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The Walking Dead recap: 'Dead Weight'

The Governor and his new family join his former henchman’s camp. With the Governor no longer in power, what could possibly go wrong?

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The Walking Dead
Gene Page/AMC

The Walking Dead

TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Andrew Lincoln, Lauren Cohan, Danai Gurira, Melissa McBride, Norman Reedus, Chandler Riggs, Steven Yeun
Drama, Horror, Thriller

That’s more like it. Is it bad to be excited that the Governor has gone back to his murderous, maniacal ways? I say no, but not because I happen to like all things murderous and maniacal. (Well not that much.) It is a relief to know that the Governor is exactly who we think he is — a psychotic, power-hungry man. That doesn’t mean he’s pure evil or even unsympathetic. But in a world where everyone’s morality can be expressed in shades of grey, his is a very, very dark charcoal. It’s also a relief to not have to go through multiple episodes of “reformed” Governor Brian struggling not to fall again to the dark side. After everything he has done, it would have felt cheesy and disingenuous. “Dead Weight” reminds us why he is known as the Governor and not “One-Eye Bri.”

This episode also marks the end of the Governor’s two-episode solo arc, which means we have to wait another week until we find out about the aftermath of the flu virus and Rick’s decision to exile Carol. (What’s Daryl going to say?!) It’s also the penultimate episode before the midseason finale, but let’s ignore that for now since I’m not mentally prepared to handle that yet.

The wholly unique chess motif is alive and well as we start with the Governor and Meghan playing chess while doing laundry. (They must have recovered their belongings after encountering Martinez and his camp.) Speaking of Martinez, after a few tense seconds, he helps Meghan and the Governor out of the Walker pit. If it isn’t clear that Martinez would have left the Governor there if he was alone, then he tells the Governor exactly that later in the episode. (Thanks. We got it.)

In the flash forward with Meghan, we learn that (surprise!) the Governor has daddy issues. Meghan does too, as her dad was “always mean to [her]” before he took off. Governor Brian assures her that she’s “good” and they’re all going to be okay. But when Meghan asks if it’s because they’re “all good,” the Governor doesn’t answer. But we all know the answer to that. As he later demonstrates, he isn’t going to be “okay” by being “good” — he’s going to do what he thinks he needs to do in order to survive. For now, the Governor is following Martinez’s camp rules. Unlike Rick’s three questions, Martinez brings the Governor and his new family into the fold under the direction of two statements: Martinez is in charge, and contribute or be cast out.

Now a leader in his own right, Maritnez gets henchmen of his own — brothers Mitch and Pete. They are played by familiar faces to sci-fi TV, Kirk Acevedo (Charlie from Fringe) and Enver Gjokaj (Victor from Dollhouse). The Governor joins them on a run in a ridiculously green and gorgeous Georgian forest. They pass a glassy, reflective lake that serves as a symbol to the various foils, shadows, doppelgangers, and doubles that pop up this episode.

On their way to an abandoned cabin, they find the beheaded corpses of two soldiers, one tied to a tree with a sign stating “LIAR” and the other to a La-Z-Boy in a field with a sign proclaiming “RAPIST.” The group finds a third corpse on the cabin porch — the old man who presumably killed the soldiers holding the sign, “MURDERER.” The image of the dead man hits close to home for the Governor as he picks up a picture of the man and his family — a wife and daughter — taken during happier times. The Governor and his dead doppelganger are so similar, in fact, that they both have an affinity for storing zombified heads and Walker versions of their family. He might as well have greeted the corpse with “Hello, my shadow self.” The Governor easily disposes of the Cabin Man’s Walker wife and daughter and earns Mitch and Pete’s respect, even if Mitch continues to refer to him as “One-Eye Bri.” Mitch should know better — One-Eyes are quite formidable.

NEXT: Sharing is caring. It could be fun! But not sharing could be more fun.