Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 404: Indifferent

Spoiler Alert !!!!  

Carol (to Rick):  I stepped up!

Synopsis:  Rick and Carol go on a supply run to a nearby town for something to help the sick survivors and find more food; Daryl, Bob, Tyreese and Michonne continue on task to the veterinary school.  Both groups are successful in finding resources, but Rick banishes Carol from the prison as a punishment for killing Karen and David. 

If the previous episode, Isolation, was about control, Indifferent was about letting go. It's about Carol letting go of a part of her humanity and suffering the consequences, Rick letting go of Carol, Michonne letting go of her quest for the Governor, and hopefully, Bob letting go of his demons.

The episode opens with Carol and Lizzie discussing the impending run.  They need something to fight the fevers of the sick people, and to replace the food now lost in Cell Block D.   Carol tells Lizzie to fight to stay alive.

Bob almost gets a face full of walker. 
Meanwhile, Daryl and company are still on the road, looking for a new ride.  They have managed to lose the herd, and hopefully they can get something to help Sasha and the others.  Time is running short, though.  They have lost a whole night.  The crew find a van hidden behind some vines, and after killing some walkers inside a garage, snag a new battery and get it running.    Daryl has some experience in working with cars and is able to get it going.   Tyreese has been increasingly reckless the whole time.  While inside the garage, they notice pictures on the walls depicting the zombies they just killed when they were alive.   Bob has some difficulty dealing with this, and he gets to talk about the two other groups he was in before they fell apart and he walked away as the only survivor.  Basically he gets to talk about other times when he was a load.

Rick and Carol meet a young couple, Ana and Sam, in a house.   They desperately want to come back to the prison and promise to help clear the houses of supplies, despite Ana's deformed leg.  It was broken at a refugee center and healed improperly.  Rick wants them to stay put, but Carol says it will cut down on their time in the field.  Rick hands them his watch and tells them to meet back there in two hours.

This whole time, Rick has not mentioned or addressed Carol's confession of the previous episode.   Carol forces the issue, and tries to justify her actions.  She says she was trying to save lives, and she made the hard decision to do it to protect the group.   Rick says it was the wrong thing to do, and he would never have murdered two people in cold blood.  Carol replies that he only murdered one person in cold blood -- Shane.

Carol prepares for life on her own in Sam and Ana's ride.
There is a conflict in Carol. She cares about people, but the moment she thinks they might pose a threat she treats them as an enemy.  Her actions with Sam and Ana demonstrate this dichotomy.   As they are going about their rounds, they spy Ana's body.  She has been killed and is being consumed by walkers.  Sam is nowhere around, and there have been no gunshots.  Later, back at the rally point, they wait, but Sam never shows.  They are forced to leave without him.   Rick wants to wait, but Carol is adamant.  They need to go.  She is likewise steadfast in her defense of her actions at the prison.

Daryl and his group make it to the veterinary school and grab several bags of medical supplies, but get cornered by walkers who have clearly died of the infection afflicting the prison.   Daryl manages to make an exit out a window onto a high ledge, but Bob nearly tumbles over and his bag dangles into a crowd of walkers below.  He refuses to let go, and when they pull him up Daryl discovers his bag contains not medicine, but booze.  Bob confessed his alcoholism previously in the episode, and admitted that his mistake in slamming the bottle down in the Big Spot is what got Zach killed.   He threatens to draw his gun on the group when they try to toss the bottle, but Daryl takes it instead.

During the episode, there is an interplay between Michonne, Daryl, and Tyreese.   Michonne wants justice for Andrea, but the Governor's trail has long since gone cold.  He has either left the area, or he has covered his tracks too well.  Daryl keeps trying to get Michonne to give up and stay closer to the prison.  She admits to Tyreese she doesn't know why she is still searching for him.  She finally admits she is nowhere close to finding the Governor's whereabouts and will stop going out on her own.   Her constant excursions are in a way a defense mechanism to protect her from loss by keeping her from getting close to anyone at the prison.

The Ricktatorship returns.
The episode ends with a final confrontation with Rick and Carol as they are about to head back to the prison.  Rick informs her that she should never have taken it upon herself to kill Karen and David.  If she returns to the prison, Tyreese will kill her, and even if he doesn't, no on will trust her, including him.  He states even if everyone else dies and it was just him, his kids, and Carol, he would not allow her to stay.  He gives her some supplies, puts some gas in Sam and Ana's now abandoned car, tells her to hit the road and find another group who don't know her past, and start over.  Carol had told him at one point that he was a good leader, and that he can still be a farmer -- but he can't be just a farmer.   Rick seems to have taken her words to heart, and decided her fate himself.  

Preparedness Discussion

This episode contains some of the nightmare scenarios that keep preppers awake at night.   The first and most obvious is the loss of most of the groups food in the now blood-soaked Cell Block D, which apparently served as the main storage facility.

Many preppers make this mistake.   Most people store their household foodstuffs, shockingly enough, in the kitchen or in a pantry just off the kitchen.  While this makes sense from a convenience standpoint, it has its drawbacks:

  • You are limiting your storage space to that area only, thus limiting the amount of food you can store overall.
  • You put your resources at risk.  If there is a fire or other damaging event in that area of the house, you could lose all your supplies
  • If the societal situation breaks down enough that people actually begin breaking into houses for food, all your supplies are there in one spot for the taking.   
Minimize risk by storing additional food in other areas of the house.  Make sure these areas are climate controlled to ensure the food will keep for a long time.

The second worst case scenario deals with Carol.  Granted, the survivors at the prison were thrown together by circumstance, not choice.  Carol was a trusted individual in the group.  She was part of the governing council.   Yet she murdered two people "for the good of the group."  

As preppers, we cannot survive as lone wolves.  We must work together, because no one person or small group of people can hope to accomplish all the tasks in a survival situation.   That being said, who we decide to work with and the framework for how we all work together is important.   What structure do you have in place, and how do you handle someone who no longer has the trust of the group?

The ability of Daryl to get the old van going brings up another issue.   How many of us know enough about batteries and cars to accomplish that task?  For that matter, can you even change the a flat tire?   It would be a good idea to run through that procedure at least once for your vehicles to make sure you know what to do.

Finally, there is the psychological aspect of survival.  Tyreese is clearly being reckless, and Bob is clearly, yet again, being a load.   He is an alcoholic, and he admits it.   Mental health is as important or more in a survival situation.   If you are not prepared to deal with the mental aspects of prepping, you have lost the battle before you started.
Preparedness Lessons for Episode 402:
  • Store vital resources and preparedness supplies in multiple locations to minimize vulnerability.
  • Decide with your group how to screen and admit people; have a process for kicking them out as well.
  • Familiarize yourself with basic car maintenance.
  • The psychological aspect of survival is an important consideration.  Survival situations are highly stressful and will take a mental toll.
Next week:  things at the prison reach a breaking point as Daryl's group races back with the supplies.   Will they be in time?

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