Based on the Promo and Sneak Peek videos AMC has released, we will be spending a second week away from the main prison group, and that should be a good thing considering some of the excellent storytelling we had in last week’s episode. An additional warning to my usual spoiler alert: in my research for this article I have come across a version of the Promo not intended for North American audiences, which gives away some major plot-points for tonight’s episode – I will place another warning in the article when I am going to discuss this new, additional Promo video.
Spoiler Alert: This Sneak Peek will be discussing events from recent episodes of The Walking Dead, as well as making predictions on the upcoming episode this weekend. Proceed at your own risk!
To begin, here’s the 35 second Promo AMC released last Sunday:
Opening shot is the Governor looking intense, standing on a small dock in a pond. It looks as though his head is bent down toward his reflection in the water – what does he see? Does he see “Brian”? Or does he see the Governor? Whichever one he sees, he’s going to have to decide which face he’s going to show others.
We cut to introductions. A man carrying a machine gun and wearing a baseball cap asks Martinez if he “know’s this guy?” Martinez then tells the Governor sotto voce that he’s in charge now, and there’ll be no dead weight. Interestingly, as he speaks these last words, we cut to a shot of the three women huddled together. Whether this is indeed how Martinez sees them, it is certainly how the editors of this Promo want us to think he’s feeling. These clips are often shown with scenes out of order and without context, so it may be that it is the Governor whom Martinez is talking about, and not the women at all – after all, he’s already seen exactly how useless the Governor became at the fall of Woodbury, and refused to carry his dead weight once already.
Next we see some of Martinez’s squad talking about a camp with a lot of supplies. he says they “should just go there, and take what we need.” This is voiced over a scene of a fairly busy camp surrounded by barbed wire and full of people walking about. Here’s the thing: I don’t think this is the camp the two men are talking about. Again, I believe the context has been changed, and that the camp they show us a glimpse of is actually Martinez’s – it looks as though the man with the baseball cap is in the shot behind one of the tents. Regardless, they’re planning on taking supplies from someone, and that suggests we’re going to get a fight.
Cut to nighttime, and the Governor and the three Chalmers women are in a vehicle. He tells them to stay where they are, and we see him approaching what appears to be a pit chockablock full of swarming walkers. While the walkers and the pit they’re in are the focus, the intriguing aspect of this scene is why the Governor and the women are in the vehicle in the first place. It sure looks to me like they’re trying to get away from Martinez and co., which suggests that the Governor is intending to embrace his Brian persona. He’s made a promise to protect them, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned about him, good or bad, if he makes a promise, he’ll take even the most desperate measures to keep it. This is why, despite the new leaf he appears to be turning, I’ll never really trust him – when he gets to the prison, how can he possibly let bygones be bygones? He’s promised Michonne a death, and he won’t want to break his word.
Then we’re back in daytime, as the Governor, Martinez, and his group check out what appears to be an abandoned house or cabin. They walk through, flashlights and guns drawn, and one of the men gets attacked from behind. The Governor’s voice overlays the cuts, saying in a low, gravelly voice, “We will do…the only thing, to protect this camp.” Is it Martinez’s camp he’s talking about? And who is he talking to? I suspect that it is likely the conversation between the Governor and Martinez when they get their first opportunity to speak away from the others, where they can momentarily be honest with each other. Martinez is going to naturally feel some concern at the Governor’s reappearance – after all, he’s seen what he is capable of, both good and bad, and he was under the man’s thrall for an extended period at Woodbury. The Governor needs to do two things: establish that he’s the same dangerous, unpredictable, not-to-be-messed-with man he was before his breakdown, thus keeping Martinez off-balance and protecting the Chalmers women; and at the same time, reassure Martinez that he’s not going to try to take power away from him. It’s a fine high-wire act that should be the crux of the episode.
Martinez and the Gov – just like old times?
Last we see a quick montage: Megan running, some bloody zombies with their facial skin hanging in strips (nice makeup work here), a decapitated body strung to a tree with a sign – LIAR – pinned to its chest, Lilly holding a bloodied Megan beside a trailer, and the Governor sighting down his handgun. The nature of the montage doesn’t really give us a lot of information. The zombie scene appears to be at night, whereas the rest are in the day, so there is no chronological order. What we can glean is that the group will be attacked, as I don’t see Megan being bloody otherwise. A daytime attack against a heavily armed group shouldn’t lead to Megan being hurt, so how does the blood get on her? Is it hers, or a zombie’s? The more interesting question, however, is who does the Governor have his gun trained on? My first thought is another person, either Martinez or baseball cap guy. This kind of confrontation would lead naturally to the scene we saw a few seconds earlier with the Governor and the Chalmers family driving away.
However, a bit of research helped me find the following Promo released for the New Zealand market – with Spanish subtitles – and it sheds a little more light in several areas. It has a great Kiwi voice-over, and several scenes we don’t get in the North American Promo. Only watch this if you don’t mind more spoilers:
Spoiler Alert: The following video and the paragraph that follows it discusses a Promo video released for the New Zealand market – watch only if you want to find out some more details about what is going to happen tonight, and don’t mind some more spoilers.
For my analysis of the video, please highlight the black bars below to reveal the text.
There are several changes: we get to see Martinez regaling his soldiers with stories of the Governor, telling them that he had “ice in his veins”; we see a longer shot of the Governor standing in front of the pit full of zombies, staring back at the minivan; Megan at an encampment, pulling aside a curtain to reveal a walker, interrupting the Governor and Lilly inside their camper with her scream (and a good thing, because it looked like they were going to go getting all romantic); Lilly saying, “We need to find a better place,” presumably to the Governor; Tara being comforted by Lilly, blood on her hands; the Governor asking Lilly if she trusts him; and then the scene of him sighting down the gun, only this time interspersed with a view of Carl and Rick farming – it appears that he is pointing the gun at one of them, and Lilly asks, “What are you doing?” The Governor replies, “Surviving.” As he says this, we cut to a view of the Governor hanging clothes to dry on a line strung between a camper, and a tank. This, I think, is a treat for fans of the comic books, who might have been missing the tank the Governor uses there to raid the prison. Will he use it to raid the prison here, as well? Hard to say, as I don’t see that as a priority for the Governor at this point, especially if he’s serious about trying to keep his new family alive. Most importantly, this indicates that by the end of tonight’s episode we’re going to see the two story-lines, the prison survivors and the Governor, collide. I suspect that there won’t be any resolution tonight per se, as it looks as though it brings the Governor’s story up to the same point we’ve already seen the prison at. Instead, it will set us up for what will hopefully be an amazing mid-season finale one week from tonight.
Last but not least, let’s take a look at the full Sneak Peek video:
The Governor is walking with Martinez’s group. Baseball cap man is trying to intimidate him – something far more dangerous than he can be expected to understand, being that it is doubtful that Martinez has told them about the Governor yet, expecting him to be long dead. They’re walking by a still pond. It looks like the one we see the Governor standing by in the Promo video, but that particular scene must come at a different point in the episode. They’re looking for a cabin, one that belonged to a survivalist, and thus may contain a good amount of supplies and ammo. As they’re going through the woods, the Governor pulls his gun, looking cautiously ahead. Baseball Cap says, “Hey. One eye. What ya doing?” Do you get the feeling that Mr. Baseball Cap isn’t going to survive very long tonight? They come across the headless body with the “LIAR” sign shown in the Promo. It appears to be dressed in military camouflage. Baseball Cap looks freaked out, and one of them asks, “The hell is this?” Martinez replies, “Somebody pissed somebody off.”
Once again, we actually seem to get far more information, if somewhat disjointed, from the 35 second Promo than from the minute and a half Sneak Peek. It’s nice to get a full scene, however, and this one does have some subtext we should examine. First, the military origin of the body takes us right back to Episode 303 last season, when the Governor and Martinez (and the rest of his men) ambushed the National Guard unit to steal their weapons and supplies. This is the same mission Martinez and his men are on right now – to go and take a survivalist’s supplies – so the mirroring is intentional. The only difference is that this time, Martinez is nominally in charge; however, it is important to note that it is the Governor who first notices something amiss – he’s got far and away the best situational awareness of all the men on the raid, something Martinez is likely to feel threatened by. In addition, the dead body itself acts as a sort of doppelganger for the Governor himself. Even though we know how much he values his word, he is also a consummate liar – and is even living as “Brian” with the family he is protecting. If this is how liars are dealt with in the zombie apocalypse, how will the Governor end up himself?
Tonight’s episode should be very interesting, especially considering some of the revelations given to us in the New Zealand Promo. I’ve already made some guesses as to how the episode will end based on this extra Promo, so if you want to read it, scroll up and highlight the hidden text. Tune in late tonight or early tomorrow to see if I get any of this right!