‘The Walking Dead’ Review: “Live Bait”
‘The Walking Dead’ season 4 brings to life its sixth episode of the year with “Live Bait,” as the Governor begins his road to redemption, taking up with a family holed up in an apartment complex before running afoul of some familiar friends.
Last week’s ‘The Walking Dead’ episode, "Internment," saw Hershel struggling to take care of the ill, while Rick returned to the prison and aided Maggie in keeping up the fences, unaware of being watched by an old enemy, 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 6, “Live Bait!”
In the aftermath of the Governor’s shootout, he, Martinez and Shumpert drove off, later setting camp for the night. After the Governor catatonically almost lets a lone walker overtake them, Martinez and Shumpert abandon him by the morning. The Governor remains on the road alone for months, letting his hair grow out, observing the names of the dead on a wall along the way. Finally, the sight of a little girl in a nearby window brings him into a building, wherein an armed family reluctantly allow him access under the name of "Brian Heriot."
The Governor ignores most of their questions about his survival, as Tara and her sister Lily, their father, and Lily's daughter Megan go about their survival. One day, the Governor helps the father to his bed, during which the old man asks him to fetch a backgammon game from their neighbor upstairs. He does, killing a walker in the apartment’s bathtub, and taking a revolver from the corpse. Lily wakes him the next morning, eying a photo of his family he’d folded over his own face, before offering his gun and a to-go bag. The Governor allows her to keep his old gun, though she asks if he might retrieve oxygen from a nearby home for her ailing father.
The Governor enters the nursing facility, most of the walkers too weak to pose any real threat, before "Brian" finds several tanks of oxygen. The walkers quickly amass enough strength and numbers to chase him, forcing him to flee, carrying only two of the canisters. After he returns, Lily offers to tend to his injuries, relaying that young Megan had initially mistaken him for her returning father. Lily leaves Megan with the Governor, to which he answers questions about his eye, saying he had tried to protect someone he loved from getting hurt, and got hurt himself in the process.
After finally grooming himself, the Governor slowly teaches Megan how to place chess, laughing as she draws an eyepatch on the king piece for him. A while later, the family’s patriarch finally passes away of his cancer, as the family brings in Megan to say goodbye. The father begins to rise, nearly taking Tara out before the Governor springs into action, and violently bludgeons the corpse, frightening them all. After burying the body, the Governor sees that Megan has become scared of him, though Tara and Lily understand his actions.
Burning the picture of his family, the Governor decides to leave the group behind, though Lily insists they join him in the hope of finding somewhere better to live. The next day out on the road, Tara admits that she had only actually been in a police academy, while the Governor assures them they’ll find a shelter. That night sleeping in the cab, Lily finally gives in to her attraction to the Governor.
The next day, the truck fails to start, forcing the four out on the road. The Governor spots a cluster of walkers up ahead, and begs them all to run, though Megan remains reluctant to get anywhere near the man. Finally, Megan leaps into his arms and the four run into the wilderness, the Governor and Megan tripping and landing in a familiar-looking pit of walkers. The Governor fights them all off, swearing never to let anything happen to Megan, before Martinez looks over the pit, and recognizes his former Governor.
Well ... alright then. We'd known that season 4 would likely afford us one or two episodes to follow the Governor in the time between abandoning his assault on the prison and popping up outside its fence for Spaghetti
Tuesday Wednesday, and now we have at least part of the story. The deranged Woodbury leader ended up understandably abandoned by his own men before roaming the countryside and taking up with a family unaware of the horrors in his past. Neat.
Whether this serves to rehabilitate the character at all following his more cartoonish bent at the end of last season remains to be seen, given that we'll apparently follow the story next week, as well. That ... unfortunately inspires a rather difficult question from us: do we care? Our inner dramatic naturally squealed at the Governor's surprise return last week, but given how the series handled the character in the third season, we'd be hard-pressed to gather any real interest in seeing the man redeem himself. Seeing the character so forcefully broken by his own actions, and slowly warming back to human contact makes for an interesting tale in the short-term perhaps, but from a contextual standpoint, our only real interest lies in seeing the character squared off with Rick and Michonne once more.
That is to say nothing of actor David Morrissey of course, who deftly handles the transition from an irredeemable villain to a surrogate family man, but without any real ties to the main 'Walking Dead' narrative, we're merely sailing with the wind. It will take another week to discover if this midseason diversion pays out any real dividends, but given the structure of 'Walking Dead' seasons, that only leaves a solitary episode to set any kind of stage for the second half of season 4. If "Live Bait" is any indication of things to come, we might have been better off leaving the Governor behind last year after all.
Well, what say you? Did you get your fill of thrilling zombie killing? What did you think about the Governor's return in tonight’s latest episode, “Live Bait”? Check out all our other ‘Walking Dead’ season 4 coverage, and join us next week for another all-new episode recap of episode 7, “Dead Weight,” on AMC!