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The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead is a drama about a zombie apocalypse. It is based on the 2003 Image Comics series. AMC 2010-???

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Episode 7 - Dead Weight

29 November 2013

Credit AMC

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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  • Yes I'd hope to record a podcast comparing the two. As you say it would need to be kept separate to avoid spoilers. Thanks for the advice.

    Posted by The TV Critic, 29/11/2013 10:32am (6 years ago)

  • Do you have any plans to compare and contrast the 2 mediums?
    I've tried again and again to write another article for the site but its impossible to do it without spoiling either the comics or the show for someone.
    I think you'll be able to read the whole of compendium 1 after this mid season finale which is up to issue 48 and it will be very interesting to hear your thoughts. It really is a page turning story and the only time, in any form of multimedia, where i've had to put the it down and collect myself after a certain event.
    I've already said too much but put pressure on whoever potentially might be buying you it to get the compendium.

    Posted by Rob H, 28/11/2013 11:08pm (6 years ago)

  • That is some comfort. I'm hoping to get some for Christmas and then I'll have lots to say :-)

    Posted by The TV Critic, 28/11/2013 10:30am (6 years ago)

  • Oh Robin. Just listened to the podcast. Can't believe someone sent you those spoilers. Unfortunately this show does have some rabid fans who seem to take any sort of criticism personally and it sounds like you have been the brunt of someones own personal issues.
    I know you listen to the Bald Move podcasts and they seemed to indicate this week that they had genuine spoilers so there is a chance they may be true.
    I can hear the disappointment in your voice so I can only sympathise your situation. A similar thing happened to me with episode 4 of season 3 when T-Dog and Lori died. Completely ruined it for me mate.
    You have the comics to look forward to which are fantastic so thats a plus

    Posted by Rob H, 27/11/2013 11:07pm (6 years ago)

  • Okay...so everybody hates this episode...

    I found myself still really intrigued by the episode. Yes, we know the governor will revert to his monstrous self, but I enjoyed seeing him try to back out of it every step of the way. To fight against his nature. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when he went on a murder spree, but the first one with Martinez got me. I've been enjoying some of the new characters even if a lot of them quickly make their exit.

    (hey it's that guy from Dollhouse! Oh you're too nice...yep you're toast.)

    Does it have it's problems? Sure, but I think this season is trying so very hard to make up for the mistakes made last season that I'm gonna give it some passes. The fact that they tried a two parter focusing on no one from "our group" kind of makes me excited. They are at least attempting new things (which I realize is laughable to say since everyone is calling this Woodbury 2.0).

    Meh...wasn't blown away, but by no means did I hate this. I keep waiting for this season to take its dip, but so far it's kept it pretty steady. As long as they can keep this up, I'll keep watching.

    Viewer score: 60 / 100

    Posted by William, 27/11/2013 7:49am (6 years ago)

  • This episode was poor… very poor. Last episode tried to give us a template of the Governor as a changed man, and as much as I did not want to, I did sort of feel for him. So what the hell happened? Seriously, they tried to present us with an image of the Governor as a conflicted man, whereas it seems more like the writers themselves are conflicted, he's clearly just an evil indvidual, that's that. The continuing Chess metaphor is great and all, but it’s just so unoriginal, how many times has that image been utilised throughout fiction? The Walking Dead seems to think it’s a lot deeper than it actually is.
    I really can’t process why they do some of the things they do when there are multiple other options for them, why make the Governor brutally murder Martinez to assume control? How are we supposed to empathise with that? It’s fine if he kills somebody in the most brutal, visceral way possible because he, ‘doesn’t want it’? The whole not wanting power thing really didn’t work.
    A better alternative would have been to have Martinez die accidentally, killed by walkers for example, and the Governor simply take control by popular vote, now being the carer for all of these people, he may feel obligated to find a better camp, resorting to attacking the prison to garner the land protect his ‘family’ and group... Instead the Governor viciously killed 2 men, then lied and schemed his way back to power.[in the least strategic way possible]. Are these people really so stupid as to believe that a new guy shows up and within a couple of weeks both of their leaders are dead and the new guy who is clearly not what he seems to be [The eye patch says it all] takes over? The episode began well [and I use the term well tenuously] with the visual image of the Governor between the tank [war/revenge] and the camper van [peace/new family], obviously an image for the dichotomy of the Governor vs Brian Heriot raging inside him, that was quite interesting. Yet later he showed no qualms about killing to get what he wants, the Walking Dead seems to stab itself in the back. Another interesting moment was the moment with Pete anchored into the water, having become the Governor’s new head in a tank, but that was all it was, interesting & cool, there was no gravitas or emotion embedded within the scene.
    I now agree with you. He has no personal investment in Megan as an individual, so much as a Penny substitute. When she was attacked by the Walker he showed no paternal motivations or worry when killing the walker so much as his own hedonism, it reminded me of his killing of the bitten Richard in Woodbury in the Suicide Kings, cold and emotionless, save for the slight thrill he seemed to gain from it. A better way to show his genuine attachment to Meghan would be if she did not look like a near duplicate of Penny, perhaps even change her ethnicity entirely, then it would be more convincing that he genuinely cared about her, rather than simply because of her physical similarity to Penny.
    Overall this episode was shoddy and inconsistent, I could have bought that he felt terrible after the Woodbury massacre, but now he has made a U turn back to square one, we could have skipped this chapter entirely and simply brought him back as he was at the end of season 3, sadistic and sociopathic. The last two episodes feel utterly pointless.
    Also, why did Martinez allow the Governor to join him? He knows every single one of the Governor’s dirty secrets and understands what he is all about.
    Looking ahead, I think next episode will be highly explosive. Having read the comics, I can probably guess what will happen to Hershel who is now In the Governor’s crosshairs, but I think the Governor might go down next episode too [Hurrah!]. Of course they are to different entities and it could be a massive red herring, I'm just speculating so don't be worried about spoilers.

    I'd like to apologise for babbling about what they should have done, but the Walking Dead never fails to disappoint, I sometimes feel like my mother could do a better job of writing the show, the prison group episodes were relatively strong as well... such a let down.

    That being said I will continue to watch the show for one simple reason - Zombies are cool

    Viewer score: 40 / 100

    Posted by Daniel J W, 26/11/2013 8:59pm (6 years ago)

  • The biggest thing that really annoyed me in this episode was its pace. Everything was so rushed. From Martinez’s trust to the return of the Governor’s animal side and his reasons to choose the “only” thing to survive. The writers just did everything they could to start a war. But we didn’t need two episodes to see the Governor with another army.

    I don’t know what to say about “the Governor’s redeeming story”. I think the producers used last episode scenario to just remind us why the Governor is a ruthless psychopath. But we didn’t need it. We didn’t need two full episodes to understand his motivations again. We had that all-positive man last week and all-negative man here. How we can understand the way of the Governor transformation?!

    If it was a redemption story for him, I wouldn’t be unsatisfied. But it wasn’t. It was the same last season the Governor’s story.

    In this episode we can understand that when the Governor is in small society he can control his moves, use his power to protect people and be a moral man. But he can’t control himself in a larger society. He can’t step aside and watch other people choose and lead. It’s when that he become the man who do everything to survive.

    To tell you the truth, I guess it was one of the weakest episodes of TWD or maybe the weakest. And the most important reason came back to the fast pace and rhythm of the events.

    One more thing about Rick’s group: we have a war ahead but we haven't seen Rick and others for two episodes. Before creating tension and excitement we should go for a little character development. But I think we forgot prison situation and the people. We are with the Governor more that Rick right now. So, I want to see some quit moments at the beginning of next episode about Rick’s condition. If producers gonna make the war more effective, they must do it.

    By the way, what happened to the disease? We spent 5 episodes about the infection threat and also zombie hordes. But we are gonna finish the mid-season with something else?! I don’t wanna think that producers just introduced infection to make our mind busy till the Governor returning!
    But after all of this, I’m optimistic to the mid-season finale. However I’m sure that the produces will never go to complicate things.

    thanks!

    Viewer score: 45 / 100

    Posted by Reza, 26/11/2013 6:37pm (6 years ago)

  • My chief complaint is this episode was very confusing and uneven as it unfolded.

    I was happy to see Kirk Ascevedo (I know him from FRINGE).

    My chief compliment is the visuals can be quite stunning; the Mud-stuck walkers, former leader Pete in a Christ-like pose trying in death to ascend to the surface. I also like that a camp used barb wire to try to establish some protection.

    But I don't like the pessimistic view of humanity the show continues to promote.

    I even had a dream of a more optimistic world post Infection. :-)

    I did try this week to come up with a reason for you to invest in the Governor. I think the only one I can offer is that he is definitely here to stay and if you don't accept that, are make some peace with it, then I am afraid your enjoyment of the series will continue to plummet.

    Viewer score: 42 / 100

    Posted by Yogabon, 25/11/2013 11:47pm (6 years ago)

  • After a strong start to the season, I was willing to give TWD a pass last week, as I hoped it would set up something interesting. Unfortunately, this episode really fell flat for me. Am I supposed to believe that this whole time the Governor has been hungering for power, rather than a redemption? If the Governor were truly interested in protecting his new family,
    wouldn't it make more sense to have more able-bodied people like Martinez around to help defend the camp? Martinez seemed to be doing a good job of managing the camp. There didn't seem to be any reason for the Gov. to usurp Martinez's position other than to show that the Gov. is still really really evil. Now we're back to the same supervillain Governor from last season. It's a bit of a disappointment, if sadly predictable.

    All this has me somewhat dreading the mid-season finale next week. They did a good job creating interesting moments with Rick's gang, so I hope it doesn't completely fall apart by the end of the next episode. The teaser's warning of "Some will fall" has me really worried for the fate of Random Camp Guy #4.

    Viewer score: 40 / 100

    Posted by Nat L., 25/11/2013 11:36pm (6 years ago)

  • This was much better than last week. It still it had its problems but this week I felt tense throughout whereas last week I was just plain bored. Last week someone mentioned that they thought these episodes were a reboot of the terrible back end of last season. Thats exactly whats going on.
    The reveal of the tank is a huge nod to the comic and a good example of how a comic logic doesn't quite translate to a tv series. Why would you be travelling around in a tank when the threat is not of a military nature?
    If the mid season finale next week is what I think its going to be then a lot of the issues that people have had this season will be addressed.
    Looking forward to next week immensely.

    Viewer score: 63 / 100

    Posted by Rob H, 25/11/2013 8:20pm (6 years ago)

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