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Walking Dead: Live Bait

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Walking Dead Live Bait

In this week’s grimly grim Walking Dead episode, we enjoy a variety of grim grimness grimly enacted by grim actors in a grim world where the future holds only grimness. The lone bright spot? The return of the Lovernor.

Last week’s episode ended with a shot of the Governor lurking in the shrubberies near the prison. This week we start off some distance back in time, with a flashback to the Gov massacring his own people after the failed assault on the prison. Things go downhill from there.

This episode was basically “What the Governor Did on Summer Vacation.” First he went camping, and when he woke up his remaining followers had left him. He went back to Woodbury, burned it down, then stopped to pose dramatically in front of the fire. Then he turned into Snake Plissken while Ben Nichols’ “Last Pale Light in the West” played mournfully. That song’s from a concept album based on Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, about a roving band of murderers. I could draw a bunch of parallels, but I think we learned our lesson from my Camus misadventure the other week.

Eventually the Gov finds a family living in an apartment building, kept comfortable because their dad drove a truck packed with canned food. Old dad is dying of cancer though, so the family puts “Brian” through a series of video game style quests. “Head upstairs, deal with the existential horror of my double amputee friend who shot himself in the bathtub, and retrieve his backgammon set.” Great makeup on that bathtub zombie, though, head blown half off, all gray and aged. “Now go fetch some oxygen tanks from the old folks’ home down the street.”

The nursing home was a harrowing encounter, but worse was the creeping horror of what happened there in the weeks after the zombie apocalypse started. Most of those old people zombies were intact. They were abandoned there, left in wheelchairs or even strapped to beds, slowly starving to death, only to reanimate to continue starving for months. Even years. Did I mention how grim this episode was?

There is actually a bit of humor, as the Gov tries to play the grim, monosyllabic loner. But he’s constantly confronted by this chatty family and their pestering. I’ll bet these people haven’t even seen Escape from New York. He even confesses, “I’m a pirate” when the little girl asks him how he lost his eye.

We get some bonding between the Gov (who gets a shave and a haircut) and the family, including the little girl. Yet I kept waiting for him to just snap and slaughter them all. He even explains chess to the girl: pawns are soldiers, and you can lose a lot of pawns and still win the game. But old dad is close to death, and he finally passes away from the cancer. It’s like a grim cupcake covered in grim frosting with grim sprinkles on top. The old man reanimates and attacks the younger sister, so Gov smashes his head in with an oxygen tank. Everyone is kind of freaked out. He digs a grave.

The Gov tries to talk to the family a bit, but the little girl hides behind a chair. There’s some kind of message there about how it’s impossible for a leader to make the difficult decisions necessary to protect his people and still be loved by them. This is maybe some kind of effort by the writers to rehab G’s image? But none of it erases the heinous things he’s done.

Before he can leave, the family insists they’re his responsibility now. So they drive off in the food truck and in the middle of the night, the older sister rolls over and finds herself a little action on the Governor’s side of the bed. I told you the Lovernor was back! This dude gets more tail in Walking Deadland than anyone, for no explicable reason.

Then the truck dies, they start walking, run into a mob, the little girl poignantly runs into G’s arms after hesitating, then they both fall into a pit that already has some walkers in it. Hey, I know who used to dig zombie catching pits…

The scene where the Gov kills the zombies with his bare hands was awesome from a “Wow those special effects were cool” standpoint, ridiculous from any other standpoint. He pulled a head apart with a giant caveman bone? Punched a zombie to death? Ok. At that point some of the Gov’s old cronies show up, which apparently leads into next week’s episode. The break from prison life is kind of nice, I must say.

By the way, what’s up with G-Dog throwing away the Spaghetti-Os so he could eat cat food instead?

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Posted by on Sunday, November 17th, 2013. Filed under Dark TV, Headline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.