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The Walking Dead – Prey Review: Whistle While You Work

It’s an interesting coincidence that this episode aired on Selection Sunday, a night where a committee determines the fates of hundreds of college basketball teams all vying for a chance to be one of 68 chosen to play in the NCAA tournament. The committee pores over win/loss records, strength of schedule, and other factors, but there will always be people who are unhappy with the selections. In Andrea’s case, there are only two options, but there’s no blaming her for finally choosing to go back to the prison.

For most of the season, she has been stuck between a rock and a hard place, torn between her friends at the prison and the promise of a seemingly normal life at Woodbury. She even tried her best to mediate a peaceful accord between the two groups, despite growing animosity toward the Governor. But given everything she knows about the Governor now, she had to make a break for it. Of course, he was never going to make it easy for her to leave, but more on that intense and amazingly shot sequence in a bit.

Before the cat and mouse game begins, Andrea has another chance to kill the Governor as he prepares the interrogation room for Michonne’s arrival. Milton has spilled the beans on the new plan involving Michonne as a bargaining chip to Andrea, and they watch unseen from above as the Governor lays out various painful looking tools on the table. “I have to kill him,” she says, fully taking in the malicious things he has planned for her old travel companion, and dare I say, friend. Then, he starts whistling. Something he picked up from the “How to Be an Effective Villain” handbook, perhaps? A handlebar moustache is next, obviously. But if he was going for creepy and ominous, mission accomplished. She has her shot lined up, but Milton pulls the gun away from the slats at the last second. Strike two, Andrea. Let’s not aim for a third because this man needs to die sooner rather than later. He has to die, right? I can’t imagine the season ending with the Governor still whistling like a little canary. Milton laments that the Governor’s death won’t save her friends, but frankly, everyone would be better off with someone else leading Woodbury. I just can’t believe that the man Milton used to know still exists. Much like the walkers have no remnants of their former selves, the Governor lost any remaining sense of humanity along with his eye and daughter.

Thankfully, Tyreese and Sasha are on watch because Andrea manages to plant more seeds of doubt in their minds about the Governor’s ulterior motives before she hops over the wall. Those two aren’t meant for Woodbury, and it kills me any time they relent to the Governor’s sweet talk. Still, Tyreese and Sasha do let Andrea go, much to the Governor’s chagrin, and they lie about her speaking ill of him. They’re also both rightfully shocked that the Governor has been keeping a pit of walkers to bring to the meeting with the prison group. “This ain’t right,” Tyreese murmurs, citing the women and children who could be harmed. Ahh, there’s hope for them yet. We also get the reason why Allen harbors so much animosity toward Tyreese: he saved Donna, and her gratefulness for Tyreese’s knight in shining armor act made Allen jealous. Does knowing his backstory make me feel sorry for him and his son? Not in the slightest.

Despite having only a small knife, Andrea manages to take out four walkers in the woods, but the Governor is hot on her tail. They end up at an abandoned warehouse (although what building isn’t abandoned these days), and it’s like we’ve been transported to the set of a horror movie. There’s more whistling and random metal clanks, as if the Governor is a rattlesnake warning Andrea that imminent pain is coming if he finds her. At this point, my anxiety level was through the roof. He starts talking, using his way with words to try to convince her that he has only the best intentions: “Come back to Woodbury. We need you. That’s your home now. Your people, your town. You can’t just leave ‘em all behind. Please, Andrea. Come home.” And then, after realizing that his charm has faded, he says with an eerie timbre, “Suit yourself.” He busts some windows, making it rain glass, and he continues to stalk around the room, dragging around the metal shovel for effect.

The Walking Dead does a great job at creating an atmosphere of dread and doom, painting the Governor as a serial killer stalking his latest victim. I was legitimately frightened for Andrea, but considering her intellect, I shouldn’t have counted her out. She leads the Governor to a staircase full of walkers, wedging herself against the door and leaving him to deal with the escaping horde. But I knew it was too good to be true when weren’t privy to the scene, and my instincts were right because just as Andrea spots paradise in the form of the prison the next morning, the Governor grabs her and pulls her to the ground before Rick can spot her. Another close call. She can’t catch a break.

While I tend to favor episodes that feature the whole group, the intense chase sequence between Andrea and the Governor was riveting. It’s not surprising that he chooses to follow her (and that he lies about finding her when he gets back to Woodbury), but I can’t totally figure out his motive. Does he want to punish Andrea for choosing her friends over him? He always claimed that no one was being held at Woodbury against their will so perhaps punishing her is an attempt to soothe his ego because someone dared to leave. He’s slowly losing control of his town, especially with Milton continuing to question the Governor’s actions – and taking a stand, although it’s unconfirmed, by burning the walkers in the pit like a Fourth of July barbeque. So will making Andrea pay for her disloyalty make him feel better?

It’s close. Can you feel it? With only two episodes left, we’re steadily ramping up the action until the inevitable clash between the prison and Woodbury. Now that the Governor has Andrea in his torture chamber, does he still need Michonne? Or is he on the warpath, willing to kill anyone that doesn’t see eye to eye with him?

Notes & Quotes
-- Michonne: “They deserved what they got. They weren’t human to begin with.” In the flashback, Michonne keeps mum about the two walkers she keeps on chains, but would the “new” Michonne like to talk about who those two men were? I know I’m curious. Could they have anything to do with her dead boyfriend?
-- How long does Milton have to live? He declined Andrea’s invitation to go to the prison, saying “I belong here,” but he has openly criticized the Governor several times already and told Andrea about the Michonne plan. That can’t make the Governor very happy. But can we expect him to stick with his old buddy during the war or turn to the side of the prison?
-- I expected Tyreese to be a better shot! How did his group survive all this time?



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