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16 November, 2014

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 6 "Consumed"

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 particular episode of The Walking Dead was mostly character-driven as well as being a vehicle through which the writers are moving more toward reuniting characters who have been separated and showing what some of those characters were doing while we weren't seeing them on screen. That being said, it was probably less juicy from the standpoint of someone looking for Prepper/ Survivalist ideas, but it too was not without its lessons to which we should all pay attention. Here are the tidbits I was able to draw from it:

If you are on the move, surviving in temporary locations, such as in an abandoned office building, you can get yourself some fresh water in the event of a rainstorm. The episode portrays a nifty trick where one of the characters constructs a tiny rain-catch outside of a window. She uses some sort of plastic bag-type material (maybe just pieces of sheet plastic that she has torn from a larger roll) as a means of actually catching the rain. She appears to be attaching them (she had multiple small rain-catches) to the window frame using a bent piece of what looked like typical coat hangers. If not that exactly, it was close enough and that would work to do the same thing she was doing. One could even use normal sandwich baggies if available.

Her plan, I'm sure, was to pour the few ounces she caught in each one into her actual canteen/water bottle, which is exactly what I would suggest. One could even use more of these than she is shown using in the episode, attaching them to multiple windows. Obviously, this isn't the kind of permanent solution we would look for at a stronghold / retreat, where using a food-grade plastic barrel tied into building guttering would be the absolute best option. Rather, this is the kind of thing you could do if you were on the road, passing through and just looking to hole up for a day or two in an abandoned home or building.

In that same sort of situation, it would be advisable to do some rudimentary fortification of any place you intend to call home, even if it is only a temporary home of a few days. If you are going to be sleeping there, your shelter needs to be as secure as possible. One great option is to use what I refer to as sound countermeasures. This could be something as simple as spreading broken glass outside the door that you will hear crunch if someone were to step on it, even if they are trying to be quiet. Previously in The Walking Dead, we have seen characters ring their campsites in string from which they had hung empty tin cans, etc. This is the same basic idea. It is simply a system that will allow you to be alerted should someone approach you. While we are not likely to ever see a real-life Zombie Apocalypse, the sad truth is that other people will be the real monsters in any situation where TS has HTF and society has collapsed, so knowing when someone is coming up on your place of rest will be just as important as it is for the characters in the show.

Also, when moving through hostile areas, be aware that the proper use of diversions can benefit you greatly. In "The Art of War," Sun Tzu spends a lot of time making the point that asymmetrical warfare is the proper path one should take if they want to be victorious. Essentially, the lesson is to evade whenever possible, only engaging in battle when it is on your terms and at a place of your choosing. A good lesson to always remember. Simply shooting your way through a bad situation may make you feel like an action movie star, but it is exceedingly stupid and will probably get you killed at some point.

And, the final lesson of this episode is an enduring need to find some sort of balance between the ideals of morality and human survival. If there is no more law and order to fall back on, each of us will inevitably be faced with situations where we must do things that would likely get us thrown in jail in today's society. There's no way around that, if you intend to survive and keep the people you love alive in a harsher world. But, there must be more to living than simple survival. In the absence of laws, we must all work hard to develop our own personal moral compass and allow it to guide us, so that we do not lose ourselves.

As a side note, I can't help but complain about one thing: early in the episode, two of the characters are in a car, attempting to clandestinely follow the car in front of them (I'm purposely trying not to give away spoilers). The problem being that they appeared to be following them from a pretty close distance. I do not understand how it is possible that they weren't seen. Obviously, one must allow a bit of leeway and let realism go somewhat when dealing with fiction (especially Doomer Fiction), but this seemed to be a rare oversight to me on the part of the writers and the people filming the episode. I mean, you're on a deserted road in a world in the midst of a societal collapse where few vehicles are moving at all. It isn't exactly like today where you may not notice a vehicle tailing you. It's the only other car on the road, after all. Even if you don't think it's following you, it's difficult to imagine a situation where the people didn't see them creeping along behind them at all, despite them having their headlights off and all that. It just seemed like a big plot-hole to me.

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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