There are a ton of interesting characters on The Walking Dead. A widower sheriff driven mad with grief and impossible responsibility. The sheriff’s son, who had to shoot his own dead mother in the face. A half-mute female samurai. A half-crazy racist survivalist who cut off his own hand and replaced it with a bayonet knife. Daryl Motherf—ing Dixon. I mention all these people because last night’s episode focused on none of them. Instead, we got an episode that focused largely on Andrea, who has weirdly become the co-lead of the show. Like Rick, Andrea is experiencing some kind of combination identity crisis/long dark night of the soul. Should she trust the Governor? Should she stay in Woodbury? Should she help her friends? Who is Andrea, really?
It’s a difficult question, but an important one. Someone in the Walking Dead writers’ room clearly thinks Andrea is an important character for the TV show. She is an important character in the comic book — but at this point, TV-Andrea bares only a passing resemblance to Comic-Andrea. (They share a name and a hair color; like her comic book counterpart, TV-Andrea was briefly the Grimes Gang’s sharpshooter last season, but that character trait has mostly been handed off to Carol this season.) And the problem is that most of Andrea’s arc this season is a bit boring at best. At worst, she suggests the post-apocalyptic version of Marissa Cooper: Constantly falling for the wrong man, refusing to believe all her friends when they tell her “Hey, you’re falling for the wrong man!” and inevitably making things worse just because she tries to make things better. (ASIDE: In this metaphor, Shane is Oliver, the Governor is Volchok, and if we’re lucky Andrea will be killed off and replaced with a character played by the lovely and talented Autumn Reeser. END OF ASIDE.)
Last night’s episode got off to a promising start, with Rick holding a colloquium in the cellblock. The subject matter: The Governor, and what to do about him. Hershel was firmly in the “Run and Hide” camp. Lounging in a locked cell, Merle told them it was already too late for that: “We shoulda slipped out last night.” He noted that, at this point, the Governor could just starve them out. Rick told everyone not to worry. They would armor up; they would fortify; they would be prepared. “You’re slipping Rick,” said Hershel. “We all see it.” Rick walked outside and took a long look at the yard. The Walkers had invaded. They couldn’t risk clearing them out: There might be snipers, and they need all the ammo they can get. Remember back in the season premiere, when clearing out the yard was the first step to the Grimes Gang’s new home? Now, that yard is full up again, and they’re trapped.
All in all, it was a rough morning for ol’ Rick Grimes. Then his son walked outside and told him, bluntly: “You should stop. Being the leader. Let Hershel and Daryl handle things.” Carl Grimes has officially lost faith in his father’s ability to lead.
Speaking of child soldiers! Over at Woodbury, the Governor was making a list with Milton of all the able-bodied men and women in Woodbury. Milton counted 26 total. The Governor told him to lower the age restriction to 13. “Adolescence,” said the Governor. “It’s a 20th century invention.” It’s interesting to think that, at the start of this season, Woodbury was a recognizably modern civilized society, while the Grimes Gang was a pack of hunter-gatherers just trying to find some protection from the local wildlife. Now, in order to fight Rick, the Governor is happily marching Woodbury backwards in time. The count stood at 35 people. “Give them sidearms and plenty of ammo,” he said.
Then Andrea walked in. Andrea was not happy. If you wrote a summary of every episode of The Walking Dead, each summary would probably include the sentence “Andrea was not happy.” She heard about the shootout at the Lori Grimes Memorial Prison. The Governor genially explained that he had gone there to negotiate, but Rick & Co. had immediately started shooting. “They’re not the people they used to be,” said the Governor. “They’re bloodthirsty.” Andrea offered to make a trip over to the prison, to reason with her old friends. “You go to that prison, you stay there,” said the Governor.
NEXT: How do you solve a problem like Merle?