Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
“You chose a warm bed over a friend.” — Michonne
Andrea is an idiot. I’ve been holding this sentiment inside for a while because I know there are people out there who enjoy Andrea as a character, but after watching “I Ain’t a Judas,” I think we should all be able to come together and, once and for all, confirm that Andrea is a freaking idiot.
I get that she’s had a hard time during the course of The Walking Dead. I get that it’s hard to see the greater scope of things when you’re in the middle of them. But with all the evidence pointing toward the Governor pretty much being the worst human left alive, you’d think she’d take that knife at the end of “I Ain’t a Judas” and jam it right into his throat like Carol suggested.
Of course, the Governor is Philip to her, and Philip could never be the cold-blooded killer we all know he is. She didn’t see the havoc he wreaked in “Home,” and didn’t believe it when she heard about it. After itching for someone to smack her upside the head for going on two seasons, I think it’s about time somebody forces her to get out of the fantasyland she’s living in and come back to this zombie-filled Walking Dead reality.
First, some context for this frustration. When “I Ain’t a Judas” opens at the Prison, the balance of power is finally shifting away from Rick. Hershel has had enough of his moping and craziness, and even Carl tells his father he should stop being the leader and deserves a rest. At least the incorporation of Merle has been relatively painless, with only Glenn actively acting out against his reintegration into their group. In fact, he goes as far as to suggest that they should trade Merle to the Governor for a truce, which everyone else (hopefully) realized was an awful idea.
It’s up to Daryl to protect his brother from those he slighted in the past, but Merle at least sort of tries to make amends with Michonne. Her comparison of him to the Gestapo was laugh-worthy in a horribly dark way, and it’s clear she doesn’t trust him. Still, I actually sort of hope Merle is able to stick around. It adds an interesting dynamic to Daryl’s relationship with Carol, who compares Merle to her abusive dead husband Ed. And then there’s Hershel, who finally got to meet Merle but is greeted by a different man than everyone else remembers. Hey, Merle knows Bible verses now!
It’s Merle’s warning to Hershel about the Governor that provides one of the most significant moments of the episode. No one else quite seems able to grasp what the Governor is capable of, not even Michonne. But then Merle describes to Hershel the order the Governor will murder everyone in the Prison to make sure Rick suffers the most pain. It makes me really, really wish Andrea had just killed the Governor when she had the chance, though where’s the drama in that?
At Woodbury, the Governor is creating an army, and it doesn’t matter who’s in it as long as they can hold a gun. Andrea complains that he is creating child soldiers — and he is — and she wants to go try to broker a truce with her friends at the Prison. She chastises the Governor for lying to her about attacking the Prison, and then believes his lies about how it was Rick’s group who fired first. The wool is pulled firmly over her eyes, and she won’t take it off.
The Governor assigns Milton to keep an eye on Andrea, and he does a fantastic job. Unfortunately she believes he is her ally, and the Governor wants him to keep acting that way. That means Milton aids Andrea in her escape against the Governor’s wishes, and in an awesomely gruesome scene helps her recreate one of Michonne’s zombie companions. Her stomping the walker’s face against a rock has got to be the most cringe-inducing scene of the season, which means Greg Nicotero must be especially pleased.
While they’re in the woods, Tyreese and his group stumble across them. Milton agrees to take them back to Woodbury because they need all the help they can get, and it’s there the Governor finds out they have just left the Prison. Although it didn’t happen in this episode, it’s clear Tyreese will likely end up leading the Governor and his army into the Prison the same way he and his crew got in.
Andrea finally arrives at the Prison, and she’s welcomed into its safe area with a whole lot of heavy artillery leveled against her. Michonne puts down her weapon when everyone realizes Andrea came alone, but Andrea doesn’t seem to understand why she’s met with such hostility. It’s then she finds out it was the Governor who attacked the Prison, and the dire straights in which the survivors are living.
Carol and Andrea’s reunion is cute, but it was hard to listen to the Prison group catch Andrea up on all the loss they’ve suffered. Shane, Lori and T-Dog are gone, Hershel lost his leg, and Axel was murdered not long before. She tries to explain why they should work things out with the Governor, but Rick responds with one of the best lines of the episode: “There’s nothing to work out. We’re going to kill him.”
She tries to rationalize that the Governor is gearing up for a war, but she realizes once she sees Carl, too, has become a child soldier that so is Rick’s group. Rick tells her if she wants to be an ally to them she should let them inside Woodbury to kill the Governor, and Andrea’s refusal causes him to stalk off. She faces similar disdain from Michonne, who explains that she saw this side of the Governor from the get-go.
“You chose a warm bed over a friend. That’s why I went back to Woodbury, exposed him for what he is,” Michonne says, which causes Andrea to cry. Andrea is so blinded she can’t quite see that Michonne is right, even though it seems like her heart is telling her there is something wrong with her dear Philip.
Then there’s Andrea’s conversation with Carol, with whom she had become close in Season 2. Carol tells Andrea about how Rick killed Shane and how Carl had to kill Lori for baby Judith to be born, and Andrea gets to hold the newborn. It’s then that Carol tells Andrea she should give the Governor “the night of his life” and then kill him while he’s sleeping; advice Andrea should have taken.
When Andrea is sent back to Woodbury, Rick hands her a clip and a gun and tells her to be careful. It’s worth noting that that’s better than the farewell the Governor gave her, and she’s technically not on the Prison’s side. She returns to Woodbury and goes to the Governor and tells him she came back of her own volition, which is true. He tells her she belongs at Woodbury and they embrace and then, well, embrace.
The episode ends with Andrea tip-toeing out of bed and picking up the knife Carol gave her to kill the Governor. She stands over him with the blade pointed at his chest, but can’t bring herself to kill the man she has idiotically come to love. In the end, Andrea doesn’t kill the Governor in “I Ain’t a Judas,” which will inevitably lead to many more deaths this season — and likely her own. Facepalm.