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The Walking Dead Recap, 4×6: “Live Bait”

Now it's the Governor's turn to do stuff and things.

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Last time on The Walking Dead: hey, remember the Governor? Yeaaah. About that.

Oh look, it’s a flashback episode! We’re back exactly where season 3 ended, when the Governor decided to kill all his people except Martinez and Shumpert (well, and Karen, but it’s not like that ended well for her either). They speed off from the massacre and we catch up to them later, after they’ve set up camp.

The Governor’s too busy brooding to protect himself from walkers, when one walks straight through the campfire to get at him. Martinez shoots it instead. Then, he gives the Governor a look like, “Man, why am I still helping you? You killed everybody.”

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Then, of course, the Governor gets his own angst filled music video montage, just like the one Hershel got last episode. Hershel’s song is “The Last Pale Light in the West” by Ben Nichols, and he spends most of it staring into space and looking upset. Martinez and Shumpert took the van and left him behind in his dumb little tent. Well, what did you expect? You killed everybody.

But it’s okay — they left him a giant truck, which he uses to break down the barricade to Woodbury and set everything on fire, just in case there was some everybody left over that he didn’t kill yet, maybe.

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Then, we hear a voice over as the Governor trudges along by the side of the road — he’s been living on his own for a few months, he tells a woman, but he used to live in this town that was totally just the best ever until the guy in charge went nuts. He has no idea why of course, because he totally was not the guy in charge or anything. No ma’am, just some poor weary eye-patched traveller, definitely not a psychopathic monster or anything.

Except wait a minute — he wasn’t talking to a “ma’am.” He was talking to a bunch of women who he finds in an apartment building during his trudging. They attempt to defend themselves with bats and pistols but then lower their weapons when he makes no move to threaten them, which wasn’t a great idea on their part.

Naturally, they invite him inside for some exposition; the two sisters, Tara and Lily, have been holed up in their building waiting for the National Guard with their little kid and an old guy since the apocalypse started. They ask if he’s planning to stay there as well, and he says nothing, so Tara gets pissy with him. She’s Atlanta City police, apparently. She’s also pretty badass, saying something to the effect of “If you mess with my family I will end you. We cool? Pound it.”

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No, seriously, though. Pound it.

She also calls him “bro” and takes all his weapons until it’s time for him to leave. He finally introduces himself as “Brian Heriot,” a name he picked up from some graffiti he saw a ways back.

Now he’s in his own little apartment. Lily brings him some food, because she’s clearly the good cop to Tara’s bad one. He thanks her, then waits until she leaves to dump it all out the window for no discernible reason and goes back to the can of tuna he was already eating. Does he think they’re trying to poison them? Who the heck knows. Bro’s pretty incorrigible in his paranoia.

We get a few minutes into the interior life of Tara’s family. The old guy is their dad, we learn, and Megan the little kid is apparently not eating right. All that gets interrupted again when they catch the Governor leaving the empty plate near their door and tell him to go wash it himself. Tara draws her gun again; Lily offers him coffee. Their dad asks if he has any cigarettes. He’s got a breathing tube coming out of his nose that leads to a highly flammable tank full of oxygen, but sure, why not smoke the apocalypse away? I sure hope that tank doesn’t come back into play at any point, given how much the Governor likes to set things on fire when he’s feeling glum.

Anyway, they sit him back down on the couch and tell them more of their life story, presumably because they haven’t been able to talk to anyone who isn’t them for months. Then he helps them move their dad into the next room. There’s apparently walkers on the floor above them, Dad points out on his way to bed, just before launching into some weird thing about how he wasn’t really a man until his daughters were born. Then he asks if “Brian” might go upstairs and get their neighbor’s old backgammon set, because he’s clearly a man of the world who’s seen some shit and knows how to kill walkers the right way.

And then he goes and does it, weirdly. He also finds Dad’s friend, who apparently died in the shower and turned into a faceless monster out of Guillermo Del Toro’s nightmares. He stabs the thing out of its misery and takes its gun, as well as a bunch of bullets from under the bed.

I think this was about the time when I started to get really bored of this episode. Listen, I’m not asking for nonstop action or anything, but the Governor isn’t somebody I particularly care about as far as character development and inner turmoil goes, so watching him be a good person and sadly caress pictures of his old family isn’t doing a whole lot for me. David Morrisey is a great actor and I want to see him be evil as heck already. Set some more things on fire, man!

The next morning, Lily comes to get the Governor some things for the road. He tells her to keep his gun and shows her the one he found upstairs. He also tells Lily that they’re supposed to shoot the walkers in the head, and she tells him that her dad has lung cancer and only a few days of oxygen left. At first I think she’s going to ask him to shoot her dad in the head, but instead she wants him to go find some more oxygen at the nearby retirement home. So of course he doesn’t. Man, isn’t Brian Heriot just a delightful stand-up gentleman?

Here’s a question, while I’m thinking of it — do you think old people walkers are slower than regular walkers, or does being a walker actually make them faster than they would be as old humans? Think about it — half the reason most old people are as slow as they are is because they’re trying to overcome joint pain. If they don’t care about the pain anymore, wouldn’t that keep them from slowing down in the same way they would when alive?

This is, of course, assuming the old people walkers can even get up, which apparently some of them can’t.

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The Governor passes a whole bunch of bedridden, wheelchair-bound walkers (why wouldn’t she just crawl out of the wheelchair, though? Is she strapped in?), and finds a whole bunch of oxygen in a little cart. The music is telling us that this should be very dramatic and tense, but instead it’s kind of hilarious to me. He dumps the rest of the tanks once the uprights walkers start to come after him and brings only two of them back to Tara and Lily.

Lily notices that his hand and face are cut and forces him to let her treat his wounds. She says that it’s nice to have something to do for once, and then she launches into this sob story about how Megan thought that he might be her deadbeat father when she first saw him. Then Megan comes down to see what’s going on and Lily leaves the two of them together, which is awkward as all get out.

Megan asks what happened to the Governor’s eye, and now it’s his turn to tell a terrible story. “I’m a pirate,” he says. Wait, that’s not the story — that’s just him trying to be cute. He continues: “I was trying to help someone I love very much.” He decides not to mention that it was the mangled zombified corpse of his daughter who was probably about the same age as you, little girl, but she gets the unfortunate gist of it and tells him that she’s sorry.

Now they’re playing chess. Some time has clearly passed, as the Governor’s back to his old creepy beard-less self and is wearing a much nicer shirt. He’s teaching Megan all about pawns. “Do you lose if they die?” she asks.

“No, not necessarily. You can lose a lot of soldiers and still win the game,” he answers. Yeah, like all those people you totally shot in cold blood? Then he tells her all about the king, and she draws an eye-patch on hers.

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Jeez, little girl.

Because we’ve still got ten minutes left in the episode and nobody’s died yet, it’s time for dear ol’ Dad to go. Lily comes and gets Megan in the middle of their chess game and they all stand around him feeling sad. Wait, shit, do they not know he’s going to turn? Because the Governor knows. The Governor totally knows come on dude say something noooo.

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He reaches straight for Tara and the Governor intervenes by crushing Walker!Dad in the face with the oxygen tank. Of course, none of the other people on the room know what’s going on and would like him to stop killing their father, please.

There’s a sudden quick cut to him digging a grave for the guy, though, so I guess he explained it to them. Lily wordlessly helps him toss the body into the ground, and then they both come back to help Tara and Megan get over their trauma. Man, I thought for sure they were going to kick him out or something, but instead Tara wants to thank the Governor for saving her. Then they pound it again. Megan is less okay about things, of course, because she is a child and her grandpa just tried to eat her aunt. That’ll mess a kid up.

Once the Governor has some time to himself, he takes out his picture of his family again and sets it on fire, starting with his own face. I guess I got my wish, but this wasn’t what I had in mind.  Then he goes to say goodbye, but Lily refuses to let him leave without them. She saw his picture before he burned it — “I know you had a family and I know we’re not them, but for now you’re stuck with us,” she tells him. So they all pack into the big MacGuffin truck outside the apartment and head out.

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Wait, remind me why they’re letting the dude with only one eye drive the giant truck?

Anyway, they’re on the road or whatever. Tara’s not really a cop, she wants the Governor to know. Megan’s still pretty convinced that the Governor’s a monster, which would make her the smartest person in the whole group. Lily and the Governor make out. You know, just boring stuff.

And then the truck dies, so they all go walking along the road. Tara mentions some straight-baiting girlfriend she once had and then immediately sprains her ankle. Jesus christ, show, would you wait like three goddamn seconds before you try to kill your lesbians?

Then of course they run into a huge crowd of walkers and go running off. Megan and the Governer fall into a hole and the Governer kills a whole bunch of walkers down there by ripping their throats out and jaws off to protect her. He tells her that nothing bad will ever happen to her when he’s around, so of course she’s probably going to get murdered.

And that’s… it. I suppose they’re trying to lay the groundwork for some Governor sympathy to make things more complicated when the inevitable showdown occurs. Not that he isn’t going to eventually be the villain, given how ominous he seemed while overlooking the prison in the last episode. If we assume that all the episode titles connect up somehow, then the next episode’s probably going to follow how he got to that point without his new surrogate family — “Live Bait” and “Dead Weight” rhyme, after all.

One the plus side, at least there weren’t any moments where Rick annoyed the heck out of me, because there was no Rick. Stupid Rick.

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