Wednesday, November 20, 2013

(TV) The Walking Dead: Rehabilitating the governor is a bad idea

It's not like season 4 so far has been boring but seeing the governor appear at the end of probably the best episode of the season in "internment" is the best thing to happen so far this season. The Governor is one of the few true TV villains left on modern television and with a plethora of reprehensible acts under his belt (murdering his group in cold blood the shocking of the bunch) , he stands as probably the most evil character currently on television.

But in this week's episode we follow his story from when we left him and we see a worn, dejected and depressed figure wandering through the streets full bearded clearly affected by murdering his own people and what he had become as a leader. While in full 'woe is me' mode, he spots a little girl looking outside a window. He follows his vision and finds himself a family and from there, the episode operates as a vehicle for the writers of the show to humanize a mass murderer.

There have been a number of instances of shows attempting to redeem their villains taking them one peg down from supervillain to brooding anti hero but problem is TV has become saturated by this character archetype as just about every major character meets a challenge with a look of dread with a hint of constipation. Its gotten so bad that we are starting miss the  old school bad guys with a scar, eye-patch, or a hook for a hand and just generally wafted of ill intent the moment they hobbled onscreen.

Humanizing such a monster usually makes for good drama as we get to see our villain as more than a one note baddie but in the case of the walking dead, the rehabilitation of the Governor might just kill the show as a spectacle.This is because the main antagonist in the walking dead (the Walkers) are a manageable threat. The walkers are now slower and rotten inside out and are now pretty much background player in the post-apocalypse landscape.

Now that they are a threat that even tweeners can deal with, the show is now missing an antagonist who poses a serious threat. Due to this fact, something bad has to happen to his "new family" which quite frankly looks like a likely scenario as as harsh as it sounds, his new family are "dead weight" in a world where weakness can get you killed.

 In sum, rehabilitating the governor would make for good television but may kill a show that's low on real antagonists and threats. So in the knowledge of this fact, the writers of TWD must bring back the governor and put "Brian" back in the box where he belongs.

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