Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Tonight’s episode, “I Ain’t a Judas,” delves deeply into the theme of trust and betrayal, cutting back and forth between Andrea and Merle, both seeking trust in their groups with little to prove their personal merit. While Andrea continues to allow her naiveté with men to feed her denial, Merle uses the group’s trust of Daryl to wedge his way back in.
Andrea’s reaction when she learns of the prison attack shows that she is sympathetic for Rick’s group despite her loyalty to Woodbury. The Governor’s response to her request to see her old friends makes it clear to her that the line in the sand has been drawn. When she asks for Milton’s help to “escape” behind the Governor’s back, she crosses that line despite his warning, “If you go to that prison, stay there.” She demonstrates her resolve to save both groups in a peaceful manner in her willingness to make the long and dangerous walk alone.
She doesn’t look entirely surprised when Rick tells her the truth about the attack, and yet she continues to remain in denial over the Governor’s wrongdoing. In turn, the group is guarded around her, unwilling to accept that she is completely innocent in the matter. Michonne goes so far as to call her on it, telling her, “You chose a warm bed over a friend.” The sad truth is, despite her desire to do what’s best for both sides, her inability to choose one group over the other works as a betrayal to both. It is likely that her inaction will result in deaths on both sides.
Merle is a little harder to figure out, his actions often at odds with his motives. It is hard to say whether his warnings about the Governor are sincere, as it is just as likely that he merely seeks to intimidate the group or, even worse, instigate another battle. He begins the episode behind bars, but by the end, he’s trusted enough to carry a gun and help defend the prison. Daryl insists Merle should be treated as part of the group, and Hershel expresses that they should not “underestimate his loyalty to his brother,” implying that Daryl’s loyalty to them should, in turn, create a loyalty in Merle as well.
Michonne has proven herself to be a good judge of character, and her refusal to accept Merle’s attempt to “clear the air” is likely very telling. She compares his previous loyalty to the Governor with the unforgivable acts performed by the Gestapo, implying that one so eager to kill blindly for the sake of “carrying out orders” should not be trusted.
I predict that Merle will end up being just as much of a detriment as Andrea, his erratic and explosive behavior resulting in chaos and death within the group. What do you think? Would you trust either of them with your life?
Leigh M. Lane is a speculative fiction author whose works span from sci-fi to horror. Her most recent full-length works are The Hidden Valley Horror, Finding Poe, World-Mart, and Myths of Gods. For more about her work, go to her website at http://www.cerebralwriter.com.