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The Walking Dead – I Ain’t a Judas Review: Choosing Sides

Andrea has the worst taste in men, first with Shane and now with the Governor. We get it. The end of the world doesn’t leave a girl with many options, but you also don’t have to settle for a deluded man with sinister motives, especially when you’re such a kick ass person. (We’ll get to that cringe-inducing walker curb stomping scene later.) Unsurprisingly, Andrea’s continued attraction to the Governor puts her in a difficult position with her old friends, but does she qualify as the episode’s Judas?

You could make a case for Merle as a double agent working to collect information about the prison group for the Governor, but let’s get real. Merle only cares about himself. Plus, the Governor pitted him against his own brother in Woodbury’s version of Fight Club, so I’m counting out that theory. However, I do appreciate the scene where Hershel and Merle bond over their missing body parts. It’s also interesting to note that when Hershel starts to recite a bible verse, Merle finishes it, citing his knowledge of Matthew 5:29-30, which refers both to gouging out a lustful eye and severing a sinful hand so as to not “infect” the rest of the body. And the only two people who fit those descriptions? The Governor and Merle. Yet when Michonne stabs the Governor’s eye, he only gets more vengeful, and that’s the opposite of what the bible verse is trying to say. (Side note: kudos to him for finally getting an eye patch. Now that’s proper villain attire!) As for Merle, will he go down the same doomed path as the Governor, or will he let the hand go in favor of joining his brother on the side of good? Let’s hope for the latter, or at the very least, a concerted effort to make himself useful to the group.

You can’t ignore the religious undertones, especially for an episode titled “I Ain't a Judas.” Judas, for those who don’t know, betrayed Jesus by kissing him so the Roman soldiers knew who to arrest. Our prime Judas candidate? Andrea, of course. I can’t understand what draws her to the Governor, especially since she knows what he’s capable of doing. So does she choose to stay because of her loyalties with the innocent townspeople who she feels the need to protect? She’s rightfully shocked at the Governor’s attempt to ramp up a training program with every able-bodied person at Woodbury learning how to shoot. It sounds like a terrible idea to arm prepubescent teens with guns (thankfully, they draw the line at older women suffering from arthritis), but this order also comes from a man who kept a fish tank full of zombie heads. Andrea asks to see her friends, but the Governor gives her an ultimatum – if she goes to the prison, she stays there. Undeterred, she makes it her mission to play peacemaker between Rick and the Governor by going to the prison to talk it out. She asks Milton to help her sneak out of the newly reinforced gate, but he refuses to be put in an awkward position and tattles to the Governor. But surprisingly, the Governor tells Milton to help Andrea get to the prison. Is this part of some elaborate scheme to test her loyalty?

Milton and Andrea head into the forest, and when she attempts to employ Michonne’s technique of using “eau de walker” to ward off other walkers, we get the aforementioned scene featuring a nasty zombie curb stomp. For those of you who don’t watch Talking Dead, which airs immediately after the show on AMC, they showed a clip of the filming of that scene using the combination of a live actor and a dummy. It’s gruesome when Andrea severs off its arms, to be sure, but the crunch of the walker’s teeth on the rock is the stuff of nightmares. In any case, she gets her walker repellant, but not before meeting Tyreese and his group.

First, how nice is he to ask Andrea if she needs help? That just made me angrier at Rick for chasing them out of the prison because Tyreese and Sasha could have been a great addition to the group! Those other two can be zombie food for all I care. But now they’re putty in the hands of the Governor, who entices them with the same promises of shelter, food, and hot water that he gave Andrea. When you’ve been wandering the forest for days, can you really reject an offer like that? They’re eager to earn their keep, and it seems the Governor hopes to use Good Guy Tyreese’s knowledge of the prison layout as part of his dastardly scheme to bring down Rick and company. Noooooo! Here’s to hoping Tyreese realizes that the Governor is a terrible person soon and gets the heck out of Woodbury.

Andrea makes it to the prison, but no one rolls out the welcome mat. In fact, Rick throws her against the fence roughly and frisks her, asking if she’s alone. Rightfully, they’re worried about another ambush, but Andrea promises she’s alone. It seems like so long ago since Andrea got separated from the group, and they’re all feeling out how to act toward each other, especially when they all assumed she was dead. It’s incredibly awkward, and Andrea plays odd woman out perfectly. They eventually give her the Reader’s Digest version of what happened to them since they parted, but more importantly, they tell her that the Governor fired first during the attack. She says she can’t excuse what he did, but she stresses that there’s room for them at Woodbury. She’s so adamant about bringing peace between them, but sadly, there’s no scenario where a Governor-led Woodbury can co-exist with the prison group, especially since the Governor has gone way beyond the point of negotiation.

How about that scene between Andrea and Michonne? We finally get some emotion from the latter, and she expresses her feelings of disappointment when Andrea chose to stay at Woodbury with the crazy Governor because he provided her with a warm bed and some semblance of a life over their friendship. What would have happened had Andrea chosen to leave? Would they have made it to the prison? And oh, the prison. Is it awful or awesome that I want the prison group to take a page out of Home Alone if the Governor attacks again? But booby traps or not, they seem ready to fight for their home this time, and Glenn declares they’ll give the Governor a war if he wants one.

Part of me wants to believe Andrea has good motives for trying to keep the peace. She feels badly for the Woodbury folks, especially now that they’re building a sort of child army, but she also has a connection to the prison group. So who should Andrea betray – Rick and her old friends or the Governor? After her romp with the Governor back at Woodbury, she stands over him with a knife, seemingly ready to kill him, but she slinks away. I was half expecting his eyes to fly open and grab her arm, but he stays in a strangely peaceful state of slumber. I am thankful she didn’t follow through, if only because I want the Governor to die a gruesome death at the hands of Rick or Daryl, but it would have been so easy to take Carol’s simple yet brilliant suggestion of sleeping with the guy and then killing while his guard is down. But when have things ever been easy on The Walking Dead?

Notes and Quote
-- Carl has a heart to heart with his dad and tells him to stop being the leader. It feels like a betrayal, in a way, to say what everyone’s probably thinking, but that’s real talk, kid. He does qualify his suggestion by saying Rick deserves to rest, but this seems like a turning point in their relationship.

-- Carol and Daryl reunion! She’s glad he came back, but more importantly, she reminds him to not let his brother bring him down. Heed those words, Daryl!

-- I don’t think all hope for Andrea is lost. Rick still seems like he cares about her, as do the others, but can she cut ties with the Governor? What will it take for that to happen?

-- For those who were curious, the song Beth sings at episode’s end is called “Hold On” by Tom Waits. While she does a lovely job singing it, they certainly didn’t just choose a song because it sounded pretty, right? “When there's nothing left to keep you here, when you're falling behind in this big blue world, oh you go to hold on” reads like the official party line of everyone in this post-apocalyptic world and of the prison group, in particular. There’s nothing really keeping them at the prison, but in the few months that they’ve lived there, it has become home. Can they really just succumb to the Governor’s bullying? If they want to hold on to a semblance of community, why not defend the prison?



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