Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Walking Dead S4E6 "Live Bait" (11/17/13)

Ah.  So this is going to be a Governor-centric episode, huh?  Can't say that I approve.  We pick up right after the Governor slaughters his followers and drives off with Caesar and Whatsisname.  That night, at their camp, the Governor is silent and unmoving, even when a zombie approaches.  Caesar kills it off before it can get to the Governor, but he gives his boss a disgusted look and in the morning, Caesar and Whatsisname are gone, leaving the Governor alone and on foot.

For months he wanders, alone.  He goes back to Woodbury, finds it abandoned to the walkers and burns it down.  By the end of his wandering, he looks a bit like a zombie himself: scruffy, unkempt, shuffling and staggering.  A voice-over accompanies the images, the Governor and an unidentified woman talking about what happened to him.  He glosses over some stuff.  He finds himself in front of a derelict apartment building and catches sight of a little girl peering at him from an upper floor window.  When he goes up to their apartment, he finds two armed women, the little girl and a sick old man.  He hands over his gun and they let him in.  And so this is the story of how the Governor becomes human again. Ugh.

The women are sisters (Tara and Lily? Yeah, we'll go with Lily), the little girl is the daughter of one of them, the old man their father, dying of lung cancer and sucking off an oxygen tanks.  The little girl is kind of shell-shocked and they've been holed up here since the shit hit the fan.  Food isn't an issue because their dad drove for a wholesaler and they've got his truck full of spaghettios and pepperoni sticks.  The Governor (who tells them his name is "Brian") plans only to stay for a day.  But they ask him about himself, feed him, ask for his help with the old man, and slowly he begins to make a connection with them.

He goes upstairs to raid another apartment for more board games for little Megan and finds the former resident, now a zombie.  Tara shot it but she doesn't know you have to hit them in their heads.  [How the fuck does she not know this by now?  It's not like the zombie apocalypse just happened yesterday.]  Later, Lily asks "Brian" if he would please go to the old folks' home a few blocks down to see if he can scavenge any more oxygen tanks.  He goes and finds a whole cartload of the tanks and IT'S SO SLOW AND BORING THAT I FAST-FORWARD until the zombies start attacking him.  He has to abandon the cart, just grabbing one tank so the trip wasn't a total waste.

When he gets back to the apartment building, Lily, who was a nurse before the ZA, patches him up.  She goes to fetch more gauze and little Megan approaches.  She asks him some questions about his eye - he tries telling her he's a pirate but she giggles, disbelieving - and he admits that he lost it trying to protect someone else.  She says she's sorry and all of a sudden, the Governor gets to be a father figure again.  Ugh.

The old man dies and his family mourns.  When Lily mentions that he's been for some time now, the Governor gets concerned, asking them to leave the room.  Because these idiots have (luckily) been so sheltered that they do not know that everyone zombifies, no matter what.  The old man reanimates, grabbing Tara and gnashing his teeth.  While everyone else screams, the Governor bashes the zombie's head in using an oxygen tank.  This traumatizes little Megan again, obviously, seeing her grandpa get his head crushed.

The Governor decides that since he's ruined things with the little girl, it's time for him to move on.  But they refuse to let him go without them and they all pile into the food truck to find someplace else.  Which is okay for a while (the Governor and Lily even hook up after Tara and Megan fall asleep) until the truck breaks down and they have to go on foot.  Which is okay for a while until Tara twists her ankle just around the corner from a small herd of walkers.  They drop their packs and make a run for it, the Governor carrying Megan (who has decided that he's not so scary when compared with dozens of zombies).

They burst out of the woods and into a field, the Governor and Megan well in front of the limping Tara and Lily.  The Governor can't see where he's going very well, however, and he falls right into a big square pit.  There are three walkers trapped in there.  Megan screams and screams and the Governor kills them all with his bare hands (because he suddenly has no weapons?), including the best/ickiest kill of the episode when he uses a thigh bone to rip a zombie's upper jaw off its face.  He picks up little Megan and clutches her, saying that he was never going to let anything happen to her.  Then a gun-toting Caesar (remember him?) peers down into the pit and is all, holy shit, lookee who we have here.  And the Governor repeats to the little girl in his arms: I won't let anything happen to you.  Because that's a promise he'll for sure be able to keep.

Here's the thing about this episode: WTF?  The Governor is a terrible, horrible, very bad man.  We know this because we've been watching this show.  Yes, he once was a loving husband and father, and horrific things happened to his family, things that changed him.  But horrific things have happened to EVERYONE on this frigging show and while, yes, everyone else has also changed, most of them have not turned into monsters.  And yet this episode draws us into the Governor's life outside of any interactions with our regular cast and attempts to humanize him.  We as the audience are now supposed to sympathize with this guy?  Is this supposed to start an arc of redemption?  As a dedicated (if skeptical) viewer, I just can't get on board with this.  The Governor is a bad man and the show's writers are crazy if they think that a couple of episodes like this are going to turn him good again.

Previously on The Walking Dead / next time on The Walking Dead

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