The Governor’s Return was Brilliant, Striking, and Magnificent


The Governor Returns on The Walking Dead – David Morrissey

The Governor Returns

Surreal. Intense. Mesmerizing. A mammoth force whose will is everlasting, dead or alive. Days have passed yet the aftermath of what transpired on Sunday’s episode continues to resonate. It finally happened. One of the greatest villains in cinema history returned to his rightful home on The Walking Dead.

The Governor’s return was lucid, engaging and chaotic. Most of all… Immensely charming. An endearing leader. A political titan you can’t help but vote for again and again. No matter how partisian his views, no matter what promises are kept. Eyepatch or no eyepatch. The ballot gets checked ‘Yes’ each and every election. You can’t help but be swayed by the Walking Dead’s grandest orator, The Governor.

Acting – A+

David Morrissey strutted back into our lives as the Governor as if he never left. Literally, we hear the creak of a door swinging open and our darkest thoughts come to life. “This is all there is. This is it” The Governor beams, an angel of death, hovering over the character of Tyreese like a ravenous vulture. Posture bathed in confidence, arms to the side. Even at this stage, Morrissey remains ever the Southern gentleman. Holding true to his bag of convincing arguments. A penchant for upholding reality. While Tyreese’s fallen friends attempt to soothe his aching soul into acceptance, The Governor latches on to lingering doubt. “It’s not better now. You know damn well”. A persuasive gloat transitioning into a facial expression doused in the agony of closure. The teeming rage of non physical existence.

Cinematography – A+

Greg Nicotero, who served as Director of this episode, hits this one flying out of the park into the depths of space. The striking moment when the Governor abruptly turns into a zombie was absolutely chilling. Relative tranquility of The Governor’s debate, swiftly changing course to a sight of horrors. The struggle for life in an already weakened, groggy state. It is here Tyreese loses his arm for good and doubt reigns onto viewers. Chances of an Hershel-like amputation rescue feel diminished. An unreliable camera, radiant in unreliable characters. What is real and what is not? The lucid camerawork is one for the ages, a trip on the edge of death. No bright shining light. Only regrets, questions and inescapable acceptance. An atmosphere brimmed with the poetic tones of realization. The haunting elegance of Bear McCreary’s first class soundtrack.

Screen Presence and IT Factor – A+

A tour de force performance by Morrissey. The Governor owns the screen. The moment he sets foot on the scene, the gravity of the room shifts. Paramount, is the Governor’s authority-like presence and stature. Almost like an old-time coach or a commanding officer at training camp. “You told me you’d do whatever you had to do to earn your keep. That’s what you said. Hmm. Remember that?” Resounding disappointment in it all. The IT Factor is off the charts, you are instantly drawn to what the Governor has to convey.

Attention Grabber – A+

Viewers are captivated both by characters they’ve grown comfortable with and the looming end of it all. A fond nostalgia for a time passed in The Walking Dead. The knowledge that what the Governor says is ominous, this really is it. No dodging fate. “Your eyes were open, but you didn’t want to see. Even though I made you see it. I showed you. But did you adapt? Did you change? No.” The viewer remains in procrastination, a denial phase. Before the second zombie bite denies the glimmer of a rescue once and for all. A scene drenched in alarming tension, and wavering outlook.

Writing and Narrative- A+

Scott M. Gimple penned a top notch script. Multi-layered in its depth and precision. Five stars. The narrative asks the tough questions we all ask ourselves. Did I make the right decision? The analysis of the past, ever bearing down a weight on the subsequent future. While Bob Stookey tries to ease the pain, Martin sways with questions of What if. Once the Governor ravages the weakness of morality, Tyreese has been set back. Is the Governor right about him not belonging to this world anymore? Was Tyreese’s sense of morality devouring his physical state?

The Governor is unrelenting in his candid review of Tyreese’s choices. “That you would sit there in front of a woman who killed someone you loved… and you would forgive her” It’s at this point, Gimple dives into the masked subconscious of Tyreese’ vulnerable state. The burial of love. A decision to not uphold the revenge of the dead, to uphold the quality of life for those of the living. The choice to forgive, a moment that defined outcomes and lives. Including Tyreese’s own. Excellent recognition of the butterfly effect in decision making. An ace script.

Character Development- A+

This episode, fitting titled “What’s Happened and What’s Going On”, hooks onto the delicate entity we call regret. The Governor rains down words of truth and legitimacy. Martin invokes the dread of having made a mistake, now unchangeable. The responsibility as an adult to cart the hefty stones of error. No do-overs, no reset buttons or rewinds. Eventually, the weight proves too strong, and perhaps the mine collapses. But Tyreese is left figuratively covered by the boulders faced with every decision leading up to that moment. That is sterling first-rate character development.

Antagonist Rating – A+

The Walking Dead’s capital antagonist. The Governor enhanced the character of Rick Grimes ten-fold by playing to Grimes early naive faith in peaceful resolution. It’s not until the destruction of the prision and resulting journey to terminus, that Rick has fully transformed. Rick tells the group “They would have just kept coming back” after the end of Gareth and his crew. A turning point is reached. Grimes’ spiraling decline in the promise of human nature is at its mountainous height. Along with a rising desire for justice-based revenge. All comparative to The Governor. His adversary leaving residual effects. A thin line between them. The days of “we can all just live in the prison together”, a dusty memory.

In this episode, we see the Governor once again raking at someone’s will. Tyreese’s struggles to forgive and fading stance on violence as a necessity. The Governor pokes at this liability. A judge in the court of life. “The bill has to be paid”. As Tyreese’ lies in the clutches of his decisions. A need to clasp onto his morality in the face of repercussions. The consequences of living to principle, instead of adapting.

Quote of the Episode

“The bill has to be paid. You have to earn your keep. You told me you’d do whatever you had to do to earn your keep. That’s what you said. Hmm? Remember that?”
– The Governor

Give This Man An Emmy