The Walking Dead "Dead Weight" Review: Good Governor, Bad Governor
You can take the Governor out of Woodbury, but you can't take the murderous maniac out of the Governor. "Dead Weight," the second term of the Governor's two-part solo arc of Season 4, continued the confusing wobbling between Good Governor and Bad Governor that started with "Live Bait." He's a nice man who wants to protect his surrogate family! But he's also a dude you do not want to go golfing with. I guess the whole purpose of these two episodes was to expect the unexpected from this guy while he's being ripped in two by his dueling consciousnesses. It made "Dead Weight" an hour full of surprises, but seriously WHO IS THIS GUY and what does he want?
On the one hand, Governor Brian is the protector and caregiver of Lilly and Meghan (and Tara, maybe?), willing to do whatever it takes to keep them safe. On the other hand, his idea of "whatever it takes" is systematically killing anyone who stands in his way of taking control of Camp Martinez. On its own, I don't see too much wrong with this. Zombie apocalypses can be confusing times for feelings, this is a TV show, and this is the Governor, after all, and he hasn't always been the most reasonable man. I can accept that these two Governors live in the same body, as heavy handed as it is.
But I just don't buy or want lovey-dovey "Let's have a picnic!" Governor so far. An all-caps "UGH" to him and Lilly. Other than two people so desperate that they'll paw at any member of the opposite sex that's within pawing distance, what's the foundation for this Governor-Lilly hookup that is so important to his confusing dichotomy that we're being subjected to? How did these two go from strangers to hand-holding domestic partnership in such a short time? When I saw the Governor and Lilly playing House in the RV, it kind of made me want to puke.
It appears the show is trying to sell us that the Governor and Lilly are in love, but nope! Sorry, these people are not in love or whatever passes for a relationship in this world. We watch television hoping that everything happens for a reason, or that it will set something up for the future. I'm crossing my fingers for that to mean something really terrible will happen to both Meghan and Lilly, sending the Governor into an epic rage of bloodshed because I'm going to need some payoff for seeing one of the most diabolical characters in the comic world be sappy over some flavorless lady who fed him Spaghettios and jumped his bones in the back of a truck. This relationship didn't work in "Live Bait," and it still did not work in "Dead Weight." Yet it's such a huge part of the story that's being jammed down our throats.
The other Governor I approve of. This Governor was a throwback to Season 3, still thirsted for power, and had the morals of a six-term Senator. He was like a lion taking over a new pride, with this "mane" (ha ha) goal being to kill the competition and assume the role of top cat. He 5-ironed Martinez while the two were keeping up the Woodbury tradition of hitting golf balls into the yonder and then dragged him kicking and screaming into a zombie pit. That was a grade-A kill, but he could have gotten the plus by saying, "Drinking and driving can be bad for your health!" before hitting him. The guy still needs to work on his one-liners. Then he took out self-proclaimed interim leader Pete by gut-stabbing him in his trailer and then rolling him into the pond with a weight attached to his foot. Again, creative technique with the cinder-block anklet or whatever, but no zinger like, "Out here, it's either sink or swim!" or "Water you doing down there?"
And finally, the Governor held Mitch at gunpoint and let him know that his life would be spared because Mitch was the only other one willing to resort to inhumane tricks to survive out there in the wilderness (and maybe it's because Mitch knows how to drive that tank they have). And for some reason, everyone had a problem when Pete said he was taking over as new leader but no one cared when the Governor, a scary new guy with an eye patch, took over as leader following the very fishy disappearances of the previous two leaders.
So now the Governor is leader of Camp Martinez and he's spying on the prison. It looks as though he'll lead his group, with Mitch's help, on an attack on Rick's turf, and this time, he's bringing a tank. But I just don't know who this guy is or why the show is taking the Governor in this direction. Are we supposed to be impressed that he adopted a new family? Or are we supposed to be scared that he'll do anything he can to "survive"? I'm not sure the past two episodes sold either of those options, instead spending way too much time on a muddled version of a character that we once feared. Can we get back to watching sick Lizzie slowly die now?
– Mitch and Pete were played by Kirk Acevedo and Enver Gjokaj, a fantastic surprise (because I forgot they had been added as guest stars). Acevedo of course you know from Fringe and Oz, and Gjokaj had his big break in Dollhouse and played a friend of Abed and Troy's in Community. Given the way the Governor has handled threats to his power, I don't know how long Acevedo will stick around, and it was one and done for the talented Gjokaj, who barely got a chance to show off his skills.
– But hey! The episodes LOOKED GREAT. It really took advantage of the beauty of the South.
– Well, Martinez's buddy Shumpert is dead.
– And the way he went out... tied to a block underwater! Total bummer. And yep, zombies can live underwater as per World War Z (the book, haven't seen the movie yet) rules. But did he stay dead for a little long without turning?
– The search of the cabin was scary! And the headless corpses with "Liar" and "Rapist" signs were awesome, but I don't know what the purpose of this whole excursion was.
– I also don't know what the purpose of the attempted midnight escape via car was. And what was up with all those zombies stuck in the mud? Was that the secret burial grounds of idiots from Woodstock '99?
– Ummm, how did Lilly and the Governor get their own motor home space? As newbies to Camp Martinez, shouldn't they be huddled under corrugated sheet metal first until there's a vacancy? That's like some vagrant off the streets getting the master bedroom.
– So Tara and the hottie at camp are a lesbian couple now? Does the zombie apocalypse make people lower their standards, ignore courtship, and jump willy-nilly into relationships? Or is it just that The Walking Dead has NO IDEA how relationships work?
– More chess metaphors? What is this, a creative writing class from whatever year chess was invented? TV writers: Stop using chess metaphors!!!
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