After the surprising and somewhat disturbing turn “The Walking Dead” made in last week’s “Live Bait,” the AMC series had much poorer execution in delivering the transformation of the Governor 2.0. Mr. Brian Harriet is no more, once again reverting to his murderous, the-ends-justify-the-means Woodbury mentality when he comes across Martinez’s new camp.
It’s establishing from the opening scene in “Dead Weight” that the Governor does not consider himself to be a good man. The title becomes literal as he, seemingly unwittingly, weeds out the dead weight from Martinez’s camp. Starting with Martinez himself and then offing good-hearted Pete (“Dollhouse’s” Enver Gjokaj), the Governor starts to turn this group of survivors into the same Woodbury-style camp he previously ruled.
The message to be taken here seems to be that people can’t really change. Just like Rick was forced to relapse into his leadership role, the Governor finds himself pulled back into the person he tried to leave behind after coming across a new “home” for Lilly, Megan, Tara and himself. He even has a new version of his zombie head fish tank collection, except this time it’s zombie Pete chained to the bottom of a lake.
Lilly and Megan both don’t seem to realize the transformation that’s taken place, and that causes both to have targets on their heads. The Governor might be doing his best to protect them, but that just means they’re all the more likely to be killed off. And losing his family again — or having them see the monster he seems to truly be — could be the thing that truly turns the Governor once and for all.
Then there’s that whole matter of the Governor standing in front of the Prison. His close proximity to Rick & Co. was revealed at the end of “Internment,” and at the end of “Live Bait” we questioned whether the Governor would come to them as a friend or foe. In “Dead Weight,” it becomes clear that he’s only there as their enemy, and potentially wants to overthrow their claim on the Prison so he can have this be the new home for his new family. The episode ends with the Governor taking aim at Michonne, though whether he pulls the trigger is yet to be revealed.
Were you surprised the Governor went back to his old ways in this episode?