AMC’s The Walking Dead
Season 4, Episode 6: “Live Bait”
Directed by Michael Uppendahl
Written by Nichole Beattie
* For a recap & review of the previous episode, “Internment” – click here
* For a recap & review of the next episode, “Dead Weight” – click here
The Governor (David Morrissey) is left with only a few men at his side, after the massacre following their failed attempt at taking the prison. He wakes in the morning to find they’ve left him now. He’s all alone in the wasteland. Rightfully so, considering they might’ve been next after a little bit of time.
He goes back to Woodbury, burning the place and watching it fall. He goes on the road for months by himself. Then he runs into others, to whom he tells his story; the abridged and heavily edited version.
Something’s changed in the man. Perhaps realising how much he needs others to survive, in more ways than one. What he sees ahead of him now is the possibility to start another life, to become another person.
The people he meets are the Chamblers – Lilly, Tara (Alanna Masterson), David, and Meghan. They reluctantly take him in and find he’s not huge on talking. Tara’s done some service in the army, this is clear. She does not fuck around having a new man kicking around, particularly a scruffy one with an eye patch.
He’s no longer the Governor, or Phillip. He’s Brian Heriot; new identity, fresh new life.
The Chamblers have been getting by well enough. They live in the little apartment, scavenging food, staying safe as possible. Lots of cured meat on hand after they raided an Italian food truck. Although their father David has medical problems – respiratory. And there’s only so long his oxygen tanks can last before a refill’s needed.
David asks Brian for a favour – a backgammon set upstairs. He wants his granddaughter Meghan to talk again, to feel normal. This strikes a chord with the former Governor; thoughts of Penny. So upstairs he heads to an apartment where a neighbour of David’s supposedly keeps a set under his bed. Brian also finds the old fella who owns the place, nothing but a living corpse in the bathtub waiting to be put down.
Returning with the backgammon set, he’s a hero to the Chamblers. Maybe not Tara, who remains suspicious. Really though, deep down there’s a sadness in this man. He’s done terrible things, for which he can never be forgiven. Yet there’s still something awfully tragic about his story. He can’t even look at his face in a family picture anymore, folding the corner over himself.
The next day Brian’s getting ready to head out. However, Lilly wants another bit of help – they need more supplies for her father, to keep him going until the last possible moment; if only for her daughter. Brian heads out to an old folk’s home nearby in search. He stumbles onto a cart of oxygen tanks. They make too much noise, and when walkers come for him he only gets away with one. Better than nothing!
Alone together, Brian and Meghan bond a bit. They do a “pink swear” and talk a bit. Telling secrets. Despite his being a monster as the Governor, this side of him is tender. Being around a little girl again like when he was with his daughter, ages ago. He decides on teaching the girl chess. He’s even decided to shave his beard, getting back to a more clean look, no longer a homeless man roaming the world.
Then the worst happens – David slips away into death, no longer able to fight the cancer. You know what has to be done, so that the man doesn’t turn. Can’t take long to mourn. He comes back fast, prompting Brian to smash his head in with an oxygen tank in front of the women.
Brian turns his back on is old life, even the memory of his wife and daughter. He burns the picture he’s been keeping. Now, he decides to leave the apartment building. But the Chambler sisters want to go with him, they don’t want him to go on his own.
When they do go on the road, all of them, Brian and Lilly begin getting closer. In the night, they hug close to one another. And they become intimate.
He also becomes an impromptu father again, to Meghan. He saves her from walkers, then they fall into a pit in a field full of them. Where he again saves her, brutally. But wait – we’ve seen this type of pit before. Oh yes, you guessed it. He’s come across his old friend Caesar (Jose Pablo Cantillo). Whoa.
I don’t like the Governor, though I dig seeing his story. Gives a humanity to his otherwise despicable character. He’s found himself in quite an interesting situation here. Next episode is “Dead Weight” and we’ll see how he plays things off now that he’s found Caesar.