The countdown continues with Day Two of The Walking Dead: The War Report.
Welcome to day two of the Just Us Geeks War Report countdown to All Out War. Yesterday we discussed the relationship and dynamic between Rick and Carl. (Did you miss it? It can be found here.) Today we are going to look at one of Rick’s other relationships that could easily have a major impact on All Out War.
Andrea has always been one of Rick’s most trusted lieutenants, but recently their relationship has become much more serious. Before their romance, Rick and Andrea were close friends who depended very heavily on each other for survival. Rick needed Andrea for her marksmanship, and Andrea needed Rick for his leadership. This dynamic has not changed much due to their budding romance, but it could possibly change how willing Rick is to put Andrea on the front lines during All Out War.
In the early days of the Atlanta camp Rick and Andrea actually did not interact very much. Andrea was at least in a sexual relationship with Dale by the time Rick arrived in Atlanta, and soon she was romantically linked with him. When Andrea start showing a proficiency in marksmanship she quickly became one of Rick’s most trusted fighters, especially once the group reached the prison. Rick showed so much trust in Andrea’s abilities that he even allowed Andrea to lead a group in practicing with firearms outside of the prison fence while training to defend the prison from Woodbury. Even though Andrea and Dale often discussed leaving the group, often citing Rick’s mental issues, Andrea was always available when the group and Rick needed her, which is best exemplified when they left the prison before Woodbury attacked, but returned to help during the worst of the assault. Since arriving in the Alexandria Safe-Zone she has often used her marksmanship to defend the group from a nearby bell tower.
Despite her obvious ability with firearms, and her willingness to fight in protection of the Safe-Zone, it is quite possible that we will see Rick trying to keep her off the front lines during the war. In issue 90 Andrea made it clear that she had developed romantic feelings for Rick, and even though these feelings were not reciprocated until issue 96, they have since developed a very deep and loving relationship. While Andrea does not always agree with Rick’s decisions as shown in issue 103, when he frees Dwight, she is in support of Rick’s plan to take Negan down. We see just how much Andrea’s death could affect Rick at the end of issue 113 when he thinks she has been thrown from the bell tower. Rick is physically shaken and breaks down into tears.
It is not a far stretch to say that Rick’s emotional reliance on Andrea will conflict with his physical reliance on her at some point in the war. The way Kirkman handles this conflict could be extremely interesting for the war. Will Rick have to decide between his want to protect Andrea, as he usually does for those he loves, and his need for her prowess in battle? This conflict could easily become a central issue in the war. Andrea could be one of Rick’s soldiers that could turn the entire tide of the war, but if he is not willing to put her in harm’s way, he could be dooming the rest of the communities.
I feel that Andrea will try to be involved with the war against Negan at any cost. She has always demonstrated that she is willing to put herself in harm’s way if it means protecting the community. This could actually put her in direct conflict with Rick, and put their relationship at risk. She has showed before that she is not afraid to disagree with Rick when the safety of the Safe-Zone is in question, and even though she backed down before when Rick told her his full plan, it is safe to assume that she could rebel against Rick’s orders if he selfishly tries to sideline her during the war.
Even though we may see Andrea and Rick disagreeing with the handling of the war, it is important that we remember that they have always worked well together. Rick showed in issue 114 that his decision making process has at least some logic to it. He understands that no place will be safe during the war, so it is entirely possible that we will see Rick and Andrea operating in their usual manner once the war is under way. If Rick is able to push his emotions to the side, he and Andrea could be a force to be reckoned with on the battlefield, especially with Michonne, Jesus and company at their side. Regardless of his emotional and mental problems, Rick is an effective general, and Andrea is one of his most effective soldiers.
I expect Rick and Andrea’s relationship to become a focal point at some point during All Out War, but to what extent we do not know. Looking back at the conflict with Woodbury gives me confidence in Kirkman’s ability to showcase relationships during great conflict. As long as Kirkman continues to give Rick and Andrea’s relationship the treatment that he has since issue 90, I have faith that we will not be disappointed. My biggest fear, for Rick’s sake, is that Andrea will be killed during the war. If this is the case, it would be one of the biggest blows to Rick’s sanity since Lori and Judith’s deaths. In all honesty, the fate of Rick and Andrea’s relationship is what most excites me for All Out War.