The Walking Dead – “Dead Weight” Review: A Waste of Time
After starting the season with so much promise, I’m really worried The Walking Dead
is regressing at a rapid rate. It turns out that this two episode sidebar into the life of the Governor wasn’t about rehabilitating his image or even showing us a new side of the megalomaniac. In the end, the Governor essentially reverts to the crazed leader he was last season, leaving me wondering who actually cares if he lives or dies in the upcoming showdown with Rick and his crew.
If last week’s Governor-centric episode was a small step backwards for The Walking Dead
, “Dead Weight” is one giant leap into disappointment. In the span of two episodes we have learned next to nothing about the Governor, whose past remains a cypher beyond the knowledge that he once had a family and he had a rough childhood. In light of the excellent work the series has done this season in terms of fleshing out (or at least giving some major hints at backstory) for several of the show’s more two-dimensional characters, I had high hopes the series was planning on doing the same for its villain.
The Governor from season three devolved from a charismatic leader into a cartoonish super villain. This two week journey away from the prison was a chance to mold him into someone the audience could understand yet fear. To give him some teeth instead of simply breaking him down and building him back into a murdering leader once more. The Governor should strike fear into the hearts of the audience not only from his actions, but because we understand what has driven him to reach that breaking point. Instead, I’m counting the minutes until he’s finally dead and the prison gang can move forward in their storyline.
Of course the Governor is going to kill Martinez when it appears that his brand new family might actually like spending time with the camp’s leader. And that the Governor isn’t going to let poor Pete lead with weakness. And that he will neutralize Mitch and turn him into his new Merle. Having the Governor repeat “I don’t want it” over and over as he kills Martinez isn’t going to make us think he doesn’t want to lead.
The Governor was thrilled to have a family depend on him when he began spending time with Lilly, Meghan, and Tara. He’s addicted to leading, and to having power. He wants to gain more power, and he glosses over that need by calling it “protecting.” This is a man that is disturbed on many levels. I think the only way we’ll ever understand him is to be given his actual backstory, and “Dead Weight” was the perfect chance to show us that.
Considering that next week is the mid-season finale, and, judging from the previews, it appears to be more bloody than character driven, I’m worried we’ve missed out on our chance to get that backstory for the Governor. To see how Penny died, and how the Governor’s wife died. To understand why the Governor becomes so angry when speaking about his brother, the hero. What is it that turned the Governor from a family man into a monster. The show had a chance to show us that transformation and make us understand. It’s a shame they squandered that opportunity and turned these last two weeks into a waste of time.
-- Great guest appearances from Enver Gjokaj (Pete) and Kirk Acevedo (Mitch). Gjokaj needs to be given a series stat – he was absolutely superb on Dollhouse
and deserves a vehicle to showcase his ability.
-- It’s nice to see that despite the zombie apocalypse, there’s still room to find love. As annoying as Tara may be, I’m happy she found herself a girlfriend. Although, considering how the Governor doesn’t like people questioning his authority, Alicia better step in line and stop asking questions.
-- I understand that the Governor kills Martinez to consolidate power and to make sure Martinez doesn’t spill about their Woodbury past. However, Martinez takes great pains to avoid discussing Woodbury, and I still don’t buy that the Governor feels guilty over his actions there (despite the writers trying to make us think he does).
-- Finally, no matter how broody the writers make the Governor, I cannot believe the man who nearly raped Maggie and left Andrea to die feels remorse. The best I’ll accept is that he feels bad that his commune was lost and his people turned on him. And since they’ve given us zero reason to sympathize with the Governor, I’ll cheer when he finally gets killed off (hopefully sooner rather than later).