Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 405: Internment

Spoiler Alert !!!!  

Daryl (to Hershel): You're one tough sumbitch.

Hershel: Yes I am.

Synopsis: Rick returns with supplies, but people are already dying.    Hershel battles to save those he can with the help of the quickly fading Sasha and Glen, while Rick and Maggie try to shore up the fences.  The situation in the quarantined block turns critical and multiple patients die at once, forcing Hershel to take drastic measures.  By the time it's over, at least eight more people are dead.  Glen is critical and on a vent bag, but the crew from the veterinary school gets back in time with needed medication in time to stabilize him.  During the crisis in the ward, the walkers overwhelm the fences and almost overrun the prison, but Rick and Carl turn the tide by standing against the horde and taking them down with automatic weapons.   Carl and Rick get up the next morning and go back to farming, watched by the Governor from the woods.  

Internment  is an episode about facing a crisis and staying true to one's self.   It's also about standing in the face of adversity and doing whatever you can with what you have to affect the outcome.

Hershel is the constant of hope.
Hershel is getting desperate inside the cell block.  They have lost two people so far, and more patients are sinking fast, including Doc. S, who knows he is terminal and not likely to survive.  He makes IV bags for the other patients with sterile water and sodium, but has another resource for Hershel - shotguns and ammunition to help take care of those who die and turn.   He warns Hershel to make sure everyone's cell doors stay shut so that if someone turns they cannot get out.

Hershel, Glen and Sasha intubate a patient with a manual ventilator bag to keep him breathing until help arrives.  Another patient dies and Hershel must, for the first time, end the walker threat himself, as Sasha is too weak and Glen is bagging the other patient.

Rick returns with supplies and without Carol. He tells Maggie that Carol is gone - banished for the murders she committed.  He tells Hershel as well, but no one else.   He and Maggie start working on shoring up the fences, which are under renewed attack from a herd of walkers.  Maggie wants to help her dad, but he insists he is okay.
Action Hershel has it in the bag.
The crap literally hits the fan in the cell block.  A female dies and comes back as a walker, attacking Hershel.   A man staying with a family member comes out of his cell with a gun to shoot the walker, but ends up shooting another woman in the head when he is attacked by his own now-zombified  family member.  Hershel manages to get away and goes up to the cell where Doc S. hid the guns, only to find Caleb has turned as well.  Hershel stabs him in the eye, gets the shotgun and ammo, and dispatches the walkers.

In the meantime, Glen has collapsed and the patient he was bagging has turned. Lizzie, the little girl sees this and lures the walker from Glen, but trips.  Hershel pulls the walker off of her and throws it onto a cage below the upper walkway, then jumps down with it to get the vent bag to save Glen.   Maggie heard the shots and gets into the cell block just in time to kill the guy with the gun who is now a walker, and save her dad.  They intubate and save Glen.

While this is happening, the fences outside collapse. Rick and Carl escape through a guard tower to the inner perimeter with the zombies on their heels.  They retrieve two M4A1s with red dot scopes and ammunition, and working as a team, dispatch dozens of walkers.   They then move through the mass of downed walkers and make sure each one is dead.  Rick realizes that Carl is no longer a little boy and he can trust him with his life.

Daryl and the run crew arrive with medicines and Bob, in his first useful role which shows maybe he is not a load after all, mixes dosages and injects the patients through their IV lines.  Glen is saved, and the surviving patients live.

The cleanup begins.   The fences are reinforced and Michonne loads the dead zombies on a trailer.  Rick offers to help, but she tells him to go "do his thing."  He heads to the garden.   Daryl asks about Carol, and Hershel tells him she is fine but he needs to talk to Rick.   Carl and Rick head down to the farm in an almost beat by beat repeat of the scene from Episode 401, except this time both have their guns, and Carl has his hat.  They sample some produce, symbolizing that one can find a balance between the horrors of the world and the good people can do.  They had back up to the cell blocks .... while the Governor watches from the woods nearby.

Preparedness Discussion

There are dual themes prevalent in the episode that are applicable to preparedness.   The first involves the importance of hope and a positive mental attitude in difficult situations.

 When I was a teenager, I purchased a copy of the U.S. Army Survival Manual.   One of the key lessons that I learned from the manual came in the first few pages. From the 2002 edition:

All of us were born kicking and fighting to live, but we have become used to the soft life. We have become creatures of comfort. We dislike inconveniences and discomforts. What happens when we are faced with a survival situation with its stresses, inconveniences, and discomforts? This is when the will to live—placing a high value on living—is vital. The experience and knowledge you have gained through life and your Army training will have a bearing on your will to live. Stubbornness, a refusal to give in to problems and obstacles that face you, will give you the mental and physical strength to endure.

You have to keep hope alive, even under the most dire circumstances.   There are many cases is survival literature of survivors of plane crashes and other disasters who perished simply because they lost the will to live.  Likewise, there are stories of people who should not have survived, but managed to endure and overcome remarkable obstacles.

Hershel works to keep the sick alive mentally and physically.   He refuses to re-kill the dead in front of the cells as a way to ward off despair.  He is desperate to help Doc S., but the younger physician knows he is fading fast and has given up hope.  He keeps pushing Sasha and Glenn to help him to keep them occupied.

Prepping gives us hope, not hopelessness.  It gives us the comfort of knowing that we can weather the storm if it comes.  

The second theme revolves around the children of Hershel and Rick. Maggie and Carl both want to help their parents address the issues at hand, and both fathers try to keep them at arm's length to protect them.   Eventually circumstances dictate that the children have to step in to help save the group.  This poses an interesting question for preppers with kids:  when do we decide to bring our children into prepping, and how much to we let them know at first?

Rick realizes Carl can be a fighter and a farmer.
It is not appropriate for small children to get the full doom and gloom view of what could happen. Children have to be brought into the fold slowly and how you do this is dependent on the age level.  For example, one of the easiest prepping projects you can accomplish is a blackout kit.   Get a plastic tub and put in batteries, flashlights, maybe a battery powered lantern, and an emergency radio in it.  Get cheap flashlights and put in your children's top nightstand drawer.   Place emergency lights in selected outlets in your home so that they come on when the power goes off.   Everyone has suffered at least a short term power outage, so putting this together and showing the children what it's for is a very practical way they can relate to prepping.
Remember, prepping is not about sitting around waiting for the downfall of civilization to occur.  Preppers are, above all, about hope.  We hope we are wrong  about what might happen.  We just refuse to stick our heads in the sand and deny nothing ever bad could ever happen.

Texas barriers in Iraq.
Finally, I am going to address the security situation.  The fences cannot hold in their current state. They need more than some cut logs to shore them up.   At this point perhaps the the best idea would be to park abandoned cars up next to the fence, or find some tall jersey barriers (called Texas barriers because they are so tall) to place outside the fence. There is no way the walkers are going to be able to move them.  They already have guard towers to provide overwatch of such a perimeters, and the Governor would be hard-pressed to penetrate such a barrier.  For that matter, do it the hard way and pour a concrete wall.

Finally, I am dumbfounded that the production design team thought storing guns and ammo on open tables outside in the weather was a believable strategy.  The people who thought up that visual have no idea what water and humidity do to firearms. Why couldn't they have just stored them in the bottom of the guard tower?  Can someone please make me the technical advisor for this show?

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 405:

  • Your mental attitude is just as important as your physical preparations.
  • There are no hard and fast rules for introducing children to preparedness.   Go slowly and base your progress on factors like child age. Keep it positive.  Use the phrase "just in case."
  • If you possess firearms, make sure you know how to maintain them and how weather can adversely affect them, because obviously no one at the prison does.

Next week: The Governor is back, and he looks mad.   Can we please kill this guy this time?

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