Usually, TV shows have a two-parter at the end of their run, but The Walking Dead laughs in the face of boring Earth traditions. The final episode of this half-season is next week, so we’ve a double-length story concluding in this penultimate episode, bringing us up to date on The Governor’s activities since the end of last season.
Last week, great efforts were made to humanise the embattled dictator, leaving me wondering whether we’d see a real attempt to redeem him. In the second half of the story, I got my answer. Spoilers.
Portrait of Power-Madness
The idea of reforming the Governor into a more sympathetic anti-hero is interesting, but hard to rectify with previous portrayals, and the writers seem to agree. There was a brief period where he was able to help people, use his survival experience to provide support, but as soon as he got within sniffing distance of a wider society with a power structure, it was all over.
Because just being a provider for his new replacement family isn’t good enough, he has to be leader of the group. Gravitates towards it, even as he tries to stop himself falling back into the same position as before. And once again, when he’s back in power, unable to even escape from the possibility by driving away, he lapses back into full-on mania quickly.
It still relies on the Governor being very unstable, but at least they’ve managed to paint him with some consistency. Total megalomania, relentless paranoia, unable to ever be content. David Morrissey does a lot to make this portrayal seem like the same guy, rather than twins who keep swapping off-screen.
The Bad Old Days
The episode itself does a good job of giving the supporting players enough dimensions to serve their roles in the Governor’s story. Certainly, these two episodes are better TV than most Woodbury-centric episodes from last year. The Walking Dead works best when we’re unsure and tense about what’s coming next, and those were quite dull.
So, after one of the better runs of episodes in the history of this show, we come to a semi-finale. Can the Governor stay convincing when he isn’t the main character? Will his assault on the prison (with a tank, for crying out loud) play out next week or get dragged on throughout the season? (Please don’t do that to me again.) They’ve still got my attention, I’ve even been inspired to catch up on the comic. Fingers crossed.