Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 402: Infected

Spoiler Alert !!!! 

Rick:  I know what to do!

Synopsis:  Patrick, who awoke in the cell block shower as a walker, attacks a man in his cell and starts the chain of violence inside the prison.  Casualties are heavy before order was restored, and the two girls in the last episode who were naming the walkers lose their dad.  Carol agrees to care for them.   Hershel, Doc S and the rest of the group surmise that Patrick died of some sort or respiratory super bug and now everyone has been exposed.  The pigs are getting it, too, so they have to be destroyed.  Karen and another survivor are symptomatic and placed in quarantine.  Meanwhile, Rick resists swinging back into the action, but is forced to lead a reaction force when the walkers nearly overrun the perimeter.  Someone has been feeding rats to the walkers in that area, and Rick uses the live pigs to lure away the herd. He gives Carl his gun and straps his own back to his hip, symbolizing that no matter how hard he tries, he cannot escape the horrors outside. Michonne is injured and is forced to hold Judith while being treated, and becomes emotional while holding her.   Tyreese makes a grisly and shocking discovery.

Oh, and Bob had only one scene this week, which is good because he couldn't get anyone killed.   He also didn't seem to do a lot to help either, thus certifying his status as a load.

Karen burned before she turned.
Tyreese and Karen are getting cozy in the library, and Tyreese tries in vain to a) sing well and b) get shack up for the night.   They part, and Karen narrowly misses being Patrick's first victim in the bathroom.  He is instead lured to the cell block by the sound of snoring, and begins the process of turning a heavy sleeper into a meal by ripping out his throat and nibbling on the rest.  That person then reanimates and the pair move to attack the rest of the group.  By the time it is over, twelve people are dead or dying. 

Hershel, Doc S (the only thing I heard him called with any regularity) and Bob discuss the situation and come to the conclusion that some sort of super flu virus or other contagion has gotten loose in the prison.  Rick shares that one of his pigs died, and he saw a dying boar in the woods.   Hershel remarks that ducks and pigs are "how these things usually get started" thus confirming part of my analysis from the last episode.

As a friend of mine would say:  blog validation, baby!

This is Bob's one and only appearance this week. He was in that cell block, but neither killed walkers, nor carried bodies out.   He is a former Army medic, but he lends no first aid .  He didn't get anyone killed, though (unless he was the one who did the two patients with symptoms at the episode's end) so that is an improvement.

While the council is discussing the issue, they hear Karen coughing in the hallway.   She is quickly isolated, as is David, another survivor, in Cell Block A - Death Row.   Also, one of the victims makes Carol promise to raise his two daughters, Lizzy and Mika,  as her own, just before they put him down.  The older daughter, Lizzy,  wants to do it, but loses her nerve.   The girls run outside while Carol completes the job, and she later confronts Lizzy about it, calling her weak. Lizzy goes off about Nick, her pet walker at the fence being dead.  Mika, tells Carol, "she's messed up, not weak."  Later Carol and Lizzy share another moment at the fence, where Carol forces her to admit it is her dad she is upset about, not the walker Nick.

Daryl and Rick have a conversation while digging graves for the dead survivors, and Daryl urges him to get back into a leadership role, but Rick resists, insisting that the kind of calls you have to make as a leader led him to a dark place, and took his son along for the ride. 

While this is going on, Michonne is getting first aid from Beth due to an injured ankle she suffered trying to come back to the prison to help.   She is forced to hold baby Judith for a moment, and in that moment becomes very emotional.  There is some foreshadowing in her discussion with Beth.  Mika was only half right.  Everyone is messed up, not just her sister.

In the meantime, walkers are assaulting a particular part of the fence.  Daryl, Tyreese, Rick, Glen,

Daryl hopes Rick comes back to lead soon.
Maggie,and Sasha run to kill them, but there are too many.  The outer fence begins to buckle as the herd presses relentlessly forward.  Rick takes a look at the pig pen, and he says he knows what to do.  He and Daryl use a truck to get outside the fence and toss the pigs, which are now a disease risk, to the walkers after first slicing a leg to cripple them.  It's a powerful scene.   Rick has invested so much time into building something, and now has to destroy what he cared for to save the others.   It's at that moment he apparently realizes the can no longer hide from the world outside the fences.  It's superbly acted by Andrew Lincoln.

Then there is Carl and Carol.  Carl knows she has been teaching kids how to defend each other from walkers, and she doesn't want Carl to tell his dad.   She confronts him as he is making crosses for the dead, and Carl, to his credit, throws it back in her face.   He tells Rick after the walker threat is abated.   It was heartening to see that Rick and Carl's relationship has been repaired to the point that they can have this conversation, and that Carl trusts his dad.  Rick decides not to stop her, and after burning the pig pen, hands Carl his gun and straps his to his hip.  It's another emotional scene as Carl, realizing his dad needs some time alone, leaves him to grieve the destruction of part of his work at the farm.

The final scene brings to us another hammer blow, as Tyreese heads to the makeshift isolation ward with some flowers for Karen and finds nothing but blood in the cells.   He follows bloody drag trails to an outer courtyard to find Karen and David, the other symptomatic survivor, have been murdered, and the bodies burned with gasoline.  There is now a murderer in their midst.

Preparedness Discussion

The lack of an armed fire watch leads to the needless deaths of twelve people.   It was a stupid, stupid way for people to die.  All it would take is a couple of people each night in the cell blocks with guns to have stopped this. More people are probably going to die of the flu, and that will put the rest of them at risk.  

Modern society has insulated us from the reality that in the United States, diseases like cholera, influenza, polio, etc.  took enormous tolls on the population.  The Third World still contains places where infectious diarrhea is a real killer of infants and children.  The Spanish Flu pandemic killed millions between 1918 and 1920.   Anything that cannot be cleaned with bleach should be burned. Sanitation and hygiene in a post-collapse scenario as depicted on The Walking Dead is paramount, and I was hoping this season it would be addressed.  The producers have done so in spades.  As preppers, we sometimes overlook this area.  If the toilets stop working, how do you dispose of waste?  If the water stops running from the tap, how do you collect and purify it, and how much do you need to clean?  What chemicals or other natural products can you use to clean and disinfect contaminated surfaces?  The groups scavenging supplies should look for bleach, buckets and mops that can be used do sanitize Cell Block D and everyone should be taking a bath as water collections allows.   The group has set up water collection from the roof downspouts (a nice touch by the production crew) so some water could be boiled for safety and then used to clean everyone and everything suspected of being exposed or contaminated.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness, after all.

Their outer perimeter security needs some serious work.   Apparently Glen and Maggie should not be on watch together as they are too busy canoodling to notice a person walk to the outer fence with a flashlight and feed rats to the walkers to lure them to the prison. For that matter, the fences need to be fortified with more bracing and perhaps a second fence of logs stacked horizontally between two upright logs buried vertically in the earth as another barrier that would help brace the chain link.   Also, more breastworks like the ones near the gates should be erected in front of the weakened section to keep walkers away from it.   Producer Greg Nicotero has said publicly that the initial design for the season called for a moat, but that the crew found quicksand on the site and had to abandon it.

The lack of security at the quarantine ward was more understandable.  The two patients were locked in cells.  They were not a danger, but apparently someone decided to take no chances.   No one heard gunshots, so either they were killed by blunt weapons or with suppressed firearms.  Hmmmmmm.  Who owns suppressed weapons?

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 401:

  • Simple mistakes like not setting a watch can get you killed.
  • Hygiene is important.   Learn how to disinfect and clean contaminated surfaces and how to minimize your exposure to waterborne illnesses like cholera.
  • Fortify your perimeter.  Make sure all locks on doors or windows are in good repair and working order.  Consider a safe room or area to flee to in case of a break in, and have a means to defend yourself while waiting on police officers to arrive in case of a break-in.  Consider landscape changes like addition fencing or planting bushes under windows vulnerable to a break-in.
  • Know who you are surviving with and what motivates them.   You don't want to end up like Karen and David.
Next week:  Tyreese is out for blood.   Just like the walkers.

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