So the big bad from season three returns and we are given an episode that revolves around the murderous madman. The show has taken a risk in giving the audience an episode that has nothing to do with Rick and the prison. But is it a welcome break or a disaster?
The episode is somewhat a mixture of both. It is nice to change things up a bit and focus on another part of this world, but the actual episode is easily the slowest paced to date and struggles to make the Governor a compelling character. David Morrissey does his best with the material he’s given, but there is only so much an actor can do. For the most part writer Nichole Beattie hammers home the idea of making The Governor into an anti-hero. The idea of humanising the man after the events of season three is ridiculous.
The whole point of the last season was to show a threat that was greater than the zombies and this episode basically attempts to turn that threat into a sympathetic character. After all the horror and death he has caused it is hard to get behind the idea. Yes, The Governor is broken after killing his army and he has given up on life, but his feelings just don’t seem that believable. The only characterisation that works this episode is how The Governor protects a little girl that reminds him of his dead daughter.
It also doesn’t help that every character he meets is nothing more than a plot device that helps the show try and sell you on this new direction for our villain. Essentially this is the same as one of the “Rick goes into the woods with a character to find out about himself” episodes, but it lacks their emotional weight.
“Live Bait”is quite simply a slow episode that meanders in a direction that isn’t compelling. It presents The Governor in a different light, but fails to make it seem genuine. Next episode is another Governor focused one and that isn’t an exciting prospect.