Andrea is a survivor of a global zombie apocalypse. The apocalypse has annihilated the very fabric of civilization. Survivors cling tightly to one another as they fight off the mindless, voracious hordes of flesh-eating ghouls, forming fiercely protective clan groups. Most clans develop a social hierarchy with an easily-identifiable leader and clearly-defined roles for the other members of the group. Trust is paramount in maintaining the integrity of the clan and ensuring its best chance for survival. This allows not only for the group to perform efficiently but also establishes a civilizing influence in a world gone mad.
Currently, Andrea is at a crossroads. She just reunited with the original group–we’ll call it the Grimes clan, after Rick Grimes, the de facto leader–she belonged to at the start of the zombie apocalypse, from whom she was separated when an enormous herd of the undead overran the group’s former sanctuary/farmhouse. Recently she’s been living in Woodbury, a fortified enclave of human survivors run by the self-appointed “Governor”. Andrea constantly clashes with the Governor because of the sociopathic ruthlessness he displays by his appalling lack of humanity. She has said she feels the people of Woodbury “need” her, partly to shield them against the Governor. Yet she sleeps with on a regular basis.
Andrea is making her way back to Woodbury after meeting with Grimes, from whom she learned a number of disturbing facts regarding the Governor and his recent attacks on her old friends. Instead of driving straight back to the Governor, let’s all take a moment to consider Andrea’s options.
1) She could turn the car around and head back to the Grimes clan, currently holed up within a prison. While a prison might not be the ideal place to call home, it does house the people she’s always been able to trust and who only lost track of her because of an extraordinarily set of terrifying circumstances. Though Rick may have snapped a bit of his tether to the real world, his main concern right now–as it has always been–is keeping his people safe. In the process of re-integrating into Grimes, she could work to re-forge the bonds of friendship she’d established during the early, frightful days and weeks of the zombie apocalypse, before fields of swarming undead became the new normal. And she could start to repair her relationship with Michonne, the woman who saved her life from zombies, took care of her when she was sick, saved the lives of Maggie and Glenn when they were being held prisoner by the Governor, and whose friendship Andrea tossed by the wayside in favor of the Governor. Downsides: Merle is at the prison, and he is a dick. Andrea would have to start over, as the low man on the hierarchical totem pole. The Governor has more guns and people. And Rick is a little…you know. Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
2) She could turn the car around and head past the prison and on to points as yet unknown. She has a car, her gun, and some semblance of wits. At one point, she was enough of a bad-ass to shoot her own sister after that sister was infected by a zombie bite and turned into a monster. Admittedly the road is full of dangerous unknowns, but so is the world she’s used to. Rick doesn’t always live up to the concept of “stable” and the Governor is a power-hungry, murderous narcissist. Neither of these factors contributes to a desire to prolong one’s loyalty, and she could theoretically have days of travel under her belt before anyone actually gave a shit that she was missing. Downsides: traveling on one’s own can be nerve-wracking in the best of times. She lacks the knowledge about road conditions (clear? Or full of abandoned vehicles?) and supplies. She only has one clip in her gun. And there is no guarantee that any other group she encounters will offer more safety than the ones she is currently dealing with.
3) There is an abandoned town somewhere between the prison where the Grimes clan is holed up and Woodbury. Glenn and Maggie had gone there for supplies and subsequently were captured by Merle, who at that point was one of the Governor’s soldiers. Andrea could make her way to that abandoned town, break into the library, loot a copy of Codependent No More and not. Move. A. Muscle. until she determines why she has a thing for power-hungry, murderous narcissists. Remember, she also had a fling with Shane, who was on the express bus to Crazyville. Shane killed Otis and tried to kill Rick, but only after he tried to steal both Rick’s authority and his family out from under him. Because seriously, it’s like the writers cracked open a textbook, found a definition for codependency, and wrote her character around that. This may be a golden opportunity for Andrea to get to know herself a little better, work on her inner selfness, and break the pattern of destructiveness that has plagued her since we first met her in the series premiere. The town is fairly clear and she is familiar with the surrounding area. Downsides: she will be on her own, and may have to come to grips with some painful aspects of her personality.
4) She could get in the car Rick has given her and drive back to Woodbury and the Governor. It is walled and relatively safe, with food and water. We can all understand that Andrea’s romantic involvement with the Governor may skew her initial perceptions, and that mayhem has been raining down fast and hard in Woodbury and gets in the way of level-headed thinking. However. Girlfriend needs to take some time to assimilate all of her information about the Governor. Downsides? You got ‘em:
- He kept zombie and human heads in jars as trophies of his kills.
- He kept his zombie daughter locked in a cubby hole and would take her out to cuddle her when he had a sad.
- He concealed the presence of Glenn and Maggie from Andrea, and would have had them executed if Rick didn’t show up in time. He then lied to Andrea about his motives for concealing them.
- He sent Merle to kill Michonne. Michonne lived.
- He captures zombies for fun and experimentation.
- He forced Merle and his brother Daryl to fight in the human equivalent of a bear pit, to appease a crowd he whipped into a bloodthirsty frenzy.
- He initiated an assault on the prison the Grimes clan lives in and destroyed their outer defenses by having one of his minions drive a bread van through the exterior fencing and open the back of the truck, which was loaded with zombies. So, not only are zombies now able to make their way in past the exterior fence, they seeded the yard with zombies of their own. Furthermore, he lied to Andrea about who started what, and said Rick attacked them.
- He expects all of his people–including the untrained, the young, the physically infirm–to behave as soldiers. And his word is law.
- Andrea has caught him lying and found out about nearly everything he’s done, including seeing his wall of jarred creepy zombie head trophies.
“I just want to make sure no one else gets killed,” Andrea said to Carol, a member of the Grimes clan. Carol said, “You can end this,” and told her she could go back to Woodbury like Mata Hari, give the Governor the night of his life and dispatch him in his sleep.
In the end, out of all her possible options, Andrea did decide to return to Woodbury. She did bump uglies with the Governor. And then, in the middle of the night, she got up, got her knife, looked at him sleeping so peacefully (like an angel!) and got all soft and doughy. Then she put the knife away and went back to bed.
Seriously, Andrea, WTF? What else does the Governor have to do to finally prove he’s a goddamned nightmare? Zombie rape? Puppy kicking? Wearing white shoes after Labor Day?
Since Andrea has become the poster child for impaired decision-making, I’m proposing a line of Andrea-based paraphernalia, starting with the What Would Andrea Do? bracelet.
So when you’re trying to figure out if that new boyfriend or girlfriend is right for you…or you come across some information about your current relationship that gives you pause…or you’ve got friends who are fighting and you keep finding yourself in the middle of it…take a long, hard look at your What Would Andrea Do? bracelet. Consider her actions, based on codependency and misguided arrogance. And then? Do exactly the opposite.