Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 210: 18 Miles Out


Rick (to Shane): "It's time for you to come back."
Synopsis:  Rick and Shane take Randall out to leave him to his fate, only to nearly get killed when their conflict erupts in violence;  Beth hovers between life and death as she considers the future and the grim struggle for survival that lies ahead.

18 Miles Out finally brings the Shane vs. Rick conflict to a head.  A week has passed between the events of the previous episode, and Rick has decided to let Randall, their former assailant, live.  He and Shane drive 18 miles out to an abandoned municipal complex where they plan to leave the young man tied up but within crawling distance of a blade and some basic supplies for survival.

Randall gets dropped off ... until he admits he knows Maggie.
On the way to the drop-off, Rick pulls off and he and Shane have a frank discussion about the latter's questionable decisions and his romantic pursuit of Lori.   I am not going to go into detail regarding the discussion except to comment on the way Shane, when confronted, confesses to it all: shooting Otis at the high school to survive, his love for Lori, and his regret - which seemed very genuine  - that he betrayed and hurt his best friend.   Rick forgives him and tells his partner that from now on Shane needs to consider Lori, Carl, and his unborn son off limits.   He also tells him that he, Rick is in charge, not Shane, and that the only way they move forward together is if Shane accepts that.  With the matter seemingly settled, the journey continues.   Rick and Shane find the complex they are looking for, kill a couple of walker zombie deputies (who noticeably have NOT been bitten) and prepare to leave Randall behind.

That is, until Randall shouts out that he went to high school with Maggie and knows Hershel Greene, which means he knows where the farm is, and knows how to lead his group back to the farm, which compromises the group's operational security.  Rick and Shane eventually get into a fight regarding whether to kill him or not and end up inadvertently releasing a small group of walkers from a nearby building.  Neither man has a firearm, having lost them in the fisticuffs, and thus have to run for their lives.  Shane ends up trapped in a bus, and Rick dispatches three zombies after finding his Colt.  Randall gets lose and joins in on the zombie-killing carnage.

Preparedness Observation - Assuming

We're all wondering what the CDC guy told Rick back in Season One?  I think that he told him the virus has mutated and everyone has it.  No matter how you die, you still reanimate.  My proof lies in the foreshadowing with the two deputies with no bite marks, and the fact that back in Episode 9, when Rick shot the two guys in the bar, he made sure to put a bullet in each of their heads.

Richard Marcinko, founder of Seal Team Six, wrote a book on leadership several years ago where he talked about the sin of assumption.  There are various religious connotations to that phrase, but Marcinko was talking about strategic planning and operational procedures.  Marcinko stated that assuming things are always going to be the same way just because they always have been the same way is a recipe for failure.  We must adapt to changing conditions or perish.   I have a feeling that Rick Grimes is keeping that little secret because he knows how devastating to his group's morale it will be.

As preppers we have to understand that things might change, and change drastically, when a crisis occurs.

Meanwhile, Back at the Farm ....

Beth is talking and pretty much tells Maggie she wants to kill herself.  Andrea says they should let her make the choice, but Maggie and Lori will hear none of it.   Andrea and Lori also have a conversation about some of Lori's choices and how everyone she loves most is still here but everyone else has had to bury their dead.   It's a standout performance from the actors that makes you realize while people still have confidence in Rick, Lori isn't exactly a favorite among the group.  Ultimately Beth chooses survival, but only after trying to cut her wrists with glass.

Shane Gets A Dose of his Own Medicine

Shane pushes the door shut while awaiting rescue.
Back at the drop point, Rick is tempted to leave Shane to his fate.   For a moment it looks as if it he is going to pile Randall back in the car and take off.   Then he sees the bodies of the two deputies and changes his mind.  With Randall driving, Rick shoots several walkers at the bus and Shane jumps out of the back door and into the open window of the Hyundai.  Once safe, they toss Randall back into the hatchback and drive back to the farm.  Rick admits they will probably have to kill the boy, but he just can't do it without having thought it through some more.   Shane still thinks its foolish to keep him around, but bows to Ricks judgment.  After all, the guy just saved his life.

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 210:
  • Operational security and keeping your bugout location hidden may force you to make some tough choices - like whether a skinny kid lives or dies.
  • Leadership has to be well-defined in group survival, and everyone has to accept it.
  • Never commit the sin of assumption.
  • Be careful when you write someone off; someone may do the same to you.
  • Be ready for all seasons.   During the episode Rick commented that the group had to get ready for winter, and before the zombies showed up they scavenged 20 gallons of fuel and the weapons of the dead officers at the county compound.  They need to get serious about raiding pharmacies and grocery stores to get supplies into a safe, warm location before winter's cold causes canned food to freeze and burst.  They need warm clothes, shoes, and MORE ammunition.  Point of note:  there was a fire truck at the compound.  I hope they thought to look for fire extinguishers, fire axes, and a neat little entry tool called the Halligan bar.  Not only is it good for getting into buildings, it could be a heck of a melee weapon.   See Adrian's Undead Diary, a zombie fiction online journal, for some examples.
A final note:  Shane said that when the zombie outbreak started, it was just a couple of weird stories on the news, and within two weeks the hospital was being overrun as depicted in the sixth episode of the first season.  You'd like to think that maybe things would have held together a bit longer than that.  It also means that there should be a lot of supplies laying around as most people were probably overrun fairly quickly. 


    1. Don't leave your weakest member of the party alone with your second weakest member of the party.

      Thank you for calling Humble County 911 Suicide assistance, Andrea Kevorkian speaking, can you hold please?

    2. Re: Amy cutting her wrists, I don't think that she chose life as much as she didn't know how to kill herself. A lot of people who try that method do it wrong. I would imagine that the only feeling worse than wanting to kill yourself would be trying to and failing. I suspect that she hasn't hit rock bottom (yet).

    3. Thank you for your insights.
      I've been trying to find someone's theory online about all the clues on the viral contagiousness that have been spread out throughout the WD series. Your logic on the virus possibly existing within some if not all of the living (what CDC Scientist whispered to Rick) makes sense so far. However, more questions pop up, like; did the two guards comit suicide w/ poison? Is that why Rick decided to execute Randyll by a shot to the head vs. hanging him? Although he did say he wasn't sure if that method would be as humane.
      Maybe irrelevant, but if the living are carrying the virus in a subdued form held in check by their normal immune systems, could it become stronger when someone gets really sick or injured? That could possibly explain how some are not carrying it such as Carl and Rattle since they were both injured and recovered.
      JPM_ St. Louis, MO.

    4. Auto-fill was on. I meant to say 'Randyl' not 'Rattle' being injured and recovering.

    5. My thought is that possibly the virus mutated from contact to airborne transmission, but in the process became latent, lying dormant in the body until death.