The Walking Dead recap: The Man Who Would Be Governor

Andrea and Michonne run afoul of an old friend, and meet a mysterious new ally who has a secret or three
Ep. 03 | Aired Oct 28, 2012

I AM NOT THE FINE MAN YOU TAKE ME FOR Roll with me on this for a second, but doesn't it seem like the show is setting up the Governor as an explicit mirror image of Rick -- the yin to his yang, the Wario to his Mario, the Samuel L. Jackson to his Bruce Willis? The Governor rules with a smile and has the aura of a kind leader, but secretly does terrible things to maintain his community; Rick rules with an iron fist and demands that his people all take equal responsibility for the terrible things they have to do to survive. The Governor = benevolent despot, Rick = democratically elected prime minister. If we're to believe that picture at the end of the episode, The Governor had a wife and a daughter who died; Rick has a wife and a son who survived. Almost a year into the apocalypse, the Governor has styled himself as a military commander, complete with a perpetual flak jacket; meanwhile, Rick has become an unshaven guerilla tribal leader. And they're both played by British actors using enjoyably broad American-dialect accents! Also, notice how the camera kept focusing on Governor's holster? I'm betting this whole season ends with a western-style standoff between the Governor and Rick. That, or something with zombies.

Gene Page/AMC

Milton joined the Governor for a lunch with the new arrivals. Andrea talked; Michonne glared. She noticed her katana lying in the Governor's trophy case, and was not amused. She also didn't like Milton's prying questions about her dead pets. He figured out that she knew them; the more he asked about them, the more it was clear that he had really hit a nerve. Andrea, however, couldn't have been more genial with her hosts. "You're sitting pretty at the end of the world," she said admiringly.

But the Governor didn't look at this as the end. Far from it. "We will rise again," he said, "Only this time, we won't be eating each other." This is a statement loaded with meaning: It implies that the Governor doesn't really think much of the pre-zombie world, and also indicates that he views Woodbury in Messianic terms. His community is the face of the future, and he is the face of his community.

Michonne was not convinced, and Andrea was getting fed up. They took a walk down Main Street. They saw kids going to school and neighbors happily sharing vegetables. Andrea tried to get Michonne to open up. After long months of watching each other's back, she still barely even knows the terse swordswoman. She asked about the pets, and noted how easy it was for Michonne to cut their heads off after traveling with them for months. It seemed like she did it without thinking. Michonne disagreed: She really had to think about it.

In a faraway field, a group of soldiers lurked, looking desperate and uncertain. They had big guns and battle-ready trucks, but they knew that wouldn't be enough against a zombie herd. The Governor drove up in a car, waving a white flag. He talked to the guy in charge of the soldiers -- a young man, barely even out of his teens. The Governor said that he found the pilot. He said he had a cute little settlement not too far away. And then he pulled out his gun and shot the young soldier twice. Gunfire rang from all sides; Merle and his security force had arranged themselves in prime positions for a slaughter.

NEXT: A possible homage to Futurama

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