The Walking Dead: Does Andrea Have a Play?

After last week's episode, we wondered what Merle's next move was, in light of the fact that he and the Governor have a somewhat fundamental disagreement over whether or not Merle should be looking for his brother Daryl. This week, though, it seems as though Andrea faces a harder and even more immediate crisis: what does she do, now that her support system (Michonne) has been stripped away from her just as the Governor and Woodbury are beginning to show their true colors?

While it might seem that she's pretty boxed in--she can't survive alone in the wild like Michonne can, after all, and even if she could, it's hard to say whether she would be allowed to do so. It's one thing to rid yourself of a dangerous, capable woman who already knows too much and has threatened the Governor. Allowing his sweetheart to just waltz through the gates and out of his life is a whole other thing.

We speculated briefly in an earlier story Andrea might be gaming the Governor, returning his flirtations more because she's feeling him out than because she's into him. While we didn't think that theory held much water before, it seems a little less preposterous now. Next week's preview has the Governor telling her that she doesn't have to feel guilty for enjoying the fights, in spite of the fact that she seemed positively nauseated by it in tonight's episode. Is he delusional? Given that she was a pretty straight shooter it seems unlikely. We think it's probably more likely than not that she's playing into his hopes and expectations for her, either to keep herself safe or to gain herself enough trust to eventually make an escape possible.

Could she have decided that she really likes the fights? It's possible but unlikely. If you remember her roots, she was a civil rights lawyer and, excepting gun possession, was a pretty vocal, bleeding-heart liberal for much of the first season and a half or so. The plague didn't seem to have changed that back when they were at Hershel's. Not to overgeneralize, but keeping walkers for entertainment and bare-knuckles brawling doesn't really seem to jive with that mentality.

As with many things in the Woodbury story, Merle is the real wild card. Not only has he expressed an interest in Andrea that she didn't completely shoot down, but he's also got a vested interest in finding out some things that she already knows about the world outside, and Daryl. Also, since he never appeared in the comic book series, Merle is the kind of character who can totally change the narrative of the TV series with pretty much any major move he makes. Could Andrea be the thing that splits his cozy relationship with the Governor? It doesn't seem too far outside of the bounds of possibility.