Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 606: Always Accountable

SPOILER ALERT!!!

****

Episode 606: Always Accountable

 Daryl: It's the principle of the thing.

Synopsis:  Daryl, Sasha and Abraham reach the 20-mile mark and leave the herd behind, but come under attack and are forced to separate.   Abraham and Sasha lose their car but win the gunfight, and Daryl hides in some burned forest land, where he encounters a trio or survivors on the run. They disarm him and tie him up, thinking he is one of the attackers looking for them.  The encampment they fled is not a great place to be, and they go to find someone called Patty, which turns out to be a truck.   Tina has diabetes and faints, and Daryl makes off with the pack with his gear in it, but finds Tina's insulin and returns it.  They hide from the search party.  Meanwhile, Sasha and Abraham realize their attackers were looking for someone else, and hide in an office waiting for Daryl to find them.   Abraham finds an abandoned Humvee with some RPG rounds and a box of cigars, and secures the launcher from a soldier who has turned.  Abraham makes a move to widen his relationship with Sasha, but she demurs. Daryl's party comes upon the bodies of two people his companions knew, but when one of the women lays flowers next to them, they revive and kill her.   The other pair steal his bike and crossbow, then ride off.  Daryl finds the fuel truck and uses it to pick Abraham and Sasha.

Always Accountable is yet another one of those fallout episodes that tend to tumble out from the season's opening action.  The advantage to this style of serialized storytelling is that you can build a coherent narrative theme over the course of several episodes.  The Walking Dead is more like a novel than a TV show at this point, and I have no problem with that;  I think the writers do a much better job of this than, say, Lost, which really re-popularized the serialized story concept for the mainstream.  Let's face it, I still have tons of unanswered questions about Lost whereas this show does a pretty good job of weaving in plot points and the A-B story resolution.

Daryl, Sasha, and Abraham arrive at the 20-mile mark and leave the herd behind.   They accelerate away, but are confronted by armed men who attack them without provocation.   Daryl wipes out on his bike, losing contact with the other car as they attempt to break contact with the ambush.  Sasha and Abraham crash their car but kill their attackers, and are forced to flee when reinforcements arrive.

Daryl, meanwhile, hides in a patch of burned out forest land.   He tries to reach the others, but he is hurt, either from contact with the pavement or a bullet graze on his arm.  As he checks his wounds, he hears something moving and hides his bike under some debris, but finds two sisters, Tina and Honey, who surrender.  Just then, though, a man knocks him unconscious.  The man, who is referred to as D, wakes Daryl the next morning and tells him they are not going back to the camp.  Daryl tries to tell him he is not with the others, but D is not listening.

The four move out, with Daryl's hands tied, because they are looking for "Patty" so they can be on their way.  Dee tells Daryl he and Honey burned the forest to kill all the walkers, and state he thought that was what everyone was doing -- fighting walkers and rebuilding society.  He found out they were wrong.  They arrive at a fenced-in lot full of walkers, and the three holding Daryl panic because Patty is not there.  Tina faints, and in the confusion Daryl grabs their bag and runs away.  He frees himself, and tries the radio again, but no one answers.   He finds his gear in the bag, but also finds a cooler full of insulin.  Tina is a diabetic, and she fainted for this reason.

Daryl is a good guy. Too bad she dies anyway.
Abraham and Sasha realize their attackers were looking for someone else, and decide to lay low in a nearby abandoned town and wait for Daryl to find them.  They write the name "DIXON" on the door of their hide, which will mean nothing to anyone but Daryl, and take refuge in an office.  Abraham stands watch while Sasha tries to sleep.  He wants to kill a walker locked in a conference room, but Sasha tells him that would be reckless, and he needs to be accountable for that story.

The next morning, Abraham finds an abandoned Humvee containing rocket-propelled grenade rounds and a box of cigars.   He sees a soldier-walker impaled on a piece of pole handing off the bridge with the launcher, and manages to reach out far enough to almost reach his prize, but can't get there.  He retreats to the Humvee, where he watches the walker while smoking a cigar.  Suddenly, the riled up walker's should gives way and it falls, leaving the launcher behind on the pole.   He retreats to the office, where he says Sasha is right about his recklessness, and that he wants to get to know her better.   Sasha tells him he has some baggage to unload first.

Daryl cannot catch a break.
Daryl's group comes upon a pair of bodies encased int melted glass in a burned greenhouse.  As Tina kneels to lay flowers beside them, the corpses come alive and kill her.  Daryl kills the walkers, and the group buries Tina.   Daryl asks D the three questions:  how many walkers had he killed, how many people has he killed, and why.   Daryl invites them to Alexandria, but instead they rob him of his motorcycle and crossbow.  Later, Daryl finds a fuel truck with the license plate PATTY.  He kills a walker inside it then picks up Abraham and Sasha.  They try to reach Alexandria by radio, but another voice comes of the speaker, and says, "Help."

Preparedness Discussion

As the saying goes, all politics is local, and these locals play hard ball.   Rick's crew has been in the Alexandria area only for a few weeks at best.   They have butted heads with the Wolves, the Alexandrians who took them in, and now with another rogue group.  They people Daryl wants to help rob him instead.  Oh yeah, and then there are walkers.   It's a bad, bad world out there.

Daryl, Sasha and Abraham's two vehicle convoy is hit with an ambush, while accelerating away from the herd.  There rate of speed was a bit shocking, considering they could have hit random walkers, abandoned cars, and other potential hazards.  How many crashes occur every day because a driver expects for the road to be clear, rounds a curve, and plows into the back of a car stopped due to road work or some other delay?   EMS and fire crews would respond in the real world, but in the reality of The Walking Dead, you are your own backup.  There isn't going to be a helicopter to fly you to a trauma center. 

Convoy operations have very specific tactics and considerations, and the U.S. military learned some hard lessons on the subject in Iraq and Afghanistan.   There are procedures for approaching choke points, and even cresting a hill.  If you are planning for a crisis situation, and you think you might be forced to move as a convoy of vehicles with your group, it would pay to download the manual hyperlinked above for your review. You won't have air support for backup, but the security procedures for convoy movement are valuable tips that can help keep you safe. James Price, founder of Death Valley Magazine and a private military contractor for several years in the Middle East, runs a mobile scout school that teaches convoy tactics and procedures.  There are other schools out there as well, but this one has come highly recommended by the guys at the In The Rabbit Hole podcast.  You can check out that episode here.  For that matter, just practicing good defensive driving helps.

This point plays into Abraham's recklessness, and underscores Sasha's point:  he plays way too fast and loose with his own safety.  His actions in pushing to get the rocket launcher from its precarious spot could have resulted in him face planting on the pavement below.  Sure ,the rocket launcher is a good find, but it's still not worth your life, even in the walker-filled world of the show.  (Editor's Note:  the launcher in question is an RPG of the kind used by Russian forces and third world guerrilla forces around the world against our troops.  While the U.S. Army is testing an Americanized version of the weapon, no such launchers are standard in the U.S. inventory, nor were there any when the TV show world ended in and around 2010-2011.  I have no idea why the producers didn't choose a few AT-4 rockets or even a Carl Gustav, which was first adopted by the United States Marine Corps but has seen use with the Army.)

Sasha may be just the person to rein him in for his own good, but how will Rosita handle it?  She obviously was not up to the challenge.  She was too young, and it took her putting a hand on her gun to stop him.   How will that shake out?  Group dynamics rears its ugly head again.

Lastly, I a) how does insulin still exist several years into the Apocalypse, and b) how can an insulin dependent diabetic still be alive this long into the Apocalypse? Finally, what are the odds of the truck starting?  I guess the trio Daryl ran into maintained it before they fell in with the bad guys.  That makes sense.  If the insulin stayed refrigerated, it could remain good after its expiration date, but that is an awful big leap.  They cannot even find antibiotics anymore without going to a vet clinic, so unless the group managed to secure a stockpile early and kept it cold, Tina should have been dead long ago.   If you are dependent upon a long term maintenance medication for your health, you need to keep a stockpile on hand.  Find out the earliest possible date you can refill a prescription, and get the refill well before you run out.  After a few times, you could have an extra 30 day supply on hand or better.

What do you want to bet it's Glenn on the radio?

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 606:
  • Learn good defensive driving techniques, and practice them.  Take note of potential choke points and blind curves in your area and remember to approach them with caution. 
  • In a survival situation, you have no backup.   Treat your body as indispensable, because it is.
  • Make sure you have a good stockpile of prescriptions and over the counter medications and rotate them frequently.

Next week:  Morgan and Rick have a talk.  This should be interesting.

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