The Walking Dead season 3 episode 11 review: I Ain't A Judas

Review Ron Hogan 25 Feb 2013 - 07:42

SFX head Greg Nicotero directs this week's episode of The Walking Dead, which is cleverly written and extremely gory...

This review contains spoilers.

3.11 I Ain't a Judas

For the bulk of this season, Andrea has been an after-thought. There's been potential for the character to become interesting, but none of the writers have really taken hold of it. Until, perhaps, this week. After weeks of being on the back burner to Michonne, The Governor, and even Milton, Andrea gets pushed to the centre this week as she finally starts to show some agency. After being passively guided by pretty much everyone around her this season, Andrea finally gets to do something of her own free will, only to have it more or less blow up in her face. 

The 'Andrea as New Lori' meme that has taken over discussion of The Walking Dead seems to centre on comparing Comic Andrea to TV Andrea, specifically in ways that TV Andrea comes up short. People hate TV Andrea in the same way they once hated Lori, but it seems as though the show may have figured out something to make Andrea more interesting. 

In a show with a lot of grey characters, Andrea's shade of grey might be the one with the biggest potential to create drama in the show. Rick, Carl, Michonne, Hershel... we know that most of the prison's population is pretty much on the good side of things; ditto The Governor on the darker side of grey. Characters like Andrea, Merle, and Daryl are necessary in any good drama because they could pick any side in the upcoming conflict and it would make sense. Will Andrea pick Rick and her old friends or Philip her lover? Does Merle have a real home in either group of survivors anymore? Will Daryl pick his blood family or his survivor family? 

This week's script, by Angela Kang, explores these issues in some detail, but with a subtlety that one doesn't often get from The Walking Dead. There's a lot said concerning Andrea's loyalties, but it's what isn't said that matters most. There's a posture the actors take in scenes with her, a guardedness that's as close to underplaying something as this show gets. It's all very cleverly shot and staged, and it gives some lesser-known characters like Milton—who is really growing on me—a chance to actually do some character building. Kang is almost successful at making Andrea conflicted, rather than just stupid. Not entirely, mind you, but she's doing the best of all of the writers at handling Andrea's unique situation. 

When Greg Nicotero gets his hands on an episode as a director, he typically gets one with some really good special effects sequences. Whether that's because he's the FX guy or because he gets really lucky, I'm not sure. Then again, just about every episode has at least one good gory set piece, and this one's no exception. It's honestly one of the few times I've ever had to look away from the screen while watching something either from television or a movie; to ensure that readers realise this is not faint praise, Cannibal Holocaust is the only gore movie that forced me to turn it off (and that was because of the animal torture). Even though I know that all of TWD's effects are harmless, the way this particular scene was shot really got to me in the best way possible. The show's co-executive producer and special effects guru, Nicotero is growing into a decent television director in his spare time, which isn't a bad racket if you can get into it. 

There are five episodes of The Walking Dead remaining in this season, and that gives the show plenty of time to surprise us with character deaths, allegiance shifts, and other fun plot trickery. Given the quick acceleration of the conflict between the prison and Woodbury, it seems as though this will get very messy before things seem to calm down, and I'd wager on The Governor lasting past the end of this season as the main antagonist. I would love to see a fourth season with a cat-and-mouse pursuit with Rick and the gang running from an armed Mad Max-style convoy of armed madmen. Of course, given the show's inability to stick with one runner for longer than a season, who knows what we'll actually get? 

US Correspondent Ron Hogan is surprised by how much Andrea shadow booty The Walking Dead is willing to show. Find more by Ron daily at Shaktronics and PopFi.

Read Ron's review of the previous episode, Home, here.

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I really like the differences from the comic. Sniper Carl just makes sense. Tyrese in Woodbury? I said nooooooo! But 3 huge black good guys in a row? He was doomed on Rick's side.

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Andrea makes me want to tear my eyes and ears out. Other than her the shows great.

You talking about the American History X homage?

That first half of season two is such a forgotten memory. I am completely riveted by this show.

Oh and also, desite Andrea's failings I totally fancy her.

I mean a lot.

I am. Makes all my dental work ache.

They started to go down the 'sniper Carl' path even earlier in the comics - remember that it's Carl, not Rick, who kills Shane in the comics, and starts finding it much easier than the adults to kill anyone who needs killing (there's one particular moment I recall where they're in a friendly town and an even younger kid has gone nuts and is about to start a shooting spree. None of the adults know what to do, because they can't bring themselves to shoot a kid...until Carl coldly puts one through his head and walks off as though it was nothing).

For a while, the comics even explore the conflicting morality of the situation, as the adults are simultaneously desperately worried that Carl's now psychologically screwed up for life, while also wondering whether he's just a case of humanity's next generation adapting to overcome the situation they find themselves in, just as humanity as always done. Unfortunately the comics then give Carl amnesia and completely drop that whole thematic line. But it's enough that I'd have loved to see at least some of the group appearing realistically disturbed hat the kid has become their coldest killer. Would add some much-needed thematic gravitas to a series where the action is too often pointless.

I could have happily missed this episode

Great review as I've come to expect from DoG, Ron. Have to say though, this was for me the weakest episode of S3, part 2.

Hell, YES. The sort of twist you expect from EVERY issue of The Walking Dead is totally absent from the TV Show. If Kirkman had written that scene, that knife would have struck home.

I find it more realistic to have someone like Andrea follow everyone else. We get to told we're watching Leaders and Followers on TV so much. Jack was the leader on Lost apparently but people followed Sawyer, Hurley, Locke, Kate, Sayid at various time. Rick's meant to be the leader but his decision's are nearly always question. Carl isn't just a follower and neither is Herschel.

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