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08 March, 2015

REVIEW: The Walking Dead (AMC Network TV Series): Season 5 - Episode 13 "Forget"

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.

As always, this episode has lessons within the plot from which those of us calling ourselves Preppers can use to our advantage in the event of an actual emergency, whether it is an all-out apocalyptic TEOTWAWKI societal collapse situation like the one pictured in the show or not. A big point that this episode tried to get across came about in Rick and his group arguing for better security to be observed by the residents of the Alexandria Safe Zone. In any type of event where safety from the outside might be a concern (and don't you ever allow Pollyanna feelings about society to lure you into believing future threats won't exist in the form of other people) it is important to keep security as a priority concern.

There should always be a lookout stationed at a high point around your survival retreat or stronghold 24/7, and I would suggest assigning regular shifts to accomplish this. It might be tempting to put one or two people who are the best suited to something like this and leave it at that, but the longer a person is on this type of duty the more likely they are to become complacent and miss things. Likewise, it will be important to assign shifts for walking the walls of your community, if you happen to be lucky enough to have them, or at minimum to patrol the perimeter of whatever holdings happen to be under your control and protection. These individuals need to be looking for any possible security breaches, such as individuals climbing over the walls, as well as watching for outsiders in case they be hostile. As Rick states in this episode, "People are the real threat now," and it is nothing but wisdom for you to understand that is how it would be in the real world as well in the event of any type of prolonged emergency. Rick understands completely just how lucky the people of the Alexandria community have been thus far as well as just how unlikely it is that such luck will continue to last without proper security being maintained.

This type of thinking is actually something I've talked about quite a bit under the generic umbrella of what I refer to as Medieval Survivalism, which can be quickly described as an ideal of survival that revolves around a stronghold, rather than either a "bug-out" mentality or the standard Prepper wisdom of trying to lay low and stay more out of sight. YMMV, but I firmly believe it is a philosophy that lends itself better to a long-term mode of survival, centered on community.

This episode also provided an interesting idea for a fairly simple survival meal or ration: mashed lima beans mixed with cocoa powder and a little sweetener. It is mentioned as a good source of protein that also has a good taste, which is interesting to me as it sounds like something that would be pretty easy to put together as well as store the ingredients for long-term. I suppose one could even substitute another type of beans in the recipe as well as using honey as the sweetener, which we all know has – more or less – an indefinite shelf-life. I might have to think about making some of this pretty soon, just to try it out.

*** SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH TO AVOID MILD SPOILER *** Daryl seems to be having a hard time re-acclimating himself to normal society, and a stark analogy can be drawn between him and the situation involving the horse from this episode. The point to be taken is that the negative events which occurred (I'm trying to keep the Spoiler mild by not saying exactly what happens) resulted from the attempt to help the horse by redomesticating it. The conclusion that Daryl is pretty clearly drawing from the whole situation revolves around the fact that the horse seems to have been better off when it was wild and untamed, only coming into danger when they got involved and tried to bring it back into society per se. This will truly make it more difficult for him to allow himself to become comfortable within the seemingly protective walls of the Alexandria Safe Zone (of course, this episode also laid out the beginnings of an arrangement that might allow him to ease his way into the community without having to fully give up his instincts about being out in the wild). And, truly, the part of him that is hesitant to get comfortable may very well be wisdom speaking. In fact, I would argue that it is. The survival instinct can be a very strong protector, and the group of characters followed by this program have been forced to develop a very strong such instinct. If they allow that instinct to become complacent, it could definitely lead to tragedy, so I would always advise a healthy level of readiness and training to keep oneself sharp.

And, the final lesson I can see that is present in this episode is the need for each of us to become good judges of people. Not only are outsiders a possible threat, but you also need to be able to assign responsibilities to individuals welcomed into your community that will fit the skills they possess. Acclimating back into a (comparatively) normal life from one more focused on moment-to-moment survival isn't going to be an easy transition for anyone, especially someone who might have been surviving on their own for any amount of time. Still, this doesn't change the fact that virtually everyone has some skill that could possibly be an asset to a community, if only you are able to accurately judge what those skills might be and exploit them. And, in doing so you will also go a long way toward helping that person settle back into more of a normal existence.

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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