The Walking Dead | My Defense of The Governor and Live Bait

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This is random, I know. Bringing up a television character who's not been relevant for almost a decade. But I've been recently re-watching the old The Walking Dead seasons (well, I've had them playing in the background while I've been doing other things) and then it got to the sixth episode of the fourth season, entitled Live Bait. This was the episode where the Governor makes his depressing return after having gone missing following the massacre at Woodbury.

Any time I hear someone bring up how great of a character Negan is, my mind always inevitably flashes to the Governor. And this episode in particular. And how much I absolutely loved his development (far more than I did Negan's, who I also enjoy) and his complexity.

Since the demise of the IMDb message boards (thanks, wokeness, I know you had to have had a hand in that), I've had to resort to the TV Time app or Reddit any time I want to discuss random episodes of TV shows like this. When I went to the comments section for this episode, expecting to see others loving it as much as I did, I was stunned at the hatred I was seeing. Not only did everyone appear to despise the Governor, but they seemed to unanimously dislike this episode as a whole (many even calling it boring!).

Suffice it to say, my heart was broken. Here's my own post I made in response:

The Governor is really an amazingly well delivered and developed character, in my opinion. It's strange to me that others don't see him as so and that they actually dislike this episode; as, personally, it's one of my favorites of the series.

Even before this episode, we'd had glimpses of him having heart and compassion (particularly in regards to his daughter). But, as his narration states early in this episode, he eventually "lost it". And losing it is an overarching theme for many characters on this show; even our protagonists. They let good people die, they quickly resort to threats and violence, they stop trusting people, the grow accustomed to death and killing, they grow cold, hard, and empty inside, and constantly make decisions that are ethically questionable. Is it their fault? Sure, to an extent. But at the same time, they're victims of circumstance. Normal people who were put in extraordinary situations that no one is taught how to deal with. Very dire, hopeless, and desperate extraordinary situations. They continuously lose the people they love and every time they get a step forward, they inevitably get knocked a few steps back and are reminded of how hopeless tomorrow appears to be. The Governor is no different. And, added on to that, he's also yet another victim of the burdens, temptations, and corruptions that come with power (something that even Rick himself has been tempted to abuse from time to time).

Does it excuse anything he's done? No. But it may help in explaining and understanding him. And it's a good example of how, typically, people aren't simply good or bad or black or white. They're just people. Which is why, regardless of anything bad the Governor (or any other character) has done, I'd never say they were beyond redemption or incapable of change. If they were, then that would be a very unrealistic and poorly written character, in my opinion.

Also, he looks like Snake Plisskin in this episode. And that's really cool.