On tonight’s “The Walking Dead” everything came full circle when Andrea had a very unhappy reunion with her old friends at the prison. Emotions ran high and things got real ugly real fast as the plot thickened like congealing zombie blood in “I Ain’t a Judas.” Intrigued? Then it’s time to review “The Walking Dead” episode 3.11, “I Ain’t a Judas.”
STAND BACK, FOR THERE ARE SPOILERS AHEAD!
Finally, after ten painstaking episodes of willful ignorance, being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and tragic misunderstandings, Andrea is reunited with her old friends from the Atlanta camp and Hershel’s farm. But it’s not exactly the warm and snuggly reunion we would’ve hoped for.
Andrea doesn’t walk back into the prison in the best of circumstances. We’ve got Michonne (finally) accepted as a member of the group, which would be great except for the fact that Daryl brought his evil brother Merle back who has a nasty habit of trying to murder Michonne, Glenn, and Maggie, and Rick’s not exactly in his right mind, and it’s gotten so bad that even Hershel is done trying to talk him down off the ledge and even Carl is telling him to stop being the leader. And Lori, T-Dog, Oscar, and Axel are still dead. So yeah. They’ve all seen better days.
But you gotta admire Andrea’s pluck. Like all pretty white ladies with messiah complexes (Michonne’s words, not mine), she still thinks she can fix things between Woodbury and the prison. And she can… just not in the way that she had planned.
Which leads us to the Bad-Ass Award of the episode, which goes to Carol “Kill ‘Em In Their Sleep” Peletier, for her totally cut-throat suggestion that Andrea sleep with the Governor, give him the night of his life, and then slit his throat when he’s relaxed. In case there was ever any doubt, we’ve come a long way from deciding Randall’s fate by committee. Dale’s long dead, and everyone has learned to think more like Shane.
Overall though, this episode suffered from what’s becoming a common problem with “The Walking Dead”: episodes that feel like filler in comparison to the more explosive episodes, but aren’t really.
And this episode in particular suffered from its focus on Andrea, who is rapidly losing face amongst fans. Any Andrea-centric episode will naturally fall short with what the show has become. She’s a Dale-ethics person living in a Shane-ethics world. While everyone else has woken up she’s still blissfully going through life with her eyes firmly shut and her fingers in her ears going “LA-LA-LA!” And worst of all, she doesn’t even realize it. Michonne says it best: “You chose a warm bed over a friend.”
We must take a moment for Tyreese and his pals, who continue to have the worst timing of anyone alive (which isn’t saying much, since there’s been a recent startling drop in the number of the living). These people just can’t catch a break. And now they’ve found their way into the belly of the beast, where they’ll be unwilling participants in a war that has nothing to do with them. Their plot line almost feels like a Comedy of Errors. Which is not necessarily a good thing.
“I Ain’t a Judas” does do two things well though: creative gore and emotional ruin.
First, the gore. Just when I thought TWD had come up with every creative way to damage a zombie, we get Andrea curb-stomping one on a rock in the middle of the woods. That was, in a word, awesome. Then we have a close-up of the Governor’s mangled eye which was shockingly realistic and disturbing. While I’ve never actually seen the results of an untreated stab wound to the eye, something tells me the sick geniuses behind TWD’s makeup team spent hours poring over medical textbooks to get it right. Or at least I hope that’s what they did. I’m pretty sure they didn’t sacrifice some poor intern’s eye to make sure they got the look just right, but I mean these people are pretty dedicated to their craft, so…
Right. Moving on.
Seeing the prison inhabitants through Andrea’s eyes was pretty upsetting. The focus shifted to really give us an outsider’s perspective on these characters we’ve been a part of for a whole season. The result was not pretty. Compared to the people of Woodbury, the prison population truly looks like the walking dead (see what I did there?). They look broken. They look like they’ve been through hell.
Which, I suppose, they have.
But they’re not out of the woods yet. On the next episode, Rick, Michonne, and Carl will go on a dangerous supply run into the midst of the Governor’s territory. While these three have definitely proven their abilities as fighters against the undead, there’s no telling how things will go wrong with a hostile human army against them.
Judging by the previews, the feeling of “filler” in tonight’s episode is only a temporary situation. Next week things–as usual–will go horribly, horribly wrong. And I, for one, can’t wait.