Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Walking Dead Season 3 Recap, Episode 11 "I Ain't a Judas"

The recent episode is aptly titled. The Not-Judas in question is, of course, Andrea, and boy would I wish she would just get it over with. Seriously, "The Walking Dead" is treading season 2 territory, again. And boy, does that suck. It's like the writers changed Lori for Andrea and are now repeating all the same mistakes. There is way too much screen time sacrificed for Andrea delivering pretty stupid dialogue, and worse, the dialogue concerns stuff everyone except Andrea already knows. Gee, the Governor lies to Andrea about the prison? No shit. He did it only the whole fucking season. Grow a pair, lady! 

Whaaaaaaat? You evil looking guys are actually evil? Who would have thought?

But the whole of Woodbury is stinking by now. The Governor himself deteriorated from a charismatic villain into a comical villain in a matter of scenes like there would be a price for it. The only real thing he did in this episode was to look real ominous putting on his iconic eyepatch, and then he did pretty much nothing, just to fill screentime. Andrea wants to go to the prison to negotiate (what, exactly?), but he forbids it, and when the super-schemer asks Milton to help her (of all people!) and the lapdog returns to his master to report, he lets her go for no apparent reason other than to play a mind-game whose purpose only he understands. If at all.

Ask me why, I dare you!
Back in Woodbury, the Governor insists on building an army. For that, he enlists practically every able-bodied boy or girl ages 13 and up ("Adolescense is a 20th century concept"), which kind of makes sense. The scenes themselves don't, unfortunately. Woodbury still seems like a very strange place, and in many ways they remember me of "Jericho", which suffered the same believability problems. The people there are so oblivious to the world outside, the inherent logic of ruling and what they are really into, it's almost painful. On the other hand, the Governor's minions have to introduce him to his 35 conscripts (out of a population of 70), which seems rather silly. You governed this town for nearly a year, admitting everybody personally, and you need to be introduced to them? Yeah, sure. The series really struggles to find its tone in this episode, and it becomes increasingly clear that Woodbury serves the same retarded function as did the farm back in season 2.

People with guns, people on vacation, and I am expected to take the threat seriously?
Andrea then repeats Michonne's chop-off-arms-and-jaw-trick to get to the prison, which is surprisingly clever for her standards. Then the first interesting thing of the episode happens: Tyreese and his group stumble over her, desperate for someone to take them in, and Andrea sends them back with Milton and soldiers on, reaching the prison without apparent difficulty. In contrast to the Woodbury guys, the prison gang has wised up, immediately disarming Andrea and sharply questioning her. The scenes of this reunion are very nice. Michonne finally settles her score with Andrea, telling her just how stupid she is, and the others show with nice character scenes just how much they changed. Andrea's pleads for negotiations fall on deaf ears, because the prison gang already knows more about the Governor than Andrea. Carol urges her to fuck the Governor and then kill him in his sleep. Way to go, Carol!

No way at all.
Generally, the group has stopped being annoying alltogether, leaving the job to the denizens of Woodbury. Rick finally got his shit together so much that he is a character again, allowing for some cool interaction: at first, when he wants to wander off again, Hershel yells at him to, well, get his shit together and do something, and Rick listens and mans a watchpost. There he is joined by Carl, who tells him in no uncertain terms that he should stop being the leader and let Daryl and Hershel take over, because he sucks at the job now and needs a pause. Clever boy there. Rick's equally impressed.On the downside, Merle displays considerable knowledge at being a scholar of the bible, which seems totally out of character, and the explanation that "Woodbury has a damn fine library" is just hilarious. So why did you memorize every line of the bible when there was a library? It seems like logic plays almost no part anymore in the writer's decisions and they're just aiming for the next "cool" scene.

I'd say, make him the leader.
This leads us quickly to the final scenes in Woodbury. Tyreese has entered the village and is getting the old "we give you weapons and a car" routine by the Governor who already pictures Tyreese's head in an aquarium, but then things take another turn: Tyreese causally mentions that he was in the prison, was freaked out by Rick and driven off. That gets the Governor's attention, and Tyreese jumps at the opportunity to get a place there. This is a good development, since it finally confronts the group with some real fallout from their mistakes, especially not containing Rick's slipping away (to which they only now moves half-heartidly). And then we get Andrea again. She took Carol's advice and attempts to murder the Governor in his sleep, who -  hold it - watches her doing it but doesn't interfer because, hey, it's so cool not to. But no fear, Andrea puts away the knife, so we're in for yet another episode of her doing stupid things and doing even more stupid stuff. Really, her actress hasn't deserved this shit, no more than Lori's.

Normal reaction when Andrea approaches.
And you know what the worst thing about this is? Technically, we should root for Andrea. She's the only one with her humanity half-way intact, and there are some small, sweet scenes in there where the writers acknowledge this, or the actress sneaked it in, I don't know. Like when she first sees the killer-machine formerly known as Carl, or when Carol actually proposes to stab the Governor in the heart during sex, or when she calls out Rick's hipocracy in accepting Merle and not her. Technically, all this stuff would be great to raise questions about morality, humanity and stuff. But instead, I'm cold about it and mostly annoyed by her. The series is written in a way that wants us to root for the main characters, which are Rick and his group, and they don't really want to explore these issues as much as they want to deliver gory action.

The face of humanity.
And that's the big problem of the series. They manage to get these moments in from time to time, but for all the talking the characters do, they never really get to the bottom of the real issues, which is just sad. Wasted chances, over and over and over. The first season did a much better job at this, but the more I watch season 3, the more I come to understand that they mostly tried to even out idiotic character action and dialogue with juicy action, and while these scenes are really well done and entertaining, this approach tends to spoil the experience more and more.


  1. I agree with 100% of what you said.
    Season 1 was so promising, Season 2 was a bore, Season 3 gave us hope but then let us down again.
    There was so much hype about the Governor and we got this Diet-Coke version of him and his arc. I'm way too disappointed.

    1. To be honest, the Governor sucked in the comics, too, and the prison plot as well. It's just more iconic. The real good stuff in TWD happens when they go to Washington.