The Governor returns, but he’s not the one-eyed psychopath we knew and loved. Or is he? Hanging over this season of The Walking Dead like a sword of Damocles has been the fate of the Governor – after Rick and crew took down Woodbury, he escaped into the wild. We knew he was coming back (his name was still in the credits), but how? And when?
When was the last ten seconds of last week’s episode. How? How is now, in one of the weirdest episodes the show’s ever seen. Let’s get to it.
We open just after the Governor’s massacre of his own guys at the end of last season – it’s just him and a few loyalists out in the wild – until they all desert him come sunup. Now he’s on his own, which is not a good way to be in a walker-infested wilderness. He heads back to Woodbury and systematically destroys everything that was left of the town with a bulldozer, leaving it to the dead.
Months later, he’s a total mess, bearded and shabby and not willing to take the effort to cap walkers when they come at him. He’s discovered by a little girl (shades of his own zombie daughter) who takes him to her family – her mother Lily and sister Tara. They’re wary but eventually accept him. The father has lung cancer and is on oxygen to survive, which seems a little cumbersome in a post-electricity world. Oh, and they also apparently have no idea how to kill zombies, which is amazing. How do you survive this long not knowing to shoot them in the brain?
The Governor, now calling himself “Brian,” teaches them this handy bit of information and more, heading upstairs to a zombie-infested apartment to retrieve a backgammon game. While there, he encounters a suicide turned zombie that might have been the episode’s grisliest moment. He continues to settle in with the family, eventually shaving and cleaning himself up, but of course the cancer-ridden father picks that moment to die and the Gov has to smash his skull in with an oxygen tank like a boss.
The three women and the Governor head out, against his protestations, and run into another swarm of walkers. In one of the episode’s nastiest scenes, “Brian” takes out three zombies with his bare hands, showing us that the badass is back – but for what?
And we close with another face from the past – it’s Caesar, one of the cronies from Woodbury. Now that the Governor is in form as a leader of men (well, OK, women), where will he go from here? We didn’t see anybody with him when he cased the prison last week, after all. Speaking of, we didn’t see anybody in the prison this week – it was a one-man show. So next week I’d expect to see the Rick / Darryl fallout at the very least.