“Live Bait” marks The Governor’s return as we follow him through the last few months since the massacre. Continuing off where we last see The Governor he’s just slaughtered his army after the attack on the prison. Leaving his two right hand men alive, Martinez and Shumpet, they continue to a military outpost where they make camp. The Governor sits in front of a fire, absently staring off, as a walker crawls towards him. Indifferent to the walker he lets it get close before Martinez shoots it in the head and notes his complete disregard. The next morning The Governor awakes and sees that his two men have abandoned him and left him to fend for himself. He returns to Woodbuy to see it’s overrun by walkers. He retrieves the picture of him, his daughter, and wife and burns the town before leaving for good.
Days go by as The Governor wanders alone through passing towns and woods, shrugging off walkers as he walks and serene in his absolute solitaire. Clear that months have passed by his burly beard he sees a young girl who resembles his daughter in a window. The Governor ventures inside the apartment building to find a small family occupying one of the tenements. The surviving Chambler family is made up of sisters Tara and Lily, their father David and Lily’s daughter Meghan, whom of which The Governor saw in the window. Tara claiming to be an ex cop and Lily equally defensive for her daughter hold The Governor at gun point, even confiscating his gun while he tells them how he survived the past months. Going by the name Brian Heriot he tells them of Woodbury and how the man in charge there “lost it” and begun slaughtering his own people. Failing to mention in fact though that he was the man in charge the two sisters warily agree to trust him but keep his gun for good measure. Intending to stay for only a night they give him the apartment across from theirs.
Later on in the evening Lily brings The Governor something to eat which he quietly accepts, his disconnection with humans apparent. When Lily leaves he proceeds to throw the food out the window and eat a can of tuna instead. Returning the plate later on an on edge Tara opens the door to question The Governor’s intentions but Lily having lightened on him some invites him inside. David and Meghan play a homemade game of backgammon in the corner of the apartment, David being one of the few who can make Meghan smile or speak according to the sisters. David has stage four lung cancer but still proclaims to want a cigarette in his good nature spirit. Before leaving back for his apartment for the night the sisters ask ‘Brian’ if he can help them get their father to his bed. The sisters struggle to help a weak David stand from off up the chair so The Governor silently picks him and carries him to the bedroom on his own. David asks The Governor if he’d mind going to the apartment upstairs which belonged to an old friend of his and getting his real backgammon set for him and Meghan to play. The Governor agrees and heads upstairs to find the set along with a few rounds of ammo and a walker in the bathtub, presumably David’s friend. He kills the walker and takes a revolver in its hand before returning back downstairs.
Lily visits The Governor the next morning to return his gun to him, catching a glimpse of him looking at the picture of his family. He tells her to keep it and shows her the revolver he took from David’s friend. Before he leaves shes asks him if he’d do one more favor for them. Not expecting David to live as long as he has they’re low on oxygen and need ‘Brian’ to get more tanks from a nearby nursing home, none of them really being equipped to handle walkers as is made obvious by their low knowledge on how to kill them. He agrees and heads to the home. Walkers approach him all along the way but as The Governor has an inferior power of just simply being able to avoid them he makes it to the home without issue. However, inside after finding a cart of tanks more walkers file out of the rooms from the noise. Struggling to move the cart he eventually abandons it and takes two tanks escaping the infest of walkers. Back at the apartment complex ‘Brian’ gives the tanks to Lily, seemingly out of breath with a cut on his head. Insisting he’s okay he returns to his apartment but Lily follows him to clean the wound and thank him for making the run for them. She tells him how Meghan thought he was her father when he first wander in their home, as her father left one night for a pack of cigarettes and never returned. Meghan with her, she leaves for a moment to return to her apartment and Meghan asks The Governor how he got his eye patch. The Governor says he’ll tell her but only if she promises to keep it a secret. Meghan agrees and he vaguely reveals that he obtained it by protecting someone he loved.
Having stayed and cleaned himself up, ‘Brian’ is back in Lily’s apartment teaching Meghan how to play chess. She asks about the various pieces of the game leading to a metaphor along the lines of The Governor likely returning to his full glory despite having lost his army. Lily exits David’s room to confirm that he has died. The family and ‘Brian’ all stand inside the room, ‘Brian’ announces to them that they should leave but Lily wants another minute to say goodbye. In that last minute David reanimates and goes to bite Tara. Coming close The Governor takes one of David’s tanks and proceeds to bash his skull in. The sisters are understandably upset at first but later on thank ‘Brian’, knowing that it saved Tara’s life despite its brute handling. Meghan however keeps her distance from ‘Brian’ and returns to her silence. The Governor buries David’s body with some assistance from Lily. That night The Governor burns the picture of his family and goes to say goodbye to the remaining Chamblers. Lily wants her family to go with him, as she insists there’s somewhere better out there. He initially refuses at first but Lily reveals she saw the picture of his family and knows he lost them, but that he has now become part of their family and they’re going with him whether he likes it or not.
They leave in the food delivery truck which has been supplementing their meals and camp overnight at a lake. Tara confesses to ‘Brain’ that she was not a cop but was in the training academy so it wasn’t a complete lie. She also thanks him for saving her life and announces that they are cool with each other. Lily makes the same mistake as Andrea and sleeps with The Governor. The truck breaks down the next morning and they continue on foot, with Tara twisting her ankle when she trips. The Governor walks ahead for lookout and sees a group of walkers at a crossroads. They spot him and he yells as the sisters to drop their bags and run. Meghan freezes in the moment and The Governor continuously calls to get her to come. She eventually comes around and runs to him, he picks her up and leads the sisters away from the walkers and into the woods. As he’s running with Meghan in arms they fall into a deep man made pit with three walkers inside. Meghan hides in the corner as The Governor takes out the walkers using nothing but his bare hands and a bone. He picks up Meghan, whispers ‘Cross my heart’ and then promises he’ll never let anything hurt her. He then hears a familiar voice and looks up to see Martinez staring down at him into the pit. The Governor repeats ‘Cross my heart’ as he holds Meghan and stares up at Martinez.
After Thought: As last season offered us an episode dedicated entirely to The Governor and Woodbury this season gives a reprisal as we catch up with the comic series most prominent and alive villain. A character episode built around The Governor’s softer side still offers an underling menace with hints of his return and likely revenge on the prison. What the nature of it will be is now the question with The Chamblers having an undoubted influence on his actions.
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