"Rest in peace" seem like too kind of words for The Governor (David Morrissey), who was killed off in the Season 4 mid-season finale through a group effort from Michonne (Danai Gurira) and Tara Chambler (Audrey Marie Anderson). The death was, naturally, a long time coming, and many The Walking Dead characters wanted a piece of that action.
In the episodes leading up to his bloody demise, it almost seemed like The Gov. had redeemed himself, assuming the identity of Brian Heriot. But not unlike many cruel men throughout history, The Governor was a manipulative charmer, and extremely well-versed in the art of deceit. As we learned in Season 4, Episode 8: "Too Far Gone," he was hardly reformed — a lesson punctuated when he decapitated Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson).
Let's look back and remember why we loved to hate Phillip Blake, a.k.a. The Governor, with his most evil moments chronological order.
That Time He Massacred the U.S. Military Soldiers
In Season 3, Episode 3, "Walk With Me," while still under the guise to most audience members as a charming, if stern, leader, The Governor took in a lieutenant wounded from a helicopter crash. The soldier, Lieutenant Welles, was treated in the Governor-led town of Woodbury. Pretending to be concerned for their well-being, he asks the soldier where the rest of his camp is. Instead of bringing the brave soldiers into the Woodbury fold, he uses his own soldiers to kill them all and steal their supplies. Upon his return, he tells his citizens that they were all dead when he showed up. He then privately kills the Lieutenant and adds his head to his creepy zombie-quarium.
His Super-Creepy Interrogation of Maggie Greene
In Season 3, Episode 7: "When the Dead Come Knocking," The Governor took an especially creepazoid approach to getting information on the Prison out of Maggie Greene (Lauren Cohan) after capturing her and fiance Glenn Rhee (Steven Yeun). At first using his usual, charming approach and getting nowhere, The Gov. held a gun to her and demanded she remove her shirt and bra, then tries to spook her by approaching her, unbuckling his belt. After she's sufficiently freaked out, he marches her still topless over to Glenn, and starts hugging her and kissing her on the head.
After he manages to get some info out of Maggie and Glenn, The Gov. meets back up with then-ladyfriend Andrea (Laurie Holden) and starts kissing her on the head in a similar way as he did to Maggie. We want a shower just remembering that whole saga.
When The Governor Demanded Merle Dixon and Daryl Dixon Fight to the Death
At the end of Season 3, Episode 8: "Made to Suffer," The Gov. captures Merle Dixon (Michael Rooker), previously an ally of his, and our hero Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) and brands them "terrorists," prompting the citizens of Woodbury to demand their execution. In Episode 9: "The Suicide King," he brings the brothers into the Woodbury arena and orders them to fight each other to the death. Fortunately, the Prison calvary arrives, and the Dixon brothers are rescued by Rick and Maggie.
The Gov.'s Entire Relationship With Andrea
Andrea, Michonne's former bestie, stayed in Woodbury after Michonne left to join Team Prison, starting a romantic relationship with the hyper-charming Governor. After a web of lies, deceit, and manipulation throughout Season 3 finally came to a head in Episode 14: "Prey," Andrea finally made her most earnest attempt to escape The Governor's clutches.
Things had pretty much been going south in that relationship for a while. Andrea had been covering for The Governor's treachery by comforting citizens when they got worried or scared, and The Governor had been lying to Andrea about his interactions with The Prison. By this point, Andrea had seen through most of his lies, and even considered killing him with a knife while he slept — but being not the kind of person to stab a sleeping man, she opted to just hop over the wall and leave. She heads for the Prison, ready to warn our heroes of an impending attack from Woodbury.
Not being content to just let her go or circumvent her, The Governor stalked her, playing mind games in an attempt to get her to reveal herself. When she hid in a warehouse, The Gov. starts breaking windows so he can hear her footsteps on the broken glass. After a struggle, Andrea escapes and makes it to the Prison, only to get tackled and captured by The Governor, who gags her and ties her to a dentist chair back in Woodbury. After Milton Mamet tries to rescue her from The Governor, he leaves him in the room to reanimate with the goal of killing her. Milton gets a bite in, but before Andrea can turn, she shoots herself in the head with Rick's revolver.
That Whole Massacring His Own People Thing
At the close of Season 3, The Governor turns on his own people for not wanting to attack the Prison anymore. Rather than let them return to the safety of Woodbury, he just opens fire, killing pretty much all of his citizens within the immediate vicinity except for his right-hand men Shumpert and Caesar Martinez. Later, in Season 4, he tells his new family and fellow camp-members that Rick did it.
The Re-Opening of The Governor's Zombie Aquarium
It was bad enough when The Governor killed Martinez in a fit of rage in Season 4, Episode 7: "Dead Weight," but the death of post-Martinez de-facto leader Pete was more calculated, and perhaps more evil. After welcoming The Governor into his trailer with open arms, Pete gets stabbed repeatedly, then chained to a weight at the bottom of a lake so The Governor can stare at him, as he did with the Walker heads back at Woodbury.
Manipulating His New Camp to Attack the Prison
Calling Team Prison terrorists and blaming them for the death of his daughter (which happened way before we were introduced to The Gov.), he convinces his new camp-mates to launch an all-out assault on the Prison. This leads to most of his new subjects dying, including Alisha and Mitch (aka New Martinez), and indirectly to his new surrogate daughter, Meghan Chambler, getting bitten.
In a last act of pure, unadulterated evil, The Governor responds to Rick's earnest speech inviting everyone to live in the prison and get along for a change by whacking Hershel in the neck with Michonne's katana. As if just killing Hershel wasn't enough, he chased after the dying man as he crawled on the ground and hacked at his neck until he was completely beheaded. We cried. We cried a lot.
Are you glad The Governor's dead? Let us know if we missed any evil in the comments!
The Walking Dead returns on Sunday, February 9 at 9 p.m. EST on AMC.