(SPOILER ALERT! This article contains spoilers for Season 4’s “Live Bait” episode.)
If – after last season’s cold-blooded killing of the innocent – you thought you knew the Governor on AMC’s “The Walking Dead”—think again.
Sunday night’s episode, “Live Bait,” showed viewers two versions of the former Woodbury leader: a despondent version with nowhere to go and a seemingly redeemed version bent on protecting the innocent instead of gunning them down.
The true beauty of this “The Walking Dead” episode lies in what happens between these two versions of the Governor.
Beginning where “The Walking Dead” Season 3 finale left off, the episode finds the Governor and his henchmen camped out as a walker inches its way through a campfire to feast on the downtrodden leader as he sits in a trance. Were it not for Martinez’ taking out of the walker with a shot to the head, the Governor could very well have met his demise right then and there without putting up a fight.
The next morning, the Governor awakes to find Martinez and the other gone, nowhere in sight.
Thus begins the course that that sends the eye-patched one toward his encounter with Lilly, Laura, and Meghan, who wind up saving him from himself as much – if not more so – as he saves them from the undead.
As the episode unfolds, we see selfless and kind acts from the man we all hated this past summer, including retrieving an oxygen tank for Lilly’s and Laura’s dying father and teaching the child Meghan how to play chess.
After the family patriarch passes, returns, and is taken down again by the Governor, the ladies come to grips with the uncomfortable reality that it doesn’t matter how you die in the zombie apocalypse, you’re going to turn.
By this point, we see glimpses of the presumably decent man the Governor once was.
The four find themselves on the road to nowhere soon, coming across a herd of biters from which the Governor acts as protector to the two women and little girl.
If you prefer “The Walking Dead” episodes to contain heavy doses of the regulars, such as Rick, Glenn, Hershel, and Daryl, then “Live Bait” will sorely disappoint you.
If you enjoy episodes that make the already murky waters of what’s right and wrong in the zombie apocalypse world even cloudier, then this installment is custom made for you.
In light of Sunday’s “The Walking Dead” episode, viewers are left to ponder: How far does one have to go to become unredeemable?
In Season 3, the Governor tortured Glenn, killed Andrea by proxy, and nearly raped Maggie, yet here we are, six episodes into the next season and we’re wondering if the Governor is a changed man.
This episode contains strong religious undertones that relate to sin, remorse, and redemption. Other than remorse, what could the Governor’s state at the beginning of the episode have been described as?
In a world where chaos reigns, can a repentant and changed Governor escape his past without repercussions?
Based on Martinez’ reappearance at the end of the episode, and assuming the Governor has really changed, this viewer’s guess is a resounding, “No!”
“The Walking Dead” airs on AMC on Sundays at 7 p.m. in Provo.