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'Walking Dead' Recap: The Return of the One-Eyed Man

A familiar face reappears in the zombpocalypse

David Morrissey as The Governor in The Walking Dead.
Gene Page/AMC
November 17, 2013 10:05 PM ET

Ahoy, zombie-fans! Wasn’t it sort of weird to find yourself caring about Mr. Brian Heriot? Wait, I mean, Phillip? Wait, I mean: can someone still be The Governor if he’s abdicated his governance?

Hang on, let’s remind ourselves of where we left off: The antibiotics brigade returned to the prison with the anti-flu medication just in time to save Glenn. It was too late for Caleb, Mr. Jacobs, Henry the Intubated Patient, and assorted other red-shirts. Rick and Carl mowed down a sea of zombies once the walkers breached their security perimeter. (Although – if they had that much ammo and those assault rifles, why didn’t they just take out the zombies BEFORE the undead surged through the fence? Just wondering). Hershel became a superhero and all sorts of a bad-ass. Daryl wanted to know what happened to Carol. And our old nemesis, The Governor, spied on the prison once again.

Nine 'Walking Dead' Villains We're Dying to See

Onwards! Tonight’s edition of zombie-time is a stand-alone episode starring The Governor. I mean Phillip. I mean Brian. (Note: He was Brian in the graphic novels but he’s Phillip on the TV show. This means something, like a mound of mashed potaters.) Back at the end of the last season, The Governor massacred his Woodburian followers. He was left with his two henchmen, Martinez and Shumpert. And now we’ve learned that he was in some sort of fugue state, incapable of defending himself from a shambling lady-zombie without Martinez’s gunfire. There were three people from Woodbury and then suddenly there was one: just The Governor. He set fire to his former town and then hit the road, Cormac McCarthy-style, as his hair and beard grew bushy and wild. And then one day he discovered a Gorbelli’s truck and a little girl and everything changed. 

The Governor sets up house with three ladies and their dad: Melody, the nurse. Tara, the cop. And Megan, the adorable little girl. Their father is suffering from lung cancer and is not long for this world – at least not if he runs out of the oxygen they’ve been hoarding since the you-know-what hit the fan. They’ve shut themselves into their apartment, surviving on Gorbelli’s rations and so ignorant about the outside world that they don’t even know that the only way to kill zombies is to take out their brains. (Um, hello? Doesn’t everyone know that?) After The Governor retrieves a nice backgammon set from their upstairs neighbor, the Gorbelli-truck family asks him to help them out by going on an oxygen run to the old folks home down the road. 

If you thought regular zombies were terrifying, then behold: OLD PERSON ZOMBIES! Eeeeks! The Governor locates the oxygen tank supply but then finds himself under attack by elderly zombies, who seem to be a lot more limber and mobile than they were when they were still alive. Run away, Governor! Take the oxygen and run!

He returns to the apartment building, licking his wounds and still looking like a wild man. Melody misses being a nurse and tends to his cuts, going so far as giving him blowies to soften the sting of the antiseptic. The Governor finally starts to bond with little Megan, who thought he was her father. Her dad, you see, went out for a Powerball ticket and never came back. And now here’s The Governor, ready to pinky swear and to make her cross her heart and promise not to tell anyone how he turned into a pirate. He even teaches her how to play chess, because nobody mentioned just how boring the end of the world would be. And chess is a fascinating game because you can lose a lot of soldiers and still win the same – sort of like when you murder all of your followers in cold blood? 

The dad dies, of course, and turns into a zombie because his daughters still don’t grok the implications of the zombpocalypse. Brian/Phillip bashes in the dad’s head with a once-live-saving oxygen tank. And then The Gov sets fire to the old family photo and begrudgingly accepts his role as the head of his new family. Melody, Tara and Megan take off with him in the Gorbelli’s truck, into the great unknown.

Melody makes a move on the Governor and they get jiggy with it.  Megan is still terrified after watching her surrogate-dad smash in her grandfather’s brains, and Tara is distracted by bitching about her ex-girlfriend. Tara trips and falls, injuring her ankle. And a herd of zombies sets upon the new family unit at the worst possible time (although, admittedly, there’s never a great time to find yourself under zombie attack). Megan leaps into the Governor’s arms and the new family unit runs, fleeing for their lives. Tara limps and leans on her sister for support. The Governor and Megan fall straight into a zombie-catching pit. Oh shit!

The Governor knows that the best way to outwit and outlast a zombie attack is to prevent the undead from biting so he rips out one walker’s lower jaw and breaks another’s mandible with someone else’s femur. Nothing’s going to harm Megan, not while he’s around. He crosses his heart and hopes to die, even as someone (is it Martinez? It looked a little like Martinez, but it was such quick shot and I was still cringing because of that jaw-breaking scene!) peers in on the zombie pit from above. Holy shit. Holy shit, indeed. So how long until The Governor gets himself out of the pit and over to the prison? And what does he do with his new ladyfriend and surrogate daughter? And did all the flu-victims survive? I miss the prison!

Death toll: goodbye, Mr. Garbelli’s truck driver. And all the old people who turned into zombies. And the pit-zombies who probably really miss their jaws.

Last Week: The Flu and the Zombies Pummel the Prison

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