The Walking Dead "I Ain't No Judas" Review: My, How You've Changed!

By Tim Surette

Feb 25, 2013

The Walking Dead S03E11: "I Ain't a Judas"

Through two and a half seasons, we've learned that The Walking Dead's quality swings around like a pendulum with little urgency to return. When the show hits a funk, we're never sure how long that funk will last. Two episodes? Half of Season 2? But one thing the show has proven is that when it swings back, it swings back HARD. After one definitely not-that-good episode ("The Suicide King") and one episode of debatable quality ("Home," apparently a Zombie Trojan Horse is enough for some to forgive the lackluster first half of the episode), tonight's "I Ain't No Judas" was The Walking Dead at its best, combining brain-busting violence with some great character moments. YEAH I SAID GREAT CHARACTER MOMENTS! I know, crazy.

This episode was all about perspective and continued last week's literal theme of being on different sides of the fence. At this point, we've known Rick longer than anyone else in this show except for Carl. We know his arc, we know what he's been through, we've seen him kill his best friend, we've seen him put his hands on his knees and make painful faces when he found out his wife died. Dude has put on some mileage in the grieving department, and he's changed because of it.

But some of these other characters in the show haven't been by his side. The moment when Andrea returned to the group and found them almost unrecognizable was powerful. She expected hugs and a lollipop party but the group has changed so much since the Farm that instead she was greeted with a PUT YOUR HANDS UP ON THE FENCE and a vigorous pat down, led by Rick. She got the news about Shane and Lori (oh and by the way, T-Dog died too Andrea, thanks for asking) and it's an excellent reminder of how hardened the group has become. The time on the farm looks like a nice weekend at a Bed and Breakfast comparatively.

Through Andrea's eyes, The Governor's claim that Rick's gang is a trigger happy group of yahoos makes a bit more sense as she's not entirely sure what they're capable of anymore. Don't get me wrong, Andrea's still delusional and a lot of the conflict brewing within her relies on us believing in her relationship with The Governor (which I still don't). But if you can overlook that silliness and just accept that Andrea has a fetish for horrible men or is Ms. Terrible Life Choices 2013, it almost makes all the painful dilly-dallying she did in Woodbury worth it. Almost. She's in a pickle of a situation, caught between The Governor and Rick's group and sitting on top of a pile of questionable information. She's a Hatfield that's been hanging out with The Mcoys. And even if she does wise up to The Governor's true intentions, and it appears she is starting to get there, there are a lot of innocent people back at Woodbury who don't deserve to be caught up in this mess even though they're a bunch of idiots. Andrea even fancies herself a champion of those people, and has started writing her next speech. Excerpt: "Woodbury is great! And so are you! Everyone get in here for a group hug!" Andrea's Messiah Complex is important even if it's silly from an outsider's perspective because taking Rick's side just to be anti-Governor isn't strong enough. This is by far the most interesting Andrea has been since, I don't know, ever?

There was more twisted perspective coming from Tyreese's group when they arrived at Camp Woodbury. Think about what they went through. They came upon this sweet prison and were welcomed in, only to be scooted out by some crazy man who doesn't shake hands and screams at imaginary friends on the second floor. Their idea of Rick falls very much in line with the trashy gossip The Governor is spreading, making them valuable assets in the Great Grimes Smear Campaign. Other people who can validate The Governor's lies? That's like a sack of Twinkies falling into the lap of a kid at fat camp. He loves them! And of course you want the giant, scary black dude running around a battlefield with brains dripping from the end of his hammer on your team.

And so here we are, two sides preparing for war, both with new members who have inside information about the enemy. The Governor is doing his best Sierra Leone Warlord impression by drafting kids to his ranks, and Team Prison is fortifying the compound with pallets and prison trash. This is warfare in the post-zombie-outbreak world.

In the end, Andrea took Carol's advice about humping The Governor into post-coital unconsciousness with the plan to shank him in his sleep, ending this thing without a mess except for some bloody sheets. Even though we knew she wasn't going to do it because we have five more episodes left in the season, there was a moment when she was really convinced she was going to go through with it. I don't know if she stopped because she's got the hots for him or because she's not sure who to trust, but at least we could see her thinking it out. It's the kind of character moment this show hasn't had enough of recently, and a promising sign that the rest of the season is headed in the right direction.



NOTES

– There was a lot more bite to the conversations between survivors in this episode. Carl and Rick, Carol and Daryl, Hershel and Merle, and Michonne and Andrea all had good chats that brought their characters to life. See, The Walking Dead? You can do it!

– The ending of the episode went all Sons of Anarchy on us, wrapping things up with a musical montage set to the tune of Tom Wait's "Hold On." Though it worked well, it still stuck out as odd because this show just doesn't do that. I guess I'm of mixed feelings about this?

– Ahhhhh! Give it up for Andrea's American History X and Gears of War curbstomp to make that toothless, armless zombie repellant. That is going to be hard for the rest of the season to top.

– Unfortunately, that scene also featured what was probably The Walking Dead's worst special effects. When Andrea was hacking off the zombie's arms, the wide shot looked terrible because of the weak animatronic zombie dummy who just squirmed back and forth rhythmically. A blemish on an otherwise fantastic job by Greg Nicotero and his people.

– Andrea's hatchet appears to be sharpened by Excalibur or a Ginsu knife. She can slice a zombie's face off no prob with half a swing.

– Haha Noah, the 14-year-old boy with asthma. Haha. Mommy have to save from the Governor's Army? Afraid you might fall and scrape your knee? That kid might become a zombie after dying from embarrassment due to his mom's overprotective whining in front of the whole town. I can't wait for him to die. And Ms. McLeod, take an aspirin for your arthritis and go jump on that 50 cal! There's no room for complainers in The Governor's army!

I discussed this episode with Slate's Chris Kirk, if you'd like to check it out!



Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter if you want to: @TimAtTVDotCom

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  • frankfonseca5 Mar 01, 2013

    You never mentioned (I haven't read all the comments yet) but Andrea reacting to Rick killing Shane. "Shane loved Rick".

  • Grazzy Feb 28, 2013

    Well, I don't buy Andrea's loyalty to the Governor either. Honestly, who would you trust: the people who spent MONTHS with you on a farm or a guy who you've spent WEEKS with? Michonne's observation was spot on: she traded a friend for a warm bed. And then Andrea went all: "You guys are living HERE?" she sounded like a cousin who married a rich guy and is visiting her poor relatives! I would have liked it much better if she actually had tried to kill the Governor and then he woke up and stopped her or something. It would have made more sense. Also, I don't understand why characters don't have the conversations we would expect in real life: there should have been a much more heated debate on the things the Governor has done, like kidnapping Maggie and Glenn. I don't remember them mentioning it, just the fact that the Woodbury guys attacked the prison. Weird.

  • ChanX95 Feb 28, 2013

    This is starting to feel like a bad character drama with the actual walking dead being relegated to little nuisances in the background. None of this sissy feelings stuff.

  • solidusE Feb 27, 2013

    how long are they gonna torture us with Andrea's stupid faces and naive behavior....please just put a bullet in her head already...worst written character ever

  • lonea Feb 27, 2013

    I loved the ending with Hold On. Tom Waits is my favourite, and Beth's voice is wonderful.

  • Chaos-Melly Feb 27, 2013

    I actually thought this episode was pretty poor, yeah it had some great character chats but in general it left me cold.

    I didn't feel any suspense, there was only one real zombie ass kicking (Andrea in the woods) and I don't think I feared for anyones life once!

    In general it was as close as TWD gets to a snooze fest!

  • soutarm Feb 27, 2013

    Another great review Tim. On the subject of Andrea's hatchet, it was sharp enough to take out a zombie or two with a single swing but to sever an arm took quite a few chops. I also noticed a few of those chops to the arm shows the hatchet not even hitting where the arm was coming apart. They must have put the intern on that job.

  • Svanehjerte Feb 26, 2013

    I want to see them not being so trapped on farms and prisons etc. I liked it best when they were on the move. I want to see them not going crazy by "how awful the world has become" all the time. Maybe just deal with it, kill as many zombies as they can to "solve the problem". I would also like to see more plot concerning the real issue here - how people became zombies in the first place, why it all happened and what to do about it. Try find a cure maybe. I want to see something new than just crazy Shanes and governors.

    They should also try to keep some of the cast instead of killing off so many of them for a while since they are such a small group now.

  • mcepin3 Feb 27, 2013

    Wasn't there some talk also at CDC,that in France they came close to cure or something like that? But they lost communication and so on...

    I kinda like,that they aren't searching for cure...atm at least. Most likely,some secret science team or some pharmaceutical company(or companies) are responsible for this with their tests and probably some test went wrong or some virus "break-out".

    OR..since writers and anyone these days for that matter...they like to go "full circle" and make our "heroes" also cause of problem. Like,when Rick and Shane were there to stop those guys,who were running with car and was this gun fight,maybe those people were smuggling something no one knew about and Rick got infected and he is patient zero. I know, near impossible scenario and really out there theory,but in some parallel universe it might be true:D

  • Sw33tEscape Feb 27, 2013

    It's obviously a virus and didn't we see part of that when they were at the CDC, not real flashbacks but we got some background info. Also it makes no sense that they would know anything about a cure, none of them are scientists, I doubt most of them went to college. Plus in all this survival when would they have time to look for a cure, they barely can find formula.

  • Svanehjerte Feb 28, 2013

    I know that THEY are not scientists, but what I meant was that I would like to see a new plot development regarding this issue. Like what they did at the CDC, but then it blew up and they moved on and that was as far as they went with that... I'd like to see more in that vein.
    I think there are limits to how long they can continue this series by just going about the same as they have been doing up until now. Mind you, I haven't read all the comics yet so I don't know where they're headed after the prison part.

  • borgsblueyes Feb 26, 2013

    Ok, so Zombies are dead. So they must be decomposing. How long can Zombies 'live' then? Why don't the suffer from rigor mortis? How come they are not covered in insects and worms feeding on the decay? Do all the Zombies just rot away in the end? Is that how TWD will end? Just curious is all.

  • DinChild Feb 27, 2013

    These are very basic questions for Zombie logic. Basic, but fundamental...and absolutely valid. The zombies depicted in this show are fairly accurate to how dead walking things should look...but still, not nearly as gross or decrepit. That would take a higher budget than the money-grubbing execs are willing to spend. Look no further than their idea of how a shoot-out is supposed to be done...

    ...maybe that's why they chose to do zombies. They can't film a shootout worth a shit.

  • borgsblueyes Feb 27, 2013

    I guess if they just stayed in the prison and a few weeks later all the zombies decayed away, it would only be marginally more boring than season 2 :)

  • nuwonda Feb 26, 2013

    Tim, what happened? Normally you are spot on, this episode was dull and predictable. It has literally nothing to offer. Btw, Who buys the bible quoting Merle? And amc stop bribing Tim with a zombie guest appearance! ;)

  • nasiafan Mar 04, 2013

    I bought the Bible quoting Merle. He's in the south (America's original Bible Belt) and grew up in an abusive southern home, you better know your word. Plus, whether you're a redneck or minority, the poor know their religions and are religious. This episode was pretty off and had more misses than hits, but that Merle moment was a hit for me

  • MissMunchkin Feb 28, 2013

    I bought Merle knowing the Bible. For one, he's right in the midst of the Bible Belt. For another, low income families (like the Dixons) are quite known for being religious as a means of escape and also because most families, no matter how poor, often own a Bible. Also, Merle (and Darryl) said he'd been in prison once or twice, and many convicts tend to "find" religion while incarcerated.

    What I didn't buy, though, was the idea that Merle became religious while in Woodbary. That made me roll my eyes.

  • nuwonda Feb 28, 2013

    I was thinking "Bible belt" as well, still I don't buy the "brute" cites the bible by heart type. Oh well, TWD has other problems to fix anyhow, deviating from the comics can be a 2 edged sword and when your writing falls short that edge is vewwy vewwy sharpe.....

  • DinChild Feb 27, 2013

    Nuwonda, it's called lowered standards.

    Tim is a character whore. And so am I to a big degree, so I understand where he's coming from. However, he is a little off-base in his overall praise for this episode. Hell, I'd say he's jumped the shark in his character...we should be reviewing Tim.

  • nuwonda Feb 28, 2013

    Review the reviewers! Revolution!!!^^

  • ECronley001 Feb 27, 2013

    agreed I can't understand for the life of me what Tim see's in The Walking Dead. And as you guys said, Tim and I also usually see eye to eye. But man I have watched this show since the beginning hoping it would improve considering I'm a huge zombie fan. Now the only reason I watch it is to get a few chuckles here and there at the stupidity exihibited by every single character with the exception of Carl. His only saving grace is that he is a kid and is allowed to act half retarded given his situation. With that said there is at least 1 redeeming quality about the show and that is the special effects and makeup department, they are setting a benchmark for other TV shows. Tim you are officially under review by me from this point forward. The moment you put "great character moments" (in all caps), and The Walking Dead in the same sentence, you put yourself on The Board of Public Review

  • nuwonda Feb 28, 2013

    The show's still good, just has some rotten episodes since errr Season 2... with a few highlights in between. Still hoping the writers can deliver more highlights more consistently.

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