What We Learned From Last Night’s Andrea-Centric Episode Of ‘The Walking Dead’

The “Prey” with whom the title to last night’s episode referred to was Andrea, who spent much of the episode on the run from The Governor. It was another stall episode, necessary at this point in the season to push the ultimate Woodbury vs. The Prison showdown to the finale, but as stall episodes go, it was wicked intense. Co-written by Glen Mazzara, it was definitely in the vein of his style of Walking Dead episode: Fast-paced, action-oriented, and spare with the character development. Overall, for what it was aiming to do, I thought it was a successful episode, an excellent game of cat-and-mouse with a stomach lurching twist ending that was either satisfying or bleak, depending on your perspective on Andrea.

Let’s start this week at the end.

Last night’s episode closed with the terrifying image of Andrea, gagged and affixed to The Governor’s personal house of horrors, a torture contraption originally intended for Michonne, where The Governor plans to play out the macabre fantasies in his mind on a real subject. Indeed, Andrea’s head is poised to appear soon in The Governor’s fish tank.

But before you get all bummed out about Andrea’s impending and gruesome demise, remember this: Andrea didn’t have to be here. If Andrea didn’t want to end up in a chair where The Governor was planning to slice off her eyelids, she could’ve been a good friend and left with Michonne at the beginning of season two instead of F***KING The Governor. Who are you going to trust? The woman who kept you alive during the entire winter, or some creepy dude you just met who is seriously hung up on his dead daughter? If Andrea didn’t want to have her fingers broken by The Governor, she could’ve bailed when she saw that the The Governor was arranging fights between the citizens of Woodbury with biters in the mix for ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES because, come on lady, that’s f***ed up. If Andrea didn’t want an eyeball punctured by The Governor, she could’ve ran off with Rick and them after The Governor pitted Merle against Daryl. If Andrea didn’t want her flesh turned into a coat, she could’ve left with Michonne after she found out that The Governor kept trophies of dead people.

If Andrea didn’t want to be slapped around with her own dismembered feet, she could’ve chosen to stay with the prison when she went back to negotiate a truce and it became apparent to even the dimmest, most oblivious woman alive that The Governor — who had nearly raped Maggie — was not a good person. In fact, Andrea knew that, and if she didn’t want to have her cheeks pulled apart by fish hooks in The Governor’s laceration chair, she could’ve stabbed him when she had the chance, i.e., WHEN SHE WAS STANDING OVER A SLEEPING GOVERNOR WITH A KNIFE. If Andrea didn’t want to have her nipples sliced off and fed to her, you know what? She could’ve been a little quicker on the trigger when she had The Governor 10 feet away and in her sights. Dumbass. If Andrea didn’t want to end up in The Governor’s cabbage soup, she could’ve stuck around to ensure that The Walkers finished The Governor off.

The point I’m trying to make here should be fairly clear: Andrea is USELESS. She’s had so many outs, at this point, she almost deserves what she gets. Sure, she has some mad zombie-killing skills, but she has sh*t. for. brains. Honestly, I’m surprised the walkers are even interested in her, given how little nutritional value her brains are capable of providing. I’m not suggesting that ANYONE deserves to be bound, gagged, and tortured, but let’s be honest: If someone HAD to go down that road, Andrea’s been wearing those walking boots all season long. If she is killed and dismembered and put in a chow bowl for walkers, I’m not gonna be that bummed about it.

With that out of the way, let’s back up and touch upon a few other details in last night’s episode.

First of all, the flashback in the beginning of the episode, which saw Andrea and Michonne having a girl’s night out with Michonne’s armless, jawless zombies providing the night’s entertainment. Why? Unless I missed something there in the end, that flashback did not come back into play. There was no button on the episode tying back into that conversation. It’s nice to know that the walkers that Michonne had treated like the subhumans they are were bad, inhuman people to begin with, but why there? Was it a leftover scene that Mazarra stuck in for time? It’s odd, is all I’m saying.

The big revelation in last night’s episode, however, was that Milton — underneath those wire-rimmed glasses and nerdy exterior — has some serious bad ass in him. It’s been bubbling to the surface for a few episodes — especially after his conversation with Hershel last week — but Milton finally showed some hutzpah last night. Not only did he help Andrea high-tail it out of Woodbury, but he told her to warn Rick about The Governor’s plan to slaughter them all.

And then! That little scientist mother****er defied The Governor by torching the biters that The Governor’s planned to unleash on the prison gang. Honestly, though: I’m glad that Maggie and Lil’ Ass Kicker and the rest of the gang may be spared that fate, but I ended up feeling bad for the walkers. It’s bad enough that they’d been banished to an eternity of zombiedom, but now they don’t even have skin to protect them. They are Char-Zombies. I hope someone goes through there and puts them out of their poor little miseries. ZOMBIES HAVE FEELINGS TOO.

At any rate, the move certainly put Milton in The Governor’s crosshairs. I get the feeling that, after The Governor is through with Andrea, an open seat on his Chair of Sin will be made available for poor Milton, who really should’ve escaped with Andrea when he had the chance. I doubt he makes it to the showdown.

And then there is Tyreese. It looked like for a few minutes in last night’s episode that The Walking Dead was about to lose another in a series of token black guys after his power struggle with Martinez, as well as his own former partner, Allen, who nearly found himself in a pit of Walkers. The level-headed Tyreese, however, came to his senses, at least long enough to survive another day. He and Sasha definitely have their suspicions about The Governor, so it won’t come as a surprise if those two flip before the season’s end, pitting them against Allen, which puts Ben in a precarious position between his loyalty to his father and his idol-worship of Tyreese. That is set to be a little mini-drama within the whole, although my hope is that Tyreese and Sasha live to become a part of Rick’s gang next season. I like Tyreese, and it’d be a shame to waste Chad Coleman on such an small role if he’s not extended.

The meat of last night’s episode, however, centered on Andrea and her attempt to get back to her family at the prison. The whole cast-and-mouse chase was very well done, and props to the director of the episode, Stefan Schwartz, for creating so much tension, especially in the sequence in the building. I also love that The Governor adopted a whistle (very Omar Little of him), and for those of us who watch The Walking Dead for some good old fashioned zombie stomping, there was plenty of that in last night’s episode, including The Zombie Kill of the Week, compliments of The Governor and his shovel action.

I have to say, too, that I never expected The Governor to sneak up on Andrea like that in the end. It got a little “OH SH*T” jump start out of me and a “DAMMNIT RICK. SHOOT HIM!”

Well played.

Where do we go from here? I know we’re all expecting the final shoot-out to happen in the last episode of the season, but I get the feeling that next week’s penultimate episode — written by next year’s showrunner, Scott Gimple, and directed by the show’s FX man, Greg Nicotero — may end up being the best of the season. Will Andrea be rescued? Will Milton last until the finale? I have a sense that the Woodbury vs. The Prison showdown never actually materializes, as The Governor’s own people turn against him, leaving him as dangerous as ever: A snake trapped in a corner, a lone gunman waging guerrilla warfare.

Or maybe I’m completely wrong. I’ll say this, though: I am stoked about the final two episodes of the season.

Also, I missed Maggie last night.