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25 February, 2013

REVIEW: The Walking Dead: Season 3 - Episode 11 "I Ain't A Judas"

A number of plot points will inevitably be revealed in the course of these writings.  My intent is to review this program from the perspective of the Doomer / Prepper / Survivalist community, but, to do that effectively, some things have to be explained in greater detail than I might normally prefer in a review.  As a result, spoilers will follow.  You have been warned.  In truth, you might more accurately describe these posts as in-depth discussions of certain aspects of each episode with an emphasis on how the character's actions might be applicable in a real-life societal collapse.  I hope you enjoy.

Once again, this week we explore themes of leadership and how to decide what's best for a small group in a survival situation.  When in possession of a stronghold under threat from a stronger, hostile outside source, is the greater wisdom represented by depending on your strong walls to protect you or by bugging-out and staying mobile?  What if those threatening you simply take up position on the high-ground around your stronghold, keeping you hemmed-in by suppressing fire and starving you into submission?

One must never forget that the siege was a staple of medieval warfare; popular fiction would lead one to believe that enemies stormed each other's castles left-and-right, but most of them fell to sieges.  When does that which was once a castle become a tomb?  That is the question being debated by Rick's group at the prison.  Also, when is it best for a leader whose having issues handling stress to step aside and let others carry the burden?

With respect to the Governor's leadership in Woodbury and Andrea's position, what do you do when a leader you've previously trusted and admired allows a personal vendetta to guide their leadership of your group?  In a survival situation, danger will be a part of everyday life, but, when your Leader's actions have the potential of needlessly endangering lives -- especially those of women and children -- how far would you be willing to go to see things put right?  Would you commit betrayal in the interests of the greater good?

And now Andrea has a tough decision to make.  Her divided loyalties are either destined to get her killed or she's going to have to make a choice.  She is terribly torn, because she seems to desperately want to see things go well for everyone she cares about, but that simply isn't gonna happen.  In the end, someone is going to have to die, and, despite her not taking advantage of a stellar opportunity this week to clear the situation up, I still stand by my previous prediction that Andrea will be the one to eventually kill the Governor.

Also, we see the Governor recruiting soldiers, including those who are thirteen years old and older, which opens-up an interesting debate.  He rightfully makes the point that the idea of adolescence is purely a 20th Century concept.  In my own family, I can tell you that one of my Great-Grandmothers was so young when she got married that used to wait for her husband to go to work so she could sneak and play with her dolls.  Hearing that from a modern point-of-view sounds terrible, but that was the reality of the world; puberty equaled adulthood -- boys went to work and girls got married and started having babies.  Will things go back to that WTSHTF?

Another point of interest for this episode was that Merle's military training has already had a nice impact on the group at the prison.  For the first time, they were seen to move in overlapping bounds with one group covering while the other moved, then the second covering as the first moved.  Very good tactics.

The jury is still out as to whether Merle is on his way toward a redemptive character arc.  As for my opinion, I don't think he'll ever be completely redeemed.  In fact, I would find it a bit cheesy if the writers chose to take his character in that direction.  I see Merle as simply an opportunistic survivor -- when he was with the Governor, he acted in accordance with how the Governor wanted things done; now that he has no place in Woodbury, however, he'll do what he can not to make waves and get himself exiled from Rick's group.  Even if he cleans up his act, it won't be because he's a better person; it'll just be to keep the peace.

We were also introduced to a possible danger of allowing strangers inside your stronghold and a good reason to practice proper OPSEC (Operational Security).  Tyreese's group, ousted from the prison two weeks ago when Rick had one of his episodes, turned-up looking for sanctuary in Woodbury.  Needless to say, it didn't take long before the bright idea entered someone's head to use their knowledge of the layout inside the prison as reconnaissance when the time comes to attack Rick's group.  I do believe the back entrance that Tyreese's people used to enter the prison initially (which is, basically, a breach in the wall that can't really be secured) may end up being the Achilles Heel for what would otherwise be a nearly impregnable fortress.  There's a reason why rulers in the ancient world would sometimes executed those who had built their castles -- they wanted no one alive who knew the secrets but themselves.

The Walking Dead: The Complete First Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

The Walking Dead: The Complete Second Season [Blu-ray] --- [DVD]

My previous reviews for this series can be accessed by clicking the links below:

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