Last night's episode of The Walking Dead took us away from the prison and back to Andrea and Michonne and their misadventures in zombieland. When we last saw Andrea, she was what doctors call "seriously illin'," and she reminded us of this by puking, if her zombie-like makeup job was not evidence enough that she was under the weather. But good news — they have found help! What's the catch? Their help arrives in the form of Merle Dixon. And later, the Governor. But he seems so nice! Nothing like that greasy-haired Gov from the comics… right? Wrong. Also noteworthy: a helicopter with more survivors in it! Oh, and there they go, plummeting into a tree…
In the first episode of the show to not feature Rick Grimes at all, "Walk With Me" provided us a needed cutaway to Andrea and Michonne's side story featuring one of the most fearsome characters in the series. But the Governor, played by David Morrissey, is looking a lot different than he did in the comics and, therefore, a lot less threatening. And for the vast majority of the episode, it's easy to wonder if this is going to be a different Governor completely.
In the first moments of the show, we (briefly) meet three military-looking types in a helicopter that soon crashes. Two out of three of them die — one of them graphically. Michonne and Andrea follow the smoke trail, but the Governor and his men find the wreck first, taking the survivor with them. In an attempt to draw less attention to themselves, Michonne beheads her hungry, armless pets while Andrea tries to limit her hacking cough to a more Southern, ladylike volume.
But they are soon found by Merle, who is now sporting a makeshift bayonet attachment as a replacement for the hand he cut off when he was abandoned by Rick and the survivors (a great name for a '50s cover band, by the way), and both women are blindfolded and put in a vehicle. For some reason, we see this from the perspective of the nearly unconscious woman and not the suspicious and alert one. When we rejoin a lucid, medicated Andrea, the two are in a cozy little house with a real live doctor (who has the first real hairdo I think we've ever seen on this show) — but to Michonne's dismay, their weapons have been taken away. That rubs her the wrong way, and she's immediately mistrusting everything in this town down to the green, green grass. (It's a little too green…)
Meanwhile, there is a scientific operation going on, where someone who probably isn't qualified to do this kind of stuff is looking into how zombies work. This includes keeping the heads of Michonne's pets alive, which immediately made me think of the movie The Brain That Wouldn't Die, and if any of you have seen that movie, even a semi-living, disembodied head can cause a lot of problems. This will become relevant by the end of the episode.
But let's talk about the Governor again. He seems perfectly polite, welcoming, friendly, maybe a little bit aloof when it comes to talking about himself. And everyone in Woodbury is wearing ModCloth dresses and boots from their own secret Zappos, and they're happy and healthy and take hot showers! Andrea is totally into this, but Michonne is giving everyone in this town the stink-eye until she gets her weapons back, which isn't going to be easy because it was noted that she was more than happy to behead these pets of hers for the sake of her own survival. She also won't divulge who they were before they became zombies. So, everyone is suspicious of everyone, except for Andrea, who's so happy to see pancakes and coffee, so these people must be totally nice!
This is a good example of a "slow-burn" episode of The Walking Dead. By three-quarters of the way through, it looks like the Governor is not going to be the monster he was in the comics. And then, we find out he definitely is. Earlier, the survivor of the helicopter crash told the Governor that there are still people at his camp; the latter promised to bring the men back to Woodbury. Instead, he guns them all down and steals their weapons and supplies. Oh. Okay, then.
But then it gets even more twisted. At the very end of the episode, when it seems like everyone has calmed down and made themselves at home, we meet up with the Gov again. After it appears that he's had himself some sex, we see him gaze at a photograph of his family — a wife and a daughter, then walk into a different room and close the door. He sits down with his drink and gazes again — at a wall of severed heads in tanks, including those of Michonne's pets and the helicopter survivor who, I guess, didn't survive for very long.
So, in case there was any doubt, the Governor is, indeed, a total bloody psycho. Or a seriously misguided fan of Futurama.
Photo credit: AMC