This season and really the whole series has dealt with some of the biggest life questions there are. What does it mean to be human? Are evil actions ever justified? Can you do terrible things, things you never imagined and still remain essentially who you are or if you do change can you come back from the brink? These are important and interesting questions and The Walking Dead has usually done a relatively good job of exploring them.
I haven’t always liked the answers but at least they were interesting and made me think. This episode did none of the above. I rarely critique shows and I often like episodes of series that people put on their worst list, but this episode really disappointed me. Okay, the Governor is evil, check. But he doesn’t want to be evil? This episode seemed to say that given his circumstances and his childhood that the Governor’s choices were inevitable. I think we were supposed to follow the thought processes of the Governor as he gave up his new “good” life as Brian to protect those that he loved. I just didn’t buy it. It really didn’t take much to turn him back to his awful self. Yes, the camp was under threat – hello it’s the apocalypse - yes, maybe Martinez would give him away and maybe Peter was too nice but there are alternatives to killing two of the strongest men you have and taking over. So essentially the Governor is the murdering psychopath we always knew but now he has a little family to justify it.
Martinez had put the camp together on his own as a reflection of Woodbury. He was willing to share power with the Governor. It seemed that Martinez had actually changed. He was a good leader who cared about his people. He was willing to try even though he made it clear that he didn’t think there was much hope of continued survival. I thought it was a nice gesture that he asked the Governor up to hit some golf balls. Unfortunately, he forgot his own comment about ice in the veins. It cost him his life. I couldn’t fathom why the Governor killed him like that. Was it always going to happen at the first opportunity? Then the Governor decides to take his little family and leave (even though he has killed Martinez to keep his secret) I understood that somewhat. There were dangerous people out there and their little camp was next and they weren’t ready for it. But I’m not sure why they turned around and went back. Maybe that road was impassable but there seemed to be many ways out. So much of this progression didn’t make sense.
Peter echoed the words of Rick and Daryl when he said that the only way you could survive was with people but then he died for caring about people and wanting to maintain his integrity and decency. The Governor seems to represent the idea that you need people but then you only protect your people and everyone else dies. Somehow this is justifiable and the only way to survive. The whole thing is we already had this juxtaposition. Our little group in the prison who are trying to maintain their humanity versus the Governor who is willing to do whatever he thinks is necessary to survive. The last two episodes have just taken us in a big circle of repetition rather than offering up anything new or interesting. We learned more about the Governor than I ever wanted to know. We’ve had some half-hearted explanations and justifications for his actions but he remains a liar, rapist and murderer – all the things the corpses accused him of being. What little hope I had for a twist, a new perspective or even an interesting exploration of human behaviour has essentially been dashed. I’m left thinking that the Governor will be exactly what he was last season, a reason to move our group out of the prison. We’ve just had to endure a somewhat tortuous detour before that is going to happen. And to top it all off we’ve been left with one of the worst cliff hangers ever.
Bits and Pieces
Is the ditch a trench that catches biters/walkers – why not dig it all the way around the camp and have a bridge?
The scene of the Governor doing the laundry was very homey and weird.
We have some big reveals coming up I hope. How will Daryl react to the news about Carol? How will Lily, etc. react to the real Governor?
Was the pond dead because it was full of walkers? That would be a new kind of pollution to worry about.
Is Mitch really going to get over his brother’s death that easily?
Things I could live without – poor dead Pete in the water. Seriously, that is all we are going to get of Enver Gjokaj? The skin coming off the walker’s leg as Tara tried to pull it away.
Martinez: “Contribute or be cast out.”
Alicia: “You always this full of shit?”
Tara: “Yes, I am.”
Martinez: “There are some things you just can’t come back from. They become a part of who you are. Either you live with them or you don’t.”
Governor: “I don’t wanna do it.” (It didn't look like that at all)
Governor: “Men like your brother, always doing the right thing, even at the cost of their own people.”
Governor: “Because we will do the only thing.”
Governor: “People believe what they want to believe. Everybody loves a hero.”
Mitch: “End of the world don’t mean shit when you got a tank.”