Oh hey, Zombie daughter. Would it be okay if I brush your hair now? Would that be weird? No? Ok, great. How about if I rip some of your scalp up? That's okay, too? Wonderful news. If you read the comics, you knew just how depraved and pretty insane the Governor was going to become, but if you didn't, last night you were treated to a true glimpse into his crazy world. Woodbury has been set up as such a Pleasantville-esque ideal I knew that it was too good to be true, and was expecting some sort of reveal, but I'm not sure I was prepared for what it would be. I can't decide which was more disturbing, the way the Governor interacted with his zombie daughter, or the show that he put on for the entire town. However, both really reinforced the theme that is becoming more and more prevalent this season. Rather than just focusing on survival, The Walking Dead is really showing the evolution of the human race and how people and characters are dealing with a prolonged, incredibly stressful world.
It is interesting, because the Governor is not the first character to keep his zombie family members close, but he is the one that seems to have the biggest connection with his. Hershel and his family kept their loved ones in the barn, but other than feed them chickens occasionally, they did not interact with them at all. They were more or less "kept alive" but served no other purpose. Michonne kept who we can assume were two people she knew as pets, but had no problem killing them the first moment it was necessary. In an odd and disturbing progression, the Governor not only has kept his zombie daughter alive, but he actually treats her as if she is alive. We saw this last night when he was seen brushing her hair, and then putting her "to bed" by placing some sort of cloth over her head. It showed a very intimate relationship between the two, and actually really humanized a walker. He obviously does not want to let go of his daughter and while initially I would say this puts his sanity in to question, then I began to wonder if it does. Perhaps he is holding on to Penny hoping and waiting for a cure, and if put in the same position, I wonder if more people than would like to admit it would do the same thing. The Governor clearly had some sort of mental break, indicated by his notebook, but does that more serve to show that it is the insane and crazy people that have an easier time making it and surviving in this world?
After Lori's death we see Rick go on a gruesome killing rampage and it seems as if her death finally truly made him lose it. While the zombies are becoming more human, Rick is becoming less. Rather than use the energy of his grief to comfort his son (who just had to shoot his mother in the head) he becomes very violent and takes all of his aggression out on the zombies. He goes in search of Lori's body, and there was no possibility of a satisfying end to that mission, and I’m not sure repeatedly stabbing the body of a fat zombie helped anything. He also completely ignored the new baby that was just born. I know that it might not even be his, and now is the person that in many ways killed Lori, but if he were to find any relief from her death, it would have to be in the baby's life. However, Rick has become so engrained in the world of survival and zombie killing, that he cannot think beyond much else, or even think at all. This also makes me wonder who the hell is on the other line of that phone? Well, actually it makes me wonder if it is even a real phone or real phone ring?
Back at Woodbury, Michonne is on the same side as Rick as she goes in to the yard and goes on her own zombie killing spree. It is not that that killing zombies is an uncommon occurrence on this show, but it is interesting in that characters are now actually seeking the zombies out. In fact, I think this episode might be the first time that we have seen a character do this, and it wasn't just one, but rather two. This really indicates that there is a shift happening in the overall mental state of the humans as the pressures of survival in this harsh world are starting to affect their mental state. It also seems that the people who have formed a lack of empathy and morals are the ones that are surviving and I wonder where this will soon leave the rest of the characters.
I can't conclude this without discussing the zombie gladiator battles, but I'm not sure what to say, other than man that is fucked up. I know that the Governor thinks it will make people less afraid of the zombies, but what a horrifying way to make that happen. I also imagine if one of them were to break away or accidentally nab one of the people it would have the exact opposite effect and make the population more scared. Of course the Governor doesn't consider that, because he is well, crazy, but if I were Andrea, I would be wondering if the ice cold drink were worth it.
I must also note, that I am very interested in how the whole Carol “death” is going to play out. I still maintain that since we did not see her death, there is no way that her storyline is over. I am curious if she is going to show up as a zombie, which would be an interesting parallel to her daughter Sophia's story. The group spent a massive amount of time searching for Sophia only to find her as a zombie in the barn. I wonder what effect it might have on people if Carol shows up as a zombie, and they realize they were never looking for her and really just assumed she was dead based on finding a scarf. I am also throwing this out there, because I think it must be mentioned. Does anyone else think it is strange that we never actually saw Lori after Carl shot her? Do we know she is dead for sure? Could she and Carol be off somewhere together and is this why Hershel taught Carol to give medical care? I don’t know if I believe this theory, but it is interesting to think about.
Overall, while this episode could have seemed like not a lot happened, it was a very important in establishing themes and the mental state of many of the characters. The progression of humankind in a post-zombieapocalyptic world is really being demonstrated, and it is not pretty. I never would have thought so, but the more they humanize the walkers, the more it is making me question and wonder what I might do in that situation. Would I keep a zombie loved one alive? I don’t know, but what I know is The Walking Dead has actually made me contemplate my would-be actions in the zombie apocalypse, and I would like to thank everyone involved for that.