Temperamental and rash, Andrea is determined to prove herself. But she remains prone to emotional outbursts that cloud better judgment, and result in foolish half-thought actions. That Andrea does have natural strength and the gumption to use it make her missteps all the more painful to watch. And often in the case of her fellow survivors, that pain is literal.
Who is Andrea? She is a character from The Walking Dead—a series of graphic novels by Robert Kirkman turned into one of the world’s hottest cable television shows by AMC and an insanely talented production crew. They have created cast of characters I have a great deal of love for:
- the tormented former lawman Shane Walsh,
- the squirrel-tossing badass Daryl Dixon,
- the honorable Glenn and
- the elder statesman Dale.
If you aren’t watching the show you should be. From the moment the show begins viewers are taken on the undead ride of a lifetime, watching a cast of beleaguered humans fight not only to survive, but to retain that which makes us most human.
And it is Andrea—more than any other character on the show—that has left me screaming at my television set in equal parts empathy, rage and frustration.
Andrea is The Walking Dead’s most deadly female. Unlike the other women in the main survivor group she is very able to pull the trigger—and this ability is a vital component to both individual, and group, survival. But she is struggling to develop the mental maturity to deal with the new realities of a zombie-infested world. She has the guts. Her physical reactions to danger are never brought into question. Once the proverbial mess hits the fan, she is transformed into a tough-as-nails woman who does whatever is needed of her to draw her next breath. It remains to be seen whether she will survive long enough to become the face of “female power” on the show.
[***WARNING: Spoilers ahead***]
Andrea is a survivor. Anyone who has been through a war zone, natural disaster or other catastrophic event can tell you, no individual really knows how they’ll react in a life-threatening situation until they’re staring down the barrel of an AK-47. Some people freeze, some panic. Some go into survival mode to just get through it, while others become something akin to a battled-hardened army officer—alert, organized, able to take command of the situation. Andrea is able—no doubt thanks in no small part to massive adrenaline rushes—to batten down the emotional hatches and get through jut about anything.
But Andrea’s survival methods are also somewhat dangerous.
She is willing to push herself, but may take on more than she can handle. When walkers bit, infected and killed her last surviving family member, Andrea showed the depth of her constitution. She stayed by her sister Amy’s side—wracked with fear, guilt, sorrow and rage—until the zombification process took hold. It was Andrea who pulled the trigger to end Amy’s zombie existence. It was a moment of great strength, one that most of us would hope our loved ones would have were we to fall to a zombie horde. But it cost Andrea dearly, left her flailing and lashing out….and, yes, potentially dangerous to the other survivors.
She doesn’t listen. In the rush to demonstrate her ability to do more than wash the group’s laundry, Andrea ignored the entreaties of others in the group to take a shot at a possible walker headed towards Herschel’s farm. Now if we ignore the fact that the shot she took was aimed at one of the fan favorites Daryl Dixon and set off a pretty massive outpouring of hate, it remains a stupid move, at best. One walker. A half-dozen able-bodied men with weapons moving to intercept said walker. Why on earth would anyone consider it a good idea to take the shot and risk alerting every zombie for miles? Andrea’s desire to prove herself could cost the group lives.
Andrea is out for revenge. Few of us ever have someone specific to blame when a loved one dies; a mainstay of the human condition that can cause debilitating levels of sorrow. Andrea knows who killed her sister. Walkers. And she will take out every walker she can. In order to avoid the pitfalls usually associated with revenge, Andrea has to find a way to channel her pain strategically and not take ill-advised pot shots at ear-necklace-wearing rednecks.
There is a delicate dance to the life Andrea is molding herself to fit. She must remain level-headed enough to take clean, precise shots at the walkers. However, being able to say, “Now is not the time to fight” and retreat with the people she’s now sworn to protect is a huge skill to utilize. Can Andrea continue to grow into the ultimate zombie slayer? Will she be able to look past her thirst for revenge to do what is needed for the betterment of the group? She is unpredictable at best, downright dangerous to herself at worst. If Andrea falls into the darkness, nothing Dale or the others do will pull her out of a self-destructive tailspin. It is the danger we all face when put into world-altering events.
With special thanks to R.C. Murphy
This post originally appeared on www.julietteterzieff.com