Last week on AMC’s The Walking Dead, we glimpsed a familiar foe waiting on the outskirts of the prison, but no one knew exactly what to expect from him. Would he plot an outright attack on Rick (Andrew Lincoln) and the gang? Would he wait until the illness did its damage before making his move? That’s yet to be seen. What we saw instead was what The Governor (David Morrissey) did to occupy his time after the explosive events at the end of season three. Hit the jump for my recap and review of tonight’s episode, and for the many uses of oxygen tanks.
When last we left The Walking Dead, The Gov was eyeing up the prison from outside the gates, possibly appreciating the effects of his engineered disease, or possibly revisiting his former battle site out of nostalgia. But the prison is in the present, which we’ll get back to in a bit. For this episode (and what looks like the next one at least), we’re taking a trip back in time.
After wasting his Woodbury survivors at the end of season three, The Gov has already alienated his few remaining soldiers, who abandon him the following morning. In a sequence that screams “metaphorical catharsis”, The Governor sets the town of Woodbury ablaze. With everything he’s worked so hard to build now gone up in flame, he takes to the road to become a wanderer for what’s likely a few months. Eventually, he comes to find a small family holed up in an apartment building.
Except for The Governor and Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) we get a whole new cast of characters this time around. Sisters Lily and Tara take care of their ailing father and Lily’s shell-shocked daughter, Meagan (Meyrick Murphy). Here’s where the episode got interesting, because I was clearly expecting The Governor to pick up where he left off with his violent and chaotic ways. Instead, we find a broken and hollowed-out survivor who appears to be just waiting to die. In this new family, he finds an opportunity for new hope and possible salvation, even if it’s only the first toe down the path to what would be a very hard-fought redemption.
Here are some questions for the audience: Is The Governor beyond redemption at this point? Does it matter how many lonely mothers or vulnerable children or ailing grandfathers he saves? The closing line of tonight’s episode leads us to believe that The Governor will do anything to protect Meagan, who resembles his own twice-deceased daughter. When he and his newly adopted family fall into the clutches of his former followers – who know all too well about his barbarism – will they expose him outright or use his feelings for the family as a means to blackmail him?
Whatever the outcome, it will be interesting to see what happens to The Governor to get him there. We’ve already seen him outside the prison, but can only guess as to what led him down that familiar path. Whether it’s for good, evil, or simple nostalgia remains to be seen.
Walker kills: 6
Enemy kills: 0
Best kill: The Gov shearing a Walker’s face off with a thigh bone.
Best effect: The Gov taking out dear old Granddad with an oxygen tank to the brain.
The conversation The Governor is having about “the man in charge who lost his way” gives me hope that he’s at least attempting to turn his life around.
The Gov’s sidestep of an approaching Walker was pretty damn funny, but also sad because it comments on his state of absolute despair.
Let’s keep in mind that The Governor gave the family a fake name that he took from the side of a barn. We’ll see how long he gets to keep that particular secret.
When he first is taken in by the family, he acts just as suspicious and defensive as Michonne (Danai Gurira) did when she entered Woodbury for the first time.
Tara: “You see that big truck parked outside? The Gorbelli’s food truck? C’mon man, Ray Charles could have seen it.”
The Gov: “You have to kill the brain.”
Nursing homes in the post-apocalypse look exactly like they do in the pre-apocalypse, and are just as scary.
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to leave a child alone with a gun-toting, bearded male stranger in the post-apocalyspe.
Meagan: “What happened to your eye?” The Governor: “It’s gone.”
The Gov: “I’ll tell you what happened to my eye but you have to promise to keep it secret.”
The Gov: “You can lose a lot of soldiers but still win the game.”
The Gov: “That’s the king, the guy you want to capture.”
I mean, I know it’s been a long time and all, but Lily’s sister and daughter are sleeping right next to you guys…
The Gov: “I’m never going to let anything happen to you. Cross my heart.”