[WARNING: SPOILERS for The Walking Dead season 4 ahead]
Rather than spend two weeks watching the prison residents recover from a bad case of the sniffles, The Walking Dead fans have instead been given an opportunity to catch up with the Governor and find out what he's been doing since the failed takeover. The first thing he did was grow a big beard to symbolize his depression, only to later shave it off after discovering something to live for in Lilly, Tara and Meghan Chambler.
With his new friends, a new group to settle down with and even a real name, it seemed for a while that the Governor might be becoming more docile and good-natured. Sadly, it didn't last long. Now the Governor has taken control of the nomadic group by force and is apparently ready to try his hand at beating Rick Grimes once again.
The conflict will come to a head in the upcoming midseason finale 'Too Far Gone,' but to give eager fans an idea of what they should be bracing themselves for, showrunner Scott M. Gimple dropped a few hints to THR about the important dynamics and factors that will play a part in how the episode goes down. Keeping things suitably vague, Gimple started with character stats for the two leaders.
"We've seen The Governor kill people to ensure the safety of his new family and we see him determined. We see Rick is very much back as someone with a gun on his hip, ready to participate in the brutality of the world to keep his people safe. It's a very explosive situation and it's entirely possible that everybody doesn't make it back. That sort of thing would be something that would affect these characters even more deeply."
There's more or less always a possibility of someone dying in The Walking Dead, with even beloved characters having been brutally removed from the show. The Governor's main strength lies in the fact that he's moving on the prison during a very unstable time, with many characters still sick, Carol banished from the prison, Daryl still unaware that Rick sent her away and Tyreese yet to find out that it was Carol who killed Karen and David.
"It's a potentially explosive situation on top of an explosive situation; one from inside the prison and one from outside the prison. If both were to happen at the same time, that could be quite dangerous for the people inside the prison."
On the other hand, the return of the Governor could work as the perfect distraction to help take the heat off Rick. Last season the Governor was responsible for the murder and subsequent zombification of Daryl's brother Merle, and there's also plenty of bad blood between the Governor and Michonne. Says Gimple, "Michonne and Daryl will not react well if they were to see The Governor - they're not all the way healed from their experiences with him."
If there's one criticism to be made of the approaching midseason finale, it's that it has been done before. Season 3's finale had the Governor attempting to take over the prison with the Woodbury survivors, and so the same thing happening all over again just a few episodes later doesn't really have as much hype going for it. The character developed somewhat during his two standalone episodes, but for the most part he seems to be back to his old ways now, albeit with fewer resources.
Let us know in the comments if you're hyped for The Walking Dead's midseason finale, or whether it feels a little bit too much like history repeating itself.
The Walking Dead will air its midseason finale 'Too Far Gone' on Sunday December 1st @9pm on AMC