Episode 7 - Dead Weight
29 November 2013
Synopsis: Martinez takes the Governor in but is soon regretting it as he is thrown into his own Walker pit. The Governor is dismayed to see the standard of leadership left at the camp and considers leaving. However he soon realises that he must take charge again.
The Bad: Did we need this two part story? As some of you asked last episode, had the Governor turned up at the prison with a new crew would we really have cared how he became their leader? I doubt it. And it's not as if anyone but him got enough attention to make us care about their future.
Briefly I thought Martinez might start to stand out but ultimately he got what he deserved. The writers tossed his I.Q. into that Walker pit long before the Governor got a hold of his nine iron. If Martinez had no other able bodied men in his crew then perhaps doing a deal with the devil would have made sense. Other than that there's just no way trusting the Governor again could be anything but a moronic decision.
Similarly I was intrigued for a moment by Mitch's back-story. A man with a tank has no fear of the apocalypse. Now that would have made for a good flashback! Instead the writers managed to make an even worse decision by having him become the Governor's henchman after being informed that his new boss just murdered his brother. What? It was a bizarre plot point that served no purpose. If Pete had just been Mitch's friend the scene would have played out exactly the same and we would have all shrugged. Instead we are asked to view Pete as so screwed up by the apocalypse that he will hug his brothers murderer just to avoid making decisions anymore. And that the Governor is so foolish that he would own up to this piece of fratricide and not be concerned that Mitch might seek revenge as soon as his back is turned.
The Unknown: Every time the Governor had to make a decision he was given some sort of cool zombie visual to make his decision clearer. The beheaded soldiers brought us to a dead wife and child to underline the Governor's worst fears and memories. A walker chasing Meagan through camp made him consider leaving but a crowd of Walkers stuck in the mud made him think twice. Finally Pete's watery grave made the Governor think fondly of the prison where walls and fences offer better protection than trees and lakes. Some of those visuals were arresting. But it felt like the writers were scared of letting characters just be for any length of time. They may be right in concluding that the massive ratings have more to do with the Walkers than the living.
The episode began with a rather blatant nod to the Governor's lack of interest in Megan's mother and aunt when he won't answer her question about whether he's here to protect them too. But when Megan offers him a tender hand with his eye later on he seemed happy for the intimacy. It will be interesting to see where his priorities lie in the coming war.
Best Moment: The decapitated soldiers offered intrigue and an arresting visual but that's about it.
Conclusion: This was more adequate, basic stuff if we had any interest in the Governor. But I don't. He's not a nuanced man. He's a ruthless murderer. Nothing about this two part episode offered us any insight into what makes him tick beyond some obvious Daddy issues. I don't think these episodes offered anything of value. We end up with the Governor leading an army back to the prison. The exact same story which ended last season and bombed so badly. It continues to feel like the writers screwed up last season and have worked incredibly hard for a do-over. They've killed off most of the new arrivals at the prison and armed the Governor with a new group. If the writers botch the second war then they may damage the show beyond repair.
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