Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 605: Now



Episode 605: Now

 Jessie: This is what life looks like now. We have to see it. We have to fight it.

Synospis: Alexandria is recovering from the Wolf attack, and Michonne is breaking the news to Maggie about Glenn, when Rick comes running with a huge zombie horde on his tail.  He gets inside just in time, as the half of the the quarry herd that got pulled off the road by the horn surrounds the wall.  Rick tells the survivor Sasha, Abraham and Daryl will return soon and use their cars to lure the horde away, but until that time, they have to hunker down, conserve food, and try not to draw attention to themselves.   Some of the residents try to raid the pantry, but Spencer stops them, only to raid it himself.  Deanna is trying to make sense of everything, but still can't kill a walker without help.  Aaron and Maggie try to sneak out to find Glenn, but cannot get through the horde.  Maggie reveals she is pregnant.  Carl and Ron get into a scuffle over Enid, and Ron later parlays it into a bonding moment with Rick, who shows him how to shoot.  Denise and Tara grow closer, and Jessie mobilizes the rest of the Alexandrians by telling them they need to stop sticking their heads in the sand.  Jessie and Rick kiss, but the episode ends with blood dripping down the walls near the lookout tower.

Now is the aftermath episode that seems to me should have happened directly after Thank You, but hey, I'll take it as it comes.   The hour ends with no resolution to the Glenn cliffhanger, but with lots of little character moments that flesh out just how traumatized the residents of Alexandria are following the attack of the Wolves and the onslaught of the dead.

The episode begins with Deanna on the wall, watching in a daze as the survivors collect the dead from the Wolf attack while Michonne tells Maggie that Glenn and Nicholas got cut off but that Glenn promised to signal if they could.  No signal was detected.

Rick yells for them to open the gate and sprints through a gauntlet of walkers to safety just as the half-sized horde surrounds the settlement.   Rick assures everyone that the walls will hold, but that they have to keep noise and light to a minimum until Daryl, Abraham and Sasha return with vehicles to draw them off.  Aaron confesses that the Wolves found them because he dropped his pack at the cannery, but that Rick's plan drew half of them off and away from the camp.  Later, Jessie attempts to bury a dead Wolf, but Rick reminds her that they don't bury killers inside the walls.  He says they'll have to wait until the herd goes away.

Several residents try to raid the pantry, feeling it's futile to try to stretch the food supplies, but Spencer stops them and tells them that if they do this, they will destroy the community.  Later, he confronts Deanna while drunk after raiding the pantry for himself and says that all of this is her fault for making them think they were safe.

Let's face it:  Aaron's seen better days.
Aaron finds Maggie at the armory gearing up to go find Glenn.  She is planning to distract the walkers with flashlights and create a path, but he knows a better way -- an old sewer tunnel from a preexisting neighborhood that was torn down to create Alexandria.  They proceed down the tunnel and battle badly decomposed walkers, but are dismayed to find that the herd is too big and has swamped the sewer entrance.   They can't get past the gate.   Maggie confesses that she is pregnant and that they can't go forward and chance it, because she has to think about the baby now.

Carl asks Ron to come outside the wall to help him find Enid, but Ron refuses and they fight.   Ron tells him that if Carl tries to leave he will tell Rick, and Rick will go looking for him, and might get hurt.  This persuades Carl to stay inside.

Denise is in the infirmary, trying to figure out how to treat Scott, who came back with Michonne from the quarry mission with a wounded leg that is now infected.   She is in way over her head, and confesses so to Tara.  She wants to leave the infirmary to someone else, but she is the sole surviving person with medical training.  Later, she finally finds a a way to drain his leg and stabilize his condition.  She finds Tara, and as they talk, she kisses Tara, telling her she doesn't want to waste any more time.

Heavens to Betsy, Jessie.
Jessie walks by a house and discovers a walker inside (this is Betsy, by the way, who slashed her own wrists after hearing that her husband died on the quarry mission) and kills her.   Other Alexandrians are horrified, but Jessie tells them that this is the way the world is, and they have to see it and deal with it.  She later tries to get her younger son, Sam, to come downstairs, but he refuses to, because of the violence perpetrated on the first floor.

Ron shares with Rick that he stopped Carl from going after Enid, and tells Rick he wants to learn how to shoot.  Rick has him fire some rounds into the herd below for practice.

That night, Deanna is walking when a Wolf that Carol shot earlier in the day attacks, having succumbed to his wounds and turned.  She stabs him repeatedly with a broken bottle until Rick arrives to kill it.   She asks Rick if her original vision was just a child's fantasy, and he tells her no.  Later Rosita is relieved by Spencer on the wall, where he drunkenly eats some crackers and stares at the horde.

Jessie and Rick discuss all the events that have happened, and Rick confesses he thought that the others would be back by now.  They kiss.

In the final scene, Deanna is walking around the perimeter again, steeling herself for what lies ahead.  She slaps the gate, taking out her frustration by striking at the walkers out of reach just beyond, but as she walks away, drops of blood can be seen on the wall next to the lookout tower.

Preparedness Discussion

The crew of Alexandria is in a tight spot.  They have suffered grievous losses at the hands of the walker herd and the Wolves, the herd has them surrounded, and their best, most experienced hands are missing in action.

Rick's orders to maintain light and noise discipline are the right move, but telling the residents in a loud voice next to the wall with a pack of walkers on the other side was stupid.  Likewise, maintaining a watch on top of the guard towers where the walkers could see the sentries ostensibly to watch for the returning members of the team is another bad move.   Sasha, Glenn, Abraham, and Daryl have radios, and they should be expected to call in when they get close to home.  Don't call for light and noise discipline if you aren't going to maintain it yourself.

We have so much background noise around us at any given time, we hardly recognize what quiet is anymore.  Turn off everything in your house, kills all the lights, and even turn off the heating system so that your house is completely quiet one night.  Shut your eyes and listen.  That's what noise discipline sounds like. Conversations should be in a whisper.  Go outside with all the lights off and have a family member move through the house with a flashlight to check and see if any light leaks around curtains, etc.

The benefit of noise and light discipline is that it gives you an advantage if you don't want anyone to know if you're around, and especially if you think your home or bugout retreat is being observed by someone or if you want to prevent someone from finding your bugoug location in the dark.   It's a passive security measure. While in most situations, you want a potential criminal to know you are there so they don't attempt to rob your house, there are some instances where staying quiet during a bug-in or at your bugout location would be advantageous. 

While Here's Not Here showcases the need for a group in a long-term survival situation, New highlights the risks.   Group morale and cohesion are breaking down.   The "native" Alexandrians have gone from a relatively secure, placid existence to one where their very lives are at stake, and they are not dealing with it well.  Even Spencer, who calls out everyone else for raiding the pantry, is teetering on the edge.   Things are not going to be always rosy in a long term survival.  There are going to be peaks and valleys.   If you cannot maintain morale and individual trust in the community, things can break down in short order.

Finally, let's talk about rationing and how the group is maintaining its stockpile of food.  It is not a very good idea to keep all the food in one place.  I have stated before, this group seems to have zero fire-fighting capability, and decentralizing makes a lot of sense.   Practicing the same methods can pay off in your own preparations.  See my previous entry on the storage totes you put under beds with extra supplies in them. Not only will this protect you from losing your supplies, to say, a kitchen fire, it can also help preserve them from thieves.  After all, who puts groceries under the bed?

If you have a secure spot off site, like a trusted family member's house, and there is some extra room in their closets, drop  a couple of changes of clothes, some toiletry supplies, and some food there as well, with their permission, along with perhaps an encrypted thumb drive with your important information saved to it.  That way, if there is a fire and you escape with only the clothes on your back, you at least have your important documents and a few days worth of supplies at another location.

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 605:
  • Noise and light discipline can be a powerful passive protection device in certain situations.
  • Think about how your group might deal with losses or adversity.  It's important to maintain optimism, but understand that not everything is going to go your way.  Plan for contingencies, and work to make sure group morale doesn't suffer.
  • De-centralize your supplies.   This provides redundancy and security.
Next week: Daryl, Abraham and Sasha get their gun on when they are attacked by unknown assailants, and we'll see if Sasha decides to get on board the A-Train.

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