The Walking Dead S3E11: I Ain’t a Judas
Original Airdate: February 24, 2013
Recap by Sarabeth Pollock
On this Oscar Night, there is only one show on television capable of standing up and giving the Academy Awards a run for its money, and that is The Walking Dead. You can tell that a show is enjoying success not by the number of critics talking about it, but when you’re sitting in an airport and the people around you are talking about getting home to see it. That’s what I noticed today. And it’s true. People are talking about the show this season in a way that didn’t happen last season. Last week’s episode blew everyone away…and the action continued this week.
The Grimes Gang is back in the relative safety of their cellblock. Merle has been relegated to a locked cell just to make everyone more comfortable, but disagreement abounds as to what to do next. Do they run, do they fight? Merle points out that the Governor’s van through the fence bit was akin to ringing the doorbell, and he warns everyone that if he took mercy on them he’d simply starve them all to death. Maggie and Glen are ready to throw Merle into another cellblock, but Beth speaks up and tries to refocus the group on coming up with a plan. Rick tries to walk away, but Hershel calls him out. Hershel has placed his family’s life in Rick’s care, and even though they’re all aware of Rick’s suffering, it’s high time the Ricktator returns to take charge.
Rick goes out to one of the guard towers and looks out over the Walker-filled yard. He thinks he sees something in the distance, but Carl interrupts his scout. Carl tells his dad that he should stop being the leader. “Let Hershel and Daryl handle things. You deserve a rest,” he says. Oh, from the mouths of babes. Or from a tween who can shoot really, really well.
Milton is helping the Governor amass an army out of the Woodbury citizenry. The Governor wants to conscript the 13/14 year olds. He and Milton differ on whether they’d be considered boys and girls or simply adolescents. Frankly, the Governor would probably send anyone available into the battle if he wasn’t also trying to maintain his reputation. Milton has gone through and listed all the people who are able bodied and able to fight. If you add the “kids,” there are 35 people in the army. The Governor wants them all to learn how to fight. Their plotting is interrupted when Andrea comes in fuming that she hadn’t been informed of the visit to the prison. She accuses Milton of hiding it from her, but he tells her that he found out that morning. Naturally, the Governor spins it all so that it sounds like they were attacked when they only wanted to offer greetings to their new neighbors. Her friends have changed, he says. She doesn’t want to hear it. She wants a car so she can go see them. Again, the ever-calculating Governor has planned for this. The roads are blocked, he says, and he doesn’t want her to go. If she does leave, he says, she should stay there. And there it is, the ultimatum we’ve been waiting for.
Outside the Governor’s office, Andrea sees Rodriguez recruiting a 14 year old boy with asthma. His mother wants Andrea to talk some sense into Rodriguez. When she tells him that he’s supposed to be teaching people to defend themselves, not raising an army, Rodriguez replies that the only way for people to be safe is to have an army. See, Andrea? Once again, you’re in the middle of another situation where someone is leading you on. If only you’d listened to Michonne.
Back at the prison, Rick sends Maggie to the tower to keep watch. They can’t use the rest of their ammo clearing out the field but they’re running low on food. And Glen isn’t happy that their meager rations are being shared with Merle, the “snake in the grass.” Rick and Hershel agree with Daryl that Merle is valuable, given his military experience. Glen suggests offering him to the Governor as a bargaining chip in hopes of obtaining a truce. Little does he know, that’s just not an option.
Hershel visits Merle in his cell. The door is open, so Merle isn’t being kept as a prisoner. He’s duct taping a shank to the end of his missing appendage. Merle asks Hershel about his missing leg, and Hershel explains that he had been bitten by a Walker and Rick cut his leg off. Hershel has a copy of the Bible with him and tells Merle that he lost his way before, but now he’s back. He quotes a passage about having to cut off your arm, and Merle replies with the verse. They exchange looks that suggest that these two will get along fine. Merle tells Hershel that Woodbury had a great library. That’s the only thing he misses about the place. Then his expression is grave. He tells Hershel that the Governor will kill him first, then Michonne, then Hershel’s girls and Glen and the baby and whoever is left. He’ll make Rick watch the whole thing and save him for last. That is what they’re all up against. I think Merle’s message was received loud and clear.
In Woodbury, the Governor inspects the troops. Poor Ms. McCloud has arthritis and can’t hold a gun. The Governor assures her that they’ll find another way for her to contribute. Andrea informs the Governor that Noah is asthmatic, but the Governor doesn’t seem too concerned about it. Noah has had experience with a bb gun but that’s it. He’ll receive training from the best, the Governor tells him.
Carol pays Daryl a visit in his cell. She hasn’t been able to tell him how happy she is that he came back. While she sees their cellblock as a home, he sees it as a tomb. That’s what T-Dog called it, she says, and that’s what she thought, too, until he found her that day. She cautions him not to let his brother bring him down after he has come so far. They stare at each other for a moment, and then they chuckle at the sappiness of the conversation. Aww, they’re so cute together….
Andrea surveys the work being done on the town’s walls. Milton tells her that no one will be able to get in…or out. Andrea wants to know if Milton knew whether or not he knew about the raid on the prison. He says he didn’t, and so she says that he has to cover for her so that she can leave and go to the prison. Frankly, I don’t think her logic works, but in any case, Milton refuses to be put in that situation. He doesn’t want to be in the middle, but for some reason Andrea doesn’t seem to care about that. She has made up her mind. She’s going to the prison. So there.
The Governor tears the bandage from his face, revealing the scarred remains of what was once his eye socket. He holds a match before his damaged eye, and from his reaction it doesn’t look like he can see out of the eye anymore. Milton enters and reminds him that he wanted him to keep tabs on Andrea. She asked for Milton’s help to “escape.” Her words, not his. The Governor, now sporting a pirate-like eye patch, turns around and tells Milton to help her. At first Milton asks if he is being serious, or if this is some kind of test. Poor Milton. He’s clearly terrified of the Governor. The Governor repeats himself. If Andrea wants Milton’s help, then he should help her. He praises Milton’s loyalty.
In the woods, Andrea and Milton stalk a Walker. They jump him, and Andrea hacks off his arms while Milton holds him down. Finally, she places a rock under the Walker’s head and breaks off his jaw. Looks like she’s stealing a move from Michonne’s playbook. Another Walker approaches and she slices into his head without batting an eye. Once they get their new pet under control, they discover that they’re being watched. It’s Tyrese and his group. They still have their shovels. Long time, no see!
Michonne is doing her calisthenics when Merle finds her. He compliments her workout effort before sitting down. He wants to clear the air. He says that he did things because he was following orders. “Like the Gestapo,” she mutters. Yes, exactly. He wants to let bygones be bygones, and he hopes that they can see eye to eye in the future. She watches as he walks away. It’s hard to tell with her, but I think she’s open to the possibility of working with him. More so than Glen and Maggie.
Tyrese and his group listen while Andrea explains that their pet Walker will keep other Walkers at bay. He asks if she and Milton are alone, but she tells them that they have a town of seventy people. Tyrese asks if they take people in. They do, Milton tells him. Milton urges Andrea to go on her way, and he offers to take the newcomers back with him. He can handle the Governor much better than he can deal with Walkers, anyway.
Carl is on watch duty when he sees the Walker being led in. He and Maggie can’t make out the figure behind the Walker until they get closer. Maggie recognizes Andrea and tells Carl to get the rest of the group. They rush out, guns drawn, as Andrea makes her way through the field. She gets to the gate and Rick demands to know if she’s alone. After a search, she’s allowed into the prison walls but not into their cellblock. Carol rushes to give her a hug. Andrea looks around and realizes that the group is smaller. Shane? Lori? T-Dog? All dead, along with an inmate who died during the shootout with her boyfriend. Of course, Andrea thinks that they fired first, but Rick assures her that it’s a lie. She doesn’t understand why they’re being so hostile, but clearly they don’t trust her. When she tells them that she wants to help negotiate a truce, Hershel asks if the Governor wants to negotiate. She can’t answer this. She says she came as soon as she heard they’d been at Woodbury, but Glen points out that they were there days before. Andrea switches tactics and tries to deflect blame to Merle, but he’s not sleeping with the enemy. And Michonne reveals that she hadn’t mentioned any of their shared past to the group. Andrea feels like a complete outsider, so she tells them that the Governor is amassing an army to fight them. It’s hard to tell where her loyalties lie, especially because she is so misguided already (as usual).
Michonne takes a walk with Andrea. Andrea believes that Michonne poisoned them, but Michonne points out that she was hostile at Woodbury because she could see through the act. Andrea still doesn’t understand what she means. That is, until Michonne reveals that the Governor sent Merle to kill her. He would have ordered Andrea’s death if she had gone with Michonne. Andrea’s face falls as the reality sinks in. She doesn’t need convincing. Michonne goes on to say that she returned to Woodbury with the sole intention of revealing the Governor for what he was: a monster. She knew it would hurt Andrea, but she had to do it. And it doesn’t help that Andrea chose a warm bed over her friend. Michonne walks away, slowly. Andrea remains rooted in place, falling apart at the revelation of what was really going on.
Back at Woodbury, a gracious Governor extends a welcome to Tyrese and his group. The town doctor will be in shortly to see them, and they have plenty of food and clean clothing for them. They’d normally offer a car and weapons for them to continue on their way, but they need everything they have. The group has noted that the town seems to be fortifying itself. Were they attacked? The Governor keeps the information close to the vest, but he talks of being attacked by outsiders. When he suggests that the group moves any direction but north when they leave, Sasha reveals that they came from the north. They’d been at the prison but were chased away by the leader, who was clearly a “whack job.” Milton wants to know if they can describe the inside of the prison. Tyrese speaks for the group and says that they’ll do anything to earn their keep at Woodbury. The Governor smothers a Cheshire Cat-like grin and suggests that the group sleep on their decision to stay, but he rolls out the invitation nonetheless. Oh yes, he wants them to stay.
Andrea can’t leave without meeting “Little Ass Kicker.” Carol gives her the baby and tells her what happened to Lori. Andrea’s face falls at the idea that Carl had to kill his own mother. And she’s even more upset when Carol reveals that Shane tried to kill Rick. Carol tells Andrea that she can end all of this right now by going back to the Governor and giving him the best night of his life…and when he’s least expecting it, killing him. Andrea looks torn.
In a revealing scene, Rick gives Andrea a car for her return trip. She asks if they can spare it, and while they really can’t spare it, they give it to her anyway. (Personally, I would have given her the Walker Wagon out in the prison yard) “Well, take care,” she says, getting in. Rick stops her and gives her a gun, telling her to be careful. The gang sees her out (Merle opens the gate) and she drives off.
When she gets back to Woodbury, she is taken to the Governor’s office. He’s playing classical music. She tells them that they’re broken and living in horrible conditions. The Governor asks if Michonne and Merle are there. They are. He wants to know if Rick sent her back. “No, that was my call,” she says. “Because you belong here,” he whispers, pulling her into a tight embrace. They kiss.
Back at the prison, the group sits in darkness in the cell. Rick is holding Judith. Beth starts singing to lighten their spirits. Merle wanders in. They all gather together in one of the lightest moments in a long time. Daryl, Hershel and Rick talk about Andrea’s reunion. Rick wants to arm their group as much as the Woodbury group. He’s going on a run. He wants to take Michonne and Carl. He tells Daryl to stay behind and take care of the rest of them. And he advises Daryl to keep an eye on his brother. If anything happens with Merle, it’s on Daryl. They all agree. Leader Rick is back.
In a darkened bedroom, the Governor sleeps peacefully while Andrea lies awake. She gets up from the bed, naked, and gets a knife from her bag. For a long time she stands at the side of the bed, the knife poised so that its shadow is pointing at the Governor’s jugular vein. Indecision is written across her face. In the end, she lowers the knife. She can’t kill him.
Is anyone surprised that Andrea didn’t kill the Governor? She slept with him, though. She did do that part of the plan. I was happy to see Merle trying to make amends with the others. And just when I started to wonder what happened to Tyrese and his group, there they were again. Sasha didn’t seem to be 100% on board with their plan to help the Governor. Hopefully we get to see how that plays out. I’m also wondering why they haven’t created an army of pet Walkers so that they can safely go out and clear the field.
So many questions…but it looks like we’ll get some answers next week as the adventure continues. Please be sure to leave your comments below. See you next week!