And we’re back with episode seven from Season Four of AMC’s The Walking Dead; or as I choose to call it, “episode the second of a former Governor’s story”. As anyone who’s been following this season knows, the show has taken a bit of a detour ever since the Governor was reintroduced at the end of episode 5. Basically, they’ve chosen to double back to cover everything that happened since he snapped and went AWOL from the show.
Beginning last week with a romp in the wilderness followed by some coupling with a new family, things have since picked up with the discovery that the Governor’s former henchman, Caesar Martinez, went off and created a community of his own after leaving him alone in the wilderness to die. With that the Governor and his new family now in their care, the stage seemed set for some interesting developments.
All of which took place in this week’s episode known as…
The episode begins where the last left off, with Martinez and the Governor in a stand off after finding each other in the woods. After a few tense minutes, Martinez agrees to take them in, provided they understand that a) he is in charge, and b) that everyone contributes or is cast out, no exceptions – i.e. no “dead weight”.
In between, he get scenes of “Brian” and Meghan playing chess and admitting that they both had abusive fathers. Meghan also asks Brian is she is good, and he assures her that they are going to be okay, though he doesn’t seem so sure of that. We then get a shot of their new digs, a camper that is parked next to an abandoned M60 tank.
The Governor begin contributing by going out on a supply run while Lilly establishes a nurses station. They come across a body tied to a tree with a sign that says “Liar” on it. As the move on, they find more bodies, one with a sign that reads “Rapist” and another inside a cabin who shot himself and has a sign that reads “Murderer”. Each are wearing military uniforms.
When they move inside the cabin to look for supplies and hear something bumping around. A Walker attacks their group and find the heads of the decapitated men still alive on the floor. The Governor manages to take them all out and saves one Martinez’s people (Pete) in the process. They make camp for the night, collect the supplies, and talk about how things have changed for all of them.
Apparently, all of Martinez’s people were once army, hence their weapons and vehicles. Back at camp, Lilly and the others begin to meet with the rest of the camp – which includes the army soldier Alisha, whom Tara takes a shine to. When the Governor and Martinez return home, they share a meal with Lilly and her family, and the subject of their old camp (Woodbury) comes up again.
Afterwards, Martinez and him play a round of camper rooftop golf. He tells the Governor that Shumpert, another one of his former henchmen, never came back after Woodbury and died. Martinez talks about sharing responsibility for keeping the place safe. The Governor responds by hitting him in the head with a golf club and tossing him into one of the Walker pits.
The next day, the camp is told of Martinez’s death, and it is assumed that it was an accident. Pete assumes command for the time being, though the camp demands a vote. Pete invites the Governor out on a hunting run and asks for his help. They come upon another camp in the woods. Mitch recommends they take their supplies but Pete disagrees.
After finding very little, they double back and find the camp was overrun and their supplies gone. One survivor remains, and Mitch stabs him in the head. They return, and Brian tells Lilly that it isn’t safe there anymore and they have to leave. On the road that night, they come a herd of Walkers stuck waist deep in the mud. With the road out, they return to the camp.
In the morning, the Governor murders Pete and holds Mitch at gunpoint in his camper. He tells Mitch that he was right about the other camp, that he is running things now, and offers him the chance to join him. Henceforth, he says, no one will worry about doing the right thing, because they will be doing “the only thing”. Mitch agrees, and they cover up Pete’s death by telling people he died heroically.
In the coming days, everything appears to be running smoothly now that the Governor is in charge. But of course, things get dicey as Meghan runs into a Walker inside the camp while playing hide and seek and the Governor narrowly. He then goes off to stare at the pond and reflect, and in the water, the reanimated corpse of Pete is shown chained to the bottom and reaching up at him. The old Governor is back!
He then drives off to the prison and watches Rick and Carl from the tree line. He contemplates shooting the, but instead walks a distance and spots Hershel and Michonne talking by the side of a dirt road. He takes aim right before the credits roll!
Well, suffice to say, some things have been made abundantly clear now, things I myself have been wondering about for some time. Now that the two episode detour is over and we are back to the main plot, it is clear that the way Season Three ended was more of a temporary detour from the original plot rather than a major divergence.
Between what happened in this week’s episode and what has been previewed for next week’s midseason finale, it looks like the show really is following the comic after all, albeit in their usual, prolonged way. And I have to say, I suspected as much when I saw that big tank in this episode and heard all that talk about how Martinez’s new community was made up of several former army people.
Somehow, the scene in Volume 8: Made to Suffer where the Governor arrives at the prison in force popped into my head and made me think. It was at that point that I considered that maybe the abortive assault on the prison at the end of Season Three was meant to allude to the way the Governor’s initial attack in the comics failed, followed by the heavier, deadlier one.
And it was a pleasant surprise to see that this is indeed the way are doing things. From what was shown in the preview, the Governor now plans to return to his new community, tell them about the prison, and mobilize them to assault it. And apparently, some people are going to die. In short, we’re in for a mid-season climax that actually resembles what happened in the comic.
If I have any complaints, they would be that this week’s episode was predictable. Even before it aired, I was of the mind that everything would revolve around the Governor going back to his old ways and taking control of the camp (most likely over Martinez’s body) before he rediscovered the prison and began screwing with them again.
But since all that led to a setup directly from the original comic, those sentiments are fighting uphill against genuine anticipation. As we head into “the Governor versus the Prison crew, Part Two”, I can honestly say that from here on out, I will likely be watching out of genuine interest rather than a sense of obligation or mild curiosity.
Congratulations, AMC’s The Walking Dead, you just became interesting to me again! And while I anticipate that the second half of the season is also going to drag on like the previous ones, I remain pleased that they are finally back on track with the plot. The REAL plot!