Is he a killer? Is he a hero? Is he misunderstood? Is he understood a little too well? Who is The Governor (David Morrissey) on The Walking Dead Season 4 and do you really care to find out if it means less time with Team Prison?
Episode 6, “Live Bait,” was the first of The Governor's standalone episodes, and it was a terrific character study. The action (not that there was much, which isn't a complaint) picked up right after the events of the Season 3 finale, when The Gov. slaughtered all the dissenting Woodbury warriors (except for the hiding Karen, whose death came later, via Carol). This week, The Gov. made four new friends — Tara, Lilly, their dad, and young Meghan — and lost two in Martinez and Shumpert, who wisely abandoned The Gov. in the night. (But poor Martinez just can’t shake the guy. Is he in the friend column or ... frenemy?)
The Gov. tried to play savior for the now dead dad, saw Meghan as the new Penny, bonded with Tara, and even had sex with Lilly.
It’s funny how The Gov. has now been shown in the sack with three women in two different seasons, but Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) has yet to get any action in four seasons. The zombie apocalypse is lousy with bad judgment calls!
It looks like next week we’ll spend time with Martinez, who is now the chess king, in a new camp with lots of people and supplies. Bad news for Team Prison, who got no air time this week and will probably have little to none next week? Do you think this camp will gear up and take the prison on the Episode 8 mid-season finale? It’s looking bad, even as The Gov. shows his good side.
Read on for a full recap of Episode 6:
We see the dead Woodbury people, from the Season 3 finale, then following The Gov, Shumpert and Martinez as they drive away. We don’t hear their awkward car talk, unfortunately (try the radio!), we just cut to nighttime outside three tents as a walker lady wanders through the fire. The Gov doesn’t even move. Martinez puts her down. Would The Gov have let her take his life? Maybe you should’ve let her do it, Martinez.
THE NEXT MORNING
Martinez and Shumpert left him. Walk of shame in the night. (You couldn't give them one line? Poor guys.) The Gov gets his own guitar song as we see a montage of him driving a truck into Woodbury and setting the place ablaze. See how he just pitches fits whenever anything goes wrong? So that’s what happened to Woodbury.
The Gov is talking to a woman we don’t see, saying he’s been on his own for a couple of months. He was in a town before that, without the “monsters.” It was safe. What happened? “He just lost it.” “Who?” “The man in charge.” Fair assessment. “Barely got out alive.” We see a thinner, bearded Gov just shuffling around. He has a vision of a girl in a window.
THE GOV MEETS NEW PEOPLE
He goes into the apartment building where he saw the girl. Two women face him with a gun and a bat, and there’s a little girl. He goes inside. Looks like that's Alanna Masterson finally arriving as Tara. She's Atlanta city police? She threatens The Gov if he does anything to her or her sister. What's his name? Brian. That was his name in the comic books/graphic novels. Brian Blake. His brother was Philip. This time he says he's Brian Heriot. The sister feeds him. There's also an older guy inside, with an oxygen tank.
MEET THE NEW GROUP
Dad wants a cigarette. They explain how Dad drove a truck out to save them when the bleep hit the fan. The truck was filled with food. The sister’s name is Lilly and the granddaughter is Megan. Tara is a sassy one, but it gets old hearing Lilly repeat "Tara!" with such disapproval, as if “Brian” is an honored guest over for tea. Dad is sick and bonds a little with The Gov, who is silent. Dad wants to find a way to make Meghan talk again; he thinks The Gov won’t understand since he doesn’t have a little girl of his own. Don’t remind him, man!
Comics/graphic novel fans, are you reading into the names Tara and Lily/Lilly?
In the graphic novel, Rise of The Governor, Tara Chalmers has a sister April and a dad named David. Her mom's name was Lillian, so that could be why they decided to go with Lilly. The Gov (then called Brian Blake) and his brother (Philip) stayed with them in an apartment complex. When David died from lung cancer, Philip put him down. Philip got close to April but ended up raping her. Tara pulled a gun on him and made him and his group leave. If the TV show's Lilly is meant to have any connection to the comic books' Lilly Caul ... well, she ended up in Woodbury and worked with The Governor in the assault on the prison. She was responsible for killing Lori (still alive at this point in the comics) and baby Judith. Horrified, Lilly blamed The Gov for the baby's death and killed him. It'd be nice if someone from Team Prison killed The Gov on the TV show instead of a relative newbie.
End of spoilers break!
WALKER IN THE TUB
The Gov puts it down, when going upstairs to get a backgammon set. He also picks up a gun. Is Lilly already in love with him? Is this guy that charming? He looks at a photo in his bag of his own late wife and daughter. He covers his own face so he can just see them. Self-loathing alert. Are there any therapists still alive in the apocalypse?
THE NEXT MORNING
No one left him this time. Lilly gives him some things for the road. They are kicking him out. Lily tries to give his gun back, but he said to keep it. He tells the truth about finding his own gun upstairs. “You have to kill the brain,” he explains. They don’t even know that, after all this time? Even Tara the cop didn’t know? Lilly says their dad has Stage IV lung cancer and he’s nearing the end. He has maybe two days of oxygen left. She asks if The Gov can go to an old folks home nearby to get another tank. The old Gov was a kill or be killed kind of guy, but now he’s willing to risk his life to save a guy who is already dying. Do you think it was the idea of helping Meghan that convinced him? Meghan may be his new Penny, like Lizzie was Carol’s new Sophia.
THE GOV’S SUPPLY RUN
He goes into the old folks home to get the oxygen. It’s probably a bad idea, but he seems like he has nothing left to lose. Undead people reach out from their beds. Ugh. Many walkers attack but he manages to escape. Side note: The Gov needs to shave ASAP. This is really affecting David Morrissey’s hotness.
THE GOVERNOR RETURNS
He brings two full oxygen tanks. He doesn’t milk it, just hands them over — out of breath — and leaves. Lilly wants to say thank you. She wants to be a nurse again, and apparently she has that need to help wounded birds. The Gov always lands on his feet, you see. Lilly said it feels good to have something to do. “No one mentioned how boring the end of the world was gonna be.” It’s true, without TV, Internet or other diversions, what do people do? Lilly tells “Brian” little Meghan thought he was her dad. Megan’s real dad left a few years ago, he went out for beers and Powerball tickets. Meghan thought her dad was finally coming back. Are Meghan and Lilly The Gov’s second chance?
THE GOV BONDS WITH MEGAN
She watches him while her mom goes to get more supplies. Meghan asks what happened to The Gov’s eye. He said it’s gone. He tells her he’ll say what happened if she keeps it a secret. She pinkie swears with him. Adorable child bonding! “I’m a pirate,” he said. “No way,” she said, and he laughed. Probably his first laugh in a while. He said what really happened is he was trying to help someone he loved very much. He was trying to protect them and stop them from getting hurt. Meghan said he got hurt instead. It’s a true account of what happened, but it leaves a lot out. Like the fact that Penny was already a zombie, and he tried to kill Michonne even before she put down Penny, then tried to kill her and a bunch of others after that. He succeeded in killing many people too, before and after the second death of Penny. How did Penny die the first time, though? Will they ever show that on TV?
CHESS WITH THE GOV
They are both talking a lot now. He teaches her how to play chess, saying she’ll learn quickly since she’s smart. “You can lose a lot of soldiers but still win the game.” He shows her the king, that’s the guy you want to capture. Run, Rick Grimes, run! She draws a little eyepatch on the king to make him look like The Gov. All together now, “Awwwwwww!” He doesn’t deserve this kindness. Don’t forget all that killing. But David Morrissey is playing this so well, and if we were just meeting him, we would fall under his spell a bit. He has shown them nothing but his good side. He, Lilly and Meghan are like a mini family.
DADDY IS DEAD
Tara sits by his bedside. He’s gone. So we have our one death of the episode. But someone has to put him down before he turns. Don’t let him turn in front of Meghan! The Gov bashes his head in and the daughters cover their ears. Cop lady should be tougher than this. The Gov buries their father. Inside, Meghan hides from him as if he’s now the bad guy. Good plan, even if it’s for the wrong things. Tara said she does know it happens no matter what. She knows he could’ve and almost got her. The Gov saved her. Tara said her dad would’ve been grateful that “Brian” stopped him from killing her. “So, yeah, we’re cool.” They bump fists. Meghan is still upset, though. They never should’ve left her in the room. Do you feel a little bad for The Gov at this point, because his new Penny is upset? He burns his old family photo. That’s extreme.
THE GOV TRIES TO LEAVE
Lily said they’re coming with him. She knows he had a family and they are not the replacement. They have a better chance with him, she thinks.
THEY DRIVE AWAY
The Gov drives, and Tara admits she’s not really a cop. No kidding. She said she was in the academy, so it was close. She didn’t act like a cop, so at least this makes more sense. She apologized for lying. She rides shotgun with Meghan and Lilly in the back. “We’ll make it,” he said. Is he lying to Tara? “No.” Is he going to take the prison so this group can find safety? How much gas is in the truck? Meghan is still scared. Lilly kind of looks like Maggie, no?
Lilly makes a move on The Governor. He’s a magic man, mama. His wife. That brunette we saw him in bed with in Season 3, before he hooked up with Andrea. Then Andrea. Now Lilly.
THE CAR IS ALREADY DEAD
That was fast. The Gov told them they’d find another car soon. They just wander the road. Tara talks about her ex-girlfriend, Sam. Well, there’s one girl who won’t be hooking up with Daryl, if he ever hooks up with anyone. Tara falls and hurts herself. A huge herd of walkers is around the bend, as it always is. He tells them to run into the woods. Meghan stands frozen. Why are the kids always the most annoying? She ultimately runs to him and he carries her to safety. Good papa. Gotta say, Rick never managed to do that much to help Sophia, not that she was his daughter, but he took responsibility for her in Season 2. Then look what happened. They keep running through a field, then they fall into a huge pit with walkers. How random. The Gov kills them in truly funky, rage-filled ways as Meghan watches. This kid is going to be traumatized. Keep her away from Carl! Nice job, though, Gov. If he wasn’t evil, he’d be a great help for Team Prison. “I’m never gonna let anything happen to you,” he tells Meghan. “Promise?” “Cross my heart.” Sweet.
MARTINEZ SEES HIM
“Holy sh-t.” At least he’s not completely gone. And he got to say something! Where's Shumpert?
Martinez: “I’m in charge. No dead weight." There’s a new camp, with lots of supplies. “We will do the only thing to protect this camp.” Take the prison?