While we’re all pretty sure that zombies aren’t real—nothing’s impossible, right?—a lot of people still like to watch the undead in movies or TV shows. Me, I’m not a fan of gore for its own sake; oh, I’ll watch horror movies, a lot of them, but I really don’t like a steady hour or so of gross.
Plus, I don’t believe in zombies.
I have a lot of friends who are very, very into watching The Walking Dead, but I’ve resisted until now. So, about six years, right? And now I’ve been paying the price, aka lack of sleep from playing catch-up. Honestly, I’m not a binge-watcher and the longest show I ever tried to catch up on was maybe two seasons’ worth.
And I’m too old for these late nights.
So first, I do like the show. I think it has to do with the characters, because the producers did a good job on that aspect; I think viewers come to relate to and care about these people, much like in a good book. I do want to see what happens and I’m becoming a bit immune to the gore.
Second, I’m a little confused on the timeline. Some events on the show suggest that perhaps a week has passed, but it could be a month; sometimes it’s a few days, I think. While I realize they aren’t going to show viewers every single detail, things like siphoning gas once or twice when they’re driving all over the place and not carrying extra cans is a little unbelievable.
Someone suggested I should watch it if only for the prepping aspect, and to that I have to say, well, sure, if it involves what NOT to do . . .
A brief recap:
Something happens. A group of folks are stuck on the highway. They band together to survive. One has an RV, so he has a few supplies; one is a cop and a cop’s wife and kid, so there are weapons; one is at least a marginal prepper with some supplies. There are a few others, of course, and additions along the way—as well as, um, deletions—but you get the gist: they aren’t necessarily going to be comfortable or completely safe, but they have a good start.
Take an episode we watched last night:
The group of ten or so is fleeing the imploded CDC in several vehicles and they come to a traffic jam across the highway. They scan the area, quickly and briefly, and everyone piles out and starts looking in abandoned cars for supplies. They post a guard, a single man on the roof of the RV. A gang of walkers shows up and they all scoot under cars to quietly hide. Most are successful because, as everyone knows, zombies aren’t too bright.
What’s wrong with all this?
First, as they’re driving and they arrive at the blockage, they drive in as far as possible before stopping. Any fast getaway would be severely impeded by abandoned vehicles. Second, they all spread out, willy-nilly, like they’re taking a nice stroll. Third, only one, maybe two, are actually looking for anything useful to scavenge. Fourth, the guard doesn’t see the walkers—who move fairly slowly—until they are within steps of our heroes.
Next, due to certain events, the group ends up at a farm where there are live people. These people have been partially shielded from all the chaos, and the owner seems at least somewhat savvy about how to protect his own family and friends from a dozen new faces. Of course, he thinks the walkers are merely sick, not dead.
We all know that Rick and his gang are the good guys, most of them, most of the time, but this dude has no clue one way or the other. He and his family tell everyone about the wells, the generator, and the size and scope of the farm. Sure, some things you can’t help if you’ve invited a bunch of folks to camp in your yard, but still . . .
Presumably, the group is at the farm for at least a week or so. Like I said, it’s hard to tell. They’re looking for a little girl who ran off during the highway incident and for one of them to fully recover from a gunshot wound. It seems as though the search is conducted willy-nilly, for an hour or so a day. When a map is finally produced, and a grid outlined and assigned, it’s been a while and is probably useless.
Again, they have one guard on the roof of the RV. Everyone else just wanders around, maybe doing chores, running off alone to sit in the middle of open areas and do whatever. At least they start gun and shooting practice, even if everyone seems amazingly capable and accurate.
And the driving—good grief, save your gasoline, whether it’s a mile or five. Not to mention the farm folks: they have lights on in the house all the time. Lots of lights. They’re running on a genny; maybe they have fuel stored somewhere, but I’m sure it’s not infinite.
So what should they have done differently at the beginning?
Arriving at the blockage on the highway, they should have scanned the area more thoroughly and posted two guards; this would ensure that there were no walkers in the area, or at least they’d have been spotted at a farther distance away.
They should have parked in such a manner that they had an escape route, stopping before the abandoned vehicles and angling toward an open path. Only two people should have left the vehicles at a time, certainly not the kids, and the cars closest to them should have been checked first—and anything potentially useful should have been taken. No wasting time on a red dress, for example. Ahem.
The search, it seems, should have been conducted for longer periods. I get that you wouldn’t want to be out after dark. And I don’t mean for “a” longer period; there are walkers eating people left and right—really, what chance does that little girl have? Zero to none. Sure, if it were my kid, I’d be combing the bushes until I found him, or evidence that he was dead; this mom, however, mostly wrings her hands and cries.
To be fair, so far they’ve mostly just been terrified of and dodging and killing walkers, and their original camp was set up like a summer outing with the family. So this mom has no skills, and no one has bothered to point this out or teach her anything. Neither has she shown any interest in learning.
Now, granted, I’m only near the end of season two, and some things are told in flashback, so I may not have the whole story; plus, I easily may have missed something along the way. I’m sure TWD fans will be quick to correct me!