This week on The Walking Dead we continue our focus on The Governor (David Morrissey) as he ‘joins’ a new camp. Was it wise of the show to spend another week away from the prison group?
Let’s bitch it out…
Well I called that one. The potentially reformed Governor is no more as this hour, we see the ol’ crazy evil Governor re-animating before our very eyes. After all the ranting I did last week about how unbelievable it was to buy into the Governor’s shift, I’m relieved to see him behaving in a way that makes some kind of sense rather than continuing with the jarring 180 turn. Thankfully there’s a bit more care in the Governor returning to us as ‘Brian’ clearly struggles before yielding to his old ways.
The floodgates seem to open when he takes that golf-club to poor, unsuspecting Martinez’s (Jose Pablo Cantil) head as he offers to ‘share the crown’ of leadership over his new camp. Initially I thought that killing Martinez was solely a means to ensure The Governor’s past would be forever hidden from his new family, but his subsequent rise to power and rebuilding of his Woodbury life would suggest otherwise. Although it’s a bit over-the-top that he’s so literal in his restoration (I mean, even the fish tank/lake?), I did appreciate the attempts this time around to show us some (believable) complexity within the character. His insistence that he “doesn’t want it”, alluding to regaining a leadership role as he’s dragging Martinez to certain death, the subsequent tears he presumably sheds in remorse after the deed is done, or the quiet attempted escape in the night shows us there is indeed a small desire to keep Brian Heriot alive.
Killing Martinez may very well have been to keep the Governor’s past a secret, but at the end of the day the Governor takes over the camp because he sees no other way to keep his new family safe. It’s only when he discovers he’s unable to sneak away in the night, forced to return to the RV camp that he tells Lilly (Audrey Marie Anderson) that his actions are all in the name of survival. Many may see this as pretty obvious, but for me it actually functions as authentic character development (finally!). The rebuilding of the Governor shows us that yes, indeed he’s completely unhinged, but at least now we can try to understand why.
He admits it himself – he knows he’s not doing “the right thing” – he’s doing what he believes is necessary for survival. If that means killing those who stand in his way, so be it. The Governor believes his is the only way which causes him to surround himself with people who are supportive of that way. Just before the Woodbury shootout, his makeshift army started to question his orders, which in turn, set him off to silence them. With no one left to fall in line (Martinez and Shumpert abandon him) he’s suddenly lost his will to live. Enter Lilly and Co. who bring him out of this state by essentially following him without question. You can almost feel him suppressing everything he’s got when he goes on supply runs with Peter (Enver Gjokaj) and Mitch (Kirk Acevedo). He’s not meant to take orders from others, hence his mutiny. Perhaps that’s the significance behind keeping those that oppose him as trophies in his fish tank(s): it delights the Governor to seem them immortally contained, reminding him of his superiority over them.
With a new camp bowing to his whims and charmed by his manipulation – it comes as no surprise that the Governor’s vengeance for Rick, Michonne (Danai Gurira) and the rest of the prison gang starts bubbling back up the surface. Clips from next week’s episode suggest another showdown between the Grimes gang (and possible kidnapping – let’s hope it’s not Steven Yeun’s Glenn or Lauren Cohan’s Maggie) is on the horizon. What we have is essentially a reboot to the S3 finale – but this time the Governor has a more palpable motivation. After presumably defeating the viral outbreak, the Grimes gang is depleted and unprepared making it unlikely that they’ll emerge triumphant for a second time against Woodbury 2.0. Buckle your seat belts because I think we’re about to lose a couple of major characters come next week!
- I found it interesting that neither Pete, Mitch or The Governor were concerned about who attacked and ransacked that camp in the woods. Furthermore, who was responsible for setting up that protective moat of mud zombies? It seems like there’s a much bigger threat to the RV camp than the Grimes gang. Perhaps whoever that is will be responsible for the Governor’s undoing?
- Although I disliked their one-dimensional characters, I let out a bit of a squeal when I saw Kirk Acevedo (known to me as Charlie on Fringe) and Enver Gjokaj (Victor on Dollhouse) share the screen. It had me recalling happy memories of beloved sci-fi shows on FOX that were cancelled all too soon.
What did you think viewers? Are you glad that the Governor we know and love is back? Will he overtake the prison? Who will meet his/her end in the crossfire? Is it obvious that The Governor is our rat feeder or is that still a mystery? Any significance to the book that Pete was reading in the cabin – cliff notes to Shakespeare’s Richard III? Sound off in the comments below.
A gentle reminder that we adhere to a SPOILER FREE zone here, so please keep any plot points from the graphic novels to yourself.
The Walking Dead airs Sundays at 9pm EST on AMC.