'The Walking Dead' Review: "Dead Weight"


The Walking Dead’ season 4 brings to life its seventh, and penultimate episode of the year with “Dead Weight,” as the Governor accepts his new role within Martinez's group before ascending the ranks and setting his sights on a familiar prison ...

Last week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ episode, “Live Bait,” saw the Governor beginning his road to redemption, taking up with a family holed up in an apartment complex before running afoul of some familiar friends, so what does the latest episode of season 4 bring?

Read on for your in-depth recap of everything you need to know about ‘The Walking Dead’ season 4, episode 7, “Dead Weight!”

The Governor plays chess with Megan as he sets up a laundry line, remembering how Martinez let him out of the pit under the guise of his new identity, so long as Governor accepted his former lieutenant’s rule, and prevents anyone from becoming “dead weight.” Meanwhile, Megan wonders if they survived by not being among the “bad” people, while “Brian“ contemplates the tank among their group.

In the present, the Governor joins Martinez and his new group on a supply run, while Lilly sets up as a nurse among the new group, treating a young Marine woman named Alicia who seems to have an interest in Tara. Meanwhile, the Governor and Martinez’s men find several dead bodies labeled as “liar,” “rapist,” and "murderer,” on their way to an abandoned hours that contains several zombies the group manages to fight off.

After clearing out the cabin, the group wonders what happened to its inhabitants, as Mitch ('Fringe' star Kirk Acevedo) and his brother Pete ('The Avengers' star Enver Gjokaj) reveal that they used to belong to the Army, hence the tank. The next day, Martinez shares dinner with Brian and his family, keeping silent about their past together, before Martinez offers Brian a complement of the past. The two share a round of golf on the RV roof before the Governor takes command, killing his former lieutenant and throwing him into the pit of walkers.

The next morning, Mitch and Pete address the crowd about Martinez’s death, Pete assuming a temporary leadership as the group objects to their lacking a vote. Later, Pete, the Governor and Mitch go hunting, coming across another group in the wilderness, though Pete refuses to simply rob them for supplies. A while later however, the group discovers that another group has killed the encampment anyway, taking their supplies.

A while later, the Governor urges his new family to pack up their things, heading out on the road to find one of the walker pits entirely full. The next morning however, the Governor enters Pete’s trailer in order to stab him to death, next entering Mitch’s trailer with a gun under less pretense. The Governor allows Mitch a cigarette, assuring himself in command of the group, remembering how his own brother had been the better of the brothers, taking a beating from their father over cigarettes in their youth. The next morning, the Governor disposes of Pete’s body, Mitch agreeing to tell the group that Pete died on a supply run.

Some time later, the Governor and Mitch lead the group in advising them to avoid strangers, though Lilly wonders if "Brian" and their family might find a better place eventually. Outside, Megan plays hide and seek with Tara, eventually stumbling across a walker hidden among their laundry lines, before the Governor kills it in the nick of time. Afterward, the Governor watches Pete’s walker corpse suspended beneath the lake’s surface, before traveling to the prison on his own, observing Rick and Carl, finally finding Michonne and Hershel just outside the gates.


Last week, we had to wonder about the structural integrity of 'The Walking Dead' season 4, given that its initial flu storyline provided a welcome change of pace from the cartoonish villainy of the Governor in season 3, only to carry on several episodes too long, bringing us to an awkward transition of catching up with the Governor over the course of his absence. Much of "Live Bait" seemed to depend on where the character's redemption would ultimately take him before the final moments of "Internment," so has "Dead Weight" crafted a new appreciation of the villainous character?

No, absolutely not. Following a five-episode absence, we've now spent two hours humanizing the character with a brand new family, only to return him to the same power-hungry, villainous standpoint as when we left the character in season 3 finale "Welcome to the Tombs." Only this time, instead of an ill-informed army led by a despotic villain with a misguided sense of priorities, Rick and his group now face an ill-informed army led by a despotic villain with a misguided sense of priorities ... who owns a tank. Seriously. Save for any major revelations next week, that's about the entirety of reasoning we've established for extending the character's longevity another season.

Admittedly, some had perhaps held interest in seeing another side to the character, offering a second chance in seeing what "Brian" did with a real family protect, but what purpose has ultimately been served if the Governor has once again laid eyes on the prison with an attempt to provide safe haven for his people? Are we perhaps to believe that "Brian" approaches the facility a second time with more altruistic intentions than getting revenge on Rick or Michonne? Given the character's role as a cypher for humanity's dark evolution after the apocalypse, would it even have mattered what set him against Rick and the others once more?

For as much as we enjoy seeing Kirk Acevedo and Enver Gjokaj given work, ultimately "Dead Weight" does little to assuage our worries over direction of the fourth season. Next week's midseason finale may well prove exciting enough to anticipate the second half in 2014, though thus far, we've yet to see any real evidence of a coherent narrative established by replacement showrunner Scott Gimple.

Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of thrilling zombie killing?  What did you think about the Governor’s newest move in tonight’s latest episode, “Dead Weight”? Check out all our other ‘Walking Dead’ season 4 coverage, and join us next week for another all-new episode recap of episode 8 -- the mid-season finale, “Too Far Gone,” on AMC!

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