And yet again we are kept from the inevitable Rick and Daryl conversation about Carol because we're still following the Governor around. However, as we shall see, this two-episode arc is not trying to redeem him but attempting to show just why he's the scary, violent, single-minded man he is. We didn't get to see how his wife's death and daughter's zombification changed him the first time; this E7 shows us the second round.
Picking up right where the last episode left off, Martinez pulls the Governor and Megan out of the pit. Lily and Tara are there too, along with several others of Martinez's new crew, including Kirk Acevedo (expanding upon his post-Fringe genre work here as the morally-ambiguous Mitch) and Enver Gjokaj (aw, so nice to see him again as Mitch's nice guy brother Pete.) (Too bad they don't look anything like each other). Martinez says the Governor (now known as "Brian") and his little family are welcome to join them but everyone has to contribute. "No dead weight."
Martinez, Mitch, Pete and the Governor go on a supply run to an abandoned cabin in the woods, formerly occupied by a survivalist. They find a couple of decapitated bodies, one chained to a tree and one chained to a chair in a field, each with a sign nailed into its chest: "LIAR" and "RAPIST." It's pretty dramatic imagery. They hear some banging in the walls and eventually get attacked by a couple of walkers. Pete flails around rather uselessly so the Governor beats each walker's skull in with his flashlight. Afterwards, as they gather supplies, they find some skunky beer and do some man-bonding. The Governor doesn't like to talk much about his past but he seems to enjoy the company.
Back at camp, Martinez joins the Governor, Lily, Megan, etc., for dinner and they all get a little shitfaced on the warm beer. I'm beginning to warm to him - Martinez - he seems like a decent guy now that he's not under the Governor's command. In fact, he invites the Governor out to the field with the zombie pits to shoot some golf balls off the top of an RV. They take swigs off a bottle of booze, whack golf balls badly and reminisce a bit ... until the Governor smacks Martinez in the head with a golf club when his response to "don't you think you can keep these people safe?" is "We can try, hopefully be prepared." That's not good enough for the Governor. Martinez cries out, skull cracked and bleeding. The Governor pushes him off the top of the RV and then drags him over to one of the pits. He pushes the still-conscious (and now screaming) Martinez into the outstretched hands of the zombies, repeating over and over to himself, "I don't want it, you hear? I don't want it! I don't want it." But he does want it: he wants to be in charge so he can keep his new family safe.
The next morning, the people in camp (lots more than I thought) are upset that Martinez is dead - purportedly got drunk playing golf and fell into the pits. Pete says he'll take charge for a few days until they can organize a vote for the group's new leader. In the meantime, Pete, Mitch and the Governor go on a supply run. As they walk through the woods, Pete asks the Governor for his advice on rationing, fences, guard duty, etc., the myriad details of being a leader. They come across a camp of people who have fenced themselves with barbed wire. This group seems well-supplied and Mitch wants to take their stuff. Pete says no, they'll not rob these people. The Governor keeps quiet. Later, Mitch scoffs at the two meager squirrels they've managed to kill. The Governor watches the brothers, then hears something and stalks off through the woods. The brothers follow him back to that camp which is now destroyed and stripped of anything useful, conveniently enough for the plot. Mitch rages at the lost opportunity; Pete mourns the lost lives; the Governor just watches thoughtfully.
That night, the Governor tells Lily and Megan to pack their things and get Tara: "We need to leave - it isn't safe here anymore." He thinks things are about to go very wrong under the current leadership and they need to get out of here. Lily trusts him and that night they go. But they don't get far because they get stopped when the road gets swampy. There are dozens of zombies stuck waist-deep in the mud (in the middle of the road?) and they can't get the car past. The zombies aren't really a threat, trapped as they are, but again, it's a striking visual. The Governor stares balefully for a while and then they go back to camp. (There's only one road out of wherever they are? That can't be right.)
In the morning, the Governor makes his rounds. He goes to see Pete first and that good man lets him into his RV, saying, "I know, we need to talk about Mitch, don't we?" Whereupon the Governor immediately knifes him in the back and chokes him to death. Poor Enver. I'd hoped he'd stick around a little longer. Next, after rolling Pete into a nearby pond, the Governor goes to see Mitch. He pulls his gun on him and tells him that he's killed Pete because Pete was weak. Mitch can stay alive if he gets on board with the Governor running the show. Mitch sniffles about it for a little while but yes, he gets on board.
Later, the Governor gets everyone organized, putting up fences and moving derelict cars around the camp, gathering ammunition, doing regular scouting runs. The Governor knows it isn't enough, though, they're too exposed. This is reinforced when a walker gets into camp in broad daylight and nearly snacks on little Megan. Tara tries to pull the zombie off her niece - the rotting flesh of its leg disintegrates in her hands, eeeeuuw - but no one has the wherewithal to actually kill the zombie until the Governor runs up and shoots it in the head. Seriously, these people are not well-trained.
The Governor goes back to the dock in the pond and looks down: zombie Pete is underwater, chained by one ankle below the surface. Looks like the Governor isn't content with just collecting heads in aquariums this time. Effing psycho. The last scene shows him driving out from camp and walking up to the prison. He watches Rick and Carl in their garden. He pulls out his gun. He sees Michonne and Herschel outside the fences. Michonne is smiling at something Herschel says. The Governor raises his pistol and takes aim.
Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead
49 minutes ago