Image credit: Gene Page/AMC
BORN TO RUN If she was ever going to die, it was going to be in this episode. Now she will live forever. Forever making speeches. Forever getting unnecessarily angry about everything. Forever falling in love with the bad guy. Many years from now, when the cast of The Walking Dead has completely changed and the show has added in werewolves and robots and time travel, Andrea will still be there, probably saying something like: "I just don't know who I am anymore! Can your love cure me of my melancholy, Evil Cyborg Werewolf?"
I'm going to sound critical here, but it's not because I think the show isn't good. I just actually think that Andrea may not be a very smart person. Consider: She ran away from Woodbury, knowing full well that she was running from a madman with an army at his disposal...and she ran straight down the middle of the road. Now, fine: She's weaponless in a zombie world, so the forest might be dangerous. But sure enough, she heard a truck coming and ran into the forest...hid behind a tree...and was suddenly surprised by not one, not two, but three walkers. She managed to kill them all; Andrea can do something right. And then, perhaps realizing that a change in tactics was in order, she set off further into the Magic Forest.
Meanwhile, Martinez took the whole Tyreese Crew up to their walker prison to grab some zombies. Tyreese got the gist very quickly about what they were doing: Grabbing zombies to use against the Prison. "This ain't right. They got women and children!" But Douche Dad didn't like Tyreese's sudden attack of conscience. He made lots of angry references to Dead Wife. They started fighting. Tyreese wound up holding Douche Dad over the zombie pit...at which point Douche Dad asked him to just do it already, come on. This was such an interesting sequence that it made me wish we knew anything at all about Tyreese or Douche Dad, besides the fact that Tyreese is apparently a decent dude with a hammer and Douche Dad is kind of a douche.
(COMIC BOOK ASIDE: Look, I'm being cruel to be kind here, but so far, the TV show has completely bungled the introduction of Tyreese. In the comic books, Tyreese was a fascinating character, at once very heroic and very flawed, who had a whole weird terrifying family subplot -- a subplot that seems unlikely to appear on the TV show in any meaningful way, which would be impressive if there were anything interesting in its place. But TV-Tyreese is weirdly faceless; the show was edging towards something interesting when he said that he would give the Governor tactical info on the prison, but then it edged right back into making him a boringly straightforward character. Why did they even call him Tyreese? END OF COMIC BOOK ASIDE.)
Andrea came upon a clearing and started walking. Then the Governor appeared and chased her into the forest. Then Andrea walked into a clearing and saw a building. Then the Governor appeared and chased her into the building. I couldn't quite get a read on what the building used to be; at first, Andrea was lurking in what looked like an old office, but then she was walking through a David Fincher Brand™ Steam Factory, and there were lots of meathooks lying around, but also lots of windows. It looked like the end of Full Metal Jacket, and the whole sequence with the Governor looking for her was incredibly tense. The Governor had his collar turned up, like a dictator or a noir villain; Andrea lurked in the shadows, readying her knife. The Governor was carrying a shovel, and at one point he attacked a couple zombies and stabbed a walker's head with the shovel, earning one of the grossest Zombie Kill of the Week awards in recent memory.
Andrea ran into a dead end, though: She reached a door, opened it, and found a horde of zombies trapped in the staircase. She turned...and saw the Governor. It was clear that the time for talk was past. It was also clear, I thought, that this was the end of the line for Andrea. The Walking Dead is a show that is good at killing off its characters at just the right time; I figured that, after two whole seasons of narrowly dodging the Reaper, this would be the end for Andrea. And when she opened the door, my heart jumped. Here's what I thought was happening: Andrea, knowing she was going to die either way, bravely sacrificed herself and let herself be eaten alive by walkers, knowing that they would also overwhelm the Governor. What an exit! What a demise! What a...
Oh, no, never mind, she was just hiding and letting the zombies distract the Governor so she could run away. And when she ran away, she ran away -- ignoring what struck me as an extremely good opportunity to take down the Governor once and for all. Maybe you disagree; maybe you think she was smarter to run off, and leave the Governor to what seemed like certain death. But this whole sequence struck me as an excellent build-up with no payoff. Was it cool seeing the Governor kill lots of zombies in interesting ways? Sure. But I have to admit, fellow viewers: This may be the episode of Walking Dead when "killing lots of zombies in interesting ways" no longer does it for me the way it used to. Poll time:
NEXT: So near, and yet...so far