The Walking Dead – Rick Grimes vs. The Governor. Who would you follow?

rick vs the governor

*********SPOILER ALERT***********

As we come down to the mid-season break for season 4 of The Walking Dead, the parallels between Rick Grimes and the Governor has surfaced once more. Former and reluctant leader Rick starts off the season with a lighter load of responsibilities. He tends to his little farm of growing vegetables and caring for his pig, Violet. As for the Governor, we see the remaining entourage had abandoned him and to fend for himself. After his piece of paradise, Woodbury, in the middle of hell was destroyed namely by him he wonders for months until he comes across a little girl in a second floor apartment window. We see the Governor as a broken man who wants nothing more than to just be by himself. Yet, life for both had pushed them back into their former roles. Whether they like it or not, they are leaders among men. This begs the question, who would you follow – Rick or the Governor?

After Thanksgiving, I took my wife to a surprise concert to see the Trans Siberian Orchestra. The show was called The Lost Christmas Eve.

The story is about a business man whose wife died during childbirth. When he is told that his new-born son was cut off from oxygen for so long that he has suffered serious irreversible brain damage he abandons him to the state. –

Towards the end of this story, the question was posed, could one good act wipe away all the bad that was done before? Thinking about this question in the context of the Governor, could there be one good act that could wipe away all the bad he has done? Granted, he had his zombie daughter chained up in closet as he could not bring himself to kill her. He had tremendous guilt for not being able to protect his daughter and yet, he has kept a fish tank filled with dead heads that he would watch from time to time… alone and other heinous acts. This ying yang, back and forth, good versus bad, has me confused about the Governor. Yes, he is a bad man but there still good in him; I can feel it. (Easy there, Luke. The Governor is more machine than man.)

In episode 6 from season 4, “Live Bait” we see the Governor in one scene as he sits a campfire. A female zombie is walking towards him. The zombie gets closer and closer to the Governer and even walks through the fire. Yet, he is unfazed, no fear, just a willingness to let go of his life. Right as the zombie is about to attack him, Martinez, one of his followers from Woodbury shoots the zombie down. The Governor still does not react. Martinez shoots a look of disbelief. Then the next day, the Governor is alone. The last of his entourage is gone.

Later in this episode, months have gone by and we see a long bearded Governor. The girl in the window, who mentioned earlier, her family is reluctant to have another in their dwelling. This is fine by him as he wants to stay unconnected to this family but events push him to act to save this family as the father died and then turned. In the same breath, the little girl, Meghan, thought the Governor was her father who disappeared and never returned. This strange turn of events, as the new father to this family, the Governor has a second chance in protecting a little girl that reminds him of his lost daughter. All is good until their truck breaks down and then have to make a run for their lives from a pack of zombies. The Governor, carrying Meghan, falls into a pit with her. He makes quick work of the zombies that also fell in. Just as another zombie was going to Meghan, Martinez appears and gets rid the remaining zombie. Moments later, the Governor learns that Martinez is leading a new group and the Governor has to fall in line. The Governor now calls himself, Brian.

This new group has none of the amenities like Woodbury but they have each other. Brian tried to stay elusive about his past but then he takes out Martinez. The next in line, Pete, steps up to lead the group but the Governor knows he is not the right leader for this group. There was a camp where Pete’s brother Mitch said that they should rob them and take what they need. Peter overruled his brother but later the Governor killed him for it. The old Governor has returned. Does Brian – the Governor have a personality disorder? Aside from the zombie, there were no outside forces that made him to kill other people just to move up ahead as a leader. No, he took it upon himself to be a savior. Even the actor has commented that the Governor is a narcissist.

There was something that caught my eye about the makeup of this bad guy. Marking his return, he placed his gun in his holster in a different fashion. Normally, the gun handle is facing back in the holster. The Governor placed his gun in the opposite direction. When he grabs the gun, he reaches for it with his right hand as the holster is on his left. Why is this important?

I am now training for my first marathon. I have read books, articles and watch videos on the proper form of running. One of the thing you don’t want to do running long distances is to use too much energy in the process. One of those ways to minimize energy is to keep your arms in a 90 lock and move them back and forth in a straight line; you don’t want them to cross the line in the middle of your body. When the Governor reaches for his gun, he is crossing the line. I know this is a stretch but when you think about this, Rick takes his gun out of the holster in a normal fashion and doesn’t cross the line. The more you cross the line, the more energy you lose in the process as a runner and sadly so will the Governor. Once again, it’s hard to sympathize with the Governor when he is choosing to act like his former self. But then again, this world, filled with zombies, are we likely to change who we are because the world has changed?

Let us look at Rick and see if we can answer this question. Since season 1, Rick has been seen as an authority figure. He is of course, a sheriff. He has been trained to protect and serve the public. The conflict arose when Shane, his partner, tries to kill him in season two. Shane, in his defense, took care of Rick’s wife Lori and son when the zombie shit hit the fan. Granted, this issue was not so much about leadership style or a power struggle but rather the shock to Shane was loosing his adoptive family. The two did fight with Rick being the winner. The loss still plagued Rick in season three where he thought he saw Shane again in Woodbury. Still, Rick has that training, that core belief, to remain the same Rick, to be a leader to his group and a father to his son and newborn daughter.

In the episode, “Isolation” the group at the prison had been struck with a flu strain that was hard to contain. Those infected wound up dying by choking on their own blood. Once dead, they would return as a zombie – ready to infect others in the prison. As the outbreak was occurring, the group was split up with the infected one in isolation. There were two people who had the virus but were killed before they died and had their bodies burned. Later in this episode, Rick finds out that it was Carol that committed the murders. Rick wrestled with what to do upon learning this.

Going out on a supply run with Carol, Rick notices how much Carol has changed over the years. While she is believe what she did was for the good of the group and knowing how much Tyreese was truly enraged by the murders, Rick had decided to leave Carol behind. Tyreese would have killed her with his bare hands and Rick as a police officer and a leader could not let that happen. If, however, the Governor was in place, he would have handed off Carol to Tyreese with bowtie as a present. While Rick before the zombies would have arrested Carol without a second thought but this new world of the zombies, survival is paramount but as a group. Basically, Rick spoke for his tribe and voted Carol off the island.

So, the answer is cut are dry as to who I would choose to follow. Yet, for all the faults with the Governor, he will take anything and everything from others to take care of those who follow him. Rick still has morals and decency within him that guides him and that does take a toll on a person’s psyche; that is why Rick did not want to lead at the beginning of season 4. Still, one would think for all the shit and the horror of a world of zombies that we would be unified and be able to push aside petty feelings and thoughts. Then again, this the world of The Walking Dead and zombies are the least of our problems.


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