After a fairly long absence from ‘The Walking Dead’ this season, David Morrissey returned to the AMC zombie drama two episodes ago where we finally caught up with the Governor after the fall of Woodbury. It looked as if the madman had undergone a change of heart and put all the horrible acts behind him, however, in the most recent episode called ‘Dead Weight’, the audience saw that he was the same old villain that he’s always been. What tipped us off? I’d say that the surprising murder that took place was a pretty obvious red flag. Now, the actor behind the eye patch opens up about this turn of events.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Morrissey gave us some insight into why exactly the Governor saw fit to dispatch his former lieutenant Martinez after his old friend had offered him a spot of power in their new group. His take on his character’s actions are quite intricate, but it certainly is a fascinating read:
“Well, the thing about him is I think he’s a man that we see struggling to stay away from that awful responsibility of leadership. He doesn’t want that. He wants to be led. He wants to protect the people he loves. And he’ll do anything he can to protect them, even be subservient if that’s what is needed. He’s in that community with Martinez and I think he just wants to be a quiet civilian, really. But he sees weak leadership around him. He sees the people there who say, ‘We’ll protect you,’ and they’re not able to protect them. They’re not able to protect the people he loves. So he’s forced to take responsibility the only way he knows how and with the thing that has served him in the past, and that is being ruthlessly vigilant when it comes to his duty in leadership and protection.
Nobody else is going to do it. He’s got to step up. He’s got natural leadership qualities so he has to step up and do it. And he doesn’t want to do it, and what we love about him and what we admire about him is his fight before he takes up the reins. He tries to get out. He says to Lilly, ‘This place isn’t going to be safe anymore. It’s not safe. Things are going to be bad here.’ And what he means is things are going to be bad with him. He can feel that dark side rising inside of himself and he’s trying to get away from it. And he can’t get away from it. He tries and he hits this wall of zombies and he knows that he’s got to go back and face that camp and face those people and take the reins of leadership.
I think Martinez makes the mistake of admitting weakness. He says to the Governor, ‘I’m not sure I can keep this place safe.’ Had he turned around to the Governor on that day where he was playing golf and said, ‘There is no way this camp is not going to be safe. I’m going to make it safe. I’m going to do everything I can to make it safe,’ then the Governor is going to say, ‘Great, I’ll follow you.’ But as soon as the man admits weakness, then the Governor is going to take control. And the Governor is killing him and screaming, ‘I don’t want it!’ What he doesn’t want is the responsibility. He doesn’t want the responsibility he is forced to take because of this man’s weakness. That’s very important. He’s putting a crown on his head that he doesn’t want. But nobody else but him is worthy of wearing it.”
Not to brag, but I feel like this is along the same lines as what I was saying in my review of the episode. I mentioned how I was interested by the inner battle that the Governor was going through to protect his new family by any means necessary, but Morrissey goes into much more detail with his explanation. It’s great to see an actor get into the head of a character to this extent. And while clearly he knows the answer to this already, presumably we’ll find out just how far the Governor intends to go in tomorrow’s mid-season finale. And if the source material is any indication, we should be in for an epic battle for the ages.
Were you surprised to see the Governor revert back to his old ways after seemingly turning over a new leaf? To what lengths do you see the Governor going to protect Lilly, Meghan, and the rest of his new group? Share all of your thoughts and theories in the comments.