The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 6 recap

After the cliffhanger reveal of the Governor in last week’s episode, this week we get to spend the whole hour catching up on what the Governor has been up to since the collapse of Woodbury. Or, as he’s now being called, Brian Heriot. Because what better time to steal an identity than in the zombie apocalypse?

The thing about the Governor is that, even if you haven’t read the comics, it was always clear that he was a bad guy. From the beginning, we had Michonne’s suspicion followed by our own revelation that he was a crazy cult leader, on top of the fact that he was the anti-Rick, which made him, by default, the villain. But this episode shows us a different side of the Governor—perhaps the man he would have been if he didn’t cling to the idea that his zombie daughter was somehow save-able. It’s an interesting twist to his arc because, well, given his creepy staring at the prison last episode, it seems fated that he will take another run at Rick & Co. (Plus That Thing still has to happen.)

We start with the Governor, Martinez and Cronie #1 in the immediate aftermath of the Governor mowing down his followers from Woodbury. Clearly, he’s had some kind of break (or, another one) and is near-comatose, staring into a fire as a zombie approaches. He lets the thing fall into the fire and it’s up to Martinez to save him from the fire-zombie (not as cool as the moss zombie), but the next morning, Martinez and Cronie #1 are gone. Now alone, the Governor spends an indeterminate amount of time, wandering around, surviving on his own, growing a sadness beard. All this is set to an emo track with pyrotechnics in the background—the Governor’s very own apocalyptic music video. Still, his burning of Woodbury is symbolic of him moving on to the next phase, sadness beard intact (good to know Movember survives the apocalypse).

While traveling through his wilderness period, the Governor stumbles upon a family holed up in their second floor apartment (solid zombie apocalypse digs). He’s in bad shape, but the family is holding up pretty well, all things considered. They’re fortified, they’ve got food and a defensible position—they’re doing a lot better than Rick & Co. They are still waiting on the national guard, which is kind of delusional given it’s year two of the zombie apocalypse, but they’re surviving better than, say, those happy hippies Rick and Carol ran into. There’s Melody and her sister, and their father, dying of cancer, and Melody’s daughter, Megan. This was a slower, more introspective episode that generally dealt well with the Governor’s post-Woodbury characterization, but the Melody/Megan replacing the Governor’s dead family stuff was so heavy-handed it made me groan. Yes, we get it, burning the family photo means he accepts Melody and Megan as his new family.

But there was good stuff in this episode, too. I always like getting to see the world beyond Rick & Co., and this episode gave us not only Melody’s apartment but an old folks’ home (SAD), and more evidence that the zombies are slowly moving out of the urban centers as the apocalypse goes on. A lot of you have been proposing theories for why the build up at the prison, and I’m increasingly of the belief that it’s because so many living concentrated in one place is luring them there. We’ve already seen one massive horde shambling down the road when Daryl et al went out for the medicine, and the Governor and his new family run into a small horde on the road, too. It would seem that, like sharks moving closer to shore, the food supply in the cities has depleted and the zombies are moving outward looking for more.

Not a lot happened in this episode, as it was concentrated on the Governor snapping out of it and shaving his sadness beard, and most of the imagery was tied up in establishing that Melody and Megan are his new family now, but the extent of the character rehabilitation is intriguing. You can’t erase what the Governor has done, but the episode ends with him being a worthy defender of his new family and reconnecting with Martinez, agreeing to let the other man be in charge. The Governor’s appearance in the previous episode was decidedly sinister, but I kind of liked him by the end of this one. He’s in a much more understandable place, building himself back up the way we’ve seen others do. Granted, he did kill a bunch of innocent people, but Daryl used to be a horrible racist and we all love him now. So do we trust the Governor’s rehabilitation?

Status Check:
The Governor—Temporarily likeable.
Megan—The new Sophia.
Melody—Probably doomed.
Martinez—The boss of the Governor now.

Worst thing seen/heard this week: Tie between the Governor tearing out a zombie’s throat and beating zombie grandpa to second-death with an oxygen tank.

Zombie kill of the week: The Governor with a bone, tearing a zombie’s head in half.