Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Walking Dead: In Defense of Andrea
Until this week, I've seen the Andrea/Michonne thing entirely from Michonne's point of view, and as anyone who's been reading the Walking Dead analysis by myself and Joshua Winstead knows, I've been calling her out on every stupid thing she's done from the beginning of the show. But now I'm stepping back for a second and looking at it from Andrea's point of view, and it's no longer so black and white. (By the way, for the first time this year, Josh and I got our review of this week's episode out by Tuesday! You can read it here.)
The last time the prison gang saw Andrea, she was saving Carol's life and throwing herself in front of a zombie. For all they knew, she was dead until Michonne told her otherwise. And yet Carol was the only one with enough decency to remember that not-so-small act of heroics.
Has anyone ever seen Michonne smile? She might be a tough SOB and, well, pretty much the one you want to align yourself with in a zombie apocalypse, but it's probably been a pretty dark, sombre year for Andrea hanging with her. In Woodbury, people might have the wool pulled over their eyes, but Andrea's choice to just drink the Kool-Aid and hang out with people who are HAPPY isn't her being stupid; it's her being human.
Yes, she sided with the Governor, the man who (from her POV) she was sleeping with, who had put this town together, who was protecting these people... the person who loved his daughter so much he lovingly brushed her disgusting hair every night and was doing everything in his power to bring her back to life, who lived for her daily, who loved his wife dearly and was grief-stricken over her loss... the man who watched her impaled by Michonne (who admits to Andrea that she didn't return to Woodbury to show her the error of her ways, but to make her hurt... that sort of lessened her behaviour for me, I actually thought she had returned to show Andrea she'd been making a mistake and to try one last time to convince her to come with her), and the man who snapped when he lost his final tie to the world he'd had before this one.
Again, let's not forget that despite throwing around the term "evil," which even I've done (many, many times) when talking about the Governor, he's just as human as the rest of them. The man is on the other side of a nervous breakdown after losing his daughter, losing his eye, and losing his way.
We could also look at it this way: The Governor is putting together a village of people whom he protects against the walkers in the outside world, and along comes Michonne: bitter, angry, distrustful, wielding a sword and looking pretty damn dangerous. He tries to bring her around to his side and let her stay, but she'll have none of it, and so he casts her out.
Tyrese and his gang find their way into the prison, show their best behaviour while being locked up, they're polite, and tough, and good people, and have never exhibited an ounce of enmity towards Rick and his people. But Rick doesn't welcome them, doesn't try to bring them around, doesn't try to help them in any way, shape or form: he casts them out into a world of danger and zombies, probably sending them to their deaths, and he knows it.
To us, Rick = good; Governor = evil. Is it so clear cut?
Rick has chosen to be the leader - "this is NOT a democracy" - and makes no bones about him telling everyone what to do. And by losing his wife and killing his best friend, he's become unhinged.
The Governor clearly was rather powerless before, and now is enjoying the power that comes with his self-professed leadership. We saw him kill the army guys, and he's full of ulterior motives, so that is the main thing that sets him apart from Rick (the writers had to give him something to make him evil, and that was it — BUT, remember, Andrea doesn't know he's done any of these things) but otherwise, he, too, lost his wife and now his daughter, and has become unhinged.
And yet, in Breaking Bad we see Walter White mow down anything in his path because he now has power where he didn't before, and he uses fear-mongering to keep everyone in line. And we root for him every time, despite his antihero status. Or look at Tony Soprano. Or Vic Mackie. TV is full of antiheroes that we look up to, and Andrea has chosen the Governor for many reasons.
I truly believe that Andrea isn't stupid (I've revised my opinion of her after this episode**), but is willfully choosing a life that just seems easier after the hell she's been through. If I watched my sister die, and then tried to commit suicide and made my peace with it and was thwarted, and then continued to be with a group of people who shunted me to the side all the time and treated me differently, and was left behind for a year after saving one of their lives, and then lived with an angry woman who barely spoke and just glowered all the time (perhaps she was different with Andrea but we haven't seen much of that from her onscreen), I think I'd be ready to give up and just want something easy for a change. I think many of us would.
Andrea's just as human as Rick, Carol, the Governor, and the rest of them.
**I reserve the right to change my opinion on this and call Andrea crazy-as-a-shithouse in a few week's time...