*Contains some spoilers*
Now that the prison crowd has apparently eliminated the new infection, The Walking Dead decides to go back in time and show what happened with the Governor after he went bonkers and slaughtered his own people. Whether you want to believe it or not, The Walking Dead isn't about humans killing zombies and zombies eating humans-- it's about the characters and how they'll find a way to live in this new and terrible world. Last week did a good job having Hershel drive the story, and this week, David Morrissey is given the spotlight and he totally runs with it. Everything the script throws his way, he's able to turn into an engrossing and compelling scene. And luckily for him, the script is darn good as well.
The show sometimes fumbles when it has to juggle one too many characters, but this one absolutely nails it with the Governor and gives a proper follow-up and then some to his conclusion in Season 3. The twisted and bloodthirsty man you've come to know is gone. The weight of his actions has taken quite a toll on him and wandering for what appears to be months has taken an even bigger one on him. Ultimately, we're watching the Governor as he tries to leave his past behind and start a new life. The fact he's now found a young girl who reminds him of his former daughter only furthers the emotional connection we have to him. You can't help but want to root for him as he strives for a new life. Sure, there's no forgiving what he previously did -- not at all -- but seeing him try is superb and created some of the most absorbing material I've seen this season.
While this episode is primarily a character study, the people behind the show of course recognize we need some zombie action, too. As always, there's some great makeup as various walkers are encountered along the way and, while never truly being scary, they still do a solid job creating some eerie environments and scenarios. To top it off, there's an absolutely vicious fight with some exceptionally gory and creative kills. It's not just about the violence, though. The whole ordeal symbolizes the man's drive. Could this new connection transform him back into the man he once was? I guess we'll see next week, but I wouldn't be surprised if he'll do anything at all to assure a certain someone's safety.
The cliffhanger reveals we'll have another episode all about the Governor next week. Yes, that's all kinds of awesome based on this episode, but at the same rate, I'm wondering if two weeks away from the prison will diminish our emotional connection to the recent events with Rick and company. I don't know about you, but I was dying to see how Daryl and Tyreese would react to the news about Carol. As for a problem with the actual episode, I can't help but cringe at the truck lovin'. Right next to the sister and the little girl? Really? Look, I get it was the heat of the moment and all that, but that close to the others and they weren't even trying to be quiet once they started making out, either? I sincerely hope the other two are heavy sleepers.
Ladies and gentlemen, I'm giving my first 5-star review to a TV show. Personally, I wasn't too thrilled with Season 3's finale, but tonight's episode did a fantastic job taking advantage of what it all meant for the Governor and the path it would set him on. It wasn't quite as gripping as the character-driven episodes with Morgan, but it was still a thoroughly impressive episode and did an excellent job turning the Governor into an even more complex character. Now it's time to see how this will all lead to last episode's cliffhanger.