Friday, 22 November 2013

S4x6 - The Walking Dead: Live Bait

Aired 17/11/13 on AMC

This week’s episode – The Governor Show, featuring scraggly hair, oxygen tanks and a chess piece with an eye patch! After last week’s shot of a smug Governor watching the prison, we were confronted with a not-so-smug Governor in ‘Live Bait’. In fact, I would even venture to say it was a remorseful Governor. Who knew that existed!?

We started off by being whisked back to that one time the Governor went a bit gun happy on his Woodbury followers after the failed attempt to take the prison. He left the scene with the two lucky lackeys, one of whom was Martinez, and they stayed the night in tents now that Woodbury had finally clued into his crazy and he could no longer go back. However, when he clambered out of his yellow tent in the morning, all he found were empty spaces and tire tracks. Even his loyal lackeys wanted nothing to do with him.

So now we seem to have the Governor who’s a bit down in the dumps as we watch him burn down Woodbury and then cut to him stumbling down the road sporting a scraggly beard and some serious fly away hair. I couldn’t help but laugh because he looked absolutely ridiculous, although he was probably not in the best of moods when he eventually fell down, and when he looked up at a nearby apartment block he saw a little girl staring at him through the window. So he heaved himself up and went in to find a family of two sisters, their dad and the little girl hunkered down in the apartment to ride out the apocalypse.

What followed was basically us witnessing a man who had done some truly inhumane things realise this and attempt to punish himself of things he doesn’t think he deserves. When Lily, one of the sisters, brings him some dinner to the apartment he was crashing in, he scrapes it out of the window. When he looks at a picture of his wife and daughter, he folds over one corner so he can’t see himself. He tells the story of how he was the only survivor of a man who went crazy with power and destroyed everything he knew. It seems as if he truly is remorseful over what he’s done.

I guess it was a nice story of how a broken man fixes himself, even if we have seen the same premise before. Being with the family was key as he slowly grew closer to Lily and he formed a relationship with her daughter Megan. She doesn’t speak, presumably from the trauma of a zombie apocalypse which is understandable. The Governor, disguised as the scraggly hobo he has named Brian, fetches a Back Gammon board from an apartment upstairs after David, who has an oxygen tank, asks him to. He also goes to a local Retirement Home to get some more tanks for him when Lily asks him to, and when she patches him up after he gets back, Megan starts asking him questions in the way only children can, and some trust is born between them.

In the next scene he is teaching her chess while her Granddad finally succumbs to his lung cancer in the background. The Governor is now clean shaven with a decent haircut, and smiles at her when she draws an eye patch on the King and says it’s him. Adorable. Except then the Granddad dies, and they leave it a little too long to kill him again as he comes back to life while they’re all standing around his bed crying. The Governor uses an oxygen tank to bash his skull in and Megan instantly becomes scared of him.

Feeling a bit bummed he tried to leave them but Lily insisted that they were all going, despite his protests. So they pack their stuff into the van that once belonged to David and was full of food that they’ve been surviving off, and they head out to the unknown. Megan still isn’t talking to anyone, Tara continues to be the chatty person she had been all episode, and Lily and the Governor eventually get it on while the other two are sleeping next to them. How romantic.

Of course, they run into trouble when the van won’t start and they have to walk. They inevitably meet a horde of Walkers and have to run, although it takes a while before Megan moves and when she does she jumps right into the Governor’s arms in a sign of trust and forgiveness. They run through the woods but are hindered by the fact that Tara has a twisted ankle, and then the Governor and Megan fall into a dug out pit that captures Walkers ready for slaughter. He has to kill a bunch with his bare hands which leads to some quite creative (and gross) kills, and just when he thinks he’s safe, he finds Martinez pointing a gun and looking down at him in shock.

The episode ended there to be continued next week where we will find out how the revelation of who he was will go down, and while this episode was good and I liked it and all, I really wish it was only one episode. I understand that the character of the Governor is complex and to do a truly good job of portraying what he has been up to since we last saw him it will need more than one episode, but it’s not necessarily something I’m interested in. I liked the Governor last season because he was an interesting foe for the main characters, but not enough to want to watch two episodes about him with no interaction with them at all. Of course, this doesn’t mean that this character exploration was bad; it’s just my personal preference.

Next week does look like there is a lot more conflict of the violent nature so it won’t be a boring episode, and then after that we can go back to the prison and hopefully see some interaction between them and the Governor. Let’s see if he has truly gotten over his tendency towards killing them. I imagine that probably won’t be the case.