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08 October, 2012

REVIEW: The Walking Dead: Season 1 - Episode 4

Please see my previous reviews of episodes one, two, and three, if you haven't already.  Again, please understand that, while some plot points are revealed in these writings, my intent is to review them from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community.  Some spoilers will be included, however, so proceed at your own risk.

Episode 4 is a frenetic mess of frayed emotions for the characters on-screen, resulting in the viewer being kept in a perpetual state of high blood-pressure throughout.  The whole hour is spent waiting for something bad to happen; you know it's coming, you just don't know when.  And, when it finally happens, it's even worse and more heart-wrenching than you expected.

We open with the two sisters Andrea (older) and Amy (younger) fishing in a canoe borrowed from Dale in the waters of the flooded quarry.  Dale, himself, is still standing guard from the top of his RV, where he sees Jim (another survivor whose name we're only just getting, though we've seen him before) digging what appear to be graves in the hot sun up on the ridge.

In Atlanta, Daryl thinks of killing T-Dog over the issue with Merle until Rick talks him down at gunpoint.  He realizes Merle must have used a tourniquet (or there would be far more blood) and he tracks the blood trail downstairs, hoping to find his brother.  They discover where he has killed two Walkers one-handed, then cauterized his stump, and escaped.  Daryl wants to find him, alone if need be; the others agree to help, however, but not until they get the guns.  Nobody wants to be on those streets unarmed.  Ya think?

Dale warns the others that Jim is coming undone after trying to get him to rest and take some water to no avail.  The group confronts him, resulting in him being restrained for his own protection.  It turns-out that he saw his own family eaten right in front of him, but he couldn't save them.  He is treated well, but kept cuffed for a few hours until he can recover from what they're calling sun stroke and is no longer a danger to himself or the others.  Turns out, he was digging because of a dream that he only partially remembers.

For the purposes of our subject matter, we must all be cognizant of the fact that, in a collapse scenario (even a short-term one), there will undoubtedly be people around us like poor Jim who will be unable to handle the emotional stress.  Our society is the most highly-medicated one in the history of the planet.  Millions of people are no longer able to control their own emotions -- they rely on Happy Pills to do that for them.  Place them in a situation where they no longer have access to their pharmaceutical crutch, and many of them will quickly come unglued.  Add to that a scenario wherein they've been exposed as a witness to tragedy and human suffering, and it will be even worse.  Better be ready to deal with them.

Back in Atlanta, Glenn convinces the others to let him go for the gun bag (which is still in the street) alone, while they all cover him; the rationale being that he's faster and quieter by himself.  The plan falls apart, though, when Daryl and he are attacked by what look like street kids, bringing the Walkers swarming.  Glenn is kidnapped, but they get a prisoner of their own as well.  They interrogate him and he leads them to where another group led by someone named Guillermo is hold-up.  These survivors basically give the impression of being Chicano street-gang types.

Guillermo wants the bag of guns in return for Glenn.  They doubt whether they can trust Guillermo's word, but Rick owes Glenn for saving him, so he can't just leave him.  Instead, Rick, T-Dog, and Daryl decide to stand them down; but it turns-out the gang is protecting families sheltered in an old folks home.  It seems Guillermo and one of the others used to work there and watched as all the other staff abandoned their charges for dead.  Since then, they've been taking in guys who come to check on their parents and grandparents, and using them as muscle to defend against plunderers and the Walkers and to forage for supplies.  Rick gives them some of the ordinance, which probably wasn't wise but it showed what kind of a man he is, and they all part ways.  The only problem is that the vehicle that brought them to Atlanta has been stolen, they assume, by Merle, and they worry he might be headed back to the main camp with murder in his heart.

Back at camp, one of the other survivors proudly shows-off how he has built-up the rocks around the campfire, so the flames can be a bit higher without giving away their position so easily from a distance, which struck me as a pretty good idea we should all remember.  The group has a celebratory fish-fry with the catch Andrea and Amy brought-in earlier in the episode, but it ends in tragedy when Walkers overrun the camp, killing many.

Now Jim remembers his dream; the holes he was digging were graves, after all..

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