I mean, ouch. "You deserve a rest" in this instance is just a nice way of saying "you royally screwed this up, you crazy old bat." But Carl's a sweet kid. Rick didn't really respond, but you know that one had to hurt.
And Carl was later proven right, over in Woodbury, when Tyreese and his merry gang of people I don't know were welcomed into the open arms of the Governor after that crazy guy from the prison threw them out. The rest of the gang seemed pretty cool, Tyreese explained to the suddenly chipper Gov, but that Rick character was a dang loon. My money's on the fact that the Gov would have killed all of them on sight had they not dropped the "we hate Rick" bomb, but we'll never know. The Governor is gearing up for war, and now he has four very able-bodied soldiers to add to his child army.
NEXT: Everybody hates Andrea.
Which brings us to the reason why Andrea left Woodbury in the first place: She was very unsure of her boyfriend after he made Daryl fight Merle, but when she saw that the Governor was rounding up the town's children (anyone 13 and above, asthmatic or not) to go to war with the Grimes Gang, she knew she had to intervene. Of course the Governor told her that the Grimes Gang was "bloodthirsty" and that they had struck first, but her Spidey sense told her that something was up. At this point, both Rick AND his nemesis were losing some of their most loyal followers, but the Governor has strength, ammo, numbers, and a sociopathic lack of conscious on his side. Yeah, my money's on the guy who has files on every child and arthritic old lady in his war room.
So the Governor had Martinez — the character we all just heard about last week — gather the able-bodied children to start their training, and that threw Andrea over the edge. I'm sort of obsessed with Martinez, because his introduction to this show was kind of like when Tobias Funke from Arrested Development tried to make a name for himself at that production studio. "That Martinez is all anyone's talking about these days," said Woodbury resident #1. "That Martinez — OVERRATED!!" We didn't know who Martinez was two weeks ago, and now he's the most important guy in Woodbury after the Governor and Milton. Hey, someone had to replace Merle.
Andrea asked Milton to help her out re: leaving town, since the Governor wouldn't let her leave without never coming back again. He reluctantly agreed to help her, then ran to his boss and tattled. The Governor thanked his employee for his loyal service, then asked him to help Andrea with her plan. "Do you really want me to do that, or is this some sort of test?" Milton asked, probably whilst sh***ing his pants. It wasn't a test. Andrea was the Woodbury resident under fire here, not Milton. But it's interesting watching the completely opposite leadership tactics in Woodbury and Cellblock C — the Governor rules with an Iron Fist and Rick with soft words, but both of them are dealing with unruly constituents. You just can't win in this world.
Milton did "help" Andrea escape — and by that I mean he opened the door and allowed her to chop up a Walker to use as a decoy for when she arrived at the prison, while he cowered in fear. This guy will be dead by the finale, right? Right? Right. When she arrived at the prison, her welcome was slightly less warm than she was expecting. Remember, Andrea haters — we may know exactly what happened with the Governor and his horrific crimes against the Grimes Gang and his people, but Andrea was kept in the dark the entire time. Largely via smoke canisters. The only one there who has a 100 percent legitimate bone to pick with her is Michonne, which is why their inevitable hash-out was so devastating on Andrea's side.
But more on that later. When Andrea rejoined the hostile Rick and the gang, she was shocked to see that Shane, Lori, and — what was his name, again? — oh yes, T-Dog, had perished. This lady was seriously more in the dark than the Governor's left eye. Andrea honestly thought that there could be some sort of peaceful reconciliation between Grimes and Woodbury, which is absurd. Yes, there is plenty of room in spacious Woodbury for the Gang, and their able-bodied presence would be undeniably helpful for the struggling town. But the Governor, or "Philip" as she calls him, would rather burn the entire town to the ground than let that happen. Andrea is still too donkey-brained to realize that.
NEXT: Merle Dixon — unlikely voice of reason
Which leads us to a segment I like to call "Merle Dixon — unlikely voice of reason." Now, Merle used to annoy me when he was walking out and about being racist, but I sort of love him when he's just sitting there in a prison cell, doling out wisdom bombs like a Homeland suicide bomb. He also totally doesn't give a s***, in that special "some men just want to watch the world burn" kind of way, which makes his scenes especially amusing.
Anyway, Merle offered up these words of wisdom on the Governor to Hershel, when the two had their daily amputee-survival club/Bible study meeting. (Matthew 5:29:30: If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell. How very appropriate! Also, what Jigsaw says during the opening of Saw VIII.) "He's going to kill me first," Merle explained. "Michonne. Then your girls— Glenn, Carl, the baby. Then he'll come for Quvenzhané Wallis. He'll save Rick for last, so he can watch his friends and family die ugly. He won't even touch Anne Hathaway. That's who you're dealing with."
Merle was right, of course. But the only person who has a strong enough emotional connection with Andrea to convince her of this is Michonne, who finally confronted blondie once they got some one-on-one time. (Aside: Who else loved it when Andrea asked Michonne, "What have you told them?" And Michonne replied, "Nothing." So very, unfortunately true. That was a pretty miserable plot-fail during the raid on Woodbury, and I'm glad they sort of acknowledged it here, whether it was a "wink wink" or not.)
Andrea told Michonne that all that she'd wanted was a soft bed to sleep on, and that the people of Woodbury needed her — which, of course, isn't unreasonable. But Michonne went straight for the jugular (also not unreasonable), saying that she didn't realize that the Governor's messiah complex was contagious, and that Andrea chose "a warm bed over a friend." Then she dropped the "he sent Merle to kill me" bomb, and when Michonne walked away, Andrea finally burst into tears. She was finally starting to realize just how wrong she had actually been. You guys, she's human. And the Governor is handsome.
Before Andrea left for Woodbury, Carol — who, like Daryl, Glenn, and Maggie, had absolutely nothing to do in this episode — told Andrea that her best move was to give the Governor "the greatest night of his life," then kill him. Would she do it? Could she? No, she couldn't. As Beth and Tom Waits soulfully told us to "Hold On," Andrea went through with the sex part, but couldn't do the killing. This woman still has a lot of work to do, and again, I'm looking forward to the process.
The Grimes Gang's weekly adventure ended with Rick making an actual decision — he would head out in the morning for a very dangerous run, with Michonne and Carl as his potential death-dates. This episode may have seen like the calm before the storm after last week, but it honestly was anything but — it was more like the eye of the hurricane, a brief respite before the devastation action continues. The storm is already here, but which way the wind blows is up to a few key figures with varying levels of mental capability. In short, everyone is f***ed.
So, viewers — if anyone, who could kill Andrea? Would it be Michonne, who has the best reason? Or the Governor, who has the complete lack of human empathy? Hey, maybe it could even be Carl! Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Gene Page/AMC]