Our past two weeks with The Walking Dead have been spent away from the prison, reuniting with a post-Woodbury Governor (now going a bit more amicably by “Brian”) and the surrogate family he has accumulated along his trek for rehabilitation. Finding a new life in the affection he has for Lily, her daughter Meghan, and that surly ol’ Aunt Tara, the survivalist formerly known as Philip Blake has committed to protecting these people at all costs. Even if that means he might revert to some of his pre-post-Woodburian philosophies of Machiavellian bloodlust. It was a pretty brief hiatus between murders, we have to say.
So, this week, we find Govsy and the good-time gang holed up in the military camp of his former associate Martinez, living in relative peace but for the occasional zombie, a unit of decapitated corpses not far down the road, and the ocean of demons that haunt our one-eyed hero. The latter dilemma is what takes down the Governor, who kills Martinez violently in an effort to preserve his place as the pinnacle of masculinity and security in the eyes of his new adoptive wife and child. When Lily remarks that she has never felt safer than under Martinez’s reign and little Meghan revels in his kindness and fortitude, we see Blake flip — his actions are no longer Machiavellian, they’re simply sociopathic.
And after Martinez, the Governor graduates to a few other crimes against humanity. He kills the good fellow Pete, who threatened to take command of the camp in Martinez’s absence, and strongholds Pete’s grieving brother Mitch into following his orders all the way through. And so, Govsy has his new Woodbury. But he’s none too satisfied with their stomping grounds. He wants somewhere with walls. Cue: the Governor finding the prison.
But the shot of him glaring at Rick and Carl, then over to Michonne and Hershel, only serves us one real threat: the threat that we have to head back into that bleak, infected graveyard. To be honest, these past two episodes have proved to be a refreshing respite from the show’s devotion to the prison. We haven’t missed the central characters quite yet, especially with Carol no longer a part of the community. In earnest, a bit more time out in the sun with the Governor, getting to know his new family, understanding the bounds (or lack thereof) of his blossoming toxic attachment to them, might have served we fans of the show a little better than an immediate return to the jail… a turn we seem to be on the verge of taking, considering the closing moments of this week’s ep.
While these past several weeks are leagues beyond the quality of The Walking Dead‘s preceding season, there is an ever-present fear of growing irreparably sick of Rick and his troupe. Every moment spent with them is one of intense severity, and every (in)decision made in the camp is one that incurs groans and aches from begrudging viewers. In truth, we didn’t mind getting to know a new bunch of folks just a few miles down the road… they were chipper, at least! Why can’t we stick it out with them, for a while? We don’t have Dale anymore to keep things light back home, so we need to find that good cheer someplace. Or else we’ll all just lose it.