by Thom Yee
4×06: “Live Bait”
After what, in retrospect, turned out to be an exhausting series of season-opening episodes based around the comparatively invisible threat of a virus, “Live Bait” turned out to be a pretty big relief. The show may have come back in a big way with last week’s “Internment”, a surprisingly action-packed installment, but a break away from our normal setting turned out to be a welcome respite from the normal doom and gloom of a dreary prison and an even drearier people.
“Internment” concluded with this season’s debut of the Governor, menacingly staring at the prison just outside the forestry surrounding it. We’ll have to wait at least another week to see how that reunion goes, as this week (and next) we have the continuing adventures of the Governor, aka Philip Blake, aka Brian Heriot, aka Snake Plissken on the road. We catch up to The Governor after the immediate fallout of… killing a bunch of his own people for deserting the prison raid. His two remaining henchmen stick by him only momentarily and eventually abandon him, either in hopes of finding better leaders to hench for or to become leaders themselves, the ones for whom henchmen do the henching. HENCH!
So the Governor, who wants to be called Brian as of this episode, goes back to Woodbury to burn down what’s left while standing in an iconoclastically symbolic pose (as you do) before becoming a near mindless drifter, only coming out of his stupor when he finds a family dangerously unprepared to deal with walkers in an abandoned apartment building. They’ve done okay so far on account of… I’m not 100% certain why… but they give “Brian”, through various machinations, the opportunity to become part of a family again (complete with attractive, age-compatible mother and daughter whose biological father abandoned her), all the way up until they’re discovered by Martinez, the Governor’s former henchman now turned… hench…er…? (He looks like he’s in charge anyway.)
All in all, this was a pretty slow episode, but like I said, it was a nice break. I’m not really a fan of our brief interlude turning out to be a not-so-brief two-parter, but it was interesting to see how simple circumstances can turn someone we’ve grown to see as a monster into somebody at least mildly sympathetic and the hero of a desperate group. I can’t help but feel, though, that an episode focused on sort of the opposite, before the walkers and depicting the Governor in his previous family life and what led him to become the monster, would’ve been a lot more effective and sort of achieved the same thing characterwise. I don’t know if anyone really cares about how he got where he most recently was just outside of the prison, and I don’t think anyone really cares about his new surrogate family (who will probably also have to die for the story to move forward). But at the very least, it was nice to get out of that prison for a while.
The Walking Dead “Live Bait” final score: 7.5
Items of Note:
-I think any travelling group from now on should take two cars whenever possible since something always seems to happen to the first one.
-Seriously, doesn’t the Governor with an eye patch, long hair and a beard look like Escape from New York‘s Snake Plissken, only older, more out of it, and with his eye patch on the wrong side?