TWD S4, E6 “Live Bait” by Dusty

You can read Fremont’s write-up here.

What I’m drinking: West Sixth IPA.  This is from a local brewery.  One of the best IPAs I’ve ever had.  Has a strong grapefruit taste to it.  If you like IPAs, you’ll love it.  But good luck finding it outside the Lexington area.

Five things that annoyed me:

1. The Governor’s demeanor.  I don’t understand how he went from “murdering psychopath” to “emotional cripple” within a day.  Sure, he shot innocents in the back, those weren’t the first people he killed.  I doubt killing all those people broke him mentally.

2.  A lot of the tension in this episode seems to be built on the thought that we care whether The Governor lives or dies.  Since I don’t care if he dies, that tension is removed, and large portions of this episode drag.  I understand that they’re trying to make him into a likable character, but he’s not there yet.  It takes longer than one episode for me to forget about all the people he murdered.  I’m old fashioned that way.

3.  “No one told me just how boring the end of the world was going to be.”  Sums up large portions of this series, actually.  If I thought this series had a single self-deprecating bone in its body, I would’ve thought this line was brilliant.  As it was, I just chuckled to myself when Lily said it.

4.  Lily leaving her daughter in the sole care of a one-eyed psychopath.  I know they don’t know all the terrible things he has done, but they know that he is – at best – emotionally damaged.  They don’t know what he’s capable of.  Lily knows that he had a daughter (she saw the family picture he had out earlier), and that he may be unstable about it.  I know he has helped them out a couple times, but, with as cautious as they are, I can’t see Lily leaving her daughter alone with him.
Of course, I also don’t understand how they could have survived as long as they did without knowing that you can be turned without being bitten, and the only way to kill a zombie is to destroy the brain.  My point is, I don’t understand a lot of things about this family.

5.  The Governor ripping out a zombie’s throat and having even the slightest effect on it.  That zombie wouldn’t drop.  That zombie would keep on walking and chomping.  This ain’t Road House, fella.  And, since he didn’t rip out the throats of three consecutive zombies, this ain’t MacGruber, either.  Go turkey or go home, Governor.

Three things I liked:
1. The concept of this episode.  I like that they’re showing what happened to The Governor since the last time we saw him.  I didn’t want to see him just show back up without any explanation.

2.  Watching The Governor head back to Woodbury and check out all his old haunts.  Big fan of the “hero shot” of him standing in front of a burning house.  I could almost picture him saying, “Burn the fields, and when you’re done with that, burn the house.”  You know.  Like a hero.  Just call him Brian Wolf (wolf wolf wolf…).
This also doubles as an annoyance.  I could practically hear the writers screaming, “Get it?  Cleansing fire.  He’s reborn through cleansing the sins of his past.”  The writers have not been subtle with their symbolism this season.

3.  The scene in the old folk’s home.  I’ve been in those places late at night, and this scene was one of my greatest fears come to life.

Final thoughts:
This was basically the plot of Rise of the Governor, but set in a different time in his life.  Which is fairly important to note.  Where the book focuses on how he became The Governor, this episode is showing him trying to find redemption for the things he has done as The Governor.  If done well, this could be a pretty cool little storyline: a man who has done terrible things trying to overcome his darkness.  Unlike Rise of the Governor, we don’t necessarily know how this story ends.  This isn’t watching Anakin grow up, knowing he would be Darth Vader.  This is (or, at least, could be) Darth Vader trying to find the person he used to be, and saving lives instead of taking them.  “Turning towards the path of the true Jedi,” as it were.
This episode set up some of those things pretty well.  Of course, as I mentioned earlier, some of the tension they were trying to build didn’t work, there were some major flaws in logic, and there were quite a few slow moments.  But I can deal with slow as long as it sets up something good down the line.  I have a feeling that’s what this episode was: set-up for the last two episodes going into the break.
It wasn’t a perfect episode, but it wasn’t terrible, and it could portend some big things in the not-too-distant future.  I reserve full judgment on this episode until I see what happens next.

What I listened to while writing this: Minor BirdsHold Back All My Dark.  Beautiful and haunting album.  On a stormy day like today, it’s just about perfect.  Great music.  Fantastic vocals.  Big fan of this album.  If you can catch their live show, I highly recommend it.