WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
“Walking Dead” fans were ecstatic when the Governor resurfaced during the last few moments of episode 5, “Internment.” Missing since he massacred his Woodbury army during the season 3 finale, viewers have been wondering what the one-eyed villain has been doing since snapping. Well, the Governor’s life post Woodbury was finally revealed in season 4 episode 6, “Live Bait.”
Episode 6 kicked off with the Governor and his two henchmen -- Shumpert and Martinez -- driving off after the massacre. And while the Governor seemed to care less about gunning down his army, it did end up taking a toll on him.
Sitting by a fire near the camp they set up for the night, the Governor stared into space … unperturbed by a walker shuffling toward him. Doing nothing as it dangerously inched forward, the Governor was saved from becoming zombie kibble by Martinez. But as Martinez’ gun goes off, the Governor didn't even flinch.
“Live Bait” reveals that after the night Martinez and Shumpert abandoned the Governor while he slept. Left alone with only the possessions he had on him, the Governor returned to Woodbury … to burn it to the ground.
Traveling on foot for months, the Governor became disheveled with long hair and a grown-out beard. Almost giving up on life, he’s saved when he spots a little girl in an apartment window that looks like Penny, his dead daughter. Heading into the building, the Governor meets a family of survivors -- An older man named Don, his two daughters Tara and Lily, and Lily’s daughter, Megan. While the greeting isn’t initially a warm one, the Governor changes his name to Brian and tells them his story … how he barely got out alive after the man in charge at his camp snapped.
Initially planning to spend only one night in the apartment building, Brian holes up in the next apartment -- choosing to eat cat food over real food and hiding his face on his old family photo. But one night turns into another as he helps out the family by carrying Don (who has stage 4 lung cancer) to bed, and getting a backgammon game from an upstairs neighbor’s apartment for Don to play with his granddaughter (who hasn’t talked since the zombie plague broke out). The small tasks turn into a big one when Lily asks him to travel to a local nursing home to get more oxygen tanks for her father.
The Governor’s journey to get the oxygen tank signals his transformation into Brian. Getting into the building, he finds patients that were left strapped to their beds and sitting in wheelchairs in the hallways. But instead of killing them, he chooses to simply move around them. Managing to escape the building with a couple of oxygen tanks, Brian helps Don hang onto life for a few more days and even gets Megan talking.
Like the Governor believing Megan was Penny, Lily explains that Megan thought the Governor was her dad when she saw him on the street. The pair becomes friends with the Governor playfully telling her that he’s a pirate when she asks about his eye. But he eventually reveals the truth behind his eye patch (kind of) -- that he was trying to protect someone he loved very much and hurt his eye in the process of trying to stop them from getting hurt.
However, his friendship with Megan takes a few steps back when Don dies and comes back to life as a walker. The sheltered family had no idea that you could turn without being bit, and needless to say, they were appalled when Brian used an oxygen tank to bash their father’s face in.
Burying Don’s body, the Governor returned to his apartment to burn the thing tying him to his old life -- his old family photo. Packing his bags, he tells Lily, Tara and Megan that he’s going … but the girls want to travel with him.
Initially refusing, Lily forces her family on him and they end up heading on the road in Don’s old food delivery truck. Taking shelter in the truck for a night, Lily and the Governor get closer, further pushing him into his role as Brian, their savior.
But the next day their journey takes a turn for the worse when the car won’t start up. Forced to walk with their supplies, Tara ends up injuring her leg with a large group of walkers ahead of them. Dropping their supplies, Lily tries to help Tara to safety but Megan is too afraid to move. With a little encouragement, she runs into Brian’s arms and the group takes off into the woods. However, Brian and Megan run into another problem: a large hole in the ground that’s eerily similar to the ones that the Governor had used to catch walkers.
Like the Governor’s old traps, this hole has walkers and Brian is forced to kill the zombies using his bare hands … and a rogue bone. After slaughtering the group, Brian promises Megan that he won’t let anything happen to her. But the pair run into another complication: the Governor’s old henchman, Martinez.
What did you think of the Governor’s story? Do you think the Governor changed when he became Brian? Let us know your thoughts on episode 6 of “The Walking Dead” in the comments section.
Amanda Remling studied journalism at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ.
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