Forever throwing the audience for a loop, the second to last episode of this season’s The Walking Dead was no exception. The episode opened on Michonne’s long-dead walker pets chained to a tree as she and Andrea sat by a fire cooking something in tin cans. We watch as Andrea finds the courage to ask Michonne how she came upon her pets and we see an emotional side to Michonne that we have yet to witness. As tears fill her eyes she explains, “they deserve what they got. They weren’t human to begin with.”
Over in Woodbury, The Governor is stringing chains to posts in a secluded room. As he wraps chains around his hands and kneels between the poles he has an almost coital grin on his face. What, exactly, does he have planned for this room? Outside in the streets, guns are being loaded onto a truck as a clueless Andrea and Milton watch. What happened to the deal that was struck just yesterday? Milton wonders in on The Governor unpacking his tools (do we want to know why there is a speculum?) and they exchange some words. Finally, we think, he is in Andrea’s side as he spills his guts about Michonne and The Governor’s plans or the prison. As they watch him unpack even more torture devices, Andrea realizes she should have killed him when she had the chance.
In a fit of genius, Andrea finally escapes over the walls of Woodbury, intent on going back to the prison group and helping them fight this war. What she didn’t plan on was Ty telling The Governor that she had gone. In a controlled rage, he tells Milton he is going after her while Milton tries to get him to just leave her be. He made a fatal mistake earlier in the episode by saying that Michonne killing Penny doesn’t matter. Unfortunately for everyone, Penny is all that matters and right now, The Governor only has eyes for finding Andrea and dragging her back to Woodbury.
Andrea attempts to run the marathon-length stretch of road to the prison before the roar of an engine startles her off the road and into the woods. As a truck barrels down the road, she heaves a sigh of relief, leaning against a tree. As a walker grabs her from behind and a hoard closes in on her, she proves that she can take care of herself and does not need The Governor to protect her like he seems to think he has to. She stumbles off through the woods, hoping that her trail loses her as she takes the long way back to the prison.
The real meat of this episode comes as Andrea trudges across an open field and is spotted by The Governor, who is behind the wheel of the truck that has a roaring engine with a sound that makes fear strike like a bolt of lightening down Andrea’s spin. She knows that if he catches her, he will kill her. Running for her life, she escapes into the trees and eventually stumbles upon an abandoned group of buildings. In a sick game of hide and seek, The Governor stalks Andrea throughout the building, his fear-inducing whistle echoing off the walls. Like any good villain, The Governor follows her exact path, building the suspense as he almost finds her before being distracted by some walkers making noise. Andrea thinks she is safe as she charges into a stairwell full of walkers. When Phillip finds her and they stare each other down, she has a moment of pure brilliance. Shielding herself behind the door, she releases the walker to attack Phillip. He fights a good fight, but his pitiful screams seem to only give Andrea a moment of pause before she exits the building and continues her journey home. For once, I cheered for her.
The prison rises like a ray of hope out of the cover of the trees and Andrea smiles in relief. As she waves for Rick up on the guard tower to notice her, her worst nightmare comes back around. As The Governor’s hands clamp around her, Rick thinks he sees something and stares through the scope of his rifle hoping that he really did see something. However, his fits of insanity have made him skeptical of himself and he looks away, leaving Andrea prey to The Governor without realizing he has sealed her fate.
In Woodbury, things got real interesting as someone set the pit of walkers (The Governor’s “scare tactic”) on fire. Everyone seems to know about it, but not who did it. Genius writing has the audience wondering: was it The Governor himself? Was it Milton? Was it Ty who so adamantly did not like the idea of using the walker for anything? As The Governor goes about the town like nothing of note happened, blood splattering his face and hairline, Milton asks if Andrea is dead. With pause The Governor replies, “I hope not.” In one of the best shots of the episode, we take a walk through The Governor’s “workshop” and it is revealed that Andrea is indeed alive, but that she may be the first human test subject in The Governor’s twisted laboratory.
Tune in next week to the season 3 finale as Rick continues to see his dead wife, Merle is still the odd man out and the prison group finds out what The Governor truly wants.