The Walking Dead recap: The Pale King

The mystery behind what the Governor has been up to since last season is revealed
Ep. 06 | Aired Nov 17, 2013

BURNING DOWN THE HOUSE The Governor (David Morrissey) unleashes his wrath upon the abandoned Woodbury. I guess that explains why Rick and the gang didn't set up camp in the fortified town and stayed in the Prison.

Gene Page/AMC

We quickly discover the little girl is real but is most definitely not Penny. (Sorry, Gov. It may be a zombie show but there aren't also witches with the power of resurrection.) The little girl, Megan, is part of the most naive family still alive during the Zombiepocalype. How they survived the year or so that has passed without being overrun by Walkers or marauders — like Martinez , Shumpert, or the Governor! — boggles my mind. The Gorbelli clan (I know they're not actually the Gorbellis but we don't know their actual last names, so run with it) is comprised of Megan, her mother Lilly, Lilly's younger sister Tara, and Lily and Tara's father Don.

The Governor cautiously approaches the Gorbellis, who are stationed in an apartment within the building. With virtually no trouble at all, they welcome him in, seizing only his gun which he offers up himself. Once inside, Tara and Lilly explain that they have been waiting at home for the National Guard to come. (Yeah, about that...) Tara is the only one to threaten the Governor outright, but she is all talk and false bravado, lowering her guard almost immediately after he assures that he is no threat to them. She even offers his weapon back to him — and calls him "Bro" — but  Lilly is at least smart enough to wait until he is about to leave to give him back his weapon.

Yet Lilly is just as trusting as her younger sister. She asks him if he's going to stay in the apartment complex as if she's the head of the Co-op Board and not someone who has encountered a scary stranger who popped up, armed, at her doorstep. The Governor makes it clear he'll only be there for the night, yet the Gorbellis are desperate to interact with someone outside of the family.

When they ask him for a name, he adopts the name "Brian Heriot" as his own, appropriated from a desperate sign he saw out on the road. The name "Brian" is a nod to the Walking Dead novels, in which it's revealed that the Governor's real name is Brian whereas Philip is actually the name of his deceased brother.

After he settles into his own space, Lilly offers "Brian" SpaghettiOs — or Sketti Rings because copyright. Governor Brian takes the plate, only to dump the Os outside his window. Unlike season 3 Rick, he has no problem with canned pet food, thank you very much. (Personally, I'd prefer SpaghettiOs over Fancy Feast, but hey I guess he prefers the protein!)

When Governor Brian returns the now-empty plate, he is pulled back into the Gorbelli apartment, where they offer him their life story and necessary exposition. When the Zombiepocalypse started — or as Tara states, when the s— hit the fan -- Gorbelli food truck driver Grandpa Don rallied his daughters, nurse Lilly and "cop" Tara, as well as his granddaughter to stick it out until the "attacks" stopped. With a fully stocked food truck, oxygen tanks from the hospital, and ammo from the police station, they remained in their apartment since then. Although they've stayed safe, being holed up in one location means they are seriously lacking one-on-one Walker skills. They don't know how to truly kill a Walker. They don't know that when anyone dies, they re-awaken as a Walker. And they don't know that the National Guard is not coming to the rescue.

In an unintended yet horribly manipulative guilt trip, Grandpa Don asks Governor Brian to retrieve a "real nice backgammon set" in his old friend Bill Jenkins' apartment on the third floor (which happens to contain an unknown number of Walkers). He says he hopes it will get his granddaughter to talk again, although Brian wouldn't know anything about having children since he doesn't have any. Oof, as if the Governor doesn't have enough family issues. Nonetheless, Governor Brian complies and retrieves the backgammon set, finally earning some of the trust the Gorbellis instantly gave him.

NEXT: The Governor gains a new family. Yay for him?

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