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09 November, 2014

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

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.

In many ways, episode five was about the aspect of human nature that leads us to seek out purpose. There are times – and there will, undoubtedly, be those kind of times in the event of a societal collapse when the world has gone to crap – when an individual might lose everything that once kept them going. In that event, everyone will react differently. Some will soldier on out of a sense of self-preservation: some will shut down in despair; and others will continue to stay the course only because they have managed to identify some mission or ultimate goal to serve. We see in this episode that Abraham is the latter of the three, and it is a worthy thought exercise for us to ask ourselves – as he now must – what we would then do if that mission fell apart?

As for practical lessons one can learn from watching this episode, I would argue that one of those would be to prepare for the eventuality that all your plans can go to Hell at a moment's notice. Be ready to adapt on-the-fly. In the world of the TV show, this took the form of their vehicle becoming disabled, followed by crashing and eventually burning, but this type of problem can manifest itself in any one of a million different forms. It's pointless to get hung up on every eventuality... simply train yourself to be ready to adapt to whatever may come.

Other lessons presented here include the necessity of training every individual to be able to, at minimum, defend themselves. There is no doubt that, in the event you or I find ourselves in a much more dangerous TEOTWAWKI type of situation, there will be people who require our protection, such as significant others, children, elderly family, etc. But, aside from that, people have to be able to take care of themselves. You simply cannot spend all of your time protecting someone who has no excuse for being weak, other than that they are a weakling. Everyone will need to tow their own proverbial line, because there won't be a lot of room in a societal collapse / apocalyptic type of setting for people who are nothing more than dead weight.

And, with that same sentiment in mind, I would advise everyone that now is the time for each of us to be learning skills that will make us more useful to a group if those sort of dark days do occur in our future. When actual survival is at stake, the skillset that will keep you alive and make you someone that other people want to have around may very well not be the same skillset you are adept at right now. There isn't going to be a lot of call for accountants and grocery store clerks in a harsher world. But even an accountant or grocery store clerk can take the time now to learn woodland survival skills, first aid, gardening, archery and/or shooting. You can even take it upon yourself to become an EMT. It's up to you what you decide to do. But learning skills and attaining knowledge that make your existence valuable will do nothing but help you.

I very much enjoyed that this episode highlighted a source of clean drinking water that pretty much all of us have access to in the event of an emergency, yet few people probably think of: the water from the tank of a toilet. That may make some of you cringe, but I can sure you it is clean and drinkable. We aren't talking about the water in the bowl, but rather in the tank. If you find yourself in an unfamiliar location, such as the characters in the episode and if it makes you feel better to do so, boiling it acts to sanitize the water and will kill the vast majority of microscopic germs, etc. I was also intrigued by the idea of them commandeering the fire truck that held 500 gallons of water (though it was, no doubt, heavily depleted already even before being used as a water cannon in the episode). In the event of a true societal collapse, I could definitely see the value of commandeering such a vehicle, if for no other reason than to park it in front of your stronghold or retreat as a convenient source of drinking water. Even once depleted, all you would need to do is take a party out to a local spring and refill the tank, which strikes me as far more efficient than hauling water by hand in jugs and bottles.

Lastly, the final lesson presented by episode five is the reality that even otherwise decent people may come to find brutality gets easier and easier for them in a world where every day is a fight for survival. As the character Abraham stated, you get to the point where most of the weaker people are gone and everyone who is alive is strong, many of them threats to you and your people. That is just a fact. Mankind is a rough animal, and when the hold of law and order is no longer present and the thin veneer of polite society is ripped away, many people will reveal themselves to be no better than common predators. The goal will be to maintain our own humanity as we are forced to deal with such people.

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:

1 comment:

  1. That is when the question of "Is humanity inherently good or evil?" With the veneer, however thin, securely in place, I would personally think most people fall on the good side. Though, I think they are so close to the line when they fall, that, veneer stripped, it's anyone's ball game.


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