'The Walking Dead' Season 4, Episode 7 Recap: The Governor Prepares For War
Alright, I can admit it: I was wrong, very wrong, about the Governor.
Last week's episode, "Live Bait," made it look as though the Governor was trying to redeem himself. This week's "Dead Weight" quickly revealed that he was not.
In fairness to the Governor/Phillip Blake/Brian, he isn't the Governor of Woodbury anymore — he is now a mash-up of all three of his personas. He has the Governor's cold determination, Phillip's drive to protect his "daughter," and Brian's lone-wolf mentality. His arc is complete, if confusing. It seemed as though the Governor was willing to repent his crimes at Woodbury and leave the prison group alone, but now we've seen that he was only waiting for the right time to rebuild his army. In contrast with the Governor of season three, however, he is now conflicted about his choices.
"Dead Weight" begins innocently enough with the Governor's former Lieutenant, Martinez, pulling the Governor and Megan out of the Walker hole into which they had fallen. We soon learn that since leaving the Governor, Martinez has joined a much larger group of people and has been leading them with the help of Pete (Enver Gjokaj) and his brother, Mitch (Kirk Acevedo). Despite its seeming safety, the Governor still is uneasy about the settlement.
Martinez seems to have forgiven the Governor for his actions and attempts to bond with him over a few beers and a game of golf on top of an RV. During their discussion, the Governor asks Martinez if they can defend the camp. Martinez, unwisely, responds, "We'll see." When he then offers to "share the crown [of leadership]," the Governor hits him with a golf club, throws him off of the RV, and drags him headfirst towards a Walker pit, all the while chanting, "I don't want it, I don't want it." The Governor then lowers Martinez into the pit to be devoured by the Walkers within.
After the death of Martinez, the camp is led by Pete, a seemingly ethical man. He tells the group that Martinez must have "gotten drunk and [fallen] into the pit," and offers to hold elections for the leadership role that Martinez held. He then takes his brother Mitch and the Governor on a hunt for supplies, during which the trio discovers another camp of survivors. Pete believes that they should take this group in, while Mitch advocates killing them and stealing their supplies. In the end, Pete wins the argument and they depart.
Believing that the camp is no longer safe since Pete was not willing to do "what needed to be done," the Governor briefly attempts to flee with his new family. But his efforts are curtailed by a mud pit full of trapped Walkers that forces his family to return to the camp. Like the walkers the Governor is a monster trapped by his surroundings.
When Pete, Mitch, and the Governor return to the other camp the following day, they discover that it has been wiped out by another group. The Governor decides that Pete isn't a cold enough man to be in charge. So in the middle of the night, he shanks Pete and crowns himself leader with Mitch as his new lieutenant.
"Dead Weight" ends in the same place as "Internment," with the Governor standing outside of the prison walls. But this time we understand why he is there: the Governor plans to attack the prison — not out of revenge as in season three, but out of a sense of duty to his new family.
In "Live Bait" the Governor briefly tried to move past his crimes and lead a new life as Brian. This week he learned that you can never come back from being the Governor. He is the true monster of The Walking Dead; the apocalypse not only created the Walkers, but it also unleashed a charismatic and conniving sociopath.
A Few More Things:
— The Governor is a big fan of the whole "head submersed in water look."
— Remember the scene in Shaun of the Dead where Shaun's group encounters Yvonne's group, and everyone in Yvonne's group is the antithesis of everyone in Shaun's? It's exactly the same with the Prison group and the Governor's group.
— Doesn't Mitch look a bit like Shane? He even does the head-rub thing.
— How is the Governor's family transporting those humongous chess pieces? That must be most of their luggage, just guns and comically-sized chess pieces.
— Tara found a girlfriend!
Be sure to tune in to the mid-season finale next week, "Too Far Gone," which not only will finally answer question of whether one can redeem himself, but also the question of how many extras can be killed in an episode (Hershel will probably die too; he's had a lot of screen time this season).
If you feel the need to start doomsday prepping in the meantime, here's an episode of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost's Danger 50,000 Volts to help you out.