The latest episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead continues to follow the journey of the Governor and his new surrogate family that he vowed to protect in ‘Live Bait.’ Things pick up right where they left off last week, and once again the main cast is only briefly shown thanks to the focus being squarely on the Governor and his new camp led by Martinez.
(Please note that this post contains SPOILERS)
‘Dead Weight’ focuses on the Governor once again, and only briefly teases the main cast and the prison camp.
Don’t tell the Governor you can’t protect the camp…
The opening scene from ‘Dead Weight’ features the Governor and Megan getting pulled out of the zombie trap by the Governor’s former second in command, Martinez. Martinez has assumed control of a band of survivors and is the new de facto leader of the group. He allows the Governor entry into the camp as long as he can accept Martinez as the new leader, and doesn’t bring any dead weight, meaning he and his new family must pull their own share to remain in the camp. The Governor surprisingly agrees and heads out on a recon mission with his new boss. They come upon a deserted cabin where they briefly bust up some zombie heads and have a few old beers to celebrate, allowing the Governor to prove his worth in the process by aggressively purging the zombie presence.
Back at camp the Governor and his girls fit in nicely with the other survivors and offer their assistance where they can to remain useful. Everything seems like the Governor is just going to slide into his new subservient role nicely until he has a one-on-one conversation with a drunk Martinez. While hitting golf balls Martinez admits that he can’t keep the camp completely safe to the Governor, who in turn proceeds to bash his brains in with a golf club and feeds him to a pit of ravenous zombies while screaming, “I don’t want it”, referring to the leadership role.
The episode ends with the Governor now in charge of his new camp, and in complete control of protecting his girls and new family. On a leisurely drive he comes upon Rick’s prison camp, and sees Michonne and Herschel in the distance. The episode fades to black as he lines up Michonne in the sites of his handgun. It’s clear that he wants the prison for his new followers, now he just has to convince them to take it by force.
The Governor’s good guy act lasted just one episode, which is made perfectly clear in ‘Dead Weight.’ This guy is willing to do whatever it takes to keep those he loves safe, and when he doesn’t think that is a possibility, he draws upon his evilness to ensure that it will be. What struck me as interesting is the fact that deep down this character doesn’t want to be a leader and have to make the hard choices to keep his people safe. One would think that the Governor is the definition of a narcissist, and that he’d rather die than take orders from someone else, but clearly that’s not the case.
When he was murdering Martinez and feeding him to zombies he kept lamenting the fact that he didn’t want to be the leader. He even allows Pete to step up for a time to see if he has what it takes to keep the camp safe. Thanks to Pete being a nice guy he too meets his demise at the Governor’s hands, who in turn finally relents to the fact that he has to be the boss, because he’s the only one willing to do the awful things needed to keep everyone protected. The Governor may not want the responsibility of being a leader, but he can’t help his carnal feelings of protection when it comes to his loved ones, so he takes control of the situation in the only manner he knows how, which is with effective violence and scare tactics.
He really is an interesting character, and as much as we may dislike him as fans, he definitely adds to the drama of The Walking Dead. The fact that he walks up on some of his former prison adversaries sets up the rest of season 4 to be explosive and deadly, and there’s no doubt that a main character will probably perish before it’s all over. The Governor has become one of the most complicated characters on the show, and a TV villain that will be remembered for many years to come. His ability to be compassionate and loving to those he cares about is greatly contrasted by his ability to become an insane maniac to keep them safe. He has no middle setting per se, he’s either docile and subservient, or when threatened he becomes the devil reincarnate. He’s the evil Rick, meaning he doesn’t want to lead because he knows what it does to him, but has no choice when it comes to protecting those he loves. He’s just willing to take things to an even darker place than Rick at this point, which makes him seem like a split personality lunatic.
Expect big things to come out of the Governor next week during The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale, which will surely pit him and Rick against each other once again. Will the new reserved and docile Rick be able to confront the dubiously evil Governor yet again? Only time will tell, but one thing is for sure, and that’s the fact that things are about to explosive for both Rick and the Governor’s camps.
[schema type=”review” name=”The Walking Dead ‘Dead Weight’ | Review Summary” description=”The Awesome: The Governor’s evilness, Zombie driving ranges | The Not so Awesome: The Governor’s evilness, Being a weak leader in the mind of the Governor” rev_name=”The Walking Dead ‘Dead Weight’ ” rev_body=”‘Dead Weight’ picks up right after the end of last week’s episode and continues to follow the Governor and on his post Woodbury adventure. At first he tries to be a follower, but fears of keeping his new family safe quickly revert him back to the evil son of a gun we all knew him to be during the last season of The Walking Dead. This is one evil dude who is willing to do whatever it takes to protect the ones he loves. A chance encounter with Rick’s prison camp crew at the end of this episode sets up an explosive mid-season finale, which will air this upcoming Sunday.” author=”Matt Heywood” pubdate=”2013-11-25″ user_review=”9″ min_review=”0″ max_review=”10″ ]
Photos by Gene Page/AMC