I wouldn't have thought it possible to care for Andrea. Would you? The latest episode, "Prey", manages to do exactly that: it's suspenseful and exciting as hell, despite the fact that it is a very Andrea-centered episode. Who would have believed? Until now, Woodbury-episodes always fell flat of the prison ones, but this one really has some genuine excitement in it, although the usual problems didn't just decide to go away. But let's tackle this one by one.
|Last week you sucked, this week you don't suck so badly. Way to go!|
The story begins with the Governor setting up a torturing chamber for Michonne, obviously enjoying it. Milton is as upset about this as Andrea, who finally gets around acknowledging that the Governor truly is evil. Her idea of killing him on the spot is foiled by Milton, however, who not only believes in "the real Philip" underneath the psychopath dictator but also makes the rather sensible point that with the Governor dead Martinez would step up, which wouldn't exactly be that much of an improvement (although, given the torture chamber, that's up for debate). So Andrea decides to flee to the prison to warn the people there and urges Milton to come with her who, in a nice bit of character building, declines since he knows no one and belongs to Woodbury. He also shrugs off Andrea's ridiculous notion that he could pal up with Merle.
|Although it'll made a great buddy comedy.|
So, Andrea decides to go alone, but Martinez deprives her of her weapons. When she tries to pull a really cheap trick on Tyreese, who guards the wall, to let her pass, she tells him what she's up to. Not exactly clever, but it pays off, since Tyreese isn't exactly the sharpest tool in the box neither. Since he reports to the Governor after, the psychopath chases herself then. Tyreese, in the meantime, gets some heat from a member of his group for saving a girl he has a crush on earlier (and off-screen), preventing him from being the hero. The conflict isn't resolved but serves to flesh out the group, which after doing something similar for Milton and Martinez last episode seems to set the stage for some casualties in the battle to come. There seriously needs to be a dead black guy, since the group needs to keep its quota of only one per group up, and Tyreese will end up in it sooner or later, so bringing a third one in is obviously out of the question. Man, am I being cynical.
|Shaking up the racial balance.|
Tyreese is put on assignment in the biter-pits, where Woodbury captures zombies for their shows, but he dislikes the notion of setting them on Rick and their gang, not so much because of Rick (because seriously, fuck Rick), but because of the "women and children" there. Yeah, really, even after the zombie apocalypse, some guys can't let lose old gender clichees. - Cut to Andrea, running through the countryside and evading the Governor. It strains credibility a bit that he catches up with her all the time in his mean pickup (it's not like she leaves a stampede's trail), but the suspension of disbelief is entirely justified for once.
|The lighting may be clicheed, but it's effective.|
The following cat-and-mouse-game in an abandoned warehouse is one of the most suspenseful scenes since the claustrophobic prison-cleaning-sequences. The Governor, clearly psychopathic killer now, follows Andrea through the zombie infested hallways and corners for what seems an exciting eternity, until Andrea can shake him off by unleashing a hord of zombies, at which point she thinks she killed him - and the audience is meant to be tricked into the same idea, but seriously, there's a war to be fought, and Checkov's gun dictates that either Andrea or Milton end up in that torture chamber. So, the escaping Andrea may just be too glad too early.
|Putting Mike Myers to shame.|
And now we're at the end already: with Rick already in sight, Andrea is caught by the Governor (a really well done scene), while Tyreese demands to know what the Governor is up to with his zombies. They, in the meantime, were burned by some unknown perpetrator (Milton, obviously), and we learn a nice new thing: burning zombies doesn't help anything. The make-up-team did a real great job in these charred, moving cadavres. Andrea is bound to the torture chair, her capture denied by the Governor (who is the only one who knows where she is), the Governor knows that Milton went traitor on him and already plans retribution, and Tyreese proves himself to be the new Andrea, swallowing the Governor's explanation of "the zombies are just for scare" bullshit whole and asking for more. Well, the stage really is set, and there are only two episodes to go. I'd like the whole Woodbury-Prison-thing decided in the next episode, so the last can give us a nice prospect of the things to come. Road to Washington, perhaps?