Monday, February 25, 2013

Review: The Walking Dead "I Ain't No Judas"

Non Spoiler Review:
Andrea takes matters in hand to resolve the conflict between Woodbury and the prison, leading to a long-awaited reunion. Merle attempts to integrate with the group as Rick struggles with the responsibilities of leadership. The Governor continues to plan his next move and finds some surprising new allies.

I Ain't No Judas was a heavily character-driven episode, delivering some necessary conversations and the big reunion with Andrea and her former group. Light on action, it still serves as a satisfying respite for what is sure to lead into a heavy dose of conflict as the season wraps up.

It wasn't a pleasant hour by any means, particularly Andrea's reception at the prison and the drastic change she observes in her former comrades. I'm left wondering how all this can be repaired or if they even can be united again at this point.

Spoilers Now!
Merle is locked up and the group debates their next course of action. Rick is adamant they stay but Merle warns him that the Governor is just starting his campaign against them. Hershel wants to leave and demands Rick come back and listen to them, calling him to task for losing his marbles. If he said it wasn't a democracy he has to own up to that and do something. Rick goes to survey the woods for activity. Carl joins him and asks him to stop being the leader, to let Hershel and Daryl handle things while he takes a rest. 

Milton is taking stock of able-bodied citizens who can hold a weapon and the Governor wants them trained to use them. Andrea walks in, having heard of the attack on the prison. The Governor claims they shot at him first. Andrea is sick of the lies and won't stand by as her friends and Woodbury gun one another down. She's going to see them and wants a car. The Governor advises her if she goes to the prison she can stay there. 

Merle's presence is causing friction. Daryl tells Glen to get used to Merle staying with them. Hershel admits he has military experience and is likely loyal to his brother over the Governor. Glen suggests to trade him back to Woodbury for a truce. So Hershel goes to talk to Merle. They swap Bible verses and Merle admits Woodbury had a fine library. But he warns that when the Governor returns he'll kill Merle, Michonne and Daryl first, then the rest, saving Rick for last. That's who he's dealing with. Merle later has a chat with Michonne to clear the air. He claims hunting her down was just him following orders and he's not proud of a lot of things. Carol drops in on Daryl, happy he's back. She warns him not to let Merle bring him down. 

The Governor surveys the new recruits who are more like an army than a defensive force. Andrea asks Milton to swear he knew nothing about the attack. He does, so she tells him to cover for her, as she's going to the prison and the Governor can't know. Milton is petrified and refuses. He later goes to the Governor and exposes what Andrea is planning. The Governor suggests he help her.

Milton and Andrea collar and unarm a walker in the same manner Michonne had done. As they finish up Tyreese and his friends emerge from the woods. They ask if they have a camp, and Andrea informs them of Woodbury. Milton says he'll take them back with him, and assures Andrea he'll cover for her. 

Andrea arrives at the prison and is spotted by Carl. Maggie takes aim but sees it's Andrea and has him get the others. Everyone comes running as Andrea approaches the gate. Rick calls out to her if she's alone. They let her in but roughly search her and take her bag.

Andrea embraces Carol who explains they thought she was dead. Andrea wants to know where Shane is, and Lori, and she is brought up to speed on their deaths. Andrea explains she only just found out they were in Woodbury and of the latest attack, and asks Michonne what she's told them. And why is Merle there if she's the one under suspicion?

Andrea wants them all to work it out, but Rick plans to kill the Governor and Woodbury is gearing up for war. He asks her to get them inside the town if she's serious about helping them. Andrea later speaks with Michonne, who confesses she saw Andrea was coming under the Governor's spell and she seems to have picked up his messiah complex. Michonne reveals he sent Merle to kill her, and Andrea chose a warm bed over a friend. That's why she went back to expose him—she knew it would hurt Andrea. 

The Governor greets Tyreese and his people, welcoming them to stay as long as they want. He explains they were attacked a few days before. Ben tells him about the whack job they encountered at a prison, which piques the Governor's interest. Tyreese recounts how everything seemed cool until their leader came back and kicked them out. They'll do whatever they need to earn their keep. Milton suggests they could try to map out the layout of the prison. 

Andrea gets to see Judith and Carol explains what happened to Lori, and how Shane died at Rick's hand after his lies at the farm were exposed. Andrea sees how cold and unsteady Rick has become in the months since. Carol tells Andrea she needs to end this—sleep with the Governor, and when his guard is down she can kill him.

Andrea is provided a vehicle and she says her good-byes. Rick gives her a gun and tells her to be careful. She drives away. She gets back to Woodbury and goes to see the Governor, explaining the poor situation at the prison. She came back on her own accord and tells him she belongs there.

At the prison, Rick admits Andrea is in a jam. He's decided to go on a supply run for weapons, but wants Daryl to remain to keep an eye on Merle. He's glad Daryl's back, but if his brother causes a problem it will be on him, he warns. He'll take Carl and Michonne with him.

That night, Andrea wakes up with the Governor sleeping next to her, and goes to get a knife. She looks down at him with the blade to his throat, but can't bring herself to kill him.

The Verdict:
Poor Andrea. I have a sense this character has a big target on her back. In fact I was surprised the Governor didn't wake up and shoot her at the end to give us a shocking moment to lead out with. I really hope she can return to her former friends, but it will be a tough situation, and one that will need to be driven by an untenable turn of events in Woodbury. I hope the series doesn't take the easy way out and kill her off, which would be a real waste of a popular character.

Merle appears to be making an effort to fit in the best way he knows how. Is he genuine, or is it just survival? He did rise to the occasion when everyone rushed out to greet Andrea but it will be a long time before his character can undergo a transformation similar to Daryl.

To add to the mess, Tyreese is now gung ho on the Governor's side thanks to Rick, with intel on the prison. He's further isolated Andrea. I'm hoping next week's day trip with Carl and Michonne will go some way to mend Rick's mental state. Both the survivors at the prison and the viewers are about ready to see him overthrown.

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