SPOILER ALERT: Read only if you've already watched episode 4x07 titled 'Dead Weight' from this season of 'The Walking Dead.'
We're one episode away from The Walking Dead's midseason finale, and finally the storylines involving the Governor on one hand, and Rick and his group on the other, are converging. We just found out a little about the Governor's recent actions, and the inevitable face-off seems just around the corner.
Last we saw of the apparently 'reformed' Governor (portrayed on the show by ), he had gone back to his old ways of murdering and scheming. To provide a little bit more perspective on the Governor's recent backstory, TWD exec producer and showrunner sat down with THR to discuss Morrissey's character. Here are some of the highlights from the interview:
The new Governor doesn't last too long. What changed from last week?
The Governor was really trying not to engage with Lily,Tara and Megan at all in episode six. He knew that if he got close to them, he'd probably fall in love with them. If he fell in love with them, he'd have to protect them. And if he had to protect them, he'd probably have to go to places that he didn't want to have to go anymore. It's all part of that equation. The thing that changed in him was the very thing he was trying to keep away from: love. He knew what that could mean, and it did change him.
So he's a killer for love? Was that always his motive during his Woodbury days?
The guy he was initially with his family is not necessarily the guy he wound up to be at Woodbury. Things got very mixed up for him. It started with a very benevolent agenda, but the death of Penny, which predated Woodbury, haunted him a great deal. He used to keep her and the love he had for his daughter was intense and very real. I believe that is one of the elements that brought out badness in him, as well as desperately trying to keep the purity of Woodbury safe. For every harsh thing he did, the universe gave him very positive reinforcement. Woodbury just got more and more built up and became more and more beloved. And he became more and more successful. When we meet him in episode six, he's starting at square one again.
We hear the Governor explain that he's not interested in protecting the people who always try to do the right thing — even if it's at the expense of their own group. We've now seen him try to start over and learn that it doesn't work. Will he be any different now when he sees that Rick is trying to do the same thing and protect his son and their group?
That's a damn good question. It isn't for ego that the Governor is doing this; he's doing this for his people — Megan, Tara, Alicia and the rest of the group. He wants them to be safe and to live the rest of their lives. He'd be happy if he didn't have to do horrible things along the way — he's just ready to do them.
The Governor has found the prison — as well as Michonne and Rick. Is his interest in the prison more about finding a new home for his family and camp or exacting revenge on Michonne and Rick? Or both?
I wouldn't want to get into that story because I think that's a super interesting question that the story answers, because that really is the question: Is he the same guy? Upon seeing them, does this restart his warmth for revenge? That is a very different thing from what he's been doing. That's a question the story answers. One of the most pronounced moments in our story is the big moment when he strikes Martinez (Jose Pablo Cantillo) — right after Martinez says he couldn't have another wife and child because he isn't sure he could keep them safe. That represses him on that point, and Martinez doesn't really provide him much of an answer. The Governor is surprised and he kills Martinez. It seems like that very much trips the alarm for him.
It feels like season four — and most of season three — has been a lead-up to Rick and the Governor's battle. What will their next encounter look like?
The first five [season-four episodes] were in no way a lead up to [a match-up between] Rick and the Governor. We mentioned the Governor a bit but not much. He appears at the end of five but to finish the story we wanted to tell. This is a different story. Without even getting into the Governor and what he's doing in the finale, this isn't about a couple of guys lining up head-to-head. There's a Rick story in the first five threaded throughout, and then there are a lot of character stories within that. And [episodes] six and seven are very much a story about the Governor, which is like the flip side of episode five, where at the end of that episode we saw the Governor, at the end of seven, the Governor sees the prison.
Is the Governor's takeover of Martinez's community all part of a larger plan to claim the prison?
No, the Governor absolutely didn't expect this to happen. This is something that he was trying to resist. It was a part of Lily, Tara and Megan's life. He was absolutely trying to avoid becoming a leader in Martinez's group. As he was killing Martinez -- and it's a very conflicted moment — he said, "I don't want it. I don't want this." It was such a point of anger for him. It was everything he didn't want, but he didn't want love and attachments, which is a seemingly a new wife and little girl and having a family again. With the good things he didn't want, he's also getting the terrible things that he didn't want, too.
How would you describe the midseason finale?
I believe that it fulfills the story of the first seven episodes. It is very much an ending of sorts for a lot of these characters' stories. I can't wait for people to see it.
How long can Rick's group stay at the prison? We've seen the weak fences and we know the Governor is eyeing it potentially for his group. Plus Rick's people are not at their strongest right now.
That's a great point. They're not exactly at full strength right now. A lot of people just got through a horrible illness; they lost a lot of people — including Carol (Melissa McBride) — and on top of that, Carol being sent away is a potentially explosive situation unto itself. A lot of things are coming to a head all at the same time. It really unfolds at a breakneck pace — a lot of big things happen. It's a big episode. It's incredibly dramatic.
You can read the rest of the interview here.
What do you think? What will happen when the big confrontation between Rick and the Governor finally occurs? Let us know, as is traditional, in the comments section below.
The Walking Dead airs on AMC Sundays at 9 PM (EST).