Well, that didn’t take long.
Last week’s episode of The Walking Dead saw the return of The Governor, though he was a changed man. A broken man. Alone, and it seems the world is a better place when he’s on his own. But of course, he’s not on his own. What fun would that be?
Nor is he sane. At least, not in the technical sense of the term, though I’m sure he adheres fairly well with his own internal logic.
Most of the time.
Look…I’m not saying The Governor has a split personality (OK, fine, a “dissociative identity disorder“), I’m just saying that Gollum had his shit more together than The Gov, and Gollum was driven mad by a magically prolonged life–extraordinarily prolonged–in the company of an object cursed by the greatest evil his world had ever known.
This week, The Governor returns in fine style, though with a little bit of a twist. He’s got an internal war going on. He kills Martinez, the head of the camp they come to who agrees–begrudgingly–to take The Gov and his ersatz family in, after Martinez drunkenly admits that he can’t guarantee to the thousandth percent that he can keep his camp safe (because–logic talking here!–nobody can admit that. Even The Governor lost Woodbury). While he’s hitting Martinez in the head with a golf club, or dragging him across the ground, or lowering him head-first into the zombie pit, The Governor keeps saying, “I don’t want to, I don’t want to.”
Though it sure seems like he wants to. At least he has the decency to have a psychotic crying jag about the murder, afterwards. Do note that Martinez almost looks like he’s being crucified. That’s because this week’s episode was pretty heavily dosed with metaphor and foreshadowing. In the very first scene, The Governor is doing some laundry while playing chess with (and perhaps inadvertently teaching strategy to) his newly-acquired “daughter” Meghan (whose last name, now, is apparently “Chambler”, though I would swear last week the same source said “Chalmers”, but whatever). Then the camera pans back and just before the scene cuts out to the opening credits, we see this:
I’ve already talked about the concept of “Chekhov’s gun” once before, theorizing that you don’t introduce the idea that little kids are weirdly identifying with zombies without having that plot device matter. If I’ve applied it to the introduction of some kids’ behavior, I will certainly apply it to the introduction of a tank to a survivor’s camp. So, foreshadowing: the tank? Will be used. In all likelihood against Rick’s group at the prison.
While out on a supply run, The Governor and Martinez and Martinez’s two main henchmen, Pete and Mitch, come across a house with zombies and disturbing, chompy, unattached heads (and make no mistake, the insistently bitey detached heads are pure nightmare fuel). They clear the house and then do a little bit of a raid, and sit on the couch with some scavenged beers for a few moments of manly relaxation. Pete–who declares himself the de facto leader of the group after Martinez is murdered–happens to have a book in his hands at this time.
Pete’s reading Richard III. And The Governor is the only physically deformed power junkie in the room. The set designers could have had Pete read any other book in all the world but they chose a play about a murderous, power-hungry tyrant. Don’t think they didn’t know what sort of subtle message they were sending. This? Is NOT going to end well for The Governor. And certainly not for Pete, since the Duke of Clarence is Richard III’s one obstacle between himself and the throne. And, as Clarence is dispatched to make way for Richard’s ascension to power, so is Pete.
Though, it’s a safe bet that the Duke of Clarence’s zombie body was never chained by the ankle and thrown into a lake for post-mortem observation.
Thanks to a gristly zombie kill at the end of the show, we see how easy it can be to shred through zombie flesh. And Pete is only attached by his ankle, which can be a weak link as soft, water-swollen flesh chafes off. Will we see a return of zombie Pete?
Back to The Governor’s schizoid internal war…once he kills Martinez (repeating all the while, “I don’t want to”), he realizes he’s sliding back down into darkness, and there’s still that tiny part of him that doesn’t want to be evil, that wants to be Brian Heriot, the man whose name he stole and to whom people unreservedly declared their love. He tells Lily that there’s trouble coming, headed straight for the camp, and he and Lily have to pack up the entire Chambler clan and go.
Of course, he neglects to mention that the danger comes from him.
So they get in a car, they go. I’m not surprised; why shouldn’t they trust him? And they drive, and drive, into the night. Until…
They encounter a horde of zombies who are literally stuck. Mired, if you will, in some random mudpit in the side of the road. Metaphor! The zombies are mired in their own dismal, hopeless drama, as The Governor is mired in his. No fresh starts. No exit. Forever.
(Ha! Pete should have been reading No Exit instead! Though that would have given away too much, I fear.)
I don’t really have predictions about what’s going to happen next week, other than the shit shall hit the fan. I mean, of course he’s going after the prison; we knew that would happen as soon as he stepped back into the scene. I still don’t entirely trust the Chambler family. Clearly they weren’t bait set by Martinez, but I don’t believe them and their naivete. We’ll see. And if Richard III–I mean, The Governor–starts yelling about how he’d trade his kingdom for a horse, for the love of all that is good and holy, do not give him one.