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19 October, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 2 "Strangers"

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.

This episode picks up with the group of survivors traveling through the wilderness on foot, following the destruction of the cannibal enclave known as Terminus. And, as one might easily glean from the title of the episode, the major theme throughout is trust – specifically, the dangers inherent in trusting the wrong people and even in one's own natural sense of complacency. Those of us in the Prepper / Survivalist community often talk about the need of observing proper operational security when it comes to using discretion regarding the subject of sharing the details of our emergency preparedness efforts with those whom we might consider to be outsiders. It is good policy to always be careful, because one can never be sure which of these people could prove to be a problem in the future.

Best case scenario: at the onset of any emergency, you might find yourself beset by droves of people who haven't bothered to do any preparing on their own. And, in the worst-case scenario: there are those out there who do see the wisdom in preparing, only they are too lazy to do it for themselves and are instead content to wait around, knowing there are better prepared people from whom they can simply take what they need when the time arises. That may sound crazy, but believe me that I have met a few of these type. Also, there is simply the threat of violence that could arise from the first set of people who come to you, seeking aid, but aren't willing to leave when they find out that you only have enough for yourself and your loved ones or they aren't content with whatever charity you have prepared ahead of time to be able to distribute.

Needless to say, it's better simply to prepare "on the down low," trusting only those who you are sure you can trust and for whom you are willing to accept responsibility if needed in an emergency.

The truth is that, especially in a societal collapse / TSHTF sort of situation where it will be difficult to double check the stories that people give you, you can simply never know what someone you meet may be hiding. You have no way to know what they have done in the past, or what they are capable of doing again, so trust is something that should be held in a strict reserve until such time that it is earned. And, to be honest, that is a policy that we should all be practicing even right now. I have personally learned the hard way to maintain a healthy skepticism regarding human nature and pretty much everyone I meet, until such time that they prove to me what they are made of.

With regards to trusting in one's own sense of complacency, Rick does his best in this episode to make his son understand that he should keep himself in the perpetual mindset that he is never truly safe. Of course, there are times when the level of danger is lessened to the point where the characters can relax even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse, but what Rick is trying to impress upon Carl is that allowing yourself to feel completely safe is dangerous. Feelings of safety lead to one letting their guard down, and, in a situation where danger can arise at any second and from any direction, letting your guard down can get you killed. Even though it is highly doubtful any of us will find ourselves in the midst of this kind of zombie apocalypse, there will be danger in the event of a societal collapse. Daryl states implicitly in this very episode that people are more dangerous than Walkers, and it is that sort of people that you and I could one day find ourselves faced with. Therefore, the lesson Rick is trying to teach his son is something we should all try to learn.

Other interesting tidbits in this episode included the idea of foraging both at your local firearms retailers for weapons and ammunition, as well as the option of your local food bank for obvious reasons. The character Gabriel, introduced for the first time in this episode, tells the group that the food collected in his church's canned food drive (upon which he has survived, locked inside his church all this time) was originally destined for such a food bank that served the entire county.

Might be a good idea to locate these locations on a map and mark them. If you do this now, it would be easy enough to use Google Maps and simply print them out. Either way, be sure to place these inside two layers of Ziploc baggies to keep them from being destroyed in the event of rain or other moisture while in storage. Laminating them would be awesome, but Ziplocs will do the trick on a budget. Another lesson to glean from this episode is that, if you find yourself surviving on the road, use local phone books to get the addresses for these kinds of places, so that you can hit them and forage for supplies on your way through an area.

And, lastly, this episode includes some rumination regarding the need to think about something greater than simply surviving. In the world in which these characters exist, they're going to try to make the trip to Washington, DC in the belief that there will be infrastructure there and that one of the characters may know a cure. In the real world, however, and in my own preparations, it is simply a desire to turn my plans for survival into plans that will allow for the building of a community. I'm sure those plans are different for all of us, but we all need something for which to strive.

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

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

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

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

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

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