‘The Walking Dead’: Did The Return of The Governor Deliver?

Published 11 months ago by , Updated November 19th, 2013 at 11:38 am,

David Morrissey in The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 6 The Walking Dead: Did The Return of The Governor Deliver?

[This is a review of The Walking Dead season 4, episode 6. There will be SPOILERS.]

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The Governor made a short appearance at the end of last week’s The Walking Dead, and from what anyone could tell, he was either ready to stage another all-out assault on the prison, or he was just walking by, remembering the good times and the bad that he and his good buddy Rick Grimes had before Philip lost it and opened fire on his own people. That is to say, the tease of the Governor’s return was such that few would have expected the ‘Live Bait’ to be the kind of deviating episode that it was.

In that regard, the episode felt similar (in concept, anyway) to season 3′s ‘Walk With Me,’ as it gave everyone a break from the survivors and the claustrophobic confines of the prison, to grant the series look at what Philip had been up to since things didn’t quite go his way in ‘Welcome to the Tombs.’ And as much as the show struggled with its depiction of the Governor at certain (sometimes key) moments last season, this trip through the last few months of Philip’s life were interesting in the sense that we were presented with a man who was broken, had hit rock bottom and through some wild twist of fate had been given an opportunity to slowly climb his way out.

There’s a great deal of coincidence going on in ‘Live Bait’ that gives Philip’s journey an almost fantastical quality about it. But after a quick montage that shows him burning Woodbury to the ground and then taking to the road on foot – apparently not getting very far – Philip finds himself in the company of a small family who’ve somehow managed to avoid the worst of the zombie outbreak by tucking themselves away in an apartment building and surviving off junk food. These four people, Melody (Audrey Marie Anderson), her daughter Megan (Meyrick Murphy), sister Tara (Alanna Masterson) and their father are a microcosm unto themselves; aware only that something is horribly wrong with the world outside, but inexperienced enough not to know how to truly survive in it.

Jose Pablo Cantillo in The Walking Dead Season 4 Epiosde 6 The Walking Dead: Did The Return of The Governor Deliver?

A newly apprehensive and laconic Philip winds up spending more time with the family than he initially intended, and as he grows more accustomed to them, they afford the Governor a chance to reclaim all that he’d lost. Melody and her daughter become and obvious surrogate for the wife and child Philip had lost to the zombies - but as a whole, the family is practically turned into surrogate Woodburians as well. Some of it, like the chess game between Philip and Megan, is painfully overdone and obvious, but still, they need his help, appreciate his abilities and knowledge, and, eventually, come to rely on his leadership.

As far as episodes go, ‘Live Bait’ wound up feeling like a breath of fresh air from the storyline at the prison – which had begun to get a little stagnant after weeks spent riding out a deadly flu virus culminated in one of the bleakest episodes ever. But more than that, this little jaunt with the Governor demonstrated how much livelier the show can feel when it puts characters (any character, apparently) out on the open road. We saw it early in the series when the survivors were perpetually on the move, last season with ‘Clear,’ and earlier this season when Daryl and the Most Intense People in the World took a short road trip in search of medical supplies.

If anything, this demonstrates that The Walking Dead works best when its characters are mobile and engaged. The surprising thing is that it doesn’t necessarily seem to matter which character is being engaged.

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The Walking Dead continues next Sunday with ‘Dead Weight’ @9pm on AMC. Check out a sneak peek below:

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  1. i’m shocked so many people liked live bait, considering the pace of it. the writers and david Morrissey did a hell of a job selling the governor’s attachment to the chalmers family and that I found myself rooting for him at points. should the governor eventually travel down the ultra vicious path expected of him, there are now clearer and deeper reasons for it.

    as for Martinez sparing the governor, he was a card carrying member of the governor’s death squads, along with the likes of merle, shumpert, and Crowley. the guy is a s**tbag. as the others. perhaps he’s now leaning more to the governor’s end while leading his new group.

  2. >watches post apocalyptic television series
    >Complains with bleak subject matter

    This episode was better for fans of the source material as it promises to make the TV show governor much more closer to that of the source material. I can understand people saying it was maybe a bit slow. However if this lives up to the expectations it has created (closely aligning its self with ‘Rise of the Governor’ this will be seen as the moment just before the watershed. In which ‘Brian’ becomes Phillip Blake.
    However if you’re watching this show and complaining about it being bleak, to me thats silly. What would you expect? It’s such a poor criticism. It’s like criticizing a ‘gangsta’ movie for depicting crime.

    Don’t mistake me in saying I feel the need for it to be EXACTLY like the comics. I sincerely don’t wish for that (except the Tank scene). However I really dislike it when character fundamentals are changed in translation, because then its hardly adapting the character – its making a new one.

    • +1

  3. As one who prefers some road travel, when do we see how Carol is doing?

  4. I for one loved this episode ‘Live Bait’ with The Governor or as he now calsl himself, Brian Heirot. This episode was a most welcome breath of fresh air from the Status Quo is God enviroment of the prison. As a Gamer and Amaetur Writer ‘Live Bait’ had a couple of LOL moments to me. What with how Brian meets these people and grows in favor with them by doing “Fetch Quest”

    It felt like I was watching a live action video game being played. It was brilliant. I felt myself really rooting for The Governor to become a better person. As Paarthurnax says to The Dragonborn in Skyrim: “What is better- to be born good, or to overcome your evil nature through great effort?”

    Seeing Brian get violent again (against The Biters instead of fellow humans) was also a treat :D In this way they once again show how Rick Grimes & The Governor aren`t that different. At the begining of Season 4 Rick had a great aversion to violence – so to did The Governor post destruction of Woodbury he mostly just evaded The Biters and gave up his firearms with very little fuss. It even seemed like he wasn`t going to defend himself when that female Biter attacked his camp. But just like Rick, The Governor/Brian finds a reason to do violence once more. And I love how they showed the cost of that violence with how it scared the little girl Megan and her mom Melody. Who is potrayed by Audrey Marie Anderson from The Unit. She is so good at playing The girl next door type and MILF ;)

    • while i’m no gamer, I enjoyed the examples you used. and yes, I thought the same concerning the actress playing the governor’s new love interest. she sure was easy on my eyes.

  5. We learned absolutely nothing this episode about anything we actually care about…we all know the governor taking too this family was more about his narcissism than anything. .they just helped him forget about his real wife and daughter…I saw no redemption at all…instead of letting his daughter rest in peace he kept her as a zombie..pure narcissistic ways…so lets stop with the redemption crap please

    • Except… he hasn’t fully redeemed himself! The whole point of the episode is to show that most people aren’t as black and white as we’d think. We got to see the good side of him, but I don’t think is gotten rid of the bad side either. I’m sure we’re going to see him snap again.

  6. Melody? Really? Did you even watch the episode? They had to have said Lily 10 times.

  7. It’s allmost midseason and nothing really happened yet..if this is such a great show why is that.. I asked my friend to tell me who claimed they like the show what’s so great about it and she could not think of anything right away

  8. Only a few episodes left to midseason..and I’m willing to bet it will be the governor attacking them of some sort…but guess what that was seasis 3 finale already

    • Exactly. That’s what I call stretching and fillers everywhere. If you know the source material (and the TV show pretty much follows the comic book in terms of story arcs / plot lines, but takes changes to characters), the whole season 4 so far is just stretching the story arc to have more episodes … and also diluting the very compact and concisely stories, which are very character-driven … nota bene driven by characters of Rick’s group, mainly Rick himself, but also Carl and others. But not by antagonistic characters like the Governor.

      What the uncritical fanboys don’t get is, that – besides the Governor isn’t interesting anymore – spotlighting the Governor (with a well written episode … I’ll give you that … but still boring) is just a trick to stretch the show. It’s an old trick, if you’re out of ideas … spotlightning characters and repeating their past and aspects of their characters. Usually shows do this in the end of their life cycle …

  9. Sweet, it has Charlie from “Fringe” in it.