The Governor returned to "The Walking Dead" last week, but he didn't really return until this Sunday night's episode, "Dead Weight."
What I mean by that is that the Governor we saw last week was a shell of himself, shuffling around with his big hair and unkempt beard, brushing zombies aside instead of dispatching them.
The Governor we saw this week was the genuine article: salt and pepper stubble, all dressed in black, identifying threats to the survival of himself and those he chooses to protect and eliminating them with extreme prejudice.
Yes, things are starting to get interesting again on "The Walking Dead." An episode like this is REAL nice. A guy could get used to episodes like this! Episodes like this could be JUST what a guy like me is looking for...
In addition to the reemergence of the Governor character, we got to meet a group of new characters in this episode — most notably Mitch and Pete — and were reintroduced to Martinez. And there were a few cool zombie novelties.
I especially liked the crowd of zombies in the mudpit and the Pete zombie perpetually trapped in the Governor's "thinking pond," gazing up at the world.
But this episode really was about leadership.
Right at the beginning, Martinez tells the Governor, "Hey pal, I'm in charge now, and if you don't like it? Don't let the door hit'ya where the good lord split'ya."
At first the Governor is playing cool, like, "Well, maybe it will be a relief to not have to approve vacation requests and expense reports." But then he thinks to himself, "Hey, the view never changes unless you're the top dog."
So when Martinez is drunkenly hitting golf balls and using the Governor as his driving range caddie, the Governor is like, "Who do you think I am, 'The Legend of Bagger Vance?'" and wallops Martinez across the dome with his golf club.
Golf jokes: Hey, the Governor, you forgot to yell "fore!" Hey, the Governor, aren't you supposed to replace your divot? Hey, the Governor, your tee shot didn't go past the women's tees, doesn't that mean you have to finish this hole with your dungarees off? Any other good ones?
The Governor seems unsure of whether he wants to lead again, but once he tosses Martinez into the walker pit, he's in for a penny, in for a pound.
Next, the Governor goes out on a scouting trip with ex-military brothers Mitch and Pete. Mitch is getting kind of sassy with the Governor, calling him "One-Eye Bri" and jostling him with his shoulder, and running his mouth, while Pete — who half-heartedly assumed power in Martinez's absence — seems much more diplomatic.
It was pretty funny how quickly Pete was shouted down by the masses when he stepped up to assume leadership. On Pete's first supply run, all he manages to rustle up is a few dead squirrels and some condensed milk. #FAIL
I guess the Governor likes folks who take initiative, because Pete is the next to go (the Governor stabs him in the back, literally) while Mitch is offered the chance to be the Governor's new right-hand man. Martinez, Merle, Mitch. Hmmm...
Mitch is the proud owner of an army tank, so maybe the Governor was thinking about that when he kept Mitch around.
The episode ends with the Governor driving a beat-up old GMC truck through the woods to the outskirts of the prison yard, where he menacingly eyes up Hershel and Michonne while they share a tender moment.
It's about to go down people.
DID YOU NOTICE
The Governor was calling Meghan "Pumpkin."
There is a decapitated wild boar head in the trailer park camp.
One of the beers that they are drinking is called Penn Pavel, which is a fictional brand that has been used in numerous television shows.
There is a sign that says "Welcome to our Lake House" in the Governor's trailer.
MEET THE DOLGENS
We meet two new characters in this episode, brothers Pete and Mitch Dolgen.
Pete seems a little more straight-laced and used to be stationed at Fort Benning. He is played by 33-year-old Enver Gjokaj, who is best known for his role in the sci-fi show "Dollhouse."
Mitch used to drive an ice cream truck (THAT's not creepy at all...) before becoming a tank operator in the Army.
He is portrayed by 41-year-old Kirk Acevedo, who is known for his roles on "Oz", "Band of Brothers" and "Fringe", and the film "The Thin Red Line."
There was a lot going on with dads in this episode. The Governor reveals that his father used to beat him up, telling a story about getting caught smoking Lucky Strikes with his brother. Meghan says that her dad, old Power Ball ticket guy, was always mean. And Martinez reveals that his father was a priest.
It's an exciting time in the romantic lives of the Chamblers! Last week, Lilly shacked up with the Governor, and this week, little sister Tara found herself a lady friend, Alisha, a no-nonsense Army reservist. They enjoy smoking cigs and playing tag with Meghan. I think they make a cute couple.
Alisha is portrayed by 28-year-old Juliana Harkavy, who was in a 2011 movie called "Dolphin Tale".
FROM THE COMMERCIAL BREAK
Characters Norman Reedus Misses Most:
(Seriously? He didn't mention Merle? That's pretty telling. Jealous of greatness much, Norman Reedus?)
The Governor's golf club
Z-Model 9 Iron
Unique cavity design
Weighted for clean ball flight and anti-slice
The Governor: "You can't think forever. Sooner or later you've got to make a move."
Martinez: "If you do come with us, there are two things you've got to accept: 1. I'm in charge. 2. No dead weight. That goes for everyone. You contribute or you leave."
Mitch: "That guy's got nothing to worry about anymore."
Tara: "An M4 is great for close combat, but as a field weapon with all that dirt and dust? No thanks."
Martinez: "If it was just you in that pit, I wouldn't have brought you into the camp ... You seem different now. Changed. Are you?"
Mitch: "Oooh! We got beer!"
Mitch: "I can never tell if he's winking or blinking."
Mitch: "End of the world don't mean **** when you got a tank."
Martinez: "Some things you just can't come back from, they become a part of who you are. You either live with them or you don't ... maybe we can share the crown."
Winner: The new guy, Mitch.
BEST ZOMBIE KILL
None of them were that crazy this week. We'll go with the Governor bludgeoning a zombie's head in with his flashlight.
Again, none of them really jumped out, but there were a number of unique zombies. There was the trailer park zombie, whose goopy leg skin was peeling off (yuck!); there was poor Pete peering up from his watery grave like in an old Creepshow comic; and there were those awesome hippie zombies in the mudpit. I'll go with the one who had the raw, bloody face and was also all muddy. He just didn't care about his appearance anymore.
Zombies: Five (counting the two decapitated heads in the cabin), for 196 on the season.
Humans: Martinez and Pete, plus four in the rival camp, for 26 on the season. We also learned that Shumpert died, along with a handful of army men, but that all happened off camera.
A look ahead to next week's episode, "Too Far Gone"
The Governor lurks around the prison like a real creeper, then whips his camp up into a fervor to attempt a hostile takeover. There is a big fight. A zombie tries to ford the river like he's on the Oregon Trail or something. The catchline is "Some Will Fall."