Pssst! Hey, you! Yeah, you. This article contains SPOILERS and lots of them!
The Walking Dead is trying to make me like Andrea. At least, that was my take-away from last night’s episode.
See, this entire season, Andrea has pretty much been a walking (teehee! “Walking!”) disaster, forcing me to hate her for decisions that could only lead to ruin. In her efforts to cling to a society that has clearly been destroyed, Andrea has knowingly (I believe) swallowed lie after lie from The Governor (TG) and turned her back on Michonne, the woman who saved her life and saw her through an undoubtedly perilous winter.
In “Prey,” Andrea finally sees the light and decides to leave Woodbury and TG behind.
The episode opens with a flashback, and I was excited to think that the whole show would be dedicated to what we didn’t see between season two and three. No such luck.
Michonne and Andrea warm themselves by a campfire, while the walker “pets” shamble at the ends of their chains. Andrea asks Michonne about the pets and who they were before they changed. Michonne doesn’t really want to talk about it, but tells Andrea that they weren’t people to begin with; they got what they deserved.
From there, the scene switches to present day and TG, who is readying chains between two poles in what looks like a basement or hidden room. (I assumed we were seeing his preparations for Michonne’s inevitable torturing after Rick hands her over…or at least when TG gets his hands on her.) It was an obvious allusion to the fact that TG, while not a walker, or biter as the people from Woodbury call them, is an inhuman member of the walking dead. He’s a monster.
In Woodbury, Martinez and other TG lackeys are stocking a truck with all manner of guns, ammunition, and heavy artillery. The plot requires Milton and Andrea to observe and Andrea to stupidly question Milton about it, referencing the supposed deal on the table with Rick. Mousy Milton tells her that it’s probably only a precaution (Ha!) and skitters away.
Milton finds TG in the secret torture room, where he observes the one-eyed man laying out an array of medical implements. Milton jumps to the correct conclusion that some torture is planned and tries to dissuade TG. TG pats Milton on the cheek and blows him off.
Milton then experiences a rare burst of balls and goes and finds Andrea, telling her that TG is planning on killing Rick and the rest of the prison group. He leads her to a room that overlooks TG’s torture chamber (complete with scary dental chair and handcuffs), and Andrea is properly aghast. She determines that TG has to die (Oh, really? Shocking!), and while they are discussing it, TG wanders into the torture chamber with more tools of dooooooooooooooom. Andrea draws her gun and readies to shoot TG, but Milton stops her.
What? Why, Milton? GAH! Maybe it’s because Milton remembers who TG used to be. He told Andrea that he knew Phillip (TG’s real name) before he was TG. What were they to each other? Coworkers? Friends? Family? I want Milton to be TG’s brother-in-law. I think that would fit nicely!
They watch as TG records himself whistling, sits down in the dental chair, and listens to the recording with a smile. Creeptastic.
So, Andrea decides she has to leave and go warn Rick and the prison group. Brilliant! On her way out of town, she happens upon Martinez and a couple of TG lackeys who are collecting weapons and ammo from townspeople. It’s for the coming fight, he explains…Not that they want to kill people…They have to be ready for anything, of course!
Andrea protests but ends up giving up her gun and extra clip. Then, TG stops her and asks her to be present at the meeting with Rick. It’s happening the next day, and he needs her to be there since the two groups distrust each other.
She smiles and plays along, promising to be there. They part, and she makes a beeline for one of Woodbury’s entry/exit points guarded by none other than Tyreese and Sasha. Andrea tries to get them to leave, saying Martinez needs them, but they don’t buy it, and she comes right out and tells them that she has to leave Woodbury. She tells them that TG isn’t what he seems, and that Woodbury isn’t the place they think it is.
Tyreese and Sasha are confused and don’t think they should let her go, but they end up standing aside as she goes over the wall and jogs away. Later, they meet with Martinez and TG to tell them what happened. TG puts on a nice show of concern and then proceeds to lie to Tyreese and Sasha, telling them that Andrea was crazy. TG says Andrea spent the winter on her own before making her way to Woodbury, leaving Michonne out of the story and making it sound like Andrea went cuckoo while on her own.
Tyreese falls for the story after being assured that Woodbury isn’t a prison camp, and TG tells him that Martinez needs their help with a particular task. Tyreese and Sasha follow Martinez to one of the walls where a truck is waiting to take them and several others on a job. At the wall, they meet up with Allen and his son, who are also going on said job. There’s a tense moment as Allen yells at Tyreese for possibly jeopardizing their stay in Woodbury, and we find out that Allen’s dead wife was saved by Tyreese. Apparently, it’s a sore spot for Allen, because he felt emasculated in front of his family…or something? I mean, it didn’t make a whole lot of sense… “I hate you for saving my wife’s life!” Huh?
Things simmer down, and they all get in the truck and drive to…the biter pit! Remember this place? This is where Woodbury has a wind-powered noise contraption that attracts biters, who then fall into a pit and are used for nefarious purposes…like biter fighting in the arena, punishment, torture, etc.
It’s a nice place.
Tyreese and Sasha are taken aback by the pit and don’t understand why biters would be needful to Woodbury. Martinez is sketchy and says only that they have uses for everything these days. Tyreese surmises that the biters are going to be used in some way during the following day’s meeting with Rick and co. and is understandably uncool with the notion.
Allen and his kid seems fine with it, thank you very much, and tells Tyreese to go along with it. Another spat erupts between the two of them and ends with Tyreese holding Allen over the biter pit. But, he gets a hold of himself and doesn’t drop Allen in. What a shame! You know that guy’s going to be trouble later!
Tyreese tells Martinez that he doesn’t want any part of the biters, and Martinez says that they’ll have to explain themselves to TG. Dun, Dun, DUN!
In Woodbury, after telling Tyreese to help Martinez, TG heads out after Andrea. But before he leaves, he runs into Milton, who confesses to telling Andrea about the ambush plan against Rick and the prison group. TG loses his temper and slams Milton up against a pointy looking fence. He doesn’t kill him, though.
Cut to Andrea, who is running down the road toward the prison. (I wonder how far away it is…) Suddenly, she hears an engine and ducks off the road into the trees. Smart! We don’t see the driver, but it’s the big white truck we’ve seen TG in before, so you know it’s him. There’s a cheap scare, and she kills a handful of walkers before continuing through the woods. What a fine sense of direction she must have! Or maybe she just knows the way that well?
Oh, and about that cheap scare: Why didn’t she hear the walkers right before one dramatically grabbed her through a small grouping of trees? They are undead, and they don’t make noise? In dry, crackly leaves? Seriously? I don’t buy that.
As she’s crossing a field, the truck appears again and chases her into more woods. We see TG squinting after her and are supposed to feel an impending sense of doom, I think. But, honestly, I’m not sure who I was rooting for. Did I want Andrea to escape? I’m not so sure!
She comes to an old factory/warehouse and ducks inside just as the truck pulls up. Night is falling, of course. How about that for timing? Good job, TG, on READING HER FREAKING MIND AND KNOWING EXACTLY WHERE SHE IS. (As you can see, I have an issue with this, too. Did he just assume she was there? Was that the only cover available to her? Bah.)
They play a game of cat and mouse as he stalks around looking for her. He whistles the tune he recorded earlier, and I wondered if that was supposed to mean something. Did anyone else recognize the song? Or was it supposed to be foreshadowing? (More on that later.)
Andrea kills some walkers and makes noise that eventually leads TG to her. He backs her up against a door, and she ducks behind it, letting out a mini-horde that goes after him. She dashes up some stairs and escapes the building, and we hear TG yelling and fighting. That’s the end of him! Riiiiiiiiiight.
So, at this point, I was yelling at Andrea to steal his truck. Why didn’t she steal his truck? I’m pretty sure he left the keys in it, because he left the lights on! WHY DIDN’T SHE TAKE THE TRUCK?!
The next time we see Andrea, she’s approaching the prison walls. She made it! Yay! Her relief is obvious as she starts to wave to get the guard on duty’s attention. The guard happens to be Rick, by the way.
BUT, TG JUMPS OUT AND GRABS HER!
First of all, there’s no way he could have made it out alive. Secondly, if he was following her, how could she not have heard him? Especially if he DROVE!
Rick, who is scanning milling walkers, thinks he sees something at the treeline (where Andrea is being held down by TG), but dismisses it when he goes back for another look through his gun scope. Aw, so close!
Soon, TG’s big white truck is approaching Woodbury again. TG pulls to a stop to speak to Martinez, who he tells Andrea is still on the loose. Martinez, who has no reason to believe otherwise, accepts the story and tells TG about Tyreese’s refusal to help out at the pits…and SOMEONE BURNED THE BITERS!
During the night, while TG was chasing Andrea around, someone in a black SUV went to the pit and poured gas all over the biters and lit them ablaze. The same person also set a horse trailer full of biters on fire. Was it Tyreese? Was it someone else?
TG assumes it was Tyreese. Uh-oh!
Tyreese, Sasha, Allen, and Ben (Allen’s son) gather to see TG and talk about the biter pit. It kinda had a waiting-to-see-the-principal feel to it. TG tells Tyreese that the biters are a scare tactic, and that they would never be used against people. Riiiiiiiiiight. Tyreese seems okay with the explanation, and apologizes for making trouble.
TG accepts his apology and asks where Tyreese got the gas (to burn the biters, of course.). But, TG doesn’t say anything about the fire at the pit, and Tyreese expresses his confusion. He doesn’t know what TG is talking about.
So, Tyreese didn’t do it? Hmmm. Who did, then? TG meets Milton on the street, and Milton asks if TG has found the person who set the fire. TG’s one eye narrows, he declares that he just has.
It was Milton! Go Milton!
“Prey” ended with Andrea in the dental chair of torture. They tried to make it extra dramatic, but you knew it was coming. Seriously. The camera winds down a dark hall, around a corner, and through a door…and there she is! Tied down with duct tape across her mouth!
So, what about that song TG whistled and recorded. Was that for Andrea? Was she the “Prey” all along? Was that why he was whistling it in the abandoned factory/warehouse? Was the dental chair and torture items for her? Or was he prepping for Michonne, and Andrea just fell into a terrible situation?
Like I wrote earlier, I feel like this whole episode was tailored to make me like Andrea. She finally tried to do the right thing, but TG thwarted her. Did she fail because she struck out on her own? After all, one of the bigger themes of this season, as we’ve talked about before, is you can’t survive on your own. Andrea tried to get Milton to come with her, but he wouldn’t, saying he belonged in Woodbury. Would Andrea have made it if Milton went with her?
I don’t really think so. I mean, it’s Milton, and he’s pretty much worthless in a fight. But, her journey alone was unsuccessful, which emphasizes the theme of group survival.
If they were trying to get me to like Andrea, it didn’t really work. As TG stalked her, I found myself not so much rooting for her as interested in how the plot would move forward without her should she get caught. I assumed TG would kill her, and, really, he should have. But, she’s obviously a plot device, and she lived.
Overall, I thought “Prey” was one of the weaker episodes this season. While, we got plenty of cheap scares and forced dramatic tension, the writing was full of holes (Why didn’t she take the truck? Why didn’t Tyreese question TG further about the walker pit –TG said they didn’t share tactics with people they didn’t know, but they take people they don’t know to the pits in the first place?– How did TG get Andrea into his torture room unnoticed? Oh, the QUESTIONS!)
What did you think? Hit me up in the comments!
[[Featured image courtesy of AMC and found at http://blogs.amctv.com/photo-galleries/the-walking-dead-season-3-episode-photos/episode-14-andrea.php.]]