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15 February, 2015

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 10 "Them"

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.

By and large, this episode was mostly a character piece that was meant to showcase how the group members are dealing with the tragic events of the last two episodes. Some may consider it to have been somewhat boring in comparison, but I – for one – found it to be necessary to the overall story the show is attempting to tell. These characters are going through so much upheaval in such a short span of time (surprisingly, at this point in Season 5 we're only just over 530 days from the beginning of the zombie apocalypse) that it is important to get it across to viewers that pretty much everyone on this program is a victim of PTSD at this point. How could they not be?

As for lessons we can take from it as viewers who spend our time preparing for disasters, etc., probably the most important thing is the realization that both physical as well as emotional exhaustion might one day represent one of the most ever-present future threats any of us might face in difficult times. Much of our little subculture concentrates on the stocking of supplies to get us through harsh times, and – while this is all well and good – what happens if your "bug-in" retreat or stronghold is overrun and you find yourself on the road with only what you can carry? The possible and perhaps probable scarcity of necessities like food, water, and fuel can and very well might take their toll. Never forget that, even though you might have a lot of faith in your own foraging and even hunting skills to feed yourself and your family and friends, other people are out there thinking the exact same thing. Expect that it is very likely any supplies you come across will already have been picked over by others and even wilderness areas might be denuded of wildlife by other hunters long before you ever arrive. Also, drought and other natural occurrences (wildfires, etc.) might exacerbate the scarcity of water and wildlife.

Normal exhaustion and even something as ubiquitous as the heat could become your enemy, if forced to "bug-out" and attempt mobile survival. In these instances, you might find it is very important to conserve energy, doing your best not to overexert yourself with unnecessary tasks. Unfortunately, remaining sedentary in such a way would actually be very difficult on the road. It will be important to find another safe place in which to rest and perhaps wait out the hottest times in the day, etc. Never forget that the idea of the Siesta came about out of necessity in those parts of the world, not mere laziness.

Another thing that you and I can take to heart from this episode is the understanding that the emotion of anger can be a powerful motivator, acting as the fuel that might be needed to keep a person going. Even someone who is ready to give up might push themselves that extra mile, powered only by their own rage, and that final mile might actually be the one that gets them to safety. The flipside of that is that such rage can also get that person and the others around them killed, if not carefully kept in check. Such truths should be something all of us strive to understand.

And, as a side note, this episode also serves to remind us (for what might be the first time) that we can expect that feral dog packs will represent a terrible danger in any kind of extended emergency situation. This would be especially true in a societal collapse scenario like the one portrayed by this show. Something that readers of this site may or may not already know about me is that I am a big animal lover. As such, I am the last to advocate harming animals in any way that isn't necessary. Don't get me wrong, I have no problem whatsoever with hunting, even for sport as long as the meat of the animal is eaten and not wasted. Still, the idea of harming an animal does bother me. Unfortunately, formerly domesticated dogs will go feral and need to be shot. There's simply no way around that. The large ones will cannibalize the small ones first, then eventually begin to turn on larger animals and even people, therefore putting them down will be necessary for safety. Recall from your history lessons that many communities in medieval times existed within walls (even ones made of something as simple as piled earth), and this protection wasn't in place only because of highwayman and brigands that might attack the settlement; it was a bulwark against the wolves that roamed the countryside for centuries, before finally being mostly eliminated. In less developed areas of the world, this is a reality that is still true to this day, such as the danger posed by packs of hyenas in rural Africa.

Anyway, the point is that there will be no choice but to shoot these dogs as a means of keeping people as well as livestock safe from them. And, as long as you've shot them anyway and been forced to expend your ammunition to do so, the upside is that they will also act as a possible food source as depicted in this episode. I'm aware that could possibly make some of you squirm a bit. I, for one, do not advocate shooting a person's own dogs for food as some others have. Things would have to be pretty bad before I would go that far. As in being on the true verge of starvation kind of bad. I have mentally prepared myself, however, for the possibility of eating even one of my own dogs if it was already dead or if the situation was sufficiently dire, and I can tell you for sure that a couple of feral dogs I might shoot will represent nothing more than protein as far as I'm concerned. You can read histories from famine times in ancient Rome that will tell you dog is very similar to pork, if prepared correctly, so take that for what it's worth. And this is coming from someone who truly adores these wonderful, loyal creatures. I don't think one of my dogs would hold a grudge against me anymore than I would hold a grudge against them for eating my body after I had passed on in order to keep themselves alive. As far as I'm concerned, you do what you must.

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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