He’s baaaaaaaack. After disappearing into the world following the machine gun rampage against the good townsfolk of Woodbury, the Governor returns. Where has he been all these months? We find out this week when ‘The Walking Dead’ peeks in on the Governor’s last few months.
Not too long after gunning down his people, the Governor wakes to find his two lieutenants gone. He returns to Woodbury, burning the town to the ground before going on a walkabout and, after months on the road, comes up on the family and an apartment building. Melody is the elder of the two sisters, with Tara being the brash one with the gun. Their ailing father (lung cancer) and Melody’s daughter Megan rounds out the family. They let him in and he’s more than a bit out of sorts. He tells them his name is Brian Heriot (a name he saw on a building during his journey) and he promises to only stay the night. Melody knocks and offers him some food; he accepts but ends up throwing it out. When he brings it back, the sisters try chatting him up but he’s still not with the socializing. They try talking with him but he’s still not with it. He does end up helping them get their father into bed. Having another man to talk to, the father tells him just how his girls helped him truly become a man. He asks ‘Brian’ to get a backgammon set from his friend’s apartment to help foster Megan’s development. ‘Brian’ takes the case and gets the set, killing the walker resident trapped in the tub and taking the revolver in its lap.
When ‘Brian’ returns, the family thanks him and he falls back into memories of his own family. Still feeling the effects of his actions, he hides his face in the picture, falling asleep on the couch. Melody stops by in the morning, catching a glimpse of the picture but not touching on it. She knows it’s a lot to ask but considering her father’s condition and need for oxygen tanks, she asks ‘Brian’ if he would do them one more solid; there’s a retirement home down the road and if he could, go down and get some oxygen for her dying father. He does so, navigating the corridors to find the oxygen and barely escapes with his life.
He delivers the tanks and, after her insistence, allows her to clean his wounds. When she leaves to get some ointment for his wounds, Megan—who no doubt reminds the Governor of his daughter, Penny—starts asking questions and she slowly chips away at the shell of the man who once ran Woodbury. A bit later he ends up teaching her chess. They bond even more but things change for a minute when he has to kill their father who’s died and comes back ready to snack on his daughter. He starts to bury the body and Melody comes out to help him. Tara thanks him for saving her life but he’s hurt to realize his actions have traumatized her. He buries body with the help of Melody. Megan is scared of him. Tara thanks him but he’s lost Megan. He retreats back to his room and packs up. He holds the picture of his family up to the window and, wanting nothing more to do with his past, burns it. It’s a final sendoff of sorts, and he goes to say goodbye to Melody but she refuses to let him go. She demands he take them with her and when he tells her he can’t her response—“You already have”— is a poignant reminder to him of just how much humanity is still left within him.
Out on the road, Tara rides shotgun as the new family is searching for a new place to call home. Megan’s still a bit leery of him but Melody isn’t quite as reticent and the two give into their needs in the back of the truck. The moment is almost a trigger for badness as the truck refuses to start the next morning and the group trudges down some back roads. It doesn’t take long for them to run afoul of some walkers and they run through the woods. He holds Megan tightly in his arms but falls down into a pit that’s home to a trio of walkers. To save Megan, he falls back on his brutal survival instincts, tearing apart the walkers with his bare hands. Megan runs to him and the Governor promises her that he’ll protect her as a shocked Martinez stares down at his former boss.
- A great adversary is one whose motivations can be explored like layers of an onion. This episode showed another side of the Governor. He is not just a sadistic megalomaniac intent on controlling everyone around him. Even though he tries not to, he takes Tara, Melody, and Megan into his family, and whispers of a possible redemption arc for one of the series (television show and comic) most iconic villains.
So what did you think of the episode?