'The Walking Dead' Season 4: When will the Governor return?

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Four episodes of "The Walking Dead" have aired, and there has been no sign of the Governor thus far. Though characters like Michonne have tried to track him after his disappearance at the end of Season 3, his trail has gone cold and it seems like he might be gone for good.

Of course, viewers know that he isn't. David Morrissey is a full time series regular in Season 4, even though his character hasn't reared his one-eyed head yet. So when exactly will he return to the show?

"Just when you think things are getting to a breaking point, that's when the Governor layer will be thrown in to make things that much more deadly and dangerous," comics writer Robert Kirkman teases to The Hollywood Reporter. "It's going to be a really big, memorable moment in the show."

It certainly seems like the show's getting to that point. With Carol gone, Daryl & Co. out on the road and half the Prison infected with a deadly virus, it's hard to imagine life getting much worse for these survivors. The real question seems to be not when the Governor will return but whether he will be a villain still when he does.

"What the Governor has done weighs upon him; that is the first time he has done something like that. When the Governor comes back, it's going to be in a very significant way but in a way that we significantly exploit the character and go even deeper into who he is. Because who the hell is he?" Scott Gimple says. "He has his public face, he has his private face. We know a great deal about him but we don't know the truth. When all is said and done, is he the guy who enjoys being a leader and being the salvation to people? Is he this tortured guy who needs to stare at the heads of the men and women he's killed? Which one is he?"

Kirkman adds, "The Governor is going to see quite a leap in who he is and what his motives are. The Governor that we saw at the end of Season 3 was this homicidal maniac that lost control of his town and we haven't seen him for a long time. He's been stewing and we may be seeing a very different Governor when we finally do catch up to him. ... This guy was completely driven by ego and the fact that he lost all this and it drove him to a point where he slaughtered his own people -- this is not a guy who is just going to be able to come back from that."

Like Gale Anne Hurd told Zap2it, the reason viewers had to wait for the Governor's return was so that Season 4 didn't feel like a total retread of what came before. Thus far Gimple has done a great job of making the events of Season 4 feel exciting and fresh, and that's what Kirkman tells THR was the new showrunner's goal.

"We've just devoted an entire season to the conflict of the Governor and Scott Gimple came in and was like, 'You know what? I'm sick of the Governor.' He actually said that. It's not that we don't like that character; it's just that we needed to give that character a break," Kirkman explains.

"The Walking Dead" airs Sundays on AMC at 9 p.m. ET.

Are you ready for the Governor to come back? Are you glad he has thus far been absent from this season?

Photo/Video credit: AMC