Admit it, you hated her. She was totally annoying, and every time she came on screen with her angsty frustration face on to make yet another completely stupid decision, you rolled your eyes and cringed a little anticipating the new ways she’d mess everything up. **Spoilers** But you know the minute you saw the gaping hole where her neck used to be in the season finale, you choked back a few tears.
I admit I gasped a genuinely sad “Oh no! Aaaanndreaaaa!” before remembering that I’d shamelessly bemoaned her presence on screen for the past 3 seasons. Still, Andrea‘s death contrasts staggeringly against the deaths of other characters we hated. Take Lori for example. I might as well have shrugged when she got killed off. Good riddance to the single most annoying character ever! T-Dog was even more meh, considering that even the characters on the show barely seemed to notice he died.
But Andrea is different. Everyone’s been drinking the haterade on her for at least the past 2 seasons. I imagine a large part of our disappointment with this character (and one of the reason’s we’ll miss her no matter how lame she was in the show) is that she was way waaaay cooler in the comic. In the comic book series, she’s a scar-faced sharp shooter and an insanely critical and bad ass character. The TV series writers even seemed to allude to her potential when they had her pick up a sniper rifle (which was basically an extra appendage for her in the comic series) in episode 5 of season 2. But rather than become the sharp shooting beast and indispensable team member she becomes in the comic, the only thing Andrea manages to do with the rifle in the TV series is shoot Daryl.
It’s almost like they wanted us to hate her, right?! Well, actually, I think that is part of why she was made to be so annoying, but I think it’s also why she was so important.
But first, before we get into the official defense, I have to just applaud the beautiful symmetry of Andrea’s death in the season three finale with her sister’s death in Season one. Both sisters were bit on the neck, a wound that leaves exactly zero hope. And in both cases, Andrea took death into her own hands, turning down others’ offers to pull the trigger and instead choosing to make her sister’s and her own death intensely personal by doing it herself. And indeed, her sister’s death is one of the most powerfully mourned on the show.
Andrea sits with her sister as she dies, staying with her for hours until she turns and Andrea shoots her in the head. This too is paralleled in Andrea’s own death, when she is left staring death in the face as Milton first dies in front of her and then watching as he turns and eventually brings her demise.
Okay, but back to how annoying she is. So far in the series Andrea has made every single wrong decision she could possibly make – from screwing the crazy, misogynist Shane to refusing to leave Woodbury with Michonne, and, perhaps most importantly, failing to kill The Governor in his sleep.
Aside from gruesomely losing her sister and being pretty dope with a gun, the TV series’ Andrea is a far cry from her comic book counterpart, who is still very much alive in the ongoing comic book series. Comic book Andrea has become hardened to the same degree as the other survivors whereas TV Andrea, after emerging from the deep depression of losing her sister, was a stubbornly (and sort of stupidly) persistent beacon of hope, holding obstinately onto faith in humanity despite the oh-so-many reasons not to. This is why she embraced Woodbury and could not bring herself to leave while Michonne, hardened against the new reality of the apocalyptic world, raised an eyebrow and stepped up outta that crazy mofo’s town.
In a cast full of people gone insane from the horrors of this gruesome new world, Andrea is disturbingly normal. She takes up a hobby (sharpshooting is the stamp-collecting of the zombie-apocalypse), has petty fights with her friends, wears thongs (seriously who wears a thong in the apocalypse?), and falls for the bad boy. Even her reaction to her sister’s death, aside from the whole shooting her in the head part, is a reaction much more suited to the world before everything went to hell and people started eating each other. Everyone else accepts death as a terrifying eventuality; it’s sad, it’s scary, it might make you hallucinate your dead wife, talk to your chained-up, de-armed, zombie-fied boyfriend; or shoot point blank like 40 people from your own town, but no one else is crying sweetly, holding a personal wake and being put on suicide watch. There’s no time for that.
And that’s what makes Andrea so damn annoying. She’s too normal is this paranormal world. I mean, seriously, Andrea is probably the only person left alive in the zombie apocalypse who still manages to puke at the sight of gross dead things. And if we’ve learned one thing from The Walking Dead, it’s the normal gets you killed. That is, the new reality of the world requires a different moral code – The Governor knows it, Rick knows it, even little Carl is keenly aware that the same rules don’t apply. On the other hand… poor sweet Milton, poor judgmental Dale, poor valiant T-Dog… even Merle went out because of his single moment of morality and redemption.
Andrea might have been frustratingly full of fail, but she also gave us a strong counterpoint to the hardness and crazy that has taken over every other character. Her dogged delusion that things can be the same as before provides a stark contrast to show us just how much things have changed – flirty affairs, BFFs, and appealing to the logic and kindness of humanity are relics of the better-smelling past. Strategic warfare, tactical ruthlessness, and benevolent dictatorship are the staples of the world of the walking dead. And just to drive the point home, Andrea, still clinging to the shiny idea of “no one dying”, is taken with a bite that leaves no room for hope – a bite to the neck (there’s no chopping that off).
But she didn’t only exist to show how horrible everything is now. She also gave us insight into the taciturn Michonne as a real person, rather than just a one-dimensional mean-mugging, sword-wielding badass. And she gave us a glimpse of The Governor as real three-dimensional character as well. If you read the comic, you know how much of a departure TV Governor is from the straight-up no-question-about-it evil Governor of the comic book series. Through her we got to see how The Governor was at one time a normal guy, family man, and how he became the psychotic mess he is now.
Andrea herself was also a dynamic character, hard as it is to admit. She wasn’t all rainbows and sunshine. Like anyone would, she did what she had to do when it came down to it. The problem is it took a lot to get her to the point of doing what needed to be done. She had to come all the way down to the last freaking moment of a doubt to do it. And ultimately it was the difference of that moment that did her in. Cause that ish just don’t fly in the world of The Walking Dead.
Ten bucks the singing blonde gets it next.