The sixth episode of season four, “Live Bait”, starts off where the last season ended, shortly after the Governor had killed his own people. We see him speeding away from the gruesome scene with his two remaining henchmen, Martinez and Shumpert.
Later that night, he’s sitting in front of his tent and staring blankly into space. A walker lumbers forward intent on making him her next meal, but he fails to notice. She falls into the campfire and continues towards him. He is still lost in his own world when she lunges for him. Martinez steps out and puts a bullet in her head before she can grab the Governor.
The following day we see him driving a semi-truck to Woodbury, literally crashing into the gates. The town is empty, walkers have taken over and the Governor burns the town to the ground. I guess that’s one way to handle the problem.We next see the Governor walking down a road. He has a long, ragged beard and neither Martinez or Shumpert are anywhere to be seen. We learn from a conversation taking place in a voiceover between him and an unknown woman that he’s been traveling for a couple months now. He speaks of a town he used to live in, how it was safe and full of good people but the man in charge ‘lost it’. He said he barely got out alive. We then see him stopping in a small town, where he catches a glimpse of a child in a window.
A moment later we see the window closed. Could it have been an hallucination of his daughter, Penny?He enters the apartment building to further investigate. Clothes are hanging in the hallway, evidence that someone was living there. He comes across an apartment and is met with at the door by a couple armed women. He drops his guns on the ground to assure them that he is not a threat. We are introduced to the two women, a pair sisters named Lily and Tara. They are caring for their ailing father and the child is Megan, Lily’s daughter.
They remain cautious but invite him in. They explain that they have been waiting for the National Guard. The younger sister, Tara, states that she was part of the Atlanta city police and has the artillery to kill him every day for the next ten years. Understanding it as a protective threat, the Governor introduces himself as ‘Brian Harriet’. He says that he’s staying just for the night before retreating to an empty apartment. The women keep his gun.
Lily brings him a plate of SpaghettiO’s, which he thankfully accepts, hiding the fact that he had just finished a can of beans. Once she leaves, he quietly dumps it out the window. We see the women washing dishes and talking about how Megan hasn’t been eating well. Hearing a sound, Tara opens the door to see the Governor setting down his plate. She sarcastically points out that they aren’t the Holiday Inn before Lily calls her off and they invite him inside.
The old man asks the Governor for a cigarette and gets reprimanded by Lily who reminds him of his oxygen tank. They explain that their father used to drive a food truck for a living. It’s still sitting outside and has been their source of food. The old man says he ready for a break. The girls encounter difficulty in aiding their father and ask the Governor for help which goes ignored until Tara nitpicks him. The Governor picks the man up and carries him to bed.
Once there, the man looks up at the ceiling and the sounds of movement coming from upstairs. He explains that there’s walkers up there and that Tara has been shooting them but they ‘keep getting back up’, indicating that none of them know how to kill one. He asks the Governor to go to another apartment and retrieve a backgammon set that his friend kept under the bed. The old man would like to play the game with Megan, hoping it would help inspire her to talk more.
The Governor retrieves the game easily enough, encountering only a legless walker in the bathtub which he kills with his knife. He spots a gun in the tub and grabs it before returning to the man with the game. They thank him and he once again retreats to his room. He stares into a photograph of his wife and child before falling asleep.
He awakens as Lily enters the room the next morning. He grabs the picture laying on the table and tucks it away but she has already seen it. She offers him a bag of goodies for the road which he declines, so she throws it at him. She tells him that they are just trying to thank him. She offers him his gun back but he tells her to keep it. “Don’t throw that at me,” he jokes. He then explains that he has a gun that he found upstairs. He also tells her how to destroy the biters. “You have to kill the brain.”
As he prepares to leave, she asks one more favor of him. She explains that her father has stage four lung cancer and that there’s only two days of oxygen remaining in the tank. She asks the Governor to go to an old folk’s home a couple of blocks away. “One tank would mean everything,” she pleads.
Things go smoothly at the nursing home at first. He spots one walker strapped to a bed and maneuvers easily enough around the second, an old woman in a wheelchair. Soon he comes across an entire cart filled with oxygen tanks. He begins to wheel it outside when a group of walkers quickly overwhelm him. He hits his head but manages to grab two oxygen tanks before running away from the hungry swarm.
He returns the two tanks and Lily notices the cut on his forehead, insiting on taking care of him. “Let me be a nurse again,” she says as she tends to his cuts. She tells him the good news, that he doesn’t need stitches. Then she tells him the bad news, it’s going to sting like a couple angry bees. She needs to get some ointment so asks Megan to watch over the patient.
Until now, Megan had been pretty silent. We see a childlike curiosity take over her and she asks the most obvious question, “What happened to your eye?” He explains that it’s gone. She asks if something happened to him or if he was born that way. He says he’ll tell her if she keeps it a secret. “Cross my heart, hope to die,” she promises. He tells her that he’s a pirate. Awwwww! He then tells her the truth, that he got hurt trying to help protect someone he loves very much.
It cuts to the two of them sitting at a table. The Governor is setting up a chess board and begins to explain the game. The pawns are soldiers and the king is the one everyone wants to capture. Megan takes the the king and scribbles on it with a black marker. “Looks like you,” she says, having drawn on an eye patch. Two adorable scenes in a row? However will my heart manage?
With a dose of sadness, that’s how! Lily comes to take Megan to her grandfather’s bedroom, and we learn that he had passed away. Realizing the threat this posed, the Governor orders them to leave the room but the old man already begins to show signs of reanimating. He is forced to kill the old man on the spot with an oxygen tank, which upsets the others. He buries the old man with the help of Lily.
Megan is now terrified of him. Tara thanks him for helping her, admitting that she knew that people come back no matter how they die. “He would have been grateful that you stopped him.. from him. We’re cool,” she says before offering up a fist. The Governor meets it his own in a much unexpected fist bump. I have to say, that was probably my favorite scene in “Live Bait”.
Back in his room, he pulls out the picture of his family and burns it. Could this be symbolic? Could he finally be letting go of his past? He prepares to leave, stopping by the apartment to tell them goodbye. Lily refuses to let him go, at least without them. “You’re stuck with us,” she tells him. He drops his bag on the ground, giving in.
The following morning, they pack up as a group and head out in the truck. Tara admits that she wasn’t really a cop, that she was just in the academy. She apologizes for lying to him. She questions if they will make it and he assures her that they will. She asks him if he’s lying. He says no. Later that night, the Governor and Lily share an intimate moment while the others sleep.
The truck breaks down so the group must travel on foot. Tara trips and sprains her ankle. The Governor hears a sound and spots a group of walkers around a corner. He tells the group to run. Lily helps the limping Tara, but Megan freezes, clearly afraid. The governor coaxes her to run while the walkers move dangerously near. Just when it seems all hope is lost, she springs to life, flinging herself into his arms!
The Governor runs through the woods ahead of Lily and Tara. He falls into a pit with three walkers inside. For the majority of the episode we got to see a softer, kinder side of him. Now, we are reminded of how brutal he can become. He kills one of the walkers with his bare hands and the other two with a bone. The best part? I sat there cheering him on the whole time — a man I had come to loathe last season!
He embraces Megan and tells her that everything is going to be okay. She tells him to promise.
“Cross my heart.”
How adorable is that? I could have been happy with “Live Bait” ending there, but out of the blue comes an astonished, “Holy sh*t!” We see Martinez standing above the pit, staring down at them with his gun.
What a wonderful episode! Not only do we get to find out what the Governor has been up to, but we get to see a whole new side of him. His interactions with the new group has left me with feelings I never thought I’d have for him. I’m almost willing to forgive this man for all of his past transgressions. Then I remind myself that he did recently spy on the prison and there could still be more to this story. Has tonight’s episode had an impact on your opinion of the Governor?
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