Andrea has never been my favorite character in "The Walking Dead," but I'm starting to rethink my opinion of her.
In Sunday's episode, "18 Miles Out," Andrea seems to be the only person in this post-apocalyptic world willing to question the wildly regressive gender roles the survivors on Hershel's farm have adopted. Take Lori: she's really going to take issue with the fact that Andrea would rather actively defend Hershel's property from walkers than spend her time in the kitchen preparing meals or doing the laundry?
Of course, the larger underlying conflict between the two women is their differing ideas about choice in a world where the dead are trying to eat the living. When the distraught, suicidal Beth, who's still grieving the death of her zombified mother, asks Lori how she could give birth to a child, Lori responds that she has no choice--which is particularly interesting in light of the fact that she so seriously considered trying to terminate her pregnancy and then ultimately decided not to.
When it's Andrea's turn to sit with the girl, she unlocks the door to the adjacent bathroom, giving Beth the opportunity to take her own life -- if that's truly what she wants to do. Andrea's argument? It was wrong for Dale to have forced her to continue on after her sister's death, and it's equally wrong for Maggie and Lori to do the same to Beth now that she's lost her mother. After all, things are not going to get better.
The conflict between Rick and Shane isn't quite so philosophical. Driving away from the farm to find a reasonably safe location to drop off Randall (Michael Zegan) -- the young shooter they rescued during their escape from the bar -- Rick stops the vehicle in the middle of a deserted rural road to explain to Shane how things will need to proceed from here on out. Namely, he tells his former partner that he needs to get his temper under control, and he needs to understand that Lori, Carl and the new baby are not his family. Rick insists that he is perfectly able to protect them, to keep them safe. Shane says little, but he doesn't need to. The determined set of his jaw and the menacing hunch of his shoulders speak volumes: he does not agree.