'Walking Dead' Dissection: Robert Kirkman Explains Andrea's Impossible Decision

Given the opportunity to end the impending war between Rick and the Governor, the peace-loving former attorney faced an impossible choice during Sunday's episode.
"The Walking Dead's" Andrew Lincoln, Laurie Holden and David Morrissey

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Sunday's "I Ain't a Judas" episode of The Walking Dead.]

Andrea reunited with Rick and the group for the first time following the deadly attack on Hershel's barn during Sunday's The Walking Dead, where she learned that Shane, Lori and T-Dog are all dead.

The Rick (Andrew Lincoln) she found, however, was far from the in-control leader she'd formerly known, learning that he'd not only killed Shane but has also become unraveled following Lori's death during childbirth.

Intent on bringing peace between the Governor-fronted Woodbury and Rick's group, she learns that the former lied (yet again) about his recent attack on the prison. Returning back to the prison, Andrea (Laurie Holden) has the potential to end the deadly violence between the communities when she heeds Carol's (Melissa McBride) advice and comes thisclose to killing the Governor (David Morrissey) in his sleep after a night of bliss.

The Hollywood Reporter caught up with executive producer Robert Kirkman to discuss why Andrea -- a former human rights attorney -- couldn't do the deed, if she really made her choice between the two camps and how Tyreese's (Chad Coleman) arrival in Woodbury could factor into the impending conflict.

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The Hollywood Reporter: Why can't Andrea kill the Governor?
Robert Kirkman: Andrea is very adept to killing zombies -- mowing down 100 of those things and have a comfortable sleep -- but she's not a person who has killed a human being yet. The idea of slitting someone's throat, or stabbing them to death in their sleep is not something a person can bring themselves to do, despite how good they think the decision is, or how much it's going to help people. It's that human struggle that makes The Walking Dead special; the fact that there is a clear distinction between killing a zombie and killing a human. It's something that would weigh on someone.

THR: What does Andrea have to gain by allowing him to live?
Kirkman: She is struggling to make a plan. Going to the prison -- she's trying to come up with a peaceful solution. She doesn't think that killing him is the answer. Or maybe she does, and just can't bring herself to do it. That's the kind of thing we're going to be exploring moving forward. I don't think she knows exactly what's going to come next. I know that she's hopeful that things can be resolved in a way that doesn't result in the people she loves and cares about being needlessly slaughtered. There's a lot of big unknowns, moving forward.

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THR: Does she really believe these groups can make a deal?
Kirkman: Andrea is in a unique position to know both groups. She has lived with Rick and the other survivors; she knows that they're good people. She believes that they're good people and that might be a little bit in question as finds out that Rick killed Shane, for instance. There are a lot of questions as to who these people exactly are, but she knows there are good people on both sides. She can see both sides of this conflict. Whether or not she truly believes that she can bring about a peace between these two people -- I think she thinks it'll be worth attempting it, and that these people deserve that effort.

THR: Should this be considered her making her choice between the camps?
Kirkman: I think so. She could have stayed at the prison. She could have chosen sides, but she knows they're good people back in Woodbury and she has recognized that the Governor is a bad person and these people need her. That's the choice she made. The reasons behind why she made this choice and what her actions will be now that the choice is made, that's the question.

THR: Will the Governor use her as a pawn? Will she allow that?
Kirkman: She's going to be willing to do whatever it takes to have a voice in this conflict and try and resolve it in a peaceful way. To be in the mix as much as she can be, to be aware of what is coming and when it's happening, and be there to influence the direction of it. She's still in bed with the Governor -- both figuratively and literally -- and she is going to be manipulating the Governor as much as he will be manipulating her.

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THR: Tyreese is now in Woodbury. How is the Governor going to use that to his advantage?
Kirkman: Comic books fans may be a bit shocked where everything is going with Tyreese. Everyone who has read the books remembers that Rick and Tyreese have this tremendous friendship. Now they've met each other at such different places and personality-wise that is not working out. Rick has accidentally played into the Governor's hand, by giving him all the ammunition he needs to make Tyreese a threat and somebody who could be a huge piece of the Governor's opposition force against Rick.

THR: Tyreese nixed Alan's idea to overthrow the prison when he recognized Rick's group were good people. Might he do the same when he learns of the Governor's plan?
Kirkman: Tyreese, more than anyone else, is retaining his humanity on this show. He has a tremendous heart, he's a good-natured guy who has somehow maintained that against all odds and in the face of this horrible environment. Whether or not the Governor will be able to downplay that or twist and turn that to his advantage is the question. Or whether or not his personality will ring true and he'll see through the Governor. People are going to be surprised when they see where we go with Tyreese.

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THR: Carol has become the voice of reason in the group -- advising Andrea and warning Daryl not to let Merle ruin his progress. What's next for her?
Kirkman: She has stepped it up and become an integral part of the group. She is a huge part of why Andrea even considered doing what she did with the Governor. That was all Carol's plan. Seeing her activated in that way, and seeing her being that person is a little bit jarring. It's evidence of Carol's evolution and who she has become. She's going to continue to be a strong part of that group and an asset in the coming conflict. We're going to go in some strange directions with her. There is some pretty good stuff coming up.

THR: What will the next interaction between the two groups look like?
Kirkman: There will be a next interaction, and it will be awesome. We've gotten this far, and Rick and the Governor haven't even met each other; that's still on the table. We're getting very close to that moment and that moment is going to be an unforgettable moment in the season, and a moment that is going to change everything. Once that happens, we hit the ground running and we don't stop from that point. Once that comes, everything is going to be quite different. That confrontation is happening very soon.

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THR: Rick hits the road with Carl and Michonne. What is he looking for?
Kirkman: Couldn't say (laughs). The next episode is definitely one of my favorite episodes of the show. There's some really good stuff coming up, next week.

THR: The Governor finally donned his iconic eye patch from the comics. What was that like seeing that character fully realized?
Kirkman: Anytime we can do an iconic thing from the comic book it always gives me a warm, fuzzy moment. I feel bad, because now David Morrissey has to walk around with an eye patch on, which is not the coolest thing in the world to do, if you've ever tried to close your eyes for an hour and maneuver with just one eye. It certainly looks cool. I'm really excited to see the Governor growing, changing  and evolving -- and getting harsher, deadlier and becoming more like the comic book Governor. We've got a ways to go, and I'm really excited about getting there.

What did you think of Andrea's decision? Do you think Rick leaving the prison to strike back at the Governor? Hit the comments below with your thoughts. The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on AMC.

Email: Lesley.Goldberg@thr.com; Twitter: @Snoodit