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Questions of Loyalty Arise in Walking Dead's "I Ain't a Judas"

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"I Ain't a Judas" is the 11th episode of Walking Dead Season 3. As the title suggests, both Rick's group and the Governor's camp are wary of betrayals. Merle's arrival at the prison puts people on the edge, especially the ones he has history with. Meanwhile Andrea, being torn between her loyalty to her friends and to Philip, attempts to convince both sides to reconcile their differences. As expected, neither group wants to budge, with the Governor particularly underhanded in his methods of deception.

After the Governor's brutal attack, Hershel insists to leave the prison behind. Merle states that they should have done that during the night, when the Governor has had less time to prepare troops or scouts to man the roads. With the decision weighing heavily on his shoulders, Rick turns his back to walk away. Hershel calls out to him, saying that he should get back to lead them.

Prison Under fire

While surveying the grounds from above ground, Carl asks his father to hear him out without getting mad. He suggests that Rick should stop leading the group and instead delegate the responsibilities to someone like Daryl or Hershel.

Meanwhile, the Governor is planning an all-out attack against the prison group. Tasked with assessing the townspeople to gather new recruits for the army, Milton mentions that there are adults who suffer from chronic illnesses. Andrea is disturbed by the child soldiers and attempts to convince the Governor to allow her to negotiate a truce between Woodbury and her old friends. The Governor dismisses her suggestion, stating that if she leaves to meet up with them, that she should stay with them for good. He also refuses her request to use one of the town's vehicles, should she choose to head out anyway.

Rick and the others discuss what to do about the Walkers surrounding the prison. Problem is, Glenn has other issues he wants them to address first. Branding Merle as a "snake in the nest", Glenn suggests handing the older Dixon over to the Governor as a bargaining chip to leave them in peace. This is disapproved by Rick and backed up by Hershel who sees Merle's military experience as an asset to the group. He brings up that he believes in Merle's loyalty to Daryl as well. After the tense conversation, Hershel heads over to talk to Merle and the two have a conversation for the first time.

Child Soldiers and Reality Checks

After witnessing Woodbury prepare for war under the Governor's orders, Andrea turns to Milton for help. She asks him to cover for her so she could sneak out of town without the Governor's men noticing. Milton resents the fact that she put him on this spot and leaves to report back to Philip. The Governor then orders him to help Andrea with whatever she needs in order to travel to the prison grounds. He is shocked, verifying if this is indeed an order or simply a test of loyalty. After receiving the Governor's approval, he joins Andrea for her preparations.

The two capture a zombie, hacking off its arms and breaking its jaw to render it harmless (reminds me of the Walking Dead games), much like the pair of pet Walkers that Michonne used while travelling by herself. Milton and Andrea have just barely finished attaching a leash on the Walker when Tyreese and his companions stumble upon them. Perhaps seeing their potential as grunts for the militia, Milton agrees in taking the four back with him to Woodbury while Andrea proceeds with her plan to meet up with the prison group.

Setting aside their differences, Merle starts a conversation with Michonne. Seeing as she is rightfully wary of him, he mentions that it was purely a business decision and that he was only following orders, regretting many actions before and after the fact. While not completely sold on the idea, Michonne likens his role to that of the Gestapo (German Secret Police who follow Nazi orders to persecute and oppress the regime's enemies) and leaves the conversation on a neutral note.

Unhappy Reunions

After a long trek, Andrea finally arrives at the prison. Suspicious of their visitor, people take up arms to prepare for a potential attack. After a body search, they let her in the common area of the prison. Rick and the others fill her in about what really happened when the Governor attacked their home. Andrea pleads her case, mentioning that the Governor is preparing for a war but that it doesn't have to be this way. The group does not believe that this is possible. Rick tells Andrea that if she wants to set things right, she should help them get inside Woodbury to assassinate Philip but she refuses, saying that there are innocent people caught in the middle.

During a conversation outside, Michonne brings up Andrea's betrayal in choosing a warm fire over a loyal friend. She also brings up the fact that the Governor sent Merle to kill her as soon as she was out of Woodbury's gates, stating that he will kill anyone who will not obey him.

In Woodbury, Tyreese's group meets the Governor for the first time at the infirmary. Being driven out from the prison, the group mentions that they would like to stay in the town for good and that they are willing to earn their keep. Eventually the Governor finds out that the new arrivals have stayed in the prison for a short period of time and that they do not think highly of Rick. Philip asks if Tyreese can help him learn about the prison's layout.

Back at the prison, Andrea catches up with recent events through Carol and gets to hold Judith for the first time. During the course of their conversation, she learns what happened to Lori as well as the other former members of the group. Knowing about Andrea's relationship with the Governor, Carol suggests that Andrea give Philip the best night of his life, slitting his throat as he slept afterwards.

Rick's group provides Andrea with a car to make it back to Woodbury safely. She says her goodbyes and drives off, torn about who to side with. When she arrives at the town gates, she is yet again met with suspicion as the townspeople point their guns at her. She talks with the Governor, confirming the identities of the people who reside in the prison.

A Song for Tomorrow

As the group shares a moment of peace while listening to Beth's melodious voice, Rick, Daryl and Hershel talk about their next move. Knowing that Andrea is in no position to prevent the inevitable war from taking place, Rick decides to go on a run in the morning to seek out reinforcements. Because Merle's allegiances are still in question, he also asks Daryl to keep watch on his brother while he is gone.

With Andrea back within Woodbury's walls, Carol's advice weighs heavily on her mind. After their night together, she stands up to take a blade to the Governor's throat but she hesitates, unable to perform the assassination.

The Calm Before the Storm

While "I Ain't a Judas" isn't exactly the most action-packed episode of Season 3, it does set the stage for an explosive next episode. It would be too easy, not to mention anticlimactic, for Andrea to deal with Woodbury's leader with a messiah complex, so cross that out of your list. The real question is, does her hesitation mean that she will stand by the Governor against her friends? Or will she finally gather the strength to rebel against her evil boyfriend?

We also find the role of Tyreese's group interesting here. In the comics, the big guy was pretty loyal to the prison community so it's a surprising twist to see them over at the Governor's camp. Sure, Rick did turn them away, but Philip's plan is definitely going to ring warning bells in anyone with a conscience. Or not.

The next episode is simply titled "Clear" and the events reflect Ricks's decision to match the Governor's preparations for war. The preview shows Rick accompanied by Michonne and Carl, outside the sanctuary of the prison. There, they meet some unpredictable, potentially dangerous, individuals who have been surviving on their own out in the streets. A scene shows them passing up a hiker who begs them to let him hitch a ride in their vehicle while another shows them trying to reason with a sniper who holds them at gunpoint.

On a side note, Carl is definitely following Rick's footsteps. The next episode looks to have moments wherein he demonstrates the leadership skills of his father, insisting that he do something on his own –just in time considering Rick's mental instability.