No Rick or Daryl or Hershel or Glen or any news about Carol – just an entire episode focused on the Governor. Last week we saw him lurking in the woods watching the prison and now we see what he’s been doing since his Utopia known as Woodbury fell apart and he burned the last of it to the ground. He’s been roaming the highways and byways of Georgia with the last of his henchmen, Shumpert and Martinez, but even they abandoned him when he sat and stared at a walker who crawled across a campfire towards him and never moved a muscle. The Governor set out on his own after that, growing a beard and surviving on whatever he could find to eat, which, from the looks of him, wasn’t much.
He enters a small town center, after passing a building scrawled with messages for a Brian Heriot. Looking up, he sees a young girl looking out the window of an apartment building and heads inside. He’s met by two women, sister Lily and Tara, who are armed with a baseball bat and a gun. The women, along with their father and Lily’s daughter, Megan, have been holed up in the building since the world was turned upside down. Tara’s the tougher of the two, telling the Governor that she was an Atlanta cop and had enough ammo to kill him every day for ten years – both of which are lies. After taking the Governor’s gun for safe keeping, they agree to let him stay the night, get some rest and have something to eat.
The Governor introduces himself as Brian Heriot, the name he saw on the old warehouse and all of them relate their experiences since the apocalypse began. Their father worked for a food distributor and confiscated one of their trucks, where they keep their food supply. Tara was a nurse and brought home some oxygen tanks for their dad, who is dying – he has Stage 4 lung cancer. Megan is the light of her grandfather’s life and he’s the only one who can draw out a smile or a few words from her. The Governor is drawn to Megan, possibly because she looks so much like his own daughter, Penny. Dad, after asking the Governor for a cigarette, for which he’s reprimanded by Tara, has another favor he’d like from his guest. His neighbor has a backgammon set and Megan would enjoy playing the game. After the Governor carries the father to bed, he goes upstairs to the neighbor’s apartment and finds the game under the man’s bed. He then hears a noise and finds the zombified man, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, in his bathtub. He finishes the man off and then takes the gun from his hand.
Tara also has a request of the Governor – go to the old folks’ home down the street and grab as many oxygen tanks as he can for the father. Doing as he’s asked, the Governor enters the home and finds rooms and hallways filled with elderly walkers. He makes his way to a supply room and finds about a dozen tanks. He tries to wheel them out on a cart but is caught in the middle of the advancing walkers. Using one tank to fend them off, he escapes with a few cuts and bruises. The funny thing is that he never finished even one of them off – none. Maybe he was showing some sort of respect for them but it nearly cost him his life.
He returns to the apartment and the women are grateful for what he’s done. Tara, a nurse, tends to his wounds, gently applying an antiseptic to a cut on his forehead. Megan is left alone with him while her Mom gets some ointment and she’s curious as to how he came to where an eye-patch. He tells her that he’s a pirate and lost his eye trying to help a friend from getting hurt. He also says that both he and the friend got hurt anyway. Later he explains chess pieces to Megan, telling her that you can still win the game even if you lose a lot of soldiers. He also says that the King is the guy you want to capture. Megan responds by taking the king and drawing an eye-patch on it, so that the game piece will look like her new friend.
Despite the oxygen, Dad doesn’t last very long and dies within just a few hours. Tara and Lilly take Megan in to say goodbye to her grandfather and then Tara leans over to kiss him. As she does so, the man turns and lunges at Tara. The governor jumps into action, using the oxygen tank to crash his skull in, much to the horror of the already traumatized Megan. The Governor digs a grave and buries the body. Tara says that she knows what needed to be done and thanks the Governor for saving her. She tells him that her Dad would have understood and been thankful, as well.
The Governor returns to his room and sets a photograph of his family that he’s been carrying on fire – maybe his way of saying goodbye, too. The next day, the Governor is getting ready to leave but the women have decided to go with him. They suggest he take the food truck and, after packing a few belongings, they drive away. They stop by a pond for the night, and the night means that Tara and the Governor have a tryst in the back of the truck. Don’t ask me what the other two were doing – they must be heavy sleepers. The next morning, the truck won’t start and they have to sett out on foot. They don’t get too far, though, just far enough to pass a sign that says “Live Bait – One Mile” before they encounter some walkers. The Governor tells the girls to run but Megan is frozen in place. He beckons to her and she finally runs into his arms. Carrying her, he and the sisters run into the woods, but the Governor and Megan fall into a pit which they find themselves sharing with some walkers. The Governor defeats each one, with his bare hands and a bone – probably one of the most impressive zombie kills ever shown. Someone then says “Holy shit.” As he looks up, the Governor sees his former sidekick, Martinez looking down at him.
For just a few days we got to see who Philip Blake was, what kind of father he was, before he became the crazed, maniacal, deadly Governor. The question is, does he remain a hero or is he still seeking revenge against Rick and the others?