The Walking Dead Review: “Live Bait”

Editor’s note: this review will contain some spoilers. I will try to keep them to a minimum, but they’re be there nonetheless. You’ve been warned.

As many predicted, this episode of The Walking Dead focused completely on the Governor and how he fared after the Woodbury collapse. Turns out, he’s pretty quiet and mopey. In fact, he’s so uninterested in anything that he practically lefts a zombie – a zombie that’s on fire – eat him before one of his buddies saves his bacon. Of course, those buddies realize that Philip isn’t quite the megalomaniacal maniac they had come to know and love, they they left him to his own devices.

The Walking Dead Review

And, left to his own devices, he just sort of slowly walks around and looks sad. He goes back to Woodbury and either finds it in flames, or burns it down. It makes for a pretty cool visual, but doesn’t really give me a whole lot of insight on that man beyond what we already know: maybe he’s broken.

Luckily, he finds some other survivors in his wondering. They are inexplicably not completely creeped out at his personal appearance and unwillingness to talk, and happily invite him in to share their spaghetti-os.

While he says he’s only going to stay the night, The Governor – who is now going by the name of Brian – ends up falling in with the family. He helps them out by exploring the upstairs apartment, bringing back some oxygen for their dying father, and then saving them from that same father when he dies and then turns.

The Walking Dead Review

He also teaches them to destroy the brain to kill off the zombie. That part is kind of hard to buy. It’s been a long time since the initial outbreak. How have these people survived this long if they couldn’t even kill a zed?

As you could probably predict, the two women and little girl decide to leave the safety of their apartment to hit the road with The Governor/Brian/Philip. Things start out well enough, as they’re able to cruise along in a panel truck and maybe have a little romantic interlude, but the truck breaks down fairly immediately.

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Left to hoof it, one of the women hurts herself right as they’re running into a hoard. Everyone runs, with The Governor carrying the little girl right into a giant trench with a bunch of zeds in it. After killing off the zombies, he promised the girl that he’ll always keep her safe, only to look up to see his buddy from before.

This episode of The Walking Dead fell a little flat for me. I get that they needed to break down this character to let him build himself back up. Maybe he’ll be a good guy now, or maybe he’ll use protecting that little girl as an excuse to do more evil. Either way, I feel like we wasted time. Of course, a lot of people dig The Governor, so maybe I’m in the minority here.

Grade: 3 zombie heads out of 5

34 Comments

just a guy

i think that the episode was made as like a detour from the prison story since they tied up all the loose ends of the previous episode they needed to focus on something that seemed to be over in the finale of season 3

Dave

Maybe so. It also sort of dovetailed with Michonne finally giving up the hunt for the man.

hvg3

I really enjoyed how they took a large chunk of the Governor’s past from “Rise of the Governor”, and made it his future/present here. An interesting way of tieing in the written canon, but adapting and making it new for TV. I wonder if they will make the Governor darker, back to his comic-book self, or head him off in some other way?

Dave

It seems like the people who read that book enjoyed the episode a lot more.

JAC

Wow, the first 30 min dragged on for what seemed like ages, what a waste of an episode, I think it’s the worst episode of the entire series.

The governor is a character that should have been killed in the last season, pursuing this character adds nothing new or interesting to the show, now they will probably build this up for yet another season finale, at least the next episode seems to have more action and it can’t possibly be worse than this one…or can it?

Dave

I’d tend to agree with you on the Governor. Worst episode though? No way. Vatos is still my most hated episode.

JAC

Also, am I the only one that doesn’t buy how this group survived for so long without even knowing how to deal with a walker and also, that they are in such good shape? two women, a girl and an old man survived by staying in their homes just because they had a truck full of food?? no one looted it? no one tried to rob/kill them? meh, the more I think about it the lousier this episode seems.

Dave

You are definitely not alone here. My wife and I said the same thing when we watched the episode. It didn’t ring right at all.

Calicade

The show is so painfully illogical now that I have to stop watching, literally it’s starting to give me a head ache every time.

Calicade

SO MANY THINGS.. I would have a list but I don’t make lists that go passed 20.

First of all why didn’t Rick have the PROFESSIONALLY TRAINED VETERINARIAN check out the PIG which is an ANIMAL to pre-predict that there is a virus going around?

Why would everyone be so adverse to Carol teaching the kids about how to defend themselves with CANNIBAL MONSTERS with in 1 mile of their location?

Why are the old zombies not skeletons, and why are the new zombies so soft and easy to kill?

Why do some many people seem like the apocalypse just started a month ago?

Why is there no talk about the winter that they gave a single sentence to in the beginning of the third season?

How are the fences coming down so easily? Whenever those things are meant to take the impact of a vehicle? Worst prison in the world!

Did they give up on clearing out the exposed wing of the prison?

Why was their wood chainsaw cut?

How do they still have the gas free enough to be driving around?

HOW.. So many hows.. So many why’s..

Mark

Wow! I actually can’t believe what I’m ready here, in my humble opinion last nights episode was wonderful…

I think this what an episode aimed at the comic fanboys. As hvg3 mentioned Kirkman managed to cleverly twist a plot from the Rise of the Governor book (which I reviewed a few months back!) to work post Woodbury instead. And then there was the reference to the name Brian, which was nice too.

The TV Show has definitely moved away from the comic with the prison story arc (not that this is a bad thing), and I guess this was a way to connect it back a little more. I understand why people might not like a Governor based episode, but surely its more important to the storyline than a Hershel episode!

Every TV show needs an antagonist, and this may be a shock to you but the Zombies just don’t cut it! Sure, they are a deadly part of everyday life but they aren’t exactly going to surprise us with new and innovative ways to kill now are they?!?!

The Governor is the shows first real antagonist, and in a weird messed up way, I bet he feels like Rick and his band of merry men are the bad guys.

What I liked about this weeks episode was that we took the Governor back to a mere man, Philip. Left broken by the events of last season, and then rejected by the only “friends” that remained, he was a shell of the fearsome leader we had come to know. With no driving force he stumbled through the world until a he finds a small girl and her family. This was enough to bring out the more humble side of Philip, and my bet is this was how he was before his rise to fame in Woodbury. I’m sure he thought he was doing the right thing in Woodbury, and at some point the power (and his zombified daughter) got to him and his moral compass skewed. This episode showed he’s not all bad and I think we’re going to follow this point a little further.

My prediction is another Governor episode (if not 2) where we see more of his caring side and begin to feel for him, almost side with him. Then events will unfold and everything will be cruelly taken away, bringing back the Governor madness with only one person to blame – Rick. And then we’ll be left with him stood outside the prison before we end for the mid season break.

Anyway, I acknowledge that this episode had its weird and slightly unbelievable aspects – but what episode hasn’t in recent weeks? But I for one am happy we’re past a boring old sickness where our survivors seem to forget the basics of survival and look forward to the impending doom and death of major characters brought on by all out war!

Come on people lets get on board and enjoy the change from the usual group – Don’t forget a spin off series in the same world is rumoured to be a totally separate bunch of survivors!

Dave

Some really good thoughts here. Now let me ask you, do you think it’s possible to enjoy the story if you hadn’t read the books? Can you appreciate the character as much?

Because I don’t like the Governor. I’m fine with having and antagonist, but the Governor just never worked for me. In the comic he was a cartoon psychopath. In the show he was insanely inconsistent. Either way, it didn’t work.

I’d also have to disagree about the first antagonist. What about Shane? What about Merle before he turned good?

I’d argue that Shane was a much better antagonist because he was more grounded in reality.

Mark

I understand your point on the Governor if you didn’t read the comic. He worked for me in the comic, especially with all the extra content around him, I’d have to concede that he’s not worked so well in the show, and me loving him as a character may want him to work more than he actually does.

I wouldn’t count Merle as an antagonist, he wasn’t a big enough part for that, and then he played the Governors henchman.

I can understand the point on Shane, but again, he was never ‘bad’ bad. I guess my view is that the Governor was the first guy to be totally against the entire group. Shane was for the group, just not Rick (as it effected his own desires), the Governor just wants what the group has, supplies and location.

Dave

See, I didn’t think he worked that well in the comic either. I never felt like he seemed realistic. I think that he’s one of those characters who works for some people, but not for others.

Good points on Shane, but I’d argue that’s what makes him an effective villain. He’s grounded. We know what he wants and why he doesn’t like Rick. What he was seems attainable, but only if he goes well beyond what he might consider right and wrong.

Mark

If you didn’t think the Governor worked, you should see the latest villain! He’s a more over the top crazy Governor – its got kind of ridiculous really. But then again, it is a comic book!

Dave

I do need to get caught up on the comic. I was buying the hardbacks every year, but I stopped after number 6 for some reason.

I’ve been trying to hit up Image for review copies, but no luck so far.

JAC

I’ve read the comics, and to be honest, a little over half way through they started to get a bit tedious for me, they seemed to be going out of their way to make the plot unpredictable, I think the last one I read was 101.

I actually like the show’s story better, except for a few questionable decisions, it seems a lot better written to me.

Dave

I really enjoyed the first couple hardbacks, but it definitely seemed to go downhill. I couldn’t agree more about the plot getting crazy just to keep people guessing. That’s irritating.

Dan B.

My initial reaction was “I don’t want to see this guy anymore, lets move on, give me more prison”, but having watched it, I thought it was very well done, and interesting to see that side of him. A broken man (even if he did it to himself), ready to give up, finds a little girl that gives him a reason to live. A little cliche, but I think it works.

What I will find interesting will be seeing the circumstances that bring him to hanging outside the prison as we saw at the end of the previous episode. It’s certainly more entertaining than assuming he went right from the end of last season to skulking around the prison trying to cause trouble. Was he the one baiting the walkers with rats? Probably. But it would be a fun twist if that wasn’t him. I’m predicting something happened to the little girl, and finding his anger, he has Ricks group to direct it at.

I will be disappointed if Michonne does not ultimately get to take his head, and leave it animated somewhere poetic.

Dan.

Dave

I see what you’re saying here, but my probably with all that is that it’s too cliche. Building the Governor up just so they can tear him back down and make him back into a villain is boring to me.

Mad..

I thought it was the little girl who named the zombies that was feeding them rats through the fence? Maybe I have that one wrong and it is one of those unsolved mysteries.

Oh, and Michonne doesn’t get the governor in the comics… I won’t say who does though, in case they follow a similar downfall arc of the governor. Watch this space! 🙂

Dan B.

Oh, now you’re going to make me re-watch it to see if I missed picking up on it being the girl that was feeding them. I assumed it was the gov or someone luring them to one spot in the fence to test their defenses.

Now you’ve got me really anxious to know who takes him down. But I’ve been making my wife keep quiet about what happens in the comics because I want to keep the suspense of the show without any pre-conceptions or expectations. (she has been filling me in on how events differed in the comics after they happen in the show)

Dave

I don’t think that mystery is solved yet, but it could definitely be the governor. I too had the little girl pegged.

Brickthrone

About the fence feeder: Which side were the rats found on, I think by Maggie? And remember that someone was pushing the rats through the fence. So if they were inside the fence than it could be the Governor of Fun or outside by Lizzie?
As far as this episode goes it didn’t feel like the Governor had hit rock bottom before he found the lamest family. A year and a half and you can’t figure out how to kill one zombie? They should’ve been dead. . . too.
Question does anyone watch the Talking Dead? David Morrissey was on and he looked a bit cornered when a fan dropped the question of him joining Rick and the Prison group and smiled about the Carol question.

Mad..

Hmmm. Wonder if he is going to roll into the prison in a tank/APC like he does in the comics? You talk about them reconnecting it somewhat to the comics… the tank is a big reason why they end up leaving the prison. Last nights episode felt like they are building up to mid season finale… here’s my prediction.

One more episode focussed on Brian/Phillip/Governor and re-integrating with his new found buddies planning to attack prison to turn it into new woodbury, an episode focussed on the Daryl/Rick/Tyrese tension with Carol’s “release” and then boom, we are all on for mid season finale where they will finally leave the prison. Who gets out of the prison attack alive will be very interesting.

I agree with Dave this episode was the weakest of season four so far in my opinion, however it might become much more relevant based on what happens next week.

To those like my brother who think the Governor is showing his soft caring side and changing his stripes… he is a dangerous nutter… yes he has pretty genuine reasons for becoming a nutter with failing to protect his daughter etc, but he is still a nutter. I hope the conclude his storyline during mid season finale, so we can move on 🙂

Mark

There are only 2 episodes left before the break, so fitting it all in will be interesting. After this weeks Rise of the Governor arc, I wouldn’t be surprised to see elements of the Road to Woodbury used next week.

I’m still convinced they’ll leave us with the governor stood at the gates of the prison (with or without a support group) about to attack the prison.

Mad..

Ah, I wasn’t sure if there was two or three episodes left this year.

Perhaps they will do the Rick/Tyrese/Daryl issues when they are under the pump after being booted out of the prison then 🙂

Clutching at straws a bit perhaps…. lets just sit back and enjoy whatever happens.

Dave

They definitely have some interesting conflicts setup, don’t they. Internal conflicts with Tyreese, Daryl, and Rick. People sick and recovering from the flu, and now the governor outside the walls along with the zombies.

Mark

I’m thinking everyone is going to be a MASSIVE argument about Carol, and then the Governor is going to show up in the middle of it. Nothing will be resolved, and the prison will fall!

Brickthrone

Food for thought. I have been reading the WD posts and it seems that a lot of you are hung up on the comic and what you are watching is the TV show. You should never make a comparison when it comes to TV, Movies and Books. If the Governor brought in enough ratings we could see him for more seasons to come. Remember it is only “Based” on the comic. Think Texas chainsaw massacre based on the Ed Gein story. Nothing alike. Money > Story

callofgaming

I hated the governor, but this episode made me think better. He might be trying to be a good-guy. Anyway, I was sick of looking at the prison, so the governor change fits me right. I’m interested on the Governor’s developpment.

But man, that, uh, “romantic interlude”, just made laugh hard. I’m sure I wasnt the only…

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