After a bit of a shaky episode last week, The Walking Dead is back on steady feet with “Walk With Me.” We got our first look at the Governor, this season’s Big Bad, and man, was it a good one. It’s pretty obvious how this season’s main arc is going to play out, but oddly enough I’m not bothered by it. I’m actually looking forward to seeing the chaos and destruction that is going to be Rick and the Governor going head to head. I mean, it just has to happen (and not just because of the comics). If the writers can keep up the momentum—and if Morrissey gets to be in every ep—it should make for an explosive season.
As much as it pains me to say this, Michonne is verging on annoying. She’s a BAMF, true, but that doesn’t make for a personality. And the fact that she’s been chilling with Andrea all this time and hasn’t offered more than a peep about her life pre-apocalypse is both irritating and unbelievable. Not that she’d be the kind of person to tell her new bestie all her deepest, darkest secrets, but a little show and tell has to happen. Otherwise, how does the bond of friendship set? I’m not risking my life for someone who doesn’t trust me enough to even tell me their favorite color. In tandem with that, I’m still not sure what Michonne gets out of hanging on to Andrea. There’s wanting to stave off loneliness and then there’s dragging around a vomiting liability. Hopefully Michonne will get more shading next ep. Without more dimension to her character, it makes it that much harder for the audience to sympathize with her and side with her in her suspicions. Right now she’s got as much basis for her nervousness around the Governor as Dale did with Shane before the latter showed his true colors.
Speaking of Shane, where Rick and Shane were two polar opposites in seasons 1 and 2, Rick 2.0 wouldn’t bat an eye about Shane. Upgraded Rick needs a new adversary, one who is more complex and complicated than Shane ever was. And he is going to get that in the Governor. Despite many of the narratives following the comics, TV Governor is quite a bit different from comics Governor, and not just because the latter is scrawny and has stringy hair and the former is clean cut and dreamy. TV Governor is kind of like what you’d get if Rick and Shane were blended together: he has Rick’s arrogance and desire to protect his people at all costs and Shane’s ruthlessness and sociopathy.
The Governor seems like a pretty decent guy. You know, up until that whole “kill the military regiment” thing. He clearly runs Woodbury with an iron fist in a velvet glove, and keeping Michonne’s swords on his bookshelf like a trophy is a total dick move. But he doesn’t feel evil (yet), and that’s the key difference between this Governor and the one from the comics. I was both pleased and bemused by the decision to cast David Morrissey as the Big Bad, but now I get it. Oh boy, do I get it. He’s cast against type here, and works it to his advantage. Where lesser actors would be chewing scenery right and left, Morrissey reads his lines with a disarming lightness that makes you think maybe he really is everything he claims to be, maybe his mad scientist lair is really just him trying to find a cure, maybe he really does want to spend all his time hugging puppies and picking flowers. And then he goes and shoots a man in the chest with that disconcerting little half-smile on his lips that shows protecting his townsfolk is an unintended benefit of getting to kill people without repercussion.
Merle’s startling yet expected reappearance is a giant neon sign that not all is well in Woodbury, but there’s that charming little smile of el jefe’s again. Time, bitterness, and the controlling guidance of the Governor has toned Merle down. He’s still a raging douchecanoe, but at least he isn’t a walking racist redneck caricature anymore. He’s also gotten better at manipulating people—a skill he can thank the Governor for. Andrea wouldn’t know when she’s being pumped for information if Merle up and shouted it in her face. Between her interactions with Merle, the Governor, and Michonne, I’m shocked Andrea hasn’t squealed more about her time with Rick and Co. Give her time....
I’m interested to hear what non-comics viewers thought of the reveal that the Governor isn’t as sweet as he made himself out to be. Did you catch the lies early on, or did the sneak attack on the National Guard garrison surprise you?
- “Where are we?” “That’s not for me to say.”
- “Bet you was wonderin’ if I was real. Prob’ly hopin’ I wasn’t.”
- I know I’m not supposed to find the Governor sexy, but hot damn. David Effing Morrissey is one tall drink of water. Even when he’s killing people. Not sure how I feel about his Southern accent....
- Michonne ain’t having none of the Governor’s shit. If she glared any harder she’d burn a hole in the sun.
- I’m going to be so pissed off if the writers try to pair off Andrea and the Governor. There won’t be enough words in the world to describe my rage.
- Apparently Danai Gurira spends all her time on set in character, and the hell if it doesn’t show.
- I totally forgot about the wall of zombie heads! Fantastic.
- Dude. I called it. I knew Merle would wind up under the Governor’s wing.
- Wanna know the Governor’s backstory? Knock yourself out.
Alex Brown is an archivist, writer, geeknerdloserweirdo, and all-around pop culture obsessive who watches entirely too much TV. Keep up with her every move on Twitter, or get lost in the rabbit warren of ships and fandoms on her Tumblr.