In this life now, you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill.
The Governor was the charismatic leader of Woodbury, a seemingly utopian community, barricaded behind walls. He protected the citizens of Woodbury from walkers and provides them with shelter, food, clothing and perhaps most importantly, a semblance of what it was like to live in the world before the dead began walking. However, Woodbury's peaceful facade belied the authoritarian, often brutal methods employed by the Governor behind the scenes.
RISE OF THE GOVERNOR
Prior to the apocalypse, Philip was a family man, having had a wife and daughter named Penny. He was dissatisfied with his plain, mediocre life. He was an office drone, working for a younger boss who frequently hounded him. His wife died in a car accident eighteen months prior to the outbreak, leaving him and his daughter to rely on one another. Philip and nine other survivors holed themselves up in apartment for an unspecified amount of time, before moving out, picking up new group members along the way, and eventually coming upon the abandoned Woodbury. As they secure the town and settled in (whilst their size continued to increase), Philip established a leadership role and is branded the nickname
Penny was infected and reanimated, though when exactly this happened remains to be known.
Philip could not come to terms with her death and kept her zombified body locked in his closet.
Walk With Me
"Welcome to Woodbury."
The Governor took in Andrea and Michonne after Merle discovered them at a helicopter crash site in the forest. He quickly wooed Andrea to his side and they become lovers. But his charms failed to work on Michonne, and he sent Merle to kill her when she left Woodbury.
Unbeknownst to most Woodbury residents, the Governor oversaw a research lab to test whether walkers retained any trace of the humans they once were. His research was motivated by his undead daughter Penny, who he kept locked in a secret chamber in his apartment, in hopes that she could be cured.
The Governor collected walkers for yet another reason: He used them against humans in battle. He also held gladiator fights in the Woodbury arena, using chained walkers to antagonize the human fighters. When Andrea attended a gladiator fight, she called the practice "barbaric," but the Governor maintained it helps "shine a light on the monster under the bed."
Made To Suffer
When Merle captured Glenn and Maggie, the Governor brutally interrogated them and forces Maggie to give up her group's location. Rick's group attacked Woodbury and rescued Glenn and Maggie. During the rescue, Michonne stabbed the Governor through the eye and also kills Penny. Enraged, and stricken with grief, the Governor declared Woodbury at war with the prison and recruits Woodbury residents to his army.
As time went on, the Governor grew increasingly unhinged and consumed with bloodlust. At Andrea's insistence, he met with Rick under the pretense of forging a truce. Instead, he threatened to obliterate the prison unless Rick handed over Michonne. He gave Rick two days to decide, although he secretly planned to kill Rick's group either way.
When the Governor learned that Andrea escaped Woodbury to warn Rick of his double-cross, he chased her down and tied her up in a makeshift torture chamber. He stabbed his assistant Milton — who helped Andrea escape — and locked him in the chamber with Andrea so that he'd devour her once he turned into a walker.
While Milton bled out, the Governor led his army in an attack against the prison, but Rick's group managed to drive them away. On the retreat back to Woodbury, the Governor flew into a rage, screaming at his soldiers for their cowardice and eventually slaughtering them in cold blood.
"I told you to kill her but you didn't. And now you gonna turn and you gonna tear away the flesh of her bones. In this life now you kill or you die. Or you die and you kill."
Having lost his army, the Governor drove off with Martinez and Shumpert — his only remaining acolytes.
Feeling his sanity slipping, and having been abandoned by Martinez and Shumpert, the Governor spent several months wandering, alone. Detached and no longer caring about his own fate, the sight of a girl in an apartment window - eerily reminiscent of his late daughter - brought the man back from the brink. Adopting the name "Brian Heriot" and literally burning the remaining vestiges of his past, "Brian" threw himself into protecting his newly adopted family - the Chambler sisters, Lilly and Tara, and Lilly's daughter Meghan.
Too Far Gone
"I’m running things now and I will do everything it takes to protect this camp. If you join me, I promise you you’ll never have to worry about whether you’re doing the right thing or the wrong thing because we will do the only thing."
Out on the road once again, The Governor genuinely fought himself in a "Jekyll-and-Hyde" manner, desiring to be a family man but aware of the darkness inside that constantly threatened to consume him. The knowledge that the prison still remained, and his growing uncertainty at his ability to protect the Chamblers, specifically Meghan, ate away at him, and he soon fell back to his murderous and manipulative ways. The man's internal battle ultimately proved to be fruitless, beginning with a string of murders and ending with his own brutal death after he led a bloody assault against "team prison".
Philip Blake dies an un-remorseful mass murderer with nothing left to lose, and is put down by one of the very people he swore to protect.
"We all know that power can have a corrupting influence on people. There’s a sense during Season 3 the Governor could have slipped to the side of the angels if he wanted to. He could be a good force for change. Things happened and he listened to the darker side of himself, certainly when his daughter is taken away from him so brutally. And his daughter was his humanity. She embodied his humanity. She was his gateway to the past. She was filled with happy memories. She was the best of him. Once she’s taken away form him in a cruel and brutal way in front of his eyes, that’s what tips him into a darker brutal person, out for seeking revenge. I think it’s a very wonderful, human person, a person touched by great humanity, who wouldn’t feel outrage and revenge and sense of darkness if that had happened to them. It takes a special person to have their child taken from them like that, and the Governor doesn’t have this specialness about him. It psychotically tips him somewhere else. It really does rewire him. If you put him on a psychiatrist’s couch, he becomes a vengeful person. It’s a brutal world and he’s brutalizing the people around him. I think you see the difference between him and Rick in Season 2. Rick spent most of Season 2 debating whether he should kill someone. You get to the open of Season 3, he gets into that prison and he kills someone right off the bat. He too has been brutalized by this world. That’s where I see the Governor. He’s a victim of his time, rather than inherently a bad person". - David Morrissey ("The Governor")
Restitution for your own lack of insight. For failing to see the devil beside you.