The Walking Dead Season 4 Review “Dead Weight”

The Walking Dead Season 4 Episode 7 Dead Weight (1)

The Walking Dead returned tonight with “Dead Weight”, as we all get just what we all wanted to see: More of The Governor and his quest for redemption! Oh wait, did I say it’s what we all wanted to see? What I meant is: What nobody wants to see.

That’s not to say that I didn’t enjoy last week’s installment “Live Bait”. It was an interesting character study of The Governor, and David Morrissey turned in a wonderfully nuanced performance, but it was just an…odd choice for this show. First of all, and this isn’t meant as a slant against Walking Dead fans, but people don’t really watch this show for quiet and reflective character studies. Secondly, I didn’t quite understand why we’re being asked to sympathize with a character that we’re still supposed to be rooting against as the villain of the series. I went more into these complaints last week, but my main takeaway (and the opinion of most of my commenters) was that I did not want to see any more of this. So imagine my disappointment when “Dead Weight” picks up right where last week’s episode left off.

We’re introduced to yet another group of survivors, with this one being led by Martinez. I know that we were never really given an exact timetable of how long Martinez and The Governor were separated before The Governor found Lilly and her family, but I was a little surprised how Martinez was so quickly able to ascend the ranks of this new clan. Especially when there were already some particularly headstrong guys in this new group.

Dollhouse‘s Enver Gjokaj and Fringe‘s Kirk Acevedo were the two actors that I recognized from this new group, but I don’t know how interested I am to be introduced to even more new cast members. I realize that most of these people are going to be zombie food pretty soon, but it’s starting to become commonplace to find a group of survivors in the Walking Dead world. Remember in the first few seasons when we would go for episodes at a time with no new characters at all? The second season basically only had the two dudes in the bar in “Nebraska”, and that was it! Oh, and then they happen to stumble onto yet another group of about a dozen people not far from their camp! How many camps like this are there? My only theory for this sudden increase in the Walking Dead universe’s population is that they’re laying the groundwork for the spinoff series that they’ve announced. They’ve already said this new series will focus on a completely different group of people, so I guess they’re trying to show us that different groups are a common occurrence in this world.

There was some other stuff tonight that just didn’t gel for me. We were supposed to assume that The Governor was the one who killed all of those people from the other camp and took the supplies, right? So how exactly was he able to sneak away and kill all those people like that and get rid of their supplies? Maybe they split up to go hunting, but you’d think that Mitch and Pete would hear all of his gunshots and come running. Plus it looked like they were sticking together the whole time anyway, so that didn’t exactly ring true.

Also, the whole concept of The Governor packing up all of their things and trying to drive away in the middle of the night was just plain weird. So he was able to get all of those people out, along with a bunch of supplies, and then get them back without anyone noticing? Didn’t they have any lookouts posted or anything?

The oversight that was most frustrating to me tonight was Mitch’s reaction to Pete being killed. This guy just found out that his brother has been murdered in cold blood by this psychopath, but he seemed to fall in line pretty darn quickly. I realize that he had a gun on him, and that he wasn’t exactly pleased when The Governor told him what happened to Pete, but the very next scene showed him carrying on a regular conversation with the man like nothing had even happened. It’s possible that Mitch is still holding a grudge against The Governor, and is simply biding his time for the moment to strike back, but it sure didn’t look like it. If I were him I would be asking the simple question: Why did you have to kill him? It was clear that he wasn’t overly confident in being given the leadership role, so maybe if you just told him that you’d like to take that responsibility instead, he would be more than happy to give it up. If he bothers you down the line, or if he refuses to obey an order, maybe then you could kill him.

So my verdict on the episode ends up being a good news/bad news situation. The good news is that this was a much more satisfying and exciting episode than last weeks. If we were going to have an episode to catch us up on what happened to The Governor after Woodbury, I would have much rather had this episode. Even after Woodbury is burned to the ground, with all of its inhabitants dead, he still continues to be the same type of monster. He’s doing anything he can to be in control, killing people who get in his way, and he’s even upgraded from a zombie aquarium to a full sized zombie tank!

Then there’s the bad news. This episode, in my mind, completely invalidates last week’s episode. Last week it looked like he was trying to redeem himself from the terrible things he’s done. He was trying to make things right, and he was being given a second chance at having a family that he could protect. Fast forward to this week, though, and he’s back to being a megalomaniacal psychopath. I guess we’re now able to fully root against him as the villain of the series, with the big showdown between Rick’s group and his group next week, but I just wonder why we had to have last week’s episode at all.

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– I don’t know why this bugged me so much, but right after The Governor dumped Pete in the pond the camera pulled back for a wide shot, and the water was totally still. There would have obviously been some ripples there if he had just splashed a body seconds earlier.

– I was glad that we had some dialogue explaining what happened to Shumpert. I expect the conspiracy theorists will have a field day with the whole “Black guys don’t survive on Walking Dead” thing.

– Are we supposed to read into a lesbian relationship between Tara and Alisha? They were holding each other in the car, and I think all of that talk about guns and being in the Army was supposed to be the writers attempt at very on-the-nose “masculine” talk to show that they were lesbians. Or maybe I’m just overthinking it.