We had a conversation a couple of days with a fellow Walking Dead fan about our fears for Andrea's survival this season. The Governor has her trapped and strapped into his torture chair and literally nobody else knows she's even there.
The problem with (and glory of) The Walking Dead is that you truly never do know if, and when, a beloved character could die. This season went out of its way at the beginning to get viewers frustrated with Andrea for getting suckered into Woodbury's regime. She finally woke up, recognized her ex-lover, the Governor, for the scumbag he truly is, and this is the result.
So, will Andrea survive?
At the top of the episode, we see the Governor mercilessly beating his chief science guy, Milton, for letting Andrea try and escape Woodbury, and also for destroying the Gov's zombie pits, designed to hurl his enemies to their certain deaths. If Milton's getting this treatment, what the hell is happening to Andrea?
Our question is quickly answered. She's beaten and bloody, wrists mutilated from struggling against the handcuffs keeping her in place in the chair, but alive. This is no accident -- the Governor tells Milton that "there's no way he's leaving his room" unless he murders Andrea. It's kill or be killed. So Milt does the smart thing and tries to turn the knife on the Governor. He's neither quick nor strong enough, and he is quickly stabbed repeatedly and viciously by his former friend. "In this life now, you kill or you die ..." the Governor says and leaves Andrea strapped in place and suffering.
Back at the prison and oblivious to how close Andrea came of warning them of the Governor's impending invasion, Carl is wistfully looking at a happy family photo from pre-zombie-apocalypse times. He's packing a bag, and so is Hershel. Soon, we see the whole prison is packing up cars and readying to leave the security of their home, all too aware of the Gov's vendetta and preparing to survive by any means necessary. Carl is pissed
. Michonne thanks Rick for not giving her up to the Governor, as he requested. She says she would've understood if he had. They've bonded finally and we couldn't be happier about it.
In Woodbury, Tyreese and Sasha politely tell the Gov that they're not down to fight Team Prison, along with the rest of the Woodbury goons, on the grounds that they kill biters, not the living. "We'll stay here and protect the children," Tyreese says gently, "and when you get back, if you want us gone, no hard feelings." The Governor is clearly apoplectic with rage and stifling it. Sasha is shaking with fear. In the end, the Gov simply hands Tyreese a rifle, says thank you and leaves.
Shortly afterward, the Governor's mini army smashes its way into the prison, using heavy artillery and a ton of machine guns. Once inside, the army splits up into teams and searches the place, finding nothing but a bible with pertinent passages highlighted and a room booby-trapped with tear gas. Shortly afterwards, a gang of walkers descends as well, but Team Woodbury makes short work of them, only to come under heavy fire from Team Prison, who has been hiding and prepared to fight this whole time. The Governor and goons beat a hasty retreat after about three seconds. "We did it," Glenn assures Maggie. We hope he's right.
In the Woodbury torture room, Milton is still alive and trying to help Andrea locate some pliers on the floor behind her. She scrapes her feet back and forth trying to reach them. "When you get free," Milton says, "You are going to find something very sharp and you are going to stab me in the head." Oh, Walking Dead
, we never tire of your cheery dialogue!
Andrea tells Milton that the reason she didn't kill the Governor when she had the chance was because she wanted to save everybody. She didn't want anyone else to die. We're happy for the explanation because, man, that was frustrating to watch at the time...
During the earlier fighting with the Governor's goons, Carl was relegated to stay outside the prison perimeters with Judith, Hershel and his daughter. When an armed boy who is much older than Carl approaches, Carl and Hershel draw their weapons and tell the kid to drop his gun. The teen, clearly terrified, slows his movements and goes to pass his rifle to Carl. "Here," he says gently. And Carl shoots him anyway, to Hershel's (and our) visible horror.
We knew Carl was traumatized by the zombie apocalypse and, oh, you know, that whole killing his undead mother after watching her bleed to death after having her uterus cut open during birth. (What a fun episode that was!) But, remember, when Rick was mid-breakdown, Carl was the voice of reason on more than one occasion. So we're officially shocked. Carl tells Rick, once back at the prison, that he "did his job" and killed one of the Governor's men. As he walks away, Hershel tells Rick what really happened. Rick is understandably distraught.
Out on the road, the Governor is yelling at his mini army for retreating from the prison so fast. "We're not soldiers," one woman points out. "If you want us to kill biters, of course! But this is crazy." The Gov loses it, sees red, and starts gunning his own people down. It's a mass slaughter. Holy shit! He's gone next-level psycho. Woah. The woman survives, shielded by the body of her dead partner. We hope we see her again.
In the torture chair, Andrea is using her bare feet to try and negotiate the pliers up to her wrists. She'd better hurry because if Milton dies and turns walker, she's a goner for sure.
Back at the prison, Rick is trying to talk to Carl about why killing the boy in the woods was the wrong thing to do, but Carl justifies it in a ton of ways that actually make sense. He lists a variety of occasions when people he cared about were hurt or killed because no one was willing to make pre-emptive strikes against bad people. He includes the fact that Rick was in the same room as the Governor last week, and yet let him go. "I did what I had to do," Carl says. We hate to say it, but we can totally see where he's coming from. Rick stays silent, stunned by the logic and the fact that his son has turned into a cold-blooded killer.
Michonne, Daryl and Rick hit the road, kill a bunch of zombies in a variety of creative (fun) ways, then stumble across the female Woodbury survivor, hiding in a truck.
Back in Woodbury, Milton's only gone and turned into a goddamn zombie! Balls. On the plus side, this forces Andrea to get her plier-related shit together and cut herself free at the last moment. There is a struggle, but we don't see what happens, because we hear it from the other side of the torture room's corrugated iron. This does not bode well, but we're keeping our fingers crossed.
On the edge of Woodbury, Rick, Michonne, and Daryl are taking the mystery survivor lady, Karen, home. They exchange fire, before Tyreese and Sasha are convinced that Karen is telling the truth about the mass slaughter the Governor just committed. The two groups talk. Karen has helpfully explained that Andrea jumped the wall to head to the prison. "She never made it," Rick tells Tyreese. "She may be here." They go in search. When they reach the iron door with a pool of blood seeping out from under it, they enter, guns drawn and immediately find Milton's lifeless body.
But then -- bummer time! -- they find Andrea bitten and dying on the floor. NO! Goddamnit, we knew this was a possibility, but we desperately hoped it wouldn't come to this. Andrea makes sure everyone at the prison is safe and alive despite the Governor's efforts. She smiles, even though Michonne is crying all over her. "No one can make it alone now," Andrea says.
"I never could," says Daryl, showing some vulnerability. (Hot!)
Andrea tells her friends that she wants to kill herself, so no one else has to. "Please," she reasons. Man, this sucks.
"I'm not going anywhere," Michonne says, stroking Andrea's hair. "I tried," Andrea tells Rick.
The boys leave the room for Andrea and Michonne's final moments together. Finally, a shot rings out, followed by sobs. This is so upsetting, it makes Daryl stabbing his only brother in the head repeatedly last week look like a birthday party.
Next thing we know, back at the prison, the gang is welcoming Tyreese, Sasha, and a whole bunch of Woodbury residents into their home. Glenn, Maggie, Rick and Carol look relieved at the sight of more human survivors. We're only sad that Andrea isn't one of them. And, by sad, we mean totally devastated.
Hardest Walking Dead
death yet, as far as we're concerned. Let's just hope that now that the Governor has lost his town of fighters, there aren't more like it next season. If anything happens to Daryl, we're holding protests at the AMC offices.