The Walking Dead (Season 4) – “Live Bait”

the walking dead - live bait

walking dead governor fire

The focus of this episode of The Walking Dead was entirely on the Governor… which means no damn Tyreese!

Bait and Switch

I’m unsure why the episode was titled “Live Bait,” because a better one would have been “Bait and Switch.” Indeed we’ve all been baited into the story at the prison for five episodes, and now, suddenly and instead of oscillating between two stories, we’re squarely focussed on the Governor. I also think we’re being baited into sympathizing for the jerk, but then the writers will jerk us around with a switch back to his old self.

But back to the actual title for a moment. Perhaps “Live Bait” is in reference to the Walkers (should I be calling them Biters now?) in the pit… but they’re not “live.” Did the Governor have plans to use the new cast members (sisters Tara and Lily; Lily’s daughter, Meagan; and Meagan’s grandfather) as bait for his return to Martinez (or for acceptance from Martinez)? Or was the Governor planning to use the new people as bait while out on the road? None of these seem likely.

However, what if the Governor was planning to use the new people as bait for entry into the prison? No, I don’t think that works either.

Maybe “Live Bait” is in reference to the Governor himself. We see him near the top of the episode sitting by a campfire, unflinching as a Walker approaches him. And when the Walker is practically about to take a good, healthy bite, the Gov still doesn’t move, but he’s saved by Martinez. It’s as if the Gov has given up and is completely broken… and he is. For some time before he finds Meagan and her family, he’s just stumbling around looking half dead and with a scraggly beard. At one point we hear him speaking, I’m not sure if it was a memory or if it was a flash forward, telling a woman that he was in a town prior to being alone on the road and the leader had lost it and nearly died, clearly letting us know that he recognizes how evil he had become.

walking dead governor tent

A Man Reborn?

In case you missed it, near the start of the episode our showrunners let us know that the Governor had repented when he egressed from the canal of his kid-sized tent with some sad inspirational track playing, signalling to us that he had been reborn. A new man? He could be; he’s certainly reluctant to kill anything, even Walkers, only doing so when absolutely necessary. Then there’s the fact that he’s so submissive to Meagan’s family and does them huge favors, even educating them on how to kill a Walker.

That’s right, this family of four have been holed up in their apartment since the outbreak and haven’t even learned how to kill a Walker. How? But I suppose it is possible from a “being well-stocked” perspective, but what about bandits? I would think that some bandits might see their candlelight, and they’re so painfully not disciplined, given that Meagan stood in a window in plain sight, which led the Governor into their apartment building.

Given the Governor’s state when he saw Meagan in the window, I was sure he was hallucinating his daughter. No doubt he thought of her as well, since there was so much focus on his family portrait during the episode. And if just to make sure we understood the Governor’s affinity for this small family, we were told that Meagan thought the Governor was her dad returned.

walking dead governor saving meagan

Cross My Heart

“Live Bait” is bookended with Martinez appearing just after the Governor, while carrying Meagan, falls into a Walker pit, kills the Walkers in it, and promises to Meagan, “I’m never going to let anything happen to you. Cross my heart.” As soon as he sees Martinez, he repeats “Cross my heart.” Obviously, the point of the second promise is to tell us that the Governor knows shit’s about to get bad for them, and he knows because he basically made Martinez what he is. The fact that he wants to protect Meagan means one of two things: 1) He has genuinely reformed, or 2) He’s being selfish and wants to make this family his own, or at least Meagan since he didn’t include Lily or Tara in his promise.

My bet is that we’ll have reformed Governor for a little while before his hand is forced to act in a more brutal way, but I’m not sure if he’ll completely revert to the Governor we all know and hate. Then again, Martinez could kill Meagan, Lily, and Tara, catapulting the Governor into total madness and savage brutality. Don’t forget what we saw at the conclusion of the last episode, which was the Governor standing nefariously in the dark outside the prison fence. Also remember that we have two time lines going on now and we still have to wait for the Governor to catch up to the tribe.

Rock Hard \m/

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