The Walking Dead, Season 3

Andrea’s Head Would Look Great in the Governor’s Fish Tank
Talking television.
Nov. 19 2012 10:05 AM

The Walking Dead, Season 3

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Andrea talks, is widely disliked.

Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in 'Walking Dead.'
Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker) in 'Walking Dead.'

Photo by Gene Page/AMC.

Critics and viewers groan whenever Andrea gets some airtime, and she’s been getting a lot of it since Lori, also a widely detested character, died. The Woodbury scenes in “Hounded” are “the weakest of the episode, seeing as how Andrea is, as ever, not the most fun person to spend time with,” writes Zach Handlen at the AV Club. “There was some fairly silly dialogue in a few scenes this week, and some of the Governor and Andrea’s flirty back-and-forth — ‘It just happens.’ ‘Other things happen…’ — were more laughable than provocative,” writes IGN’s Eric Goldman.

A rare defense of Andrea appears, though, in the Slate comments.  “She has a real character arc, one of the most interesting on the show, “ writes commenter Jack Strawb. Mr. Strawb, the only people who like Andrea are you and the Governor, and the Governor keeps zombie heads in fish tanks. A quick Twitter search illustrates that admiration for Andrea doesn’t go much past her, in the words of Andrew Conrad of The Baltimore Sun, “milky white thighs.” Still, I think it’s fair to say that Andrea is more fleshed out than many of the more popular (or less unpopular) survivors, even if her bland, mechanical dialogue spoils her tolerability.

Fortunately Merle carries the show with such gems as “pig-sticker” and “bitergram” and some gorgeously delivered lines. Something about the way he said “armed to the teeth” just sounded like he had a knife in his teeth. Why risk this gentle soul by sending him in pursuit of a blade-wheeling, tree-jumping, villager-decapitating superwoman? Executive producer Robert Kirkman explains at Entertainment Weekly: “The idea that Michonne would be out there knowing about Woodbury and would be able to tell someone about it and possibly bring other people there is something that he just couldn’t allow happen.” In short: Woodbury itself is another one of the Governor’s secrets.

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Meanwhile, Rick’s trippy phone calls with dead survivors raised at least one skeptical eyebrow. “This is all a tricky conceit for a plot, and I'm not sure how well it ends up working,” writes J.J. Gould of the Atlantic. “Could a spell of post-traumatic madness really play itself out in such an orderly, sequential, reality-approximating way as this series of phone conversations does? Maybe?" But I suppose it’s better than Rick sulking or raving like a madman (we get it: he loved Lori after all). Slate commenter opus512 praised the plotline as a “nice diversion” that provided an effective way for the show to “move on with the wider storyline and not dwell on Rick and his guilt anymore.”

Despite Andrea being Andrea and Rick being crazy, praise for The Walking Dead holds steady, now only two episodes away from its midseason break. As Geoff Berkshire of Zap2It writes, every episode have been “marvelously dense.” Dave Trumbore of Collider writes, “It’s amazing how much meat and potatoes AMC’s The Walking Dead has already crammed into the first five episodes of season three, but the best is yet to come.”

Hopefully that doesn’t involve Glenn’s head crammed into a fish tank. Though some people wouldn’t mind Andrea’s.

Chris Kirk is Slate's interactives editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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