The Governor returns in the first crappy Walking Dead of the season

Hoo, boy. Last week I wondered if the all-new, all-pretty-good Scott Gimple-run Walking Dead could pull off a miracle and make the Governor threatening. As it turns out, The Walking Dead still can't even make the Governor interesting.

The episode picks up right after the season 3 finale, in which the Governor mows down virtually all his own troops, then drives off with the few dudes he didn't kill. They camp somewhere, and the Governor has a sad. When the Governor wakes up the next morning, he discovers his remaining men have completely abandoned him, in one of the best decisions anyone has ever made on The Walking Dead.

And thus begins the Walk of the Governor. He walks. And walks. And sad music plays. And he walks some more. He sets fire to Woodbury. He walks even more. He walks so damn much he grows a big hobo beard. And then he keeps on walking, until he sees a little girl in a window in a building. Upon investigating, he discovers two women, their dad, and the aforementioned girl. None of these people are very bright.

The Governor is pretty much in a daze, so he surrenders his gun to them in order to stay the night. They give him some food, which he thanks them for but secretly doesn't eat. He discovers a gun elsewhere in the building but doesn't use it, and actually gives the family his other gun. They ask him to go find some more oxygen tanks for their sick dad, and he does. He stays longer. He bonds with the little girl. He shaves. He burns the picture of his wife and daughter. When the dad finally dies, he helpfully bludgeons him to death before he can start eating his children.

Then this new-and-improved Governor semi-reluctantly leads the two women and the little girl on the road in hopes of finding somewhere else, I guess. Eventually their car dies, and they start walking. One of the women sprains her ankle, they immediately run into a bunch of zombies, the one woman helps the other woman, the Governor grabs the little girl, they all run, the Governor and girl fall into a ditch with some zombies in it, the Guv kills some zombies, and then one of his former men that abandoned him discovers them in the pit. The end. If I'm making this sound more exciting than it was, that's because it only took you two minutes to read what happened, as opposed to 45 minutes to watch it.

Look, after five good-to-excellent episodes in a row, I'm not going to fault Walking Dead for finally having a true clunker. But man, did this episode remind me of season 2 — one episode worth of events, stretched mercilessly into two. Honestly, this episode still works far better than it should, because the rest of season 4 has been so good, and we're kind of trained to expect some major developments at any time — which means I spent the first 3/4th of the episode waiting for the Governor to snap and kill these poor, innocent dopes. Eventually, I realized this wasn't going to happen, and we're going to get the good stuff — if there is any — in next week's episode.

Because I have my doubts we're going to get any sort of a payoff here. Seriously, maybe it's because the Governor was not that intimidating back in season 3, or maybe it's just because he was so non-threatening in his non-triumphant return, but I sincerely doubt next week's episode is going to transform the Governor into the terrifying villain The Walking Dead wants him to be. I understand wanting the audience to sympathize with the Governor, but it sure would be nice if we could have been at all frightened of him first.

Assorted Musings:

  • I refuse to learn this family's names because I'm 99% sure they won't matter after next week.
  • The open road: More dangerous than any Walker. Seriously, we've had two car wrecks with zero other cars on the road and then that one lady sprained her ankle on a completely smooth area of street. Stay inside! The roads will kill you all!
  • Zombie Kill of the Week: The Governor playing Luke and Rancor with a zombie in the pit. Nicely gruesome.
  • Here's how DirecTV summarized this episode of The Walking Dead: "Group members struggle to find their humanity while being constantly threatened." GOOD FUCKING CALL THERE, GUYS.