Spoiler warning: If you haven’t seen The Walking Dead’s season finale, stop reading now.
In an extreme example of irony in action, the two characters who most believed in the goodness of human nature ended up killing each other in the season finale of AMC’s The Walking Dead.
AMC promised a death toll of nearly 30 characters for the conclusion of its third season, and it delivered. While most of the deaths came in the anticlimactic execution of Woodbury’s “army” by the Governor himself, two played out in a much more dramatic fashion.
Milton and Andrea, prisoners of sorts in the Governor’s cult of personality, both tried to undermine his plans in their own way, but for the same reason: They wanted to prevent the loss of life. In both cases, those actions cost them their own lives.
The Governor mortally wounded Milton, leaving him to die and rise as a walker in the room where Andrea was chained to a chair. Unlike most of his plans, this one worked out as perfectly as he could have hoped. Milton turned and bit Andrea, leaving her with little choice but suicide.
Despite everything that happened to Andrea over the course of season three, actress Laurie Holden said she doesn’t see the character as a victim.
“I will never think of her as a victim… I see her as a casualty of war,” she said. “Andrea had a tumultuous journey this season, but at the end of the day, in spite of everything, so many positive things came out of it; the people of Woodbury did escape and reach their sanctuary and none of the people at the prison were killed.”
Speaking further on Andrea’s journey, Holden said the unhappy ending was only part of the story.
“The fact that this woman who was once suicidal and had no will to live, was able to grow, evolve and emerge not only as a survivor but as a leader? That’s been such an amazing gift for me as an artist,” she said. “And I feel blessed to have had a three-season run. I am truly proud of this woman’s journey; I love who she became and what she stood for at the end of the world. After losing everyone and everything, she never lost her heart.”
Holden said that Andrea was continuing to honor her past as a human rights attorney and her spiritual mentor Dale who died last season. Dale had been the group’s most outspoken defender of human life prior to his demise.
“Listen, do I think it’s sad and a bit depressing that this woman got caught up in a bad situation and ended up losing her life? Yes, it is obviously a tragedy. But I truly believe Andrea’s death was not in vain,” she said. “She went down fighting for the people. She believed in humanity. And at the end of the day, that is all that matters, really. Sometimes one must fall for the others to rise. And I am glad it was her and not any of the people she loved and cared for.”
Throughout the season, Holden herself took a lot of heat from fans over the decisions Andrea made. She noted that unlike the audience, Andrea didn’t see everything the Governor was doing and was acting on the information she had.
“Andrea should have never allowed Michonne to leave those gates. She should have pressed further, because Michonne was dancing around the issue and not giving her the full story,” Holden said. “If Andrea knew that there was any sort of real threat in Woodbury, she would have high-tailed it out of there with her bestie. But what’s done is done. I just wish they had better communication. Andrea loved Michonne with all her heart. It breaks my heart that they were separated.”