Last time on The Walking Dead, we followed the Governor around as he wrapped up some loose ends by setting fire to Woodbury, and then created some new loose ends by adopting a new family and pretending that he’s not a power-hungry psychopath. Then he and his surrogate daughter got caught in a giant hole.
They’re out of the hole, now, in case you were wondering. Some guy found them, which I don’t remember because I think at that point in the episode my eyes had glazed completely over. The Governor is washing some clothes in a bucket while Megan (or “Pumpkin,” apparently) plays chess with herself again. You guys brought the chess board? Isn’t that a whole lot of dead we– aaaah, okay. I think I see what you’re doing here, episode. Don’t let me be smarter than you, please.
Wait, now they’re in the hole again. Is it possible to get flashback-whiplash? Don’t answer that. The guy with the gun gives it to a friend and pulls the two to solid ground. There’s four of them in total, along with Lily and Tara. Tara has not died due to her injury yet, but given that she outed herself as a lesbian last week and her name is, I’ll remind you, Tara, I do not like her odds.
“You can’t think forever,” Future!Governor says to Megan. “Sooner or later you gotta make a move.” Symbolism! He won’t let her win, he tells her, because if he did then she wouldn’t really be winning. His dad used to beat him at chess. “Heck, he used to beat me at everything.” Aw man, did he used to get abused as a kid or something? Because I’m so sick of that as a villain backstory.
Back in the hole-past, hey, the guy is Martinez! Duh! I totally forgot about him. Well, I would say that this is gonna get awkward real fast, but Future!Governor doing laundry and playing chess kind of dampens the mystery of whether or not Martinez will out him as a psycho-killer to his new apocalypse family. He tells them that they have a camp back aways, and then I realize that one of the dudes behind him is played by ENVER GODDAMN GJOKAJ so everything is better forever. They’re invited back under two conditions: that they recognize Martinez as the head honcho this time around, and that everyone contributes — there’s no “dead weight.” Aaaah, show.
So presumably the Governor agrees, because now he lives in a trailer with a military tank next to it, between which he is stringing up laundry. Lily wants to set up a nurse’s station for the camp. Meanwhile, the Governor explores the area with Enver and the other dude, who already doesn’t like the Governor for some reason and tells him to watch his ass.
Then, of course, everybody in the search party immediately turns their back on the Governor, and he slowly takes out a pistol. Guys, watching the Governor’s ass is a two-way street, you know. Other Guy catches him and asks what he’s doing, and he gestures to a dead body tied to a tree with the word “liar” tacked to it. Oh, also the body is headless.
Back at camp, Lily is helping out new lady Alicia by bandaging a knife wound. If Tara flirted with Alicia any harder in this scene, they could probably use the generated kinetic energy to power to whole camp. Hey, maybe instead of Tara suffering the ultimate fate of all TV lesbians, they’ll fridge-stuff Alicia instead. Personally I would prefer that neither of them die, but I know what show I’m watching, so I’m going to hope for Alicia over Tara. After all, just look at the way Tara uses her expert knowledge of weaponry to flirt with ladies!
The exploratory party comes across the cabin they were looking for. They also find another headless body tied to something — this one says “Rapist” across its chest. Hey, you think maybe you guys should be worried that somebody still lives here and also might be kind of a nutball? No? You’re gonna keep on trespassing? All right then.
Finally they find one more fresh body on the porch, still with a head. He’s got the word “murderer” on him, and he’s still got a gun in his lap. Martinez seems to think he took himself out, and the Governor finds a photo of the man’s family, which is so similar to the Governor’s family photo that I thought it actually was his. They wander around the house in the dark searching for a walker that they hear somewhere, and then it goes after Enver, who freaks out until the Governor saves him by beating the walker in the face. But there’s no time to celebrate because oh hey, guess what? Those two headless guys hey found in the woods? Now we’ve found their heads, and they are literally chomping themselves forward. And there’s also another child walker, too. The Governor beats that in the face too, and then he feels real bad or something. It’s hard to tell. He’s a pretty inscrutable gentleman.
Later, the party has built a fire in the cabin’s fireplace. If it were just him in that pit, Martinez tells the Governor, he would have left him there. Fair enough. But he thinks the Governor “seems different now.” Other Guy found beer, though, so the conversation gets cut short. Enver wonders aloud about what happened to this cabin — if I had to put down a guess, I’d say Zombie Redneck Torture Family, but that’s just me. He gets real close to saying something along the lines of “why would this guy choose to live with the undead remains of his family?” when the Governor cuts him off and tells him it’s best not to think about it.
“Was he always like this, Martinez?” Other guy asks. “Yeah, you should have seen him back in the day!” Martinez answers. “OH BOY IS THAT THE TIME HEY DO YOU GUYS HAVE ANY HOBBIES QUICK TELL ME YOUR LIFE STORIES,” the Governor interrupts. Other Guy was a tank driver for the Army and bailed immediately when the walkers rose up. Enver was also Army, but he
spent the past four years as a mind-wiped pleasure slave in a Los Angeles Dollhouse was too loyal to his position to get out right away. This is probably a significant look into their personalities, or something.
They continue the backstory explosion at camp around a nice picnic table. Apparently Martinez was the bastard son of a Catholic priest, and I want to hear way more about that. Lily wants to hear about the camp they used to live in but Martinez and the Governor both remain pretty tight lipped. Also, everyone is drunk. I get that you need to feel some semblance of normality but Martinez? Really? Drunk in front of the Governor? When you’re a liability to him? Even if you think he’s changed, that is stupid.
You know what’s even stupider? Drinking Jack and playing golf off the roof of a trailer.
Martinez starts telling him all about how he had to put Shumpert down way back and how the Governor is such a great person now that he’s got a family. “Now that you’re here, maybe we can share the crown a little!”
Yeah, that’s the last straw. Governor golf clubs him in the back of the head and he goes down like a very stupid sack of bricks. But he’s not dead yet — he rolls over to look at the Governor, who promptly kicks him over the side of the trailer and then drags him into the walker-filled hole. The Governor’s shouting something about how he doesn’t want “it” — the aforementioned crown, perhaps? — as the walkers grab at Martinez and eventually pull him in.
Then suddenly he’s back in the trailer and it’s night. Oh no. This better not have been a dream, show! Lily notices that he’s shaking and asks what’s wrong. “I just had a bad dream, that’s all,” he says. God DAMN IT, SHOW.
The next day, Enver and Other Guy have rounded the camp up to tell them that Martinez is dead. Wait, so it wasn’t a dream? Because that was a real shitty trick to pull, show. Enver tries to take leadership but the rest of the camp wants a vote, and then Other Guy calls Tara a bitch and Alicia jumps to her defense. Finally Enver calms the camp down — his control is only temporary until they can figure out to vote on a new leader. Of course they’re setting this up for the Governor to take power again, but personally I would follow Enver to the ends of the Earth, so I’m for this plan. Speaking of which, I really should have figured out the actual name of the character Enver is playing, but… eh.
The team goes back out on a hunt sans Martinez, and Enver confides in the Governor about how hard leading is and that he could use help. Then they encounter a small camp of about 10 people who’ve got a lot of supplies, and Other Guy suggests going in there and taking all their stuff. Poor baby-faced Enver does not like this idea.
They try to make their own way without robbing anyone, but on their way back, the Governor conveniently finds that everybody in this little camp has been murdered and somebody’s taken all their stuff. Other Guy (whose name is Mitch, apparently) is mad about the stuff — so angry, in fact, that the second he spots something moving he stabs it in the head. This makes Enver sad.
The Governor is hard to read in these scenes, so it’s surprising when he runs into his trailer next and tells his new family to pack up their stuff. It isn’t safe here anymore, he says. Lily’s the only nurse in camp and can’t just run off, she says. Plus Tara’s totally hooking up with Alicia, so leaving’s going to be a hard sell. And hey, Pete’s (oh, is that Enver?) a good guy, it’ll be fine — right? But the Governor is adamant: this place is about to go bad, and they need to get out before it does.
At night, they leave in their car. Alicia is with them now and she’s very confused, but she’s also not a dead TV lesbian yet, so that’s nice. Of course, she might be any second now — they come across a huge horde of walkers stuck in the mud in front of them. The Governor steps out to investigate, but it seems like they’re all properly stuck and can’t reach him. Still, this also means that they can’t leave, as their only exit is blocked. So they come back to the camp.
The next morning, the Governor comes to talk to Pete about Mitch. Except wait, that’s not what the Governor’s here for! He’s here to choke Pete to death. Noooo, Enver! You were the only reason I was emotionally invested in this episode! I only just learned your name!
Next he knocks on Mitch’s door. His hands are still covered in blood, and he’s holding a pistol. Whelp. Mitch lets him in without a fuss, but he looks pretty shaken up nonetheless. Pete’s dead, and the Governor thinks he was wrong — they should have taken that other camp’s stuff. He starts launching into some sob story about how his brother used to protect him from getting beaten by their father, and the upshot of it is that now he’s looking to run this camp. He needs a second in command, he tells Mitch.
The next day, the Governor is officially back in charge. They’ve told the camp that Pete died on a supply run. And… things look idyllic and boring for about three or four minutes until a walker tries to get Meghan and the Governor shoots it. And then he wanders over to the lake and sees walker-fied Pete reaching up at him in the water, and then heads to the prison and sees Rick and Carl burying their dead. His eye lands on Michonne, and he holds up his gun like he’s going to able to hit her from 150 feet away.
And that’s… it. The last six minutes or so really soured me on the whole episode, to be honest. I liked that we were leading up to the Governor taking control back and becoming his old Macchiavellian self, and then… I don’t know, a bunch of stuff happened and it didn’t seem to fit narratively into anything. Why show Meghan getting attacked again? Why bother with Pete, as if the Governor felt some kind of remorse for him? It just seems as if the writers had a basic outline for where they needed the Governor to be at the end of this episode and padded the time accordingly.
Hopefully next week will pick up the slack, though. It seemed from the preview that the Governor’s looking to take the fight to the prison. At the very least, we’ll get Michonne back. God, I’ve missed Michonne these past two weeks.
Meanwhile in related links
- This arc started in last week’s episode, “Live Bait”
- As far as surrogate zombie-killing fathers go, Lee was better
- Screen Junkies gives Walking Dead an honest trailer