The war drums are beating… And The Walking Dead turns up the intensity by underplaying it.
Season 3, Episode 11: I Ain’t a Judas
Following the attack on the prison by the Governor, the crew’s faith in Rick is shaken beyond ever before. It’s in such a bad way even Carl has suggested that Rick take some time off and let the group be run by Hershel and Daryl. In Woodbury, the Governor is taking count of the capable men and women to train to shoot as “defense” against Rick’s crew. When Andrea confronts the Governor about his actions, he builds more stories about how bloodthirsty they’ve become. When she says she wants to go see them, the Governor issues the ultimatum that if she goes, she might as well stay there. In the prison, Merle’s presence is only creating friction. Hershel goes to speak with Merle and he tells Merle about what to expect from the Governor.
Andrea pleads with Milton to help her escape so she can get to the prison to talk to Rick. Milton goes to the Governor with that information and he tells Milton to help her. Milton and Andrea capture a walker and incapacitate it as Michonne did with her pets. When things start getting hairy with other walkers, Tyreese’s crew comes to stay. Milton agrees to take the foursome to Woodbury while Andrea carries on toward the prison. When she gets there, she’s welcomed in, but all that’s transpired with the Governor has put the group at odds with her. When she refuses to get them inside, Rick cuts off communication with her. Michonne and Andrea have an unhappy reunion as Michonne explains why she went back to Woodbury and exposed the Governor for what he was. In Woodbury, Tyreese’s crew tells the Governor of their experience with Rick. Tyreese offers their services in exchange for their safety. Carol tells Andrea about Shane, Lori, and T-Dog’s demise and tells her to give the Governor the best night of his life, so he will drop his guard and when he’s sleeping, to kill him and end this. They send Andrea back to Woodbury. Rick, Daryl, and Hershel discuss their recent reunion with Andrea. Rick tells them he’s going to take Michonne and Carl and “make a run”. In the Governor’s room, Andrea does her part but hesitates on the final piece as she decides to not put a knife in the sleeping Governor.
This is, perhaps, the most haunting of any episode of the series yet. It’s a quiet episode, yes. In fact, I don’t believe there’s a gunshot in the entire episode. It’s lack of any over the top action or, for that matter, score punctuates what is happening in the series as a whole. We’re watching two “tribes” preparing for war. Both leaders are being driven insane by loss, but mostly by their hatred of the other. Whereas Rick’s tribe is seething at the idea of putting the Governor down, the Governor’s tribe seem to be distant and hardly a factor. Instead, it’s he that is swirling with notions of wanting that revenge so badly. His will and influence carries over to the alpha males that will follow orders, but it’s people like Andrea and Milton who can see that he may very well be the most dangerous element in the world.
While this Governor is quite different than the much more in-your-face crazy character we recognize from the comics, there is something I could see for a long time in this character. It’s not like my knowledge of the character influenced what I could see from this version. However, you could see a devious mind beneath the facade of this charismatic leader. They didn’t take long to show him offing a bunch of soldiers to take their stuff, but it wasn’t that. If you really watched him, you could see the fragile barrier within his personality. This barrier was between his outward appearance to his followers and his inner demons and egomaniacal tendencies. If he truly was everything he says he is, it’s hard to imagine him having a line of gunmen on top of the wall protecting the town. One, maybe two, sure, but you’d likely not have someone like Merle in your inner circle.
My point is, the signs of his true self had been showing since we first laid eyes on him. Now, we can see just how manipulative he is. This time, though, it’s not through charisma but by fear and insecurity. With each episode that has passed, he’s become more and more of a monster. It is a different Governor than fans might be used to, but I honestly believe this version is just as scary. In the comic, his violent ways and iron grip over Woodbury was at the forefront. Here, that manipulation, his fear tactics, and those last remnants of his charisma just makes your skin crawl. Whenever a scene with him is shown, it’s nearly impossible to predict what he will do next. You can’t tell if he’s going to murder someone or put his arms around them.
A great thing about this episode is how it sucks in the viewer. While it’s not always considered a strength in a show (in fact, it’s probably more times than not considered a cheap effect), is how we can all yell at Andrea to finally snap out of this spell and get the hell out of Woodbury. It’s hard to say that sleeping next to an insane man is safer or better than living with a “family” in a slightly lesser setting like the prison. Of course, we’re omnipotent and we’ve long known Woodbury is nice and cozy, but run by a total lunatic. Plus, we’re all in Rick’s corner, but Andrea’s own struggle over where she belongs and what she wants for herself does nothing but keep the tension at a high. Sure, it might be fairly basic scripting and, possibly, cheap, but dammit if it doesn’t work.
While the episode doesn’t give much in terms of explosive action, what it does in terms of creating a massive amount of tension and a heavy fog of fear really puts the viewer on the edge of their seat on pins and needles. It’s nearly uncomfortable from an intense attack of nerves, but in all the right ways.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Creepy and intense without relying on action. The Governor’s monster is starting to show. Andrea becomes a target for all the frustrations of the audience.||Some my find more frustration with Andrea and the lack of action, but not me. Not much negative to say at all.|