I believe it was Hemingway who said, "There is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never care for anything else thereafter." And it was pretty much every fan of the televised version of The Walking Dead who said, several times, "I hate Andrea." But after tonight's airing of The Most Dangerous Game: Walking Dead Edition, even the most avid Andrea-haters should be warming up to the beleaguered blondie, or at least hoping that she doesn't die at the hands of the sadistic, misogynistic Governor. And if you're not — well, I know a great therapist who takes insurance. Because watching 40-odd minutes of a large, formidable man literally hunting a small, relatively helpless woman (not because she isn't a sharpshoot — because she didn't have a gun) was Hitchcock-ian terror at its very best.
The show's "Andrea problem" is a tough one. She's a beloved character in the comics, but TV-Andrea has never really found her footing. It's like they just don't know what to do with her — they tried something new with this whole Woodbury thing, but making her sleep with the Governor made everyone like her even less. It's sort of like with Kate from Lost — you know you should like her, because on the outside she's this badass fighter chick, but most of her actions on the show have revolved around what the (often shitty) men around her are doing. Quite literally, her actions on this show have been as follows: 1. Complain about not being able to have a gun. 2. Give up and attempt suicide. 3. Pine for Shane. 4. Sleep with clearly insane man who is trying to kill all of the heroes on this show. Like DARYL.
That's not to say that I think that Andrea is a hopeless case — Laurie Holden is an undeniably talented actress — and I think that this episode was a step in the right direction. Should she have gone home with the men of Grimes last week, after the "negotiation" went down? Absolutely. But then, the writers wouldn't have been able to give us this fantastic horror movie of an episode, where we find ourselves biting our nails and holding our breath for a character we've always found to be grating. Sneaky.
So, here's how it all went down: For whatever reason, the episode started with a strange little flashback to Andrea's time with Michonne. The ladies shared a meal in the woods with Mich's Walker friends — a "girls' night" as the increasingly likable character called it. Michonne, you silly. And this being a girls' night, it eventually came time for a game of truth or dare. "Truth," said Michonne. So Andrea asked her where her Walker pals had come from — were they some random Joes that attacked her? Or, had she known them? From Michonne's scowl, you could tell the answer was "B." "I'm so sorry," Andrea replied. "Do you want to talk about it?" (This must have been early on in their relationship, because we all learned in like, ten minutes that Michonne doesn't want to talk about anything.) "They deserved what they got," she said. "They weren't human to begin with." Now, I'm not saying that this scene wasn't completely awesome — it was only strange because Michonne wasn't in the rest of the episode, at all. We flashed from the campfire scene — focusing on the Walkers' chains — to the Governor holding the same chains, in the Hostel-esque torture chamber he was building with Princess Scowleypants in mind.
Since we're being all literary here, it was Chekhov who said that, once a gun appears in a story, it has to go off. So when you saw those torture chains, you knew SOME unfortunate bastard would be stuck in s**t's creek by episode's end. Foreshadowing 101, guys. Only this week, Andrea would be the unfortunate victim. But, thankfully, she wouldn't go down without a severe, devastating fight. His friendship with Daryl long forgotten, Martinez was gathering ammo for Woodbury's meeting with Team Grimes — you know, the one where they're going to murder everyone. Andrea saw this go down, and finally — FINALLY — concluded that the Governor did not have peace in mind. The "it's just a show of force" excuse can only work on so many occasions, kind of like lying about a dead relative to get out of midterms. You only have FOUR grandparents, kid!
So Andrea and Milton — who I still kind of hate, for being a giant p-word — decided to stop the Governor from unleashing Hell. Andrea was to run to the prison to warn the others, Milton was to… ask him politely to not go through with it. David Morrissey was absolutely chilling in his resolve when Milton "confronted" him, eerily reinforcing that revenge on the entire Grimes Gang was "all that matters."
Then there was this other truly terrifying sequence that let us know just how fully nutters the Governor is: Milton and Andrea watched from above as he looked over his (many) torture tools, happily whistling under a single lightbulb. Because it's not a torture dungeon if there's more than one light. Andrea took out her pistol and was ready to go, but Milton stopped her. Again, I hate him.
"I knew Philip before he became the Governor," Milton said, when Andrea asked why he still protected his boss. "That man still exists." Ugh. Milton is going die in the finale, right? Right? He made a good point when he said that, if the Governor died, Martinez would take over and the cycle of violence would continue, BUT STILL. Despite his cowardice and stupidity, Andrea gave him a pass, and invited him back to the prison, using the saddest PR pitch I've ever heard (and I get weekly emails from the "My Strange Addiction" team): "You know Merle — he fit in! You'll be fine." Hahahaha. Everything about Merle makes me giggle.
So Andrea took off, and the hunt began. Unfortunately, before she snuck out, Martinez took her guns. Then the Governor approached her and explained that he wanted to keep her safe and separate from "all this," rubbing her shoulder while he did so. It was creeeeepy, and Andrea looked sort of like Skyler White during the last season of Breaking Bad with her hiding-my-disgust-face. The little bird flying the coop then faced a second obstacle: Tyreese and Tyreese's sister, Sasha, who I forgot we're supposed to care about. I really don't. They were guarding the wall, and Andrea tried this half-assed "OMG Walkers! Over there!" diversion to get them to leave, and it totally didn't work. They wanted word from the Governor himself. So then she explained that the Governor is actually a psycho killer, and despite their disbelief, they let her go. Free will, and all. (Sasha is also going to be dead by the finale, right?)
"We stand on that wall to stop Biters, not keep people in," Tyreese argued when he explained their actions to the Governor later on. The Governor is an evil genius and he's still trying to keep Tyreese and Sasha on his side, so he used the "women be crazy" argument, saying that Andrea had spent the whole winter by herself (lies! She was having girls' night with Michonne!) and was now just a poor fractured soul who was also on her period, so.
"Did she say anything?" the Governor casually asked. "Like, panicked?" This should have been your number one red flag here, guys. But no. Everyone in Woodbury is stupid. Including Milton, obviously, who made it SUPER CLEAR to the Governor that he had told Andrea about his nefarious plans. "You should let her go," he said. "She just wants to be with her people." The Governor then slammed him against his locker, stole his lunch money, and made him (and us) s**t our pants with his intensity. Go after Andrea, he would.
Tyreese had an inkling that SOMETHING weird was going on when he learned that people were going after Andrea, but his horrible white friends (who will be dead by the end of the finale, right?) insisted that they had a good thing here, she should help the Governor go after the "that crazy-ass cowboy and the chick with the sword." We got some (unnecessary?) background about why that one white guy (whose name is not worth the Google search) has an obvious beef with Tyreese, and it's because big, handsome Tyreese saved her from some Walkers before that one time she died from Walkers. She had a bit of a crush on him after that, and white guy has been a total dick ever since. I really don't care about this guy's insecurities — I think this scene was put here so we'd cheer when he gets violently killed in the finale. Maybe by Carl. Or Beth. Beth! Can you imagine the humiliation?
Tyreese and Sasha's "This Place is F**ked Up Tour" continued, with their next stop being the large pit of Walkers/Biters that Martinez had assembled to unleash, again, upon the Gang of Grimes. "This is awesome!" white guy said, literally. "They've got women and children!" Tyreese replied. Then white guy and Tyreese got into a fight which led to Tyreese ALMOST pushing his fair-skinned companion into the pit, which would have been awesome. But, not today. That's a finale type of move. "Take him back to town," Martinez scowled. "Let him do some knitting." Making men feel inferior by suggesting they do things that women like: middle school playground tested, adult men approved.
Cut to Andrea on the road, where we learned right away that this would not be an uplifting journey home. Armed with only a very small knife, she got attacked by three Walkers pretty much right away. She killed them all with some degree of ease, but the true enemy was yet to emerge. Fight the dead, fear the living — remember? It was pretty cool that she was deep in the middle of an open field and he just charged at her, guns blazing, in his truck. She snuck into the forest, but he was hot on her tail.
Her next stop was some abandoned warehouse, and he found her in all of ten seconds. Hunting humans is eeee-zzzzy. We always go for the totally obvious hiding spot, and knock a ton of s**t over when we get there. It was dark and scary, and the Governor opened up the door and strolled in with the slow bravado of a man who knows he has the upper hand. Poor Andrea tried to hide, but A it was quiet and every breath she took put her at risk, and B, there were biters in the joint! Not the quietest creatures, that's for sure. Even the Governor's creepy serial killer whistling couldn't hide the sound of brains being smushed. She had been caught.
"Andrea!," he whisper-shouted. "Come back to me. Come back to Woodbury. We need you. That's your home now — your people." To drive that inviting point home, he started smashing things to terrify her. This horrifying cat and mouse game continued, with the Governor brutally killing several Walkers to, again, let us and Andrea know just how violent he tends to be. But then, finally, the mouse managed to trap the cat in a room full of Walkers. Escape at last! Death for the Governor! Anticlimactic end to the season!
But no. Andrea ran away, and became the first person this season to actually be happy to see Rick Grimes when she spotted him on lookout from beyond the prison fence. She jumped. She screamed! She was elated — she was home. But then, the Governor came out from behind her and covered her mouth. Ohhhhh it was that terrible moment from every horror movie where you just feel for the victim, so so much, because they actually had one beautiful moment of relief before the terror continued. Being a woman, and living through the unfortunate knowledge that your size and physical strength makes you an easy victim, I just felt so much for her. She had no chance with this big, beefy, crazy man on her trail.
It was even worse when the Governor pulled back into Woodbury, and wouldn't even tell Martinez that he'd found Andrea. That's when you knew he had something truly f**ked up in mind for his former paramour. What was that f**ked up thing, you ask? Why of course, the prime seat under the lightbulb in The Governor's chamber of horrors. She wasn't shackled quite yet, but the show ended with a shot of a terrified Andrea bound, gagged, and all alone in Hell. The next couple of episodes are going to be rough.
Oh, and one other thing — someone, in the middle of the night, burned all of the pit-Walkers. Was it Milton? Was it Tyreese? Could it be — gasp — Martinez? No, it probably was not Martinez. The Governor was not too excited to hear about this latest development, but when Tyreese and Sasha confronted him re: how terrible the whole thing was, he again used the "scare tactic" defense. "Why didn't your men just say that?" Tyreese asked. Because they don't share defense tactics with people they don't know, duh! And with that, Tyreese was once again totally cool with the Governor. But one more thing: "Where did you get the gasoline?" The Governor asked. "Come again?" Tyreese replied. Sorry Milton — your number is up. "I hope you find out who did it," Milton said, calmly, on the street. "Already have," Governor replied, with an eery sense of calm. Some men just want to watch the world burn.
So, what did you think of the episode? The best Andrea-centric one we've had yet, no? Does it change your opinion about her, even a little? Sound off in the comments. (And that's why, you always leave a note.)
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[PHOTO CREDIT: Gene Page/AMC(2)]