The action focuses on Woodbury this week, as Andrea finally realises that the Governor might not be a very nice person after all.
This episode is all about Andrea, who’s been the fly in the ointment of series three. She constantly makes stupid, out-of-character decisions just for the sake of extending the plot. Andrea’s had two opportunities recently to rejoin Rick’s group and has turned them both down, despite knowing by now what the Governor is capable of. She finally decides to return to the prison at the most inconvenient time imaginable, and most of the episode is a chase, with the Governor trying to stop her before she reaches the prison and tips Rick off to what he has planned.
The chase is very well done, especially the game of cat and mouse in an abandoned building, but by now we care so little about Andrea that we don’t mind whether the Governor catches her or not, and so all the tension is leeched out of these scenes. This isn’t the fault of Laurie Holden – she’s the Lori of this series, forced into being changeable and unlikeable by the whims of the writers. In fact, Holden’s weary snarl as she pushes a zombie down some stairs is a tantalising glimpse into the bad-ass Andrea we could have had, if the writers had given her any sort of coherent personality.
The Governor, with his impressive ability to be wherever he needs to be in order to make an unexpected entrance, catches Andrea just before she reaches the prison, with Rick (in a brief appearance) assuming that he’s seeing things again. Unsurprisingly, Andrea ends the episode in the Governor’s alarming torture room. Looks like Michonne won’t be winding up there after all.
Far more interesting this week was watching Milton and Tyreese work out that Woodbury isn’t the utopia they were hoping for. Given Milton’s history with the Governor, his gradual turn has been far more gripping than Andrea’s. Even he seems to have finally realised that his mate Philip has gone too far and needs to be stopped, but he refuses to see things as simply as Andrea does: he’s a bad guy, let’s kill him. Milton has been sheltered from what the world has become, and he’s not as willing to kill humans as the Governor and Andrea are. You’ve got to doubt, though, that the Governor will show the same restraint as Milton does.
Elsewhere, Tyreese and Sasha are given food for thought when Andrea warns them about Woodbury before doing a runner, and alarm bells ring even louder when Martinez takes them to the biter pits. Allen seems willing to accept all manner of morally dubious things in order to stay in Woodbury, but the cracks between him and Tyreese are becoming chasms. It seems like Tyreese is being manoeuvred into a position where he will end up siding with the prison at the last minute, coming to the sensible, moral conclusions that the writers denied Andrea for so long.
By the end of the episode, those biter pits – and the truck of walkers they were apparently planning on unleashing on the prison – were up in flames. The question is whether Tyreese or Milton was responsible. By the end of the episode, it’s clear that the Governor blames Milton who, bless him, is clearly going to come to a sticky end before this series is out, regardless of whether he was responsible or not (which he probably was).
Despite there being good material here for Milton, Tyreese and the Governor (until he was reduced to a slasher-movie stalker, anyway), this episode felt underpowered, another exercise in water-treading as the series tries not to reach its conclusion too quickly. It was also dragged down by being just too darn Andrea-heavy. You can’t treat a character like a plot device for a whole series then expect us to care for her as a human being.
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