Here’s the bad news: There’s only one more episode in 2013, the December 1 mid-season finale, and then silence until February 2014. Expect a major battle-related cliffhanger next week, ‘cause that’s what they do.
In the meantime, what did you think of the good vs. bad theme of Episode 7, and where it left us? The good "Brian" side of The Gov. was metaphorically drowned in favor of his bad Governor side. He's in control again.
Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) has the worst luck, right? Or maybe it’s Shumpert who has the worst luck. At least Martinez got to speak this season. It’s never good news to run into an old friend like The Governor and our “one-eye Bri” was quick to dump his threatening old pal in “Dead Weight.”
Martinez wasn’t the only one The Gov. removed; he also killed the other brief camp leader, Pete. Some other person or persons killed a huge camp of people, without putting them down, and someone else labeled their dead as “Liar” or “Murderer.” (None of that sounds like Carol, but where the heck is Carol? Is she going to swoop in to save the day if The Gov. attacks the prison?)
Pete's bro, Mitch (Kirk Acevedo), is still around and he and “Brian” are now sort of on the same side, turning the camp into a mini Woodbury. Meanwhile, The Gov.’s girls (especially Tara) have a new friend in Alicia (Juliana Harkavy).
As much as we want to care about the new people, we’re most worried about the people we already knew — like Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson) and Michonne (Danai Gurira) of Team Prison, who appeared at the end of the hour.
We knew, back on Episode 5, that it was bad timing for Hersh and Mich to leave the prison right when The Governor was outside staring the place down. This ep, which catches up to the timeline of “Internment,” also showed The Gov. spying on Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Carl Grimes (Chandler Riggs). So much for that trail going cold! He clearly wants to take the prison.
So now The Gov. has a new group and Team Prison, already weakened from the flu, is basically at his tank's mercy. We know The Gov. and Michonne have a very dark past, and she said if she saw him again she’d kill him, ‘cause that’s the way it has to be. But what if she meets the new girls and doesn't want to fight anymore? She has a soft spot for kids.
Still, we’re worried that something bad may happen to Hershel and/or Michonne on next Sunday’s Episode 8. We’re especially worried for Hershel since it just feels like it may be his time. Lost wife. Lost farm. Lost daughter. Lost leg. Lost friends. Hershel is either the luckiest man to still be alive or the unluckiest man to have lived to see these times.
The episode starts with Meghan, aka Pumpkin (everyone has a P nickname this season), and “Brian” playing chess. Then we apparently flash back to when The Gov. and Meghan were still in the pit and Martinez pulled her up. The Gov. got a rope (to better hang himself?) and pulled his way up. Back in chess time, The Gov. said his dad used to beat him at chess. “Heck, he used to beat me at everything.” Just plain beat him? “Was your dad mean?” “Sometimes.” “Were you bad?” “Sometimes.” Fair assessment. Martinez and “Brian” meet face to face. Martinez doesn’t break his cover. That’s in pit time. In chess time, they have a laundry line and everything. Brian is sweet with his “Pumpin.” She wants to know if she was bad, ‘cause her dad was always mean to her. Mitch doesn’t want to accept the newbies ‘cause they already have enough mouths to feed. Martinez says he’s in charge and there’s no dead weight. Everyone has to contribute. Brian says he, Meghan, Tara, Lilly, they’ll all be OK. Meghan: “Because we’re good, all of us?” He can’t answer. He’s thinking. Plotting? Planning a takeover?
Right next to their new trailer is a giant tank. The family car! What’s the story with that thing? It could mean trouble, if we follow the comics.
Brian is going out there with Martinez and the new brothers, Mitch and Pete. Lilly is going to set up a nurse’s station. The Gov. wants something better than this camp. She said the camp is good and they’ll make it better. Already a big “good” theme. What is good? Is The Gov. good? Mitch calls The Gov. “one-eye Bri.” He should just call him Pumpkin. They are headed to the cabin of some survivalist. Brian finds a dead body, headless, with a sign reading “Liar.” Military gear? “Somebody pissed somebody off.”
Alicia is the new girl. She was in the reserves. She and Tara kinda flirt over guns. “You always this full of sh-t?” “Yes, I am.” At least they’re honest with each other. So the boys are bonding (sort of) on the supply run and the girls bond at the homestead.
Another dead body. “Murderer” sign for this one. The Gov. bludgeons a lady walker in the cabin but there are a bunch of heads in there. Nasty! He gets some good kills in and gets a scary expression on his own head.
The Gov. looks at a family photo in the cabin, and Martinez says if he was alone in the pit, he wouldn’t have brought The Gov. into the camp. “You seem different now. Changed. Are you?” The big question. From one minute to the next it’s different. The Gov. says he has changed. Mitch and Pete found food and beer. The bros speculate about what happened to the family. Mitch said he was an ice cream truck driver, then he became a tank operator for the U.S. Army. Pete was Army too, stationed out of Fort Benning. “Brian” won’t say what he did when it all went bad. “I survived.”
Outside, everyone is laughing over drinks at a picnic table. Lilly said Martinez has done all right with this camp, it’s the first time she’s felt safe. “Brian” looks hurt. Martinez and The Gov. dance around this Woodbury place, even though the girls are curious to hear about it. Brian: “I say leave the past in the past.” Martinez drank too much. The roof is leaking in the trailer, so one-eye Bri goes to fix it. Then they, what, go on the roof and play golf? Martinez is drunk.
SHUMPERT IS DEAD
He was never the same after Woodbury. He got reckless, a biter took a piece of him. Martinez put him down himself right over there. “Some things you just can’t come back from.” Martinez says something about losing The Gov.’s family. The Gov. wonders if Martinez isn't sure he can protect the camp. It’s like a power battle.
THE GOVERNOR KILLS MARTINEZ
Martinez: “Maybe we could share the crown.” That doesn’t sound plausib -- oh and before the word is done, The Gov. hits Martinez with a golf club. There will be one king. He kicks Martinez off the roof. He drags him to the walker pit. “I don’t want it. You hear me, I don’t want it!” Don’t want what? The power? And why do they just have this pit of walkers sitting there? Why is there always a pit everywhere you turn?
He’s shaking back with the “family’ and tells Lilly he had a bad dream.
WHO WILL LEAD THE GROUP?
Mitch says Martinez was drunk, he was hitting some golf balls and fell in the pit. Pete wants to take charge. Tara protests but Mitch calls her a little bitch. No votes for that guy. So Pete is the temporary leader. Bad news for Pete. Can someone kill Mitch next? He’s the “bad” bro.
GOOD BROTHER VS. BAD BROTHER
Out on another hunt. Pete talks to Brian about people looking to him for answers. He could use some help. Everyone wants Brian to take a leadership role, it’s like Rick at the prison. They spot a camp with 10 or maybe fewer people, but with lots of supplies. Pete wants to take them in. Mitch wants to just go over there and take what they need. Rob them. Good bro vs. bad bro. Who will win? Jekyll vs. Hyde. Rick vs. The Gov. The Gov. vs. Brian.
They find a bunch of dead people. Other humans did it. It just happened. Mitch is pissed because some other group took their stuff. These people are turning, guys. Pete is not an effective leader, but at least he’s aiming for compassion. “He might’ve lived.” Pete is a Hershel/Dale. Mitch is a Shane/Carol/Carl. Who killed the people?
TIME TO GO
The Gov. goes back to the trailer and says it’s not safe there anymore. They need to leave. “Things are about to go very wrong here.” That night they drive away. Alicia goes with Tara and the group. No one understands they they are leaving. They hit a huge muddy pit of walkers in their path. It’s like zombie Woodstock with this group. The Gov. looks pained. Now what?
Back at the camp, Alicia and Tara are sleeping together in the trailer. What is The Gov. doing? “Surviving.” Everything is a whisper with him. Brian needs to talk to Pete. Pete assumes it’s about Mitch. Nope. The Gov. kills Pete. ANY and EVERY leadership threat must be removed. “Shhhhhhh.” Another bloody knock on the door. Mitch this time? Yep. Pulls a gun on this one. The Gov. tells Mitch that Pete is dead. You gonna kill Mitch now too, for the old guy he killed at the camp? He doesn’t. The Gov. says Mitch was right about the camp, they should’ve taken the supplies. Men like Pete are always doing the right thing, even if it costs their own people. Foreshadowing, Rick? There’s a conversation about smoking. Brian’s brother protected him. (Philip?) That was his brother. Hero. He got two black eyes and a broken rib for protecting him. The Gov. says he’s runnings things now. Mitch doesn’t have to worry about doing the right thing or the wrong thing anymore. “We will do the only thing.” Brian is dead? The Gov. is back? They’ll tell the camp Pete died on a supply run, saving their asses. People believe what they want to believe. “Everybody loves a hero.”
IT’S LIKE A NEW WOODBURY
New fortifications, a group meeting to talk about supplies. It’s actually kind of like the prison’s council, but with The Gov. as president. He’s not a dictator anymore either. The Gov. said they could find a better place if they’re willing to fight for it. Lilly said this is “home.” She doesn’t want anywhere else. Lilly helps him clean his eyes. “You don’t have to do this alone.”
MEGHAN VS. WALKER
She’s playing by the clothesline and a walker gets her, but doesn’t bite her. Tara tried to help but it didn’t work. The Gov. shot the walker and saved Meghan. The way no one saved Sophia. Or Penny, apparently since she turned.
Is that Pete struggling underwater? What’s the symbolism there? The drowning of the good guy, the “Brian” side of The Gov.?
THE GOV. WATCHES THE PRISON
He just drives his truck into the woods and walks around like he doesn’t have a care in the world. He spies Rick and Carl working in the garden. The Gov. breaks out his gun. He’s clearly fine with killing people if he can take what they have. That’s proven by now.
THE GOV. SEES HERSHEL AND MICHONNE AT THEIR JEEP
OK, so that’s their jeep. At first it looked like maybe it was one of The Gov.’s vehicles, but he points his gun at them.
They got walls, fences, peace of mind. There’s nothing between us and them. If we’re willing to take it from them. “Some will fall.” It’s war!