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

Time has passed, perhaps several weeks, and Governor Brian is officially a part of the family. Rocking new clean clothes, a haircut, and no more awful beard, Governor Brian is looking more like his old self. He distracts Megan with a game of chess as Tara and Lilly tend to Don, who is on his death bed. Learning about the pawn chess pieces, Megan asks if you lose if your "soldiers" die. Governor Brian explains, "You can lose a lot of soldiers but still win the game." Does this encapsulate the Governor's former mentality — or does he still think of himself in terms of a "king" still fighting to win the game of post-apocalyptic life? (Side note: I would definitely play The Game of Life: Zombie Apocalypse Edition.)

He goes onto explain that the king is the "guy you want to capture." Megan colors in an eye patch for the white king piece to look like the Governor. He's not the first AMC Network character to be compared to a white king chess piece — but we all know how that ended for that guy.

Grandpa Don passes away before the Governor can tell Tara and Lilly what happens when someone dies in the Zombiepocalypse. (How could that not have been addressed during his extended stay with them?) Before Walker Grandpa Don can attack Tara, the Governor is forced to smash Walker Grandpa's skull with an oxygen tank. In doing so, he also smashes his bond with Megan, who is traumatized in seeing his burst of violence.

The Governor burns his family photo — his last connection to his former self — and sets off to leave the Gorbellis. Lilly insists that they tag along, for he is a part of their unit now, whether he likes it or not. For the purpose of continuing the Governor's narrative, I understand he needs to leave the apartment complex, but to me it does not make logical sense that they would abandon their established home. Why not fortify and expand? Is there actually something better out there than their current situation? So far on this series, there really hasn't been. The most stable communities have been Woodbury and the expanded Prison community. That's an ill omen for what else may lie outside the boundaries of the apartment.

Nevertheless, Governor Brian, Tara, Lilly, and Megan take the food truck out onto the open road, heading wherever they can with no set plan. (Good plan! No, no it's not.) One night in the truck, Governor Brian and Lilly make out even though Tara and Megan are asleep next to them. I admit, despite the awful, awful things the Governor has done, he's still kinda sexy. The awkward situation of fondling and kissing with your family several inches away is bad enough. I also can't get over how much Lilly looks like Maggie, which in turn reminds me of how terribly he treated her. So, no, I didn't find that scene particularly steamy, yet I'm not sure we were supposed to — he's the Governor after all.

The Gorbelli truck of food and heavy petting doesn't last long, and now, the group continues their trek on foot. Things quickly go from bad to worse as Tara sprains her ankle after a bird's caw startles her. (I wish I could I say I haven't sprained my ankle in a lamer fashion but that would be a lie.) Just then, a Walker herd approaches them, attracted to their shouts and loud conversations. Lilly helps Tara limp-run away as Megan jumps into the Governor's arms before he dashes into the woods. Making their way into a clearing, the Governor and Megan fall into a pit filled with Walkers. He saves her from the Walkers, but not before Martinez appears above him. It seems like Brian Heriot won't last long before the Governor returns to deal with his past.

Walker of the Week: Bill Jenkins and his botched suicide made me really upset, more than the inevitable death of Grandpa Don. Dammit The Walking Dead! Your quiet, tragic vignettes of death and the human condition get me every time!

Questions to consider:

How will Martinez react to Governor Brian and his new family?

How does the Governor end up outside of the Prison?

Will the Governor and his group encounter the flu virus, the mega herd, and/or the mysterious group heard on the radio?

Is the Governor a changed man or is he a ticking time bomb waiting to explode?

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