We only saw some members of the group at the prison for just the briefest of moments and spent the rest of the time finding out that The Governor isn’t Philip Blake anymore – or even Brian Heriot for that matter. He’s still The Governor, perhaps even more bat shit crazy than he was during his reign as the leader of Woodbury.
He looks okay, at first, washing and hanging clothes, while playing chess with Megan, who he now calls pumpkin. When she hesitates over her next move, he tells Megan, “You can’t think forever. Sooner or later, you gotta make a move.” I don’t think he’s talking about the game of chess. They seem to have something in common – both of them had mean fathers. Looking back to the scene where Martinez pulls Megan and The Governor out of the pit, Martinez tells his former boss that he has only two rules for staying with the camp: #1. “I’m in charge” and #2. “No dead weight”. And that goes for everybody or there’s a guarantee that you’ll get cast out of the fold.
Lily and Tara have settled into their own RV along with Megan and the Governor. The women are making friends with another of the campers, Alicia, who calls out Tara for her false bravado – actually, what she laughingly said was that Tara was a bunch of bullshit. Martinez asks The Governor to go hunting with him,and two brothers, Pete and Mitch, for supplies. As they walk in the woods, they come across a headless body tied to a tree with a homemade sign that says “LIAR”. A few steps later, there’s another body, in a recliner but in the same condition, and his sign says “RAPIST”. They reach a cabin and, on the front porch, they see one more body which appears to be that of the owner who took his life after making his own sign – “MURDERER”.
Martinez wants to go inside and sends The Governor in first. Once they enter, they hear noises, like someone is banging up against something. A female walker comes out of nowhere, jumps on Pete and The Governor saves him before she bites him. They notice three heads, possibly the owner’s family, and they’re gnashing their teeth in the usual angry, hungry walker fashion. After clearing the cabin of any more walkers, the men start a fire and share some beers. Martinez tells The Governor that he’s different and wants to know what changed. His old boss just says, “Things.” Not wanting to reveal any more about himself, he asks the others how they managed to make it after the apocalypse.
When they get back to camp, the women, The Governor and Martinez sit around, drinking and eating, sharing some stories and acting like people who aren’t fighting flesh-eating zombies on a daily basis. Afterwards, The Governor gets some duct tape – the one thing no one can live without, even in a post-apocalyptic world – to fix the leaky RV roof. Martinez stops by and tells The Governor he has a surprise for him. The surprise is that Martinez has a golf bag and wants to hit some balls from their new rooftop driving range. Martinez says that Shumpert got reckless and was killed by a walker, forcing him to have to put him down. He doesn’t understand how The Governor could get involved with Tara and Lily and Megan because he would be afraid of losing a family again. Then the very drunk Martinez says the wrong thing, that he and The Governor should share the crown. The Governor’s not really the sharing type and hits his former henchmen in the head with a golf club, the kicks him off the roof of the RV. He then drags him to the pit, freshly stocked with new walkers, dangles him over the edge and, while Martinez screams that he doesn’t want the leadership gig anymore, lets the walkers do what they do best. The Governor then goes inside and starts to cry. When Lily comes in and asks what’s wrong, he tells her that he had a bad dream.
The next morning, what’s left of Martinez has been discovered and everybody’s satisfied that he was drunk and fell into the pit. The campers are clamoring for a new leader and Pete names himself. Some of the others want to hold a vote, but Mitch steps in and backs his brother, saying that they can vote later. Pete wants to go hunting again and The Governor and Mitch go along with him. On the trek, Pete asks The Governor for some leadership tips but they’re interrupted by the discovery of a different set of campers. Pete suggests that they join their camp, but Mitch would rather slaughter the whole lot of them and take their supplies. Following Pete’s lead, they back off and check their traps. Their haul isn’t all that impressive – a couple of squirrels isn’t going to feed a whole camp. As they head back to camp, they come across the bodies of the campers they’d found. Their supplies were confiscated. Wow,that was fast.
Back at the RV, The Governor is ordering the women to pack their things and get ready to leave. He tells Lily that they’re in danger – something’s about to go wrong. He’s seen it before and he’s not waiting around to see it again. He also tells Lily that he’s afraid of losing them again. Again? Isn’t he talking about his wife and Penny? See what I mean? The guy’s gone completely nuts. They load what they can carry and take off in a car, taking Alicia with them. They don’t get very far, though, before they’re stopped by a bunch of walkers, waist deep in the muddy Georgia clay.
Apparently The Governor has had a change of heart and turned around. The next morning, they’re back at the camp and he stops by Pete’s RV. Instead of making small talk, The Governor stabs Pete. Then he goes next door to see Mitch. Mitch wants to know where his brother is and The Governor tells him that he’s dead – just dead weight in The Governor’s world. Mitch wants to know if he’s going to kill him, too, but The Governor has other plans. After telling Mitch that they should have taken the supplies from the campers in the wood, he offers Mitch a cigarette. Mitch says that he quit smoking but The Governor insists he take a smoke. He then tells him story about how brutal his father was. When he and his brother were caught with cigarettes their father beat the older brother for taking the blame and then the young Philip just for the hell of it. The Governor makes Mitch an offer – “Join me and you will never have to worry about doing the right thing or the wrong thing, because we’ll do the only thing.” They then throw Pete into the lake and agree to tell the others that Pete died on a supply run. After all, people believe what they want to believe.
The campers, now under the leadership of The Governor, are building fences and patrolling the perimeter, armed with guns. Tara leaves her post to play hide and seek with Megan. As the young girl pulls aside a sheet on the clothesline, believing that she’s found her aunt, a walker appears and tries to grab the girl. Megan scoots under an RV and Tara tries to pull the walker away. The only thing she manages to accomplish is pulling its leg off. The Governor arrives in the nick of time and blasts the walker.
The Governor walks to the lake and stares down at Pete, now zombified and weighted down under the water – reminiscent of those heads he kept in glass jars.. He goes back to the RV, studies a map and drives to the prison. He sees Rick and Carl, then Hershel and a laughing Michonne. He draws his gun and aims it. No, he hasn’t changed at all – just a bit more insane and full of hate than before. That doesn’t bother me in the least. He’s a much better villain than hero, anyway.
There’s just one episode left in the first half of this split season, with the second half beginning in February, 2014. AMC, on the heels of the hugely successful formula they started with Breaking Bad, has decided that they’ll garner even more viewers by airing their programs this way. They plan on airing the final season of Mad Men the same way. It worked for Breaking Bad thanks, in large part, to a lot of hype from Netflix which drew new viewers by streaming all prior seasons, right up until the final few episodes. There’s plenty of material which could provide a mid-season cliff hanger. We’ve yet to see the fallout from Rick’s decision to banish Carol, although he seemed to be getting around under his own power, which means Daryl either doesn’t know the whole truth or he didn’t go all redneck revenge on Rick. After two episodes devoted to The Governor, it would be nice to see the prison gang again, post virus – you know, who survived and who didn’t. The teaser for next week, “All will fight, some will fall” promises a full out war.