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Review: The Governor stumbles into focus during this week’s ‘Walking Dead’

The Governor (David Morrissey) and Meghan (Meyrick Murphy) in an episode of 'The Walking Dead.' Credit: Gene Page/AMC

The Governor (David Morrissey) and Meghan (Meyrick Murphy) in an episode of ‘The Walking Dead.’
Credit: Gene Page/AMC

You probably thought he was gone for good, or at least you had hoped so. The one-eyed madman is back, but not as we may have remembered him.

Last season concluded with Woodbury’s infamous Governor (David Morrissey) manically pulling the trigger on dozens of innocent victims. These poor citizens of Woodbury fell victim to The Governor’s slipping sanity, which had been on the edge ever since his daughter, or rather the zombie version of her, had been killed by Michonne (Danai Gurira).

There was no sympathy left for this pitiful man after his actions, and this episode attempted to piece together what little humanity remained in him. Whether it succeeds in doing this or not relies heavily on the newcomers introduced in this week’s episode “Live Bait.”

Abandoned by his closest henchmen, and rightfully so, the first few minutes of the episode depicted a distraught and beaten version of The Governor never seen before. This bearded stranger, much thinner than we remember him, dragged his feet aimlessly as he searched for something worth fighting for.

In a world where hope is already stretched thin, I couldn’t help but feel for him. Even the little microscopic amount of sympathy I was willing to give to this mass murderer surprised me. I was subconsciously rooting him, but cheering for a walker to take a nibble at his ankles at the same time.

The Governor eventually finds hope in the form of a surviving family, complete of three daughters and their dying father. Megan (Meyrick Murphy), the youngest of the three, has the strongest effect on him closely resembling his dead daughter Penny. She is the live bait The Governor required in order to reel his sanity back in.

He’s hesitant at first, barely speaking to the family, but by the end of the episode he had drawn close to the daughters. In a sense this new identity, which he dubbed to be “Brian” (an obvious nod to the comics wherein The Governor is named Brian not Phillip), is a fresh start for the man. He burns away the old, including the entire now-abandoned town of Woodbury along with the only remaining picture of his family, but what rises in its ashes is yet to be seen.

The episode’s format was a little dry compared to the action-packed episode last week, but those wondering where The Governor had disappeared to are slowly having their questions answered.

While I understand it being hard to introduce an entire new group and successfully make the audience care about them a daunting task, especially in just an hour, the episode did exceptionally well in doing so.  More than likely the writers are bridging the paths between Rick and The Governor, and it will be interesting to see how Rick will react to seeing The Governor the way he is now.

Rick couldn’t possibly shoot him with an innocent girl like Megan in his arms, could he?

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