The Walking Dead: Live Bait (4×06)
Synopsis: A Governor-centric episode is not at all what we were expecting. Are those… are you having some kind of feelings for the Governor that aren’t disgust? No? Just me? Okay then.
Try to hold onto the memories of our dear batshit crazy Philip Blake, also known as The Governor, because this episode almost makes you feel for the guy. After Martinez shoots a blazing walker that was crawling towards him, effectively saving his life, he wakes up the next morning to find he and Shumpert have abandoned The Governor to his own devices – and they are some very interesting devices.
He drives his military vehicle back to Woodbury, blasting through a fence and burning the town to the ground. There are walkers everywhere, but he shows the same concern for them as he did the walker that Martinez saved him from. A montage of beard-growing and dazed near-misses with walkers follows. In an abandoned town, he notices a young girl in an apartment window. It’s so brief and she seemingly disappears so quickly that I could have sworn he’d hallucinated it. But, it turns out, when he gets up there a woman with a bat greets him, followed by a younger woman with a gun. Uncharacteristically, the Governor gives up his weapons without a fight. He tells them he’s been on the road alone for a couple months after the man in charge of their group “lost it.”
Tara, the younger woman, is part of the Atlantic City Police and warns him that she’s heavily armed, but almost mistakenly passes him back his loaded gun. Lily, the older sister, stops her subtly and explains to him that they’re waiting for the National Guard. There’s also a young girl, Megan, and her grandfather. He gives them the name Brian Heriot, found spray painted on a barn in his travels, and promises them that he’s only staying one night. When Lily brings him food, he accepts it and then promptly dumps it out the window once he shuts the door to his own apartment across the hall.
Megan also doesn’t eat her food, but enjoys playing backgammon with her grandfather. When Lily and Tara hear floorboards creaking, they catch the Governor returning his plate and they invite him in. They explain to him that their father, the grandfather, drove that Gorbelli food truck stocked full of food to pick up Lily at the hospital, where she was a nurse, and oxygen tanks before heading to the station to pick up Tara when the shit hit the fan – and they’ve been holed up pretty well ever since.
As they struggle to help their grandfather to bed, a near catatonic Governor finally shakes some of his stupor and picks the man up and puts him in bed. In his room, the older man tells the Governor about providing for his kids and asks if the Governor might go get a backgammon set in apartment 303. There are walkers up there, but they hadn’t yet figured out how to kill them and he’d forbid Tara from trying again. He succeeds in getting the set for them, as well as finding a gun from a failed suicide walker.
Back in his own apartment, he mulls over a picture of himself with his wife and Penny, ultimately folding himself out of the picture to look at it. Lily shows up and offers him food, throwing it at him when he doesn’t move to take it. She also tries to return his gun and he shows some of his old charm by telling her not to throw that at him. He also tells her to keep it because he has the one from upstairs and explains to her how you have to shoot them in the brain.
Before he can leave, Lily tells him that her father only has two days of oxygen left. He has lung cancer and wasn’t supposed to last this long, but she asks him if he could possibly get them a few tanks from the old folks home. Surprisingly, he does, but this is where his ambivalence kind of kicks him in the ass. A lot of elderly walkers are there and in his saunter through the place, he misses the opportunity to bring a dolly of tanks and only manages to grab two.
When he brings back the tanks, Lily cleans up his cut and explains to him that Megan thought he was her father when she saw him out on the street – he left three years ago and never came back. Megan is left to watch over him and they talk about his missing eye. He teases her, telling her he’s a pirate, before he really tells her he lost it trying to protect someone he loved. Later, a clean-shaven Governor is setting up Chess and explaining the rules to Megan. He tells her that the pawns are like soldiers and how you can lose a lot of soldiers but still win the game. She gives the king an eye-patch like him and they play.
Her mom interrupts their game to come say goodbye to her dead grandfather. He’s been dead for a while and Tara wants more time to say goodbye while the Governor is obviously agitated and the reanimation. The grandfather grabs Tara by the hair and the Governor has no choice but to beat his head in with one of the oxygen tanks to kill him. It’s traumatic for the entire family and he ends up outside burying the body.
A scared Megan hides from him when he returns to the apartment to explain that re-animation happens no matter what. Tara tells the Governor that he would have been grateful that he was stopped from hurting his own family before he leaves the apartment. He burns the picture of his family and packs his things up to leave. As he goes to say goodbye, Lily insists that they’re going with him and, with little say in the matter, he allows it.
All of them pile into the Gorbelli box truck and Tara finally admits she’s not actually a cop, she was in the academy when everything hit the fan. He assures her that they’re going to make it. When they stop, Megan is still weary of the Governor, which obviously hurts him. One night, they’re all in the truck sleeping and Lily and the Governor get it on. That suave motherfucker.
In the morning, the truck won’t start and they’re forced to abandon it, continuing on foot. The Governor promises they’ll find another car soon when a distracted Tara falls and twists her ankle. When the Governor notices a small group of walkers coming their way, he has everyone drop their bags and run. Megan hesitates, but after a moment runs to him so that he can carry her through the woods and away from the threat.
The Governor and Megan fall into one of his walker pits and he has to brutally kill three walkers with his bare hands in front of her. He apologizes to her, makes sure she’s okay and promises he won’t ever let anything happen to her. Machine gun fire is heard in the distance and when the Governor looks up and out of the pit, it’s Martinez looking down on him.
So now how do you feel about the Governor?