The Walking Dead: Dead Weight

In the coming weeks, Ms. Hillary Bauer will be offering Episode-by-Episode reviews and recaps for TV’s most beloved Zombie Apocalypse Thriller: The Walking Dead. As an aside, this blog is in no way endorsed by the corporate fat-cats at AMC… But it probably should be! *Wink!*

Here’s Review #7:

Remember when there used to be series regulars on The Walking Dead?  Now apparently we’re just watching a show about our former villain, turned good guy, turned villain again.  Not to mention his newly adopted family, who are really the only reason any of this redemption arc business is being allowed to carry on.  Then throw in one of our more psychopathic Woodbury henchmen, and this episode feels like being at a friend of a friend’s party when you can’t find anyone you really know.

When we last left the Governor and his new nuclear unit, things were looking a little bleak.  But this week, we open on the Gov and Meghan playing some chess and dropping a couple more chess metaphors.  This week, the game of strategy gets to be a stand in for the strategy of staying alive in Zombieland, or as the Gov vaguely refers to it, “Surviving.”  This scene also serves to allow the Gov to do a little bit of exposition about his past: daddy didn’t love him!  Actually, it’s a really sad back-story, made even worse by the fact that Meghan can relate all too well.  She asks the Gov if that means that she’s bad, and it breaks my damn heart.

Well if last week was about thinking, this week is certainly about making moves.  The first of which is taking a backseat to his former follower, Martinez, so that he and his girls can join the new camp.  That satisfies the first of CampMartinez’s rules.  The second is that they don’t tolerate any freeloaders.  They cut the dead weight, even if that dead weight isn’t tall enough to ride roller coasters yet.  One of the new fighters is on board with saving women and children, but another member of the new group is pissed about more mouths to feed.  Turns out they’re brothers, so there’s a nice bro (Pete) and a pissy bro (Mitch).  I’ll give you $5 if you can guess which one lives through the episode.

Back at the camp, everyone is trying to find a way to be useful.  For Lilly, that means setting up a nursing station, since the healthcare in the camp is sorely lacking.  For Tara, it apparently means flirting with a hottie hot army girl over guns.  Tara insists that she’s “not a fan of big guns.”  The new girl, Alisha, calls her on her bullshit gun knowledge and pathetic attempt at double entendre; but she does so with a giddy grin and Tara’s net has been cast.

The Gov’s contribution to camp will be as an entry level fighter/supply runner.  He goes out for his first jaunt with Martinez and the Dolgen brothers, and Mitch starts laying into the Gov pretty much immediately, having renamed the Gov “One Eye Bri.”  Despite the relatively good nickname, I can’t fully approve.  The one thing I have never questioned about the Gov is that his eye patch is totally bad ass.  It makes me want one.

The new name does make me wonder how the Gov has been handling the elephant in the room of having his new brood and Martinez living together and being quite social without it coming up that he has two names.  It was never explicitly addressed, but it is possible that Martinez simply assumes that Brian was the Gov’s name all along and he just never used it in Woodbury.  Or Martinez may have picked up on the new arrivals’ dynamic and now he’s letting the The Governor’s old name die with their fallen town.  After all, Martinez doesn’t have a squeaky clean past either.

Out in the woods, the Gov’s spidey sense is tingling, so he breaks off from the group and finds a decapitated man in fatigues tied to a tree.  Unless the zombies have been practicing the knots they learned in Boy Scouts, this looks like a man made scene.  Plus, there’s a sign around the corpse’s… neck stump that reads “LIAR.”  (I may have fudged my taxes a little last year.  I’m sorry–don’t cut my head off!)  The group continues on their supply run and comes across another, even more bizarre, vignette.  This time, the decapitated corpse is sitting in a random armchair in a clearing with a sign on his chest that says “RAPIST.”  I’m beginning to think that there’s someone in these woods that is a little upset about something.  Probably just keep walking.  Good call.

The next guy committed RAPE, and we both get beheaded.  I should have shelled out for a better lawyer.

The next guy committed RAPE, and we both get beheaded. I should have shelled out for a better lawyer.

The fighters come across a cute little cottage, which probably has a pretty low asking price since there’s a dead guy in the foyer.  This man is slumped on the ground wearing a sign that says “MURDERER” on it, but does have most of his head intact.  The missing bits are splattered on the wall behind him.  Add in the shotgun in his lap, and it looks like our third victim may have offed himself.  He’s holding a picture of what we can assume is the dead man with what appears to be his wife and teenage daughter.  This story is starting to write itself a little bit more clearly now, but the Gov insists that it’s better not to speculate what happened here.  The photo of this destroyed family obviously throws the Gov off his game more than a little.

The time has come for the Gov to put up or gtfo, so he enters the cabin first to scope out if there’s anything good left to scavenge.  Also, if there’s anything (living or undead) waiting to take them out.  I am instantly annoyed.  Why the hell is it so dark in this house?  It is the middle of the damn day.  I know I’m just a city slicker, but aren’t country folk supposed to be all about natural lighting?  And I’m pretty sure that matches could light up the room better than that flashlight.

Hope you’re not trying to watch this on your laptop, asshole.  XOXO, AMC.

Hope you’re not trying to watch this on your laptop, asshole. XOXO, AMC.

They hear at least one walker banging around upstairs and assume that it must be stuck.  As soon as they get to the second level, a walker conveniently escapes where ever she’s been stuck for God knows how long, and hops on Pete’s back.  Pete, the sensitive soul that he is, totally sucks at fighting the lady in a nightgown which prompts the Gov to leap into action.  The Gov saves Pete and then Martinez in quick succession before totally freaking out that the zombies were actually the family of the man out front that he sympathized with five minutes earlier.

Never fear, Gov’nah!  I know what’ll cheer you up; there’s some reanimated heads rolling around on the floor over there!  Remember how much you love those?  Ah, the good ole days.

Everyone’s got a hobby.  Mine is knitting; the Gov’s is zombie heads.

Everyone’s got a hobby. Mine is knitting; the Gov’s is zombie heads.

Now back at the camp, the Gov is having dinner with Martinez, his girls, and Tara’s lady friend.  Everyone is having a grand time getting “shitfaced” as our resident wordsmith, Tara, puts it before taking off with her woman.  Lilly gives Alisha a peck on the check and yells “Be safe!” after the two ladies.  Jeez Lilly, it’s sweet that you like your sister’s girlfriend, but there are some things that are just always awkward to hear from an older sibling.

The Gov and Martinez retire to the top of the RV to hit some golf balls (and another bottle of liquor).  The heart-to-heart primarily consists of Martinez talking and the Gov being his human cup holder.  The monologue touches on family and how Martinez doesn’t think he could start over like the Gov has.  Then he talks about Shumpert and how he couldn’t come back from the Woodbury massacre, which ultimately resulted in his death.  I’m actually starting to think I can jell with Martinez as a character when The Walking Dead is all like “Oh, you like a character?  WE CAN FIX THAT.”  The Gov bludgeons Martinez out of nowhere and it totally catches me off guard.  Martinez had just admitted that all he could do was try to keep the camp safe and offered the Gov a chance to lead with him, which apparently didn’t sound appealing since the Gov screams “I don’t want it!” over and over again while dragging Martinez’s flailing body toward the zombie pit.  He probably would have accepted a simple “No, thank you.”

That night, Lilly finds the Gov sobbing on the bed, which he tries to just play off as a bad dream that he can’t remember.  Smooth cover story, bro.  Lilly drops it for now, but I can’t imagine that she’s going to stay dumb for much longer.  Especially since the very next morning, Pete announces to the camp that Martinez died in a drunken golfing accident that nobody witnessed.  Pete also assumes the leadership position until an actual vote can be taken.  Tara calls BS and Mitch calls her a bitch.  He annoyed me even before that little stunt.  Enjoy life on my shit list, sir.

Just to hammer home the philosophical difference between our three remaining fighters, they come across another small camp on the next supply run.  They notice that the campers actually do have a nice spread, so what to do now?  Pete suggests merging with new refugees but, lol no.  Shockingly, Mitch wants to ransack them for their supplies and, even though he doesn’t explicitly address it, I don’t think that he would lose sleep over any casualties.  The Gov doesn’t chime in, but the men move on anyway to see what else is out there.

The fighters collect from all of their traps, but are not amused when they walk by the camp they let lie before only to find that they’ve been pillaged and murdered by another group of humans.  Pete is floored by all the dead bodies, but Mitch is just mad that someone else has the supplies now.  Just then, Mitch notices an older man who didn’t die in the initial attack but instead of assessing his condition, he just goes over and stabs the old geezer in the head.  Pete then busts out the mantra of all the “heroes” this season: “He could have lived!”  To which Mitch responds in line with all the cut throat characters: “You’re an idiot and I like being alive,” or something along those lines.

This little spectacle drives home for the Gov how messed up things are here now.  Not a lot of sympathy here, seeing as things were fine before he took out the leader and collapsed the infrastructure.  Realizing that things are looking bleak, the Gov gathers up his crew in the middle of the night and leaves Camp Martinez.  Everyone in the car is pretty confused, including Alisha who has taken the stereotype about lesbians rushing into relationships to a crazy new level.  The escape attempt is aborted when the car comes across a mud pit filled with zombies stuck from the waist down.  It’s unclear whether this is a manmade trap or just a tough time to have an undead brain, but the moral of the story is that the team is headed back to the RV.

You shall not pass!

You shall not pass!

The next day, the Gov goes to visit Pete who has been expecting him.  Pete doesn’t get to say much before the Gov stabs him in the back without a word, because killing the camp leader worked out SO WELL yesterday.  Even though it was obvious five minutes into the episode that Pete was not long for this world, I’m still disappointed that the little lamb had to go.

The Gov’s next step is to go visit Mitch, wearing a new “don’t mess with me” leather coat similar to the one he sported in the Woodbury days.  Gun in hand, the Gov confirms for Mitch that Pete is dead, which causes Mitch to seem genuinely afraid and distraught about losing his brother.  I really appreciate this choice to make him react like a human being, rather than just making him a meathead macho man.  The Gov makes a speech about nice guys finishing last, and Mitch seems to sign on with the new ruthless approach that the Gov has in mind.

So here we are again.  The Gov is in charge of a new camp of blissfully ignorant survivors who don’t asks questions and are just happy to be part of a team.  All the while, the Gov is running around with his little Assembly of Evil, murdering and plotting.  After a seemingly innocent day of planning rations and building a perimeter, the Gov is pouring himself over a map and circles something that we can’t read (but honestly have a pretty good idea of what it is).  Lilly finds him and begs him to accept that this camp is their home now.  Never satisfied, the Gov continues to insist that there may be “someplace better.”

Life continues business as usual in the camp with Tara and Alisha standing guard, when Meghan pulls Tara away to play tag.  The whole interaction is adorable, but things take a turn when Meghan pulls back a sheet hanging on a clothes line and finds herself playing tag with a walker now.  Oi vey, these people just can’t stop themselves from hanging things for zombies to hide behind.  Everyone comes out of the close call unscathed (although I imagine Tara contracted a case of the heebie jeebies smooshing that decomposed ankle around), but the close call drives the Gov over the edge.

After visiting zombie Pete flailing around underwater in the lake where he has apparently started his new creepy zombie collection, the Gov hops in his car and heads out to find the “better place” he presumably circled on the map: the prison.  Damn, these characters can hold a grudge!  The Gov is like a dog with a bone when it comes to our main players; but we’ve known all along that the Gov is not the type of man to settle for less than he thinks he can get his hands on.

We close out the episode with the Gov’s timeline caught up with where we last left the prison, and I, for one, will not miss the wibbly wobbly timey wimey task of trying to figure out how everything meshes.  The mid-season finale is up next!  Is this the start of Governor-Prison War II, or is there another twist in the Gov’s development coming?

Until next week, my friends!

Check out Hillary’s Previous Posts:

S04 E01: 30 Days Without An Accident Review

S04 E02: Infected Review

S04 E03: Isolation Review

S04 E04: Indifference

S04 E05: Internment

S04 E06: Live Bait

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