Hershel (to Shane): "Do us all a favor and shut up."
Synopsis: Rick, Hershel and Glenn have to fight their way out of town after confronting friends of the men Rick killed. Lori gets herself out of a jam. The group is split over a new arrival.
There are so many times I wanted to cheer during this episode; then there were other times I was unnerved at the Machiavellian manipulations on display. Triggerfinger is at times full of sound and fury, but the quiet beats of the story when guns aren't blazing make for some compelling television. How much preparedness information will we be able to glean from the screen? Let's take a stab at it.
|Hi, I'm Glenn, but my friends call me The Load.|
Hershel, in the meantime, has made his peace with his earlier reluctance to kill even walkers and grabs a weapon to defend himself. He doesn't always agree with Rick (witness the look he gave Rick when the deputy tried to deescalate the standoff outside the bar) but he knows what needs to be done.
This gets back to the survival mindset. In a survival situation, you have to consider paths of action that you might not take in normal times, and in Hershel's case it appears he has followed and old saying from the foothills of Appalachia where I grew up: you might as well get to doing it, because you've got it to do. My grandmother told me that right after my grandfather died. Family members were going to take turns staying with her and she turned them down. She was a strong woman.
In a survival situation, there can be no doubt. You have to be able to count on the other members of your party to follow through. Anything else could spell doom for the entire group. Weapons training is not the same as combat, just as putting down walkers is not the same as shooting real people. In a real-world situation where you have to defend yourself, unless you are trained and experienced in such situations, you are going to freeze, if only just a little bit, and do that "not me, not now, I don't want to do this" debate in your head. Shane and Rick need to teach these folks how to cover each other and clear urban terrain.
|You can't go wrong with face.|
Rick wants to try to save the dude on the fence, while Hershel, who has just witnessed walkers take down the other thug he shot, suggests shooting him so he won't have to endure being eaten alive. Rick talks him into attempting an amputation, and the group is assaulted by walkers until finally Rick turns and yanks the leg off the stake in a fit of desperation.
I have some real qualms about Rick wanting to save the guy. I realize that every life is precious now, but this guy was shooting at him a few seconds before. Then again, this was the Rick who went back for Merle Dixon ...
While I'd like to think I would try to save the guy, in my heart of hearts I probably would have shot him in the head and jumped in the truck. Sorry, but this was a three way battle between walkers, thugs and our intrepid band of heroes, and I know who I am rooting for.
|Really? Are you that stupid?|
That being said, she drops the two walkers who attack her pretty quickly, including using the old blade in the eye trick pioneered by Andrea and the good ol' .38 round to the head trick pioneered by ... just about everyone else. It's nice to see that another female besides Andrea can take care of herself. I just wish she'd think a bit more before she did stuff that put her in positions like this. Preparedness isn't just buying guns and food; it's about saying "what if" and avoiding situations that could be life threatening as well.
Lori's disappearance leads Shane on a one-man rescue mission (as only Shane can do) to find her, and he lies to her and tells Lori that Rick and crew are already back at the farm. This leads to a confrontation between the two that reinforces a couple of points for me:
- Way back in the series premiere when Shane asks Rick how he and Lori were doing, it wasn't just idle curiosity. He wanted her back then, even before the dead starting walking around eating people. And all his sexual conquests were ultimately worthless because the one woman he wanted he couldn't have.
- Lori still has unresolved feelings for Shane and she doesn't want to deal with them.
The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred then it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation. ~ Wikipedia
Daryl has done the oh so smart thing and retreated way from the others, moving his tent away from them and withdrawing from even Carol. Sure, he's tough, but he has to sleep sometime. Ask Ed Peletier about that. Actually, you can't, because he was eaten by walkers while sleeping in a bloody tent.
The group's cohesion is further strained over the decision to bring Randall to the farm and treat his leg, then send him on his way. Fans wondered what would happen to the group after the search for Sophia was over, and now we know. Whatever force of hope that bound them together in the hunt for Sophia is long gone. Things are falling apart, and no one appears able to step up to put the pieces back together. In fact, Dale is actively helping things along by his continuous (and cowardly) attack on Shane's support in the camp. The poison pill he fed to Lori in the last episode finally bore fruit at the end of the episode this week, when Lori, in a scene reminiscent of Macbeth, tries to convince Rick he has to get rid of Shane, because Shane will never stop coming after her. It was unnerving to watch her behave in such a ... conniving way. She channels into Rick's protective instincts and what is probably his unspoken yet understandable desire to confront his friend about carrying on with his wife in his absence.
No good is going to come of this.
Preparedness lessons for Episode 209:
- Groups of people have to stick together in a survival situation and be able to count on each other when the chips are down.
- Just owning a gun is not enough. You have to have the will to use it to defend yourself and other, and have training in its tactical application if possible.
- DON'T GO OFF BY YOURSELF. There should be a group of three minimum when outside the fence.
- Normalcy bias can kill.
- Sometimes group cohesion unravels because of the stress of the crisis; sometimes it is by design. You need to think hard about how to prevent it. Either live together or die apart.