The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 7 “Dead Weight” Recap


In The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 7, the Governor is back and he’s getting rid of the “dead weight”!

Continue reading for a spoiler filled discussion of The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 7 entitled “Dead Weight”.

The New Boss, Same As the Old Boss

I’m going to touch on a few points in this episode. This post is more of a conversation starter than a detailed recap of every story beat. As always, please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions in the comment section. I look forward to discussing with you further.

Let’s start off with some general thoughts. Overall, it’s a decent episode but I didn’t enjoy it as much as last week’s which was a personal story dedicated on humanizing the Governor. In this episode, the first portion meandered but as the old Governor started to reemerge the story gradually became more intensely focused which I liked quite a lot.

Perhaps my resistance to completely loving this episode is after deliberately reframing the Governor as a protective father figure with a tortured soul, he went back to his old bag of tricks. Having said that, watching the Governor play second fiddle to anyone for more than an episode wouldn’t make for an engaging drama and would greatly undermine his character.

Further, for the sake of the story the Governor needed to quickly step up as the primary antagonist and to bring some much-needed danger to the prison group which was what these last two episodes are building towards.

After Rick’s assault on Woodbury and getting his eye mutilated the Governor doesn’t need another reason to go to war with the prison gang but I believed this episode had to give him an extra incentive or purpose.

The writers wanted to come full circle to the climatic confrontation that was missing from last season’s finale. The problem is that the build up isn’t as strongly executed this time. It has also has a “been there, done that” feeling which leads me to think there will be a twist next episode to keep things from getting repetitive

The Governor’s Back

The question that “Live Bait” posed is if the Governor can come back from the trauma of massacring his people and losing basically everything including Woodbury? I don’t think he was redeemed but he was rehabilitated. He found a new purpose to live for.

Whether he uses his surrogate family as a justification for the immoral things he does to survive or he has a genuine desire to protect them at any cost is an interesting question to explore. I lean towards the former but I think it would be a fascinating idea if the Governor believes his new family enables a connection to a part of his humanity that drives him to attain power, dominance and fuels his will to live.

The question that this episode asks, at least in the beginning, is if the Governor can really change his ways. Has it always been in his nature to be a sadistic monster or does living in the zombie apocalypse turn him into a pathological killer?

The Governor is most honest and open with Megan about his past. Even as a child, long before the zombie apocalypse, he considered himself as sometimes “bad” like when he stole cigarettes. We also learn the man he becomes can partly be attributed to the nurture side of the nature vs nurture equation including physical abuse at the hands of his father. Further, the Governor’s belief in earning one’s own victories and doing what it takes to succeed comes from his father never letting him win. To quote a Lost episode title, “All the best cowboys have daddy issues”.


Feeding Martinez

I believe the Governor kills poor Martinez for some key reasons. When Lilly says living in (Martinez’s) camp is the first time she’s felt safe it’s like a slap in the Governor’s face whose has been protecting her all this time. Also, when Martinez offers to share his power and shows insecurity in leadership, Governor senses weakness which is something he despises in others as well as in himself. He takes offence that a lesser person such as Martinez is so highly regarded in the camp when he clearly sees himself as the ultimate survivor and superior leader.

My kill of the week is poor Martinez being fed alive to the pit of biters. Martinez’s undoing is letting the Governor and his family return to his camp. Perhaps Martinez put too much value on what the Governor could offer to his group in terms of knowledge/survival skills and thinking the Governor is a changed man.

Everybody Loves A Hero

The volatile power dynamics of the camp is a road that the Governor doesn’t want to go down at first but he needs to turn around and do whatever it takes to keep his family safe. I also think the Governor has strong survival instincts. He knows there’s another dangerous group somewhere out there that raided the camp in the forest which is another reason why he wanted to get the hell out of dodge (and later into the safer confines of the prison).

The Governor can’t entrust someone else to make life or death decisions for him or his family. As a power-hungry dictator, he needs to be the top dog even if he has to step over bodies to do it. Before the camp can vote for a leader, the Governor eliminates the biggest competition and turns a potential enemy (Mitch) into his lackey.

Pete is a morally grounded leader and in the Governor’s mind, the kind of hero that’ll get people killed. In a way Pete is like Rick; there are definite lines he won’t cross even if it can increase the chances of their group’s survival. If Pete was in the prison group and allowed to develop as a character, he could have been a fan favorite. Maybe it’s because I’m a fan of actor Enver Gjokaj from Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse and cameo in Avengers, but I’m very disappointed to see him die so soon.

the walking dead aquarium full of heads

In many ways the Governor has let go of the past. Maybe he sees it as a weakness or millstone around his neck. He doesn’t talk about what he did for a living before the apocalypse and no one alive even knows his real name. In next week’s preview, he uses this to his advantage by twisting the story of what Rick’s group did to him to manipulate his followers into attacking the prison (not a spoiler since it’s very obvious it’s going to happen). If those people only knew who he really is and what he’s done.

Last season, the Governor said he forced himself to look at the aquariums of heads to prepare him for the horrors on the outside. He re-enacted this in a chilling, disturbing way by tying undead Pete to the bottom of the pond which has a whole lot of room for more bodies. As much as the Governor wants to distance himself from his past, he’s still at the very core the man he’s always been. The signs on the dead bodies leading up to the cabin, “liar, rapist, murderer”, they are all things that the Governor will always be, if you consider what he did to Maggie as sexual assault which I do.

What do you think of the episode? What will happen to Michonne and Hershel? What are your expectations for the mid-season finale?

More Posts You Might Like:

The Walking Dead Season 4, Episode 6 “Live Bait” Recap

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 5 “Internment” Recap

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 4 “Indifference” Recap

About Sidekick Reviews

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Posted on November 25, 2013, in Television, The Walking Dead and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 16 Comments.

  1. By the end of the season, I want that lake to be filled with walkers. That would be a good finale… for part 2 of this season, I mean.

    • Haha that would be an awesome yet freaky sight! Near the beginning of the episode I think Mitch told the Gov that the pond is dead … how true his words became, or perhaps it’s the undead pond now! 🙂

  2. Pond Zombie was good 😀

    The Governors return was a little rushed, I don’t really grasp how he can go from family man to lets invade a prison with a tank. What?!

    Not sure why a group of ill prepared or untrained people who are essentially committing suicide because some guy they have known for 5 minutes thinks its a good idea? Seems like a massive leap forward in their ruthless home taking ways. Whatever! Not as impressive as the books 😦

    • Pond Zombie might be getting some new friends soon! 🙂

      Yeah, things escalated rather quickly. I was hoping we’d get to know the Governor from “Live Bait” more before the old Governor came back. Oh well, from what I’ve read online a lot of fans think these last episodes are too slow. ??

      Without their stronger members like Martinez and Pete, the camp people are like sheep. Looks like they’ll blindly follow the Governor to their possible slaughter. I don’t know, seems like exactly what happened last season haha. I haven’t got that far in the books yet but I’m looking forward to it. 🙂

      • The joke that nothing ever changes in this show really comes full circle with another season of the governor trying to invade the prison. He hasn’t got nearly the numbers to succeed so I don’t get the point, really wish they had stuck to the comic for this arc 😦

        Maybe they’ll throw a curve ball but I don’t see it 😦

        • History is repeating, not a good thing for a TV show. After building Gov back up it’s a shame if he dies next episode but I think fans want his blood. I’m only at the part in the comics where Tyresse is surrounded by zombies in the prison gym.

          • Knowing where you are in the Comics I will just shut my mouth on the comics, however they have kind of put themselves in an unavoidable situation. The show is in a corner where nothing changes until something really big happens.

            Governors gonna DIE!!!

            He will force the group to leave the prison in the process, hopefully 😀

            • The comics are addicting. And very fast paced compared to the show. I do enjoy taking the time to get to know characters but yeah nothing really big happens, I mean which important character did the infection kill? Nobody.

              Governor’s gonna live! Haha, I have no idea what’s going to happen but it’s gonna get messy! 🙂

              • The comics are great. But its a different series now and I have separate them. I don’t know what happens next and that’s a good thing 😀

                Its a mid season finale so someone important is going to die 😀

  3. Quite disapointed this week.
    I loved the lake thing and rise of Pete character but what the **** happened with Governor ? Did he managed to kill the whole wood camp by himself ? What made him going berzerk against Martinez at this very moment ? Very confusing episode. How did he found the prison again, after months of wandering ? Looks like they rushed the story for the mid-season cliff. Too bad. I believed he would hesistate a bit longer between Michonne and his new found family.

    • Hi there. I probably liked a few more things about this episode than you but I can see where you’re coming from. I thought Governor didn’t kill the wood camp, but then again he could be lying. What made him go beserk? I think the same thing that made him machine gun his people last season – he’s a psychopath :). If he’s familiar enough with the area, I assume he’d be able to find the prison again or he found a map. I also think the Gov’s story is rushed for the mid-season finale. At the same time, many fans are very impatient about not enough things happening. I’m worried for Hershel but Michonne is someone the Gov wants to take his time torturing. Do you have predictions for next episode?

  4. I think he lashed out against his own people because he was “under the gun” himself, or so he thought. Because of Rick taking him everything. Martinez kinda was his “dog” last season and just before he got knocked he offered the Governor to share the leadership with him, wich was a step in the good direction since Martinez said “no share” at the begining. Anyway. Just me bugging about the “Man of Steel” effect, a lot of shortcuts (wich I believe would had been a Hobbit thing..).

    I share your feelings about Hershel. Statistics for him being shot at least are high. If Michonne lives, maybe the Governor will as well. All in all, the prison defenses are gonna be crushed by Pete’s tank, wich means bad things when there’s a mega-horde (they tried to make us forget by sneaking the Mad Max Gov stuff I think) coming.

    Just hoping they are not planning to use Carole as a second Merle. Abandonned, maybe dead maybe not but ready to pop two seasons later. TWD starts to goes full circle already but we had no answers since the “we are all infected” twist. Nice review by the way, as always. 😉

    • Haha, yeah Martinez was the Gov’s dog last season. Martinez’s mistake was trying to make the Gov his bitch at first and by the time he offered to share the power it was too late. Because the mid-season finale is episode 8, the writers had to move a lot of pieces very quickly.

      I’m looking forward to the look of Michonne’s face when she sees the Gov. I’m hoping for all hell to break loose next episode. Bring on the Mega-horde and Pete’s tank!

      I’d be surprised if Carol shows up next episode. I think second half of the season. It would be interesting to find out more answers and see what’s going on in other parts of the world. I think we’ll have to wait a while. Thanks for the kind words! 😉

  5. Great review! I like what they’ve done in these past two episodes with the Governor. Feels like we are set up for a really good mid-season finale. Also I’m so happy there is a tank. Nice to see Charlie from Fringe in this too!

    • I didn’t notice “Charlie” at first, then I was like … hey wait a second it’s Charlie! These past episodes are building up to something big and climatic … at least one would hope. 🙂 The tank from the pilot is a memorable iconic image and moment, so I’m looking forward to see another tank again.

  1. Pingback: The Comic-Verse: November 2013 | The Speech Bubble

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