Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Preparedness Review of The Walking Dead Episode 607: Heads Up



Episode 607: Heads Up


Synopsis: Glenn, who has been missing, shows up alive after crawling under Nicholas' body and under the dumpster.   He gets out, and is helped by Enid, who does not want to go back to Alexandria because she doesn't want to see it fall.   Rick and Morgan talk briefly about the need to talk, and Rick keeps inspecting the wall for weak spots.  Maggie is still on watch looking for Glenn.  He proposes figuring out how to lure the walkers away.  Glenn stabs zombie David and retrieves the farewell note that was dropped.  Gabriel tries to organize a prayer meeting, but Rick tears down the signs.  Gabriel replaces them.   Rick and Carl teach Ron how to shoot, but do not give him ammunition or let him fire live rounds.  Morgan, Michonne and Carol confront Morgan about his refusal to kill Wolves during the attack.  Rick and Michonne come up with a way to lure the walkers away from Alexandria, but Rick is hesitant to involve the Alexandrians.   Deanna reveals plans for the town's future.  Rosita offers machete lessons to people but is harsh on Eugene when he does not take to it.   Glen and Enid make their way back toward Alexandria, and find the green balloons used for signalling during the walker roundup.   Meanwhile Rick and Tobin reinforce a weak section of the wall.  Ron steals some live rounds from the pantry area and sneaks up on Carl, seemingly to shoot him.   Spencer tries to get over the wall via rope in an attempt to go get a car and lure the herd away, but nearly dies in the attempt.  Carol discovers Morgan is keeping a Wolf alive in the locked house, just as Maggie spots the green balloons Glenn and Enid launch to let everyone know they are alive.   The church outside the wall damaged by the truck used by the Wolves collapses into the wall, creating a huge hole for walkers to pour through.

You should be dead, Glenn.
Heads Up quickly resolves the cliffhanger set up in Thank You and reveals that Glenn, who was knocked off a dumpster surrounded by walkers when Nicholas shot himself, landed under the man's body, and as the zombies were eating Nicholas, he wriggles out from under the corpse and hides under the dumpster, killing the few undead who notice and try to get at him.   The way the storyline was dropped for three weeks was gimmicky. It reminds me of the movie War of the Worlds (the Tom Cruise version) in which the rebellious son who charges ahead to help the Army battle the invincible aliens somehow survives the military slaughter and shows up safe at the end of the movie.  This is called the "Spielburgian" ending.  It would have been a bolder move to leave him dead, with no resolution for Maggie. 

Okay.  Glenn is alive ... in the most improbable way. The character is one of the last in this world that has managed to hang on to his humanity, and the show needs that, but this is just cheesy.  For this reason, I dropped one star from what would have been a four-star rating.

Days pass, and the herd loses interest and move one.  Glenn finally risks climbing out from under his hiding place, and is surprised when Enid, who escaped Alexandria during the Wolf attack, tosses him a bottle of water from the roof, which bursts on impact.   He chases after her, and realizes she is moving from rooftop to rooftop. She has placed another bottle of water on the second floor for him, which he guzzles down.  Enid hides from him, while Glen asks what happened at Alexandria when the air horns sounded.   She wont respond, and disappears out a window.  She hides in a diner, waiting for a few passing walkers to clear out, when Glen surprises her and disarms her when she pulls a gun.  He will not leave her behind. 

Back at Alexandria, Rick is checking the walls for weak spots while Morgan practices with his staff.  Rick says they need to talk at some point, and Morgan agrees, but it's a strained, tense exchange.   He checks on Maggie, who is on watch at the top of the lookout tower in the direction Glenn should be coming from if he is still alive.  He encourages her by saying that Glenn, Abraham and Sasha will return.  He wants to get the rest of Team Rick together and figure out how to lure away the walkers so that the returning trio can get to the gates.   Maggie tells Rick Judith is starting to look like Lori - which is good, since she's probably Shane's baby anyway.

That's some high quality H20 right there.
Glenn finds David, the guy bitten at the fence when Michonne's group was cornered, and kills him as his walker form stirs to attack.  He finds the note he wrote to his wife and retrieves it to take back before moving on to find Enid.  While he is doing this, Father Gabriel is back in Alexandria posting signs for a prayer meeting, which Rick tears down despite Carl's protests.  Garbriel replaces them.

Rick and Carl begin giving Ron shooting lessons. Carl and Rick explain that when he has to use the gun, he is going to be scared, and shows him how to aim down the sight before firing.  Ron is allowed to carry the empty gun to get used to it, but is not allowed ammunition.  Later, he distracts the pantry volunteer and sneaks into the armory to steal some rounds.  This is going to be bad news.  Ron is playing a waiting game.  He still holds a grudge against Rick, no matter what he says, and he hates Carl for "stealing" Enid.  Carl and Enid have been out there, in the blood and guts, and Ron hasn't.  Enid and Carl get each other, and Ron is a spoiled kid who hasn't had to fight for anything.

Morgan starts to enter the infirmary but starts to walk away when Denise opens the door.   He tells her he is fine, and Rick asks to talk.  He, Michonne and Carol -- the Brain Trust of Team Rick -- want to discuss the fact that he let several Wolves escape during the attach.  Rick explains that those Wolves attacked him in the RV and destroyed his chances of luring off the herd now surrounding them.   He points out that Rick didn't kill him back in King County, and Rick replies that he knew who Morgan was. Morgan replied that he would have killed Rick had he had the chance, but that he doesn't want to kill anymore, repeating Eastman's "all life is precious" mantra and explaining it is what saved him and restored his sanity. Michonne asks if he thinks its really that easy, and Morgan says it isn't easy.  Rick tells him he cannot survive without getting blood on his hands.  Morgan is unsure whether his decision were right or wrong, but he knows he does not want to kill.

Walkers continue to pile against the walls.  Rick and Michonne work on a plan to draw the walkers away, but Rick wants to keep the plan to just Team Rick.  Michonne tells him he needs to involve the others.   Deanna approaches with blueprints for the community's expansion, and tells him she knows there are pressing matters, but that they have to start planning for the future.

Rosita is teaching Eugene and some Alexandrians how to use the machete, and Eugene is not doing well.   Rosita begins treating him harshly, and he admits he is afraid of dying.  Rosita tells him dying is easy, but that surviving after others die, especially if he doesn't do anything to help them, is the hard part.

Spencer is really, really dumb.
Enid waits in an abandoned diner for Glenn to leave and for a few random walkers to clear out, after writing "JSS" on a meal ticket.   She tries to leave, but there are still walkers outside, and Glenn grabs her from behind.  She draws a gun, but he disarms her.  He wants to get back to Alexandria because half the herd is heading that way.

Rick is working on reinforcing a weak spot, and Tobin approaches to help.   They notice blood coming through the walls.  Tobin tells Rick everyone was scared of him when he first arrived, and he looked around like he saw things they couldn't see; the man says it turns out he did see things they couldn't.  Tobin says things moved slow in Alexandria before, then once Rick arrived, everything moved very fast.  He tells Rick not to give up on the native Alexandrians.

Enid puts down a walker on the road back to Alexandria, and the arrive at Checkpoint Green, with its green balloons still inflated.  They retrieve the balloons and some extras, plus a helium tank, and inflate more.  The plan is to use the balloons to distract the walkers with them.    He asks who she stays with back home, and she says Olivia, but that it wasn't really her home. She was orphaned by walkers.  Glenn says he probably was as well, and that they have to go on living to honor the dead, because they cannot.  They arrive at the safe zone, and find it surrounded by walkers.   She tells him the world is trying to die and they should let it.  Glenn convinces her to try to get inside.

Rick and Tobin spot Deanna's son Spencer trying to use a rope to get past the walkers with a pack and AK-47 on his back.   Eugene and Tara watch from the other guard tower.   The rope begins to slip and Spencer almost falls.  The rope then gives way and Spencer falls into the walkers.  Tara begins firing into the undead to give him cover, while Tobin, Rick and Morgan pull him back up.  He asks Spencer what he was doing, and Spencer says he was trying to get past them, get to the cars at the barricade down the road, and use one of them to lead off the herd.  Rick asks if he has ever tried a climb like that before, already knowing the answer, and tells him never to try anything like that again without running it by him first.   He then berates Tara for risking herself for Spencer.   Tara, ever the diplomat, flips him off.

Lady MacBeth has issues with Kung Fu Morgan.
Morgan enters the infirmary and discusses Denise's cheat sheets next to a sleeping Scott, who is still recovering from his gunshot wound.   He tells her that he has because he chooses to, and has faith in her.  He asks how the antibiotic supplies are holding up, and Denise says they have plenty to go around.  Morgan is asking for some antibiotics, but not for him.  It's for the Wolf he is holding captive.  He doesn't want to involve Denise, but she agrees to come take a look at the prisoner.

As they leave separately to attempt to keep suspicion to a minimum, they are spotted by Carol, who decides to follow them.  She asks Jessie to take Judith, ostensibly so she can go on watch.  Sam calls out for Carol and asks what happens if he can't live with what happened.   She tells him, "it eats you up."  He asks how people turn into monsters:  is it the killing?  She replies that the killing keeps you from becoming a monster.  She exits, and tracks Morgan to the prison house where she confronts him about who is inside.

Carl walks down the street, unaware that a now armed and dangerous Ron is following him, while Michonne looks a Deanna's expansion plan.

Ron's motto:  an eye for an eye.
Rick and Tobin are still reinforcing the wall when Tara walks by, looking for Denise.  Rick apologizes for his remarks earlier and tells her she could have died.   Tara said she wasn't thinking about that and had to help.   Deanna then thanks him for saving Spencer.   Rick tells her Spence was stupid, and explains she could've used him being eaten as a distraction to hop down, escape, and grab a car to lure the herd away, but says he didn't because he is Deanna's son.  She tells him,  "wrong answer."  He saved Spencer because it was the right thing to do.

The community, including Maggie, spot the green balloons that Glenn and Enid have released to let them know they are alive.  The hope is fleeting however, because at that moment, the small church outside the wall which was damaged by the truck in the Wolf attack collapses onto the perimeter, destroying a large section of the wall where it was weakest.

Preparedness Discussion

Let's talk about the elephant in the room.  I'm not talking about Glenn.  Let's discuss how the Alexandrians have done nothing to clear their perimeter of obstructions like the church that falls on the fence and opens it up for the walkers. Once their perimeter was secure, they sat back, sent out scouting parties, and counted on everything going well.   The committed the sin of assumption.   They assumed everything was going to be okay, that the wall was all they needed, and did nothing else to improve their security situation.   When Team Rick arrived, there were no guard towers, and without a clear perimeter no fields of fire.   They were ripe for the picking.  No wonder the Wolves had such an easy time making it inside.

What does this mean for us as preppers?  Make sure your landscape is free of obstructions that will allow you to see potential threats.   Use a home security system to secure the perimeter of your home.  Then, make sure you use it.  You would be surprised how often a security system remains unarmed, even though it is a huge deterrent to home invasion and burglary.

Then there are the internal threats.   Ron is a problem.  It is great that everyone is becoming familiar with firearms and self defense, but Ron is a loose cannon that has a big grudge against Rick and Carl.   He is clearly being duplicitous in his desire to get a gun, and Rick and Carl do not pick up on it.  Teaching people to use firearms safely is a good thing, but it can get you safely killed if your student has screw loose.  In every mass shooting in this country since the turn of the century, the killers all had something in common:  mental health issues. Take good stock of your preparedness group and ensure you really know each person.

Lastly, let's address the issue of hope in the role of survival.  The job of survival is in many ways a mental one.  Some survival experts have gone so far to say that survival is mostly an exercise in mental toughness:  the ability not to panic, to think things through, and use the resources at hand to enhance your chances of living.   Glenn is full of hope, despite the death of Nicholas.   He needs to get home to Maggie.   Likewise, Gabriel, who has finally found a way to forgive himself for his actions, is trying to build hope by building a community of faith inside the walls.   Morgan hopes he can turn the Wolf the way he was turned back to the light by Eastman. 

In contrast, we see the fatalistic Enid ("The world is trying to die; we should let it") and the pragmatic Carol and Rick confronting Gabriel and Morgan.    Hope is needed.  It is essential to survival.   Humanity's aspiration to be better than its former self has been and will continue to be one of the key drivers of innovation and creativity. That has been taken away by the walkers.  If it cannot be rekindled in the residents of Alexandria, what is the use of surviving?

Preparedness Lessons for Episode 607:
  • Clear your perimeter and secure your home with an alarm system.
  • Be sure of who your friends are and be wary of those that display tendencies that might make them a liability or threat.
  • Hope is the most important mental aspect of survival.
 Next week:  The series finale is here, and we get to see what happens when a horde hits the town.

1 comment:

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