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The Walking Dead Review: Return of the Governor

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Miss the Governor? Wonder what he’s been up to since massacring all his fellow people in The Walking Dead Season 3 Episode 16? Has he gone full dark side?

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 6 rewound the clock a bit and devoted the hour to the former leader of Woodbury.

Return of The Governor

In some ways, I would have been OK without knowing what he’d been up to in the months since the fall of Woodbury, and more interested in seeing what Philip (now, Brian) was like before the zombie apocalypse. Maybe something similar to a Lost-style flashback?

Instead, viewers got to catch up with the man before the Governor appeared at the prison in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5. Turns out, the guy’s been traveling alone for months, stumbling along, growing a dirty beard, and just looking like a broken mess.

Heck, even Martinez left him.

I am glad we got to see the Governor burn down Woodbury. At least we have a more reasonable explanation as to why Rick and the survivors stayed at the prison.

The Governor was lucky to find a nice family to take him in and feed him. If only they knew what he was capable of.

But that’s the thing, the entire episode, I kept waiting for him to do something bad. I was prepared for him to kill the family or let walkers ravage them.

Instead, the hour was more focused on running errands, playing backgammon or the characters sitting around.

Through it all seemed to be a sort of redemptive journey for the one-eyed man. He’d gone from in a haze and not talking to suddenly risking his life for others, in addition to taking them under his wing.

Picking up board games and oxygen tanks? Killing the father after he turned? Scooping up the little girl rather than leaving her?

If I had never seen the Governor before this episode, I would have never assumed he was the bad guy we’ve come to witness. I guess the series is continuing to explore his moral gray area or perhaps give him new purpose in fighting for the two women and the little girl. He failed to save his own, so maybe this is that second chance?

Which I can only assume means that when those three die, especially the girl, there’s no going back, right? At some point, the scales have to tip. I just can’t see the story ending with a happy twist for him.

I’ve got to say, the fact that only the cancer-ridden father died and the other three newcomers survived beyond one episode is a miracle for this show. Not to mention, the Governor was helping them and leading them as a group.

And the Governor got laid. Guess being alone for that long gets the hormones going. Or maybe the women are just attracted to him. I seem to recall Andrea jumping in the sack with him. At least the gross beard was gone for his most recent late night hook-up.

But things really didn’t get going until the last minutes of the episode, including the graphic walker killings from the Governor’s bare hands. Granted, the scene at the nursing home was more creepy, probably because those places already have an uncomfortable air about them and darkness makes those moments more intense.

But those feelings were brief for the hour, and I spent most of the time simply waiting for something to actually happen. Guess this was more of a way to see the Governor’s state of mind and set things up for the next episode.

Although, I am curious to see how the reintroduction of Martinez will work out. Sure, it was super contrived to have him appear at the end, but hopefully the reunion has a payoff from it.

So, can the Governor last as a good guy? Can he keep his three followers safe and alive? Or is he simply destined to be the bad guy we all expect him to be.

If anything, let's just hope the time for board games and moping is done. I'm ready to see the Governor take a dark turn unlike anything we've seen yet.

Review

Editor Rating: 3.3 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.7 / 5.0 (125 Votes)

Sean McKenna is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow him on Twitter.

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I think the Governor is just destined to be a bad guy. I honestly do not think they will stray that far from the comics and make him a good guy in the series. If they do I will be very upset. I will be mad because he is such a huge character in the comics. Overall, I loved last weeks episode. It was very creepy.
http://wp.me/p3XWcR-37

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Not a good episode! They are trying to make us emphasize for the governor? Why? So when he dies we will feel sorry for him cause he turned a new leaf? Makes no sense! This was simply a filler episode in a show that has way yay to many of them. They are running out of ideas and resting on the shows high ratings!

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I agree with Barry A. Well said my friend.

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The Governor is a psychopath, but in "Live Bait" he's somehow managed to cure himself and turn back into a dad. All's forgiven. It's such a thoughtless character shift that the role no longer makes any sense. The Governor has become like the Borg on "Star Trek," an easy bad guy to dredge up and alter any way the writers like. To further the analogy, all of those folks who came to the prison from Woodbury are (or were) nothing better than red shirts. They were just brought in so the writers could have lots of prison-group people to kill off without sacrificing any of the main characters. It's lazy and very obvious writing. While the Governor has found his mind, Carol apparently lost hers all of a sudden and killed Karen and David. This is out of character for her and is not consistent with anything we have seen in her character before. It's, again, lazy. Rick ousting her from the group also makes no sense in light of what they have all been through in the year or so of the show. One of the major lessons I thought everyone had learned is that this is a new world and the old rules no longer apply. They need to come up with new rules, likely less compassionate and more brutal, in order to survive. Killing two people to try and stem an outbreak and save everyone does not strike me as outrageous behavior in this world of "The Walking Dead." Everyone who has survived so far has made equally terrible choices and done things that they would not have thought possible before. I don't understand why only Carol gets punished. I'm afraid the show's rating are so high and AMC is making so much money that attention to the writing has waned. Remembering the economical, well-timed, lyrical quality of the very first episode in the first season, most of what I've seen in the third and fourth seasons is pale and wan in comparison.

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@ Barry A

It's all a matter of perspective.
Just because they don't do what you thought they would doesn't make it "lazy" writing. Also the show has come leaps away from the first season.
If you want to compare seasons to another, then the worst would have to be the 2nd season. A.K.A the farm season, which is pale in comparison to the 1st, 3rd and 4th seasons.

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I really loved the episode but I have to admit it wasn't till the end cause like u I waited throughout the show thinking he'd betray them especially after he threw away the meal he was given. I know he can't really be forgiven after what he did to his people but I honestly felt for him as I watched this broken man try and redeen himself. finally nice to see someone get laid too, the sexual frustration in this show has to be taken care of lol.

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Wow...immature reviewers, childish posts. Is everyone who watches TWD perpetually 14 years old except me? Last night's episode was a wonderful character study and perfectly played. Believe it or not, folks, the episodes don't have to be full of walkers, blood and brains flying for them to be good. Grow up, this is great television!

Terrie
@ mr. tufts

I don't believe anyone who has commented has said every episode has to be "full of walkers, blood and brains flying" ...........I made my point........I just said they could have been showing us all along what The Governor was up to and not wasted a whole show on it with so much going on with Rick's group..........I'm still waiting on Daryl to find out about Carol..............................

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This episode was the worst. I was bored the entire time. Can't believe the next episode focuses on the Govenor as well. Not sure if I'll watch that.

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The Gov. is gonna DIE in the hands of Daryl and Michonne. Unless Martinez does but who knows. Now that he has a group of his own he's NOW calling the shots meaning the gov. is taking the back seat. Besides i don't think martinez won't let HISTORY repeat its self by what gov. did by killing all the woodbury people. Seriously the gov. trying so HARD not go back to his ''EVILDOER'' ways? I call B.S on that it's only matter of time when he goes PSYCHO again!

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Do people only like bloody gore and action? The reason why The Walking Dead is a success is because of the story. I personally love this character-driven story of a broken man coming to terms with the monster he had become. I truly hope it is a redemption arc for him.

Terrie

While glad they FINALLY showed us The Governor I'm disappointed in the way it was done and I didn't like it. They could have been showing us all along snipets of what he was up to. It looks as if next week too will be devoted to The Governor. What got him to the prison? Why did he go there? Will he tell his new "family" the truth? Will there be another face to face with Rick? or Michonne? This hour was devoted to showing what he'd been up to in the time since he killed off his town......and until he found that family he was a hot mess.......wasn't surprised at all to see him burn down Woodbury. I can only assume he thought Rick and his group might try to go there and that's why he did it. That or either he was closing the door on his past and has accepted what the world has become. I just hope next weeks show isn't entirely devoted to The Governor. I want to see what Daryl is going to do when he hears about Carol.

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