"Live Bait" is the sixth episode of the fourth season of AMC's The Walking Dead. It is the forty-first episode of the series overall. It premiered on November 17, 2013. It was written by Nichole Beattie and directed by Michael Uppendahl.
A familiar face returns as each member of the group struggles to find his or her humanity in a world of constant threats.
In a flashback, The Governor flees after his massacre of the Woodbury Army, alongside his two most trusted henchmen: Martinez and Shumpert. They later set up camp at the Military Outpost where they ambushed the National Guardsmen months earlier. The Governor is sitting in front of a campfire when a female walker approaches him. She falls into the fire and proceeds to crawl towards him, but he does not react. Martinez then shoots her in the head. He notes that Philip doesn't even react to the walker approaching him or the subsequent gunshot. The following morning, The Governor awakens to find himself alone, left to fend for himself.
He drives back to Woodbury, smashing through the gates with a military truck, and burns down the entire town.
The Governor spends several months on the road. He has grown a thick beard and appears haggard and unkempt. As he passes a barn, he sees a series of messages painted all over it. Many are intended for someone named "Brian Heriot", pleading for him to come home.
The Governor continues onward, but exhaustion soon takes over. He begins to stagger, then collapses on the street. As the Governor lifts his head, he notices a little girl in the window of an apartment building. He pulls himself back to his feet and investigates.
Once inside, the Governor learns that a family (the Chamblers) has taken up residence in the apartments. There are two sisters, Lilly and Tara, as well as Lilly's daughter, Meghan, and their ailing father, David. They are hostile at first and hold the Governor at gunpoint. Rather than fighting, he quietly surrenders, holstering his gun and dropping it on the floor. This convinces the sisters that he means no harm, and they kindly lead him to one of the adjacent dwellings.
Once they arrive, everyone sits down and the sisters start asking questions. The Governor explains how he survived over the last several months, but Lilly and Tara have more immediate concerns. They ask him how long he plans on staying, and he says, "Just for the night." As a precaution, Tara states that she used to be an officer with the Atlanta Police Department. She warns the Governor that if he does anything to jeopardize her family's safety, she will shoot him dead. The Governor confirms that he understands, which seems to put them at ease.
Despite their brash introduction, Tara's trust in the Governor seems to grow. This leads to an instance of poor judgment, in which she offers to return his gun. Lilly quickly intervenes and manages to prevent the exchange. Her only comment to Tara is, "Not yet."
The sisters pose one more question, in which they ask the Governor for his real name. The Governor identifies himself as Brian Heriot.
At dinner time, Lilly comes to the Governor's room and offers him a plate of food, which he graciously accepts, but dumps out the window. Instead, he begins eating from a can of tuna that he found.
The Governor shows up later to return the plate, and he is invited inside. Philip sits down, and he watches Meghan and David play a makeshift game of backgammon. After the two sisters try to help David get up, Philip carries the elderly man to his room. David asks Philip to do him a favor and get the chess set that Bill Jenkins, one of his war buddies, had in his apartment up on the floor above them. Philip ventures into the apartment, finding a wheelchair and eventually the chess set as well as some handgun ammunition. He then hears a noise from the bathroom and finds an undead, legless Bill lying in the tub. Philip mercifully kills Bill and notices a revolver in his hand, which he takes from him. He returns to the Chamblers' apartment and gives David the game and leaves.
The following morning, Lilly comes by to give Philip his gun back and wakes him. When offered back his gun, Philip tells her to keep it and reveals the revolver that he found. Lilly asks him for one more favor before he leaves. David has lung cancer and his current oxygen tank is nearly empty, so he needs a new one. She tells Philip of a nursing home located nearby and asks him to grab one or two.
When Philip gets inside the nursing home, he finds that the undead patients are invalid, presenting no danger. Eventually, he finds a great bounty: a cart filled with many oxygen tanks. When he begins to leave, he encounters more walkers, but these are the reanimated able-bodied orderlies. After several struggles, he is able to escape the walker-infested nursing home, but with only two tanks.
Lilly thanks him and cleans a minor head wound that Philip received. She lets Meghan stay and watch him while she goes back to their apartment. Meghan asks Philip how he got the eye patch. Philip claims that he was a pirate and they both laugh. He says that he'll tell Meghan the truth, but only if she doesn't tell anyone.
Later, Philip is teaching Meghan how to play chess when Lilly reveals that David has died. Philip tells them to leave, but Lilly wants another minute alone to say goodbye. David reanimates and nearly bites Tara, but Philip is able to save them by bloodily bashing David's head with one of the oxygen tanks.
After David is buried, Philip burns the old photo of his wife and daughter. That night, he goes to say goodbye, but Lilly insists that he stays. Philip says that they can't go with him, but Lilly reveals that she saw the photo of his family. She further admits that they aren't like his old family, but that Philip has become a part of theirs. They leave the building in David's food truck. After camping at a lake, their vehicle breaks down, forcing them to abandon it and continue on foot. Philip and Lilly sleep together, beginning a relationship. Down the road, Tara ends up injuring her leg. Philip goes ahead and, seeing a group of walkers, orders them to drop their bags and run. While the rest flee, Meghan is frozen in place and Philip convinces her to run to him. He then picks her up and leads the others through the woods. As they run across a clearing, Philip and Meghan fall into a dugout pit and find several walkers inside. Meghan cowers in a corner of the pit, while Philip kills the walkers with his bare hands. During this scene, gunfire can be heard in the background, but stops soon after the walkers are dead. Philip hugs Meghan and swears on his life that he will keep her safe from anything that may harm her. "I Cross my heart," he tells her. He then hears a surprised voice coming from outside the pit. He looks up and sees a bewildered Martinez standing above him. Philip repeats "I Cross my heart", as he strokes Meghan's hair while staring up at Martinez.
- Melissa Ponzio as Karen
- Denise Huth as Mrs. Blake (Photograph)
- Kylie Szymanski as Penny Blake (Photograph)
- Unknown as Bill Jenkins
- Unknown as Miss Wilhelm (Photograph)
- Ellie Decker, Christopher Weite, Joel Studer, and Lauren Henneberg as Walkers
- Welles (Zombified, Off-Screen)
- Mike (Zombified, Off-Screen)
- Terry (Zombified, Off-Screen)
- Molly Throre (Confirmed Fate)
- Megan Cook (Confirmed Fate)
- Chad Krear (Confirmed Fate)
- Bill Jenkins (Alive, Confirmed Fate; Zombified, Flashback)
- David Chambler (Alive and Zombified, Flashback)
- First appearance of Lilly Chambler. (Flashback)
- First appearance of Tara Chambler. (Flashback)
- First appearance of Meghan Chambler. (Flashback)
- First (and last) appearance of David Chambler. (Flashback)
- First (and last) appearance of Bill Jenkins. (Zombified, Flashback)
- First (and last) appearance of Miss Wilhelm. (Photograph)
- Last appearance of Shumpert. (Flashback)
- Last appearance of Allen. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Paul. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Brady. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Wilson. (Corpse)
- Last appearance of Penny Blake. (Photograph)
- Last appearance of Mrs. Blake. (Photograph)
- Last appearance of Woodbury.
- The title of the episode, "Live Bait", refers to Philip's actions throughout the episode:
- He makes no effort to dodge the walker he passes by in the town and finally decides to lay down in the street to die.
- He goes into the nursing home, which is infested with walkers. Some of these walkers are restrained, either by wheelchairs or strapped to tables, implying that they had been left behind either because they were bitten or as walker bait.
- It may also refer to the words "Live Bait" seen on a road sign when Philip and the Chamblers are running from a group of walkers.
- The original title for this episode was "Rise".
- David Morrissey is reinstated in the opening sequence for the first time in Season 4 since being removed from the last five episodes.
- This is the first episode where only one series regular appears.
- This is the first episode mainly focused on an antagonist.
- This also the first episode of the show to not feature any member of the Atlanta Camp.
- Due to being series regulars, this is the first time in which Chad Coleman (Tyreese) and Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (Bob) are credited in an episode in which they do not appear.
- There are a number of parallels between The Governor's journey in this episode and Rick's journey in "Days Gone Bye".
- The episode begins with a scene showing the last moments of the men's lives before starting over. In Rick's case, this was the shootout before he went into a coma. In Philip's, the night following the fall of Woodbury.
- Following these scenes, both wake up alone to find that two people have abandoned them and must journey into the world.
- Both men happen upon fellow survivors at the moment of exhaustion.
- The first human contact for each protagonist after they set out on their journeys is a family holed up trying to survive the disaster. For Rick, this is Morgan and Duane. For Philip, this is Lilly and her family.
- With both families, the respective protagonist bonded with a child of the family.
- For both protagonists, helping the family kill a now-undead relative resulted in character development. In Rick's case, helping Morgan find the apparent courage to shoot his wife gave him the strength to go out and face death himself. In Philip's case, having to kill David, and the resulting fear Meghan had of him, caused him to burn his family photo and commit to the future.
- Both Rick and Philip encounter a group containing someone from their past following a skirmish with the walkers and both reunions are complicated by events having occurred between their last meeting and now. In Rick's case, this complication was Lori's affair with Shane. In Philip's, it appears to be that Martinez has taken on a leadership role and no longer needs him. Both later kill the person due to leadership problems.
- The song included in the episode is "The Last Pale Light in The West" by Ben Nichols.
- This is the first episode to be a complete flashback from current time similar to Issue 43, nicknamed the "flashback issue".
- In an interview with David Morrissey, it was explained that the burning of the only photo that Philip has of his family means two things:
- He folds the corner of the photograph and blocks himself out of it. And that is blotting himself from his past and seeing only the best of it, which was his wife and his child.
- When he burns the photograph, it is a commitment to his future, to Lilly and Meghan. In order for him to look forward, he cannot have any connection to his life as The Governor. He cannot have anything from his past. He must commit fully to this new life.
- In this episode, most of the material is adapted from the novels:
- Philip killing the zombified David Chambler is adapted from Rise of the Governor.
- David, Tara, and Lilly (named April in the novel) are characters from Rise of the Governor, but they have the last name "Chalmers".
- Philip choosing the name Brian mirrors the end of the novel where Brian takes Philip's name. The Governor in the novel is named Brian Blake and is Philip's older brother.