The Governor's dead. Long live Brian Harriet.
Actor David Morrissey stood front and center on this week's brand-new episode of "The Walking Dead," titled "Live Bait." It was all about the Governor — or the man formerly known as the Governor, that is. After slaughtering his own people and leaving Woodbury behind, the Governor wandered on his own for months and months, before shacking up with a family of four and regaining some purpose and humanity in his life.
But will it all come screeching to a halt now that the Governor and his people have collided with Martinez, one of the top lieutenants from the Woodbury days? Let's dig into that question and a few more.
Did You Nerd Out As Much As I Did?
For my money, "Live Bait" is the best episode of season four thus far, and pretty easily one of my favorite episodes of the entire series. Not just because it stopped down and zeroed in with singular focus on the Governor, but also because of all of the Easter eggs for "Walking Dead" comic book and novel readers. The Governor with long hair? Check. The Governor taking on the name Brian, a mirror-universe version of the big twist from Robert Kirkman and Jay Bonansinga's "The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor" novel? Check again! The long-awaited first appearance of Lilly, a character who has appeared in the "Walking Dead" comics, novels and Telltale video game? Yet another check! It was a big, fun night for die-hard "Dead" heads, and I couldn't be happier about it.
Do We Like The Governor Now?
Maybe the episode didn't fully redeem
Phillip Brian, but it made him relatable. For once, I felt like the Governor wasn't just some mustache-twirling psychopath. Instead, he's a broken psychopath, a man completely gutted by the gravity of his own actions. He said it himself: the man at the top just lost it. The Governor knows he spiraled out of control, and he's reeling from all of the terrible decisions he made. He could stay in that pit and protect little Megan from zombies for the rest of his life, and he still wouldn't completely atone for all of the atrocities he committed in his life. But he's making strides, and that turns him into a character you can root for — to a point, anyway.
What's With Martinez?
Baseball bat-wielding Martinez left the Governor high and dry in the dead of the night. You can't blame the guy for that, really, considering what he witnessed the Governor do at the end of season three. Just as last week ended with the Governor's brief appearance outside the prison, this week's episode concluded with Martinez hovering over the Governor and Megan. So, what's he been up to? He looks healthy and well-armed, and one imagines he's part of whatever coalition oversees those walker-traps. Is Martinez a power-player in his new society? Just a grunt? Somewhere in between? Whatever the answer, it doesn't look like we'll have to wait long to find out.
Where Do We Go Next?
Previews for next week's episode, titled "Dead Weight," indicate that we're in for yet another Governor-centric episode. Good thing, too, because "Live Bait" didn't exactly answer last week's burning question: what the hell is the Governor doing at the prison? I don't think I'm assuming too much when I say that next week, we'll finally get the answer. What that answer is, however, is anybody's guess.
Can We Do That Again?
"The Walking Dead" is at its best when it doesn't do too much all at once, when it slows down to concentrate on individuals, and when it delivers the guts and gore only when it matters most. "Live Bait" is a perfect example of how to play to all of those strengths and then some. It's the best episode of the series since last season's "Clear." "Walking Dead" writers, if you're reading this: more like "Live Bait," please.
What did you think of the latest episode of "The Walking Dead"? Are you excited for the next step in the Governor's journey? Tell us in the comments section below!