Hey everyone, sorry this is late. I actually lost a complete copy of this article in draft mode when Jim and I were optimizing the server last night, so I had to re-write from scratch. Since we’re behind, let’s jump right in to see how our group did surviving episode 404, “Indifference!”
Scenario: On a supply run for critical medicine, food, and medical supplies, Rick and Carol come across a small housing addition, where they find a hapless couple who have been trapped in a bathroom for several days by a lone zombie.
What the survivors did: After questioning them, Carol argues that the two idiots should be allowed to “help”, so they split off to round up food and supplies in the neighborhood. Rick gives them guns, and his watch so they can meet back at a designated rally point.
What the survivors should have done: Several people have suggested that this was an elaborate Solomon-esque logic puzzle that Rick was subjecting Carol to. Myself, I think Rick was genuinely conflicted. Should I let these people return with me, even though that could be a death sentence with the superflu running rampant? On the other hand, they were like baby birds, unable to protect themselves from a single zombie that Carol killed with essentially a staircase. Also, you can imagine what was going through his head, “if I end up exiling Carol, what will these guys think of our group?” Yikes, that’s a lot of angles to consider.
Here’s what I’d do. I don’t think you can just not help humans in the apocalypse. People give you strength in numbers, and right now our group’s numbers are low. But you need the right people. Not just weeding out psychos like Merle, but also making sure the people you bring in can bring something to the table while not putting you at risk. What do you do with small children? Or adults with some sort of disability? Interesting ethical questions that I doubt AMC wouldn’t touch with a ten foot pole, nor will I. As I’ve often mentioned, our civilized society that we’ve worked thousands of years to perfect allows us the luxury of not making purely utilitarian decisions about what to do with members of our society. Thank god, or we wouldn’t have Stephen Hawking, among many others.
But these two. God, they’re annoying and useless, but that in itself shouldn’t warrant a death sentence. Myself, I think I’d tell them to sit tight since the guy was injured and the girl was hobbled, and after I dismissed Carol and finished sacked the neighborhood, I’d come back and explain what just happened. We had a member of our group that broke our circle of trust and she got put outside our walls. That should put them in “sit up straight and listen” mode. Then I’d explain that I’m going to take them back right now to the prison, on terms that they agree to stay in a secure cell block, which they’ll be locked into each night, until they earned our trust. This is for their protection as much as it is for ours. I’d care for them and get them back to health, and give them chores, and also training. Start them off with cleaning, cooking, and clothing assignments. They’d have someone from the trusted part of the group assigned to them as their handler, who could observe how they work among themselves and with others in the group. Work them up to Zombie poking and clearing duty. Maybe go crazing and put them on moat digging duty as outlined a few weeks ago. After I thought they were ready, I’d start sending them out on runs, and they either sink or swim.
Maybe the gimpy girl never makes it that far, going out on runs, etc, but hell, who knows? Maybe she’s an ace driver? If she can do small repairs, tend the gardens, stab zombies at the fence, or otherwise contribute, she’d still be welcome. If either did something stupid that got them killed, oh well. Did I mention these were the most annoyingly acted and written characters this side of Shitty Bow Girl from season 3? If they were lazy, and wouldn’t work, then they wouldn’t eat. If they acted crazy or the fool, they’d wind up on the wrong side of the fence. There is no reason to refuse to let survivors join your group; if you do it right, and you do it smart.
Scenario: Bob has been using alcohol as a sleep aid, drinking himself into a stupor so he can get some shuteye.
What the survivors did: Daryl tried to give him some absolution, but when it turned out that Bob yet again put them in danger over his love of the bottle, he fucking came unglued, and did everything short of putting him on all fours and mounting him to show his complete dominance and that he wasn’t fucking around. If Bob took a sip of booze before Daryl’s people got the medical care they needed, it would be his ass, beaten right into the fucking ground.
What the survivors should have done: Hot damn, I’ve always wanted to see Daryl in a real leadership position, and he did not disappoint. He was firm when needed, listened when he had to, and when Bob acted like a goddamn fool, he threatened to enroll him in a 12 step program; six up one side of his ass, six down the other.
Would Daryl have been justified marching Bob right off that roof into the waiting mouths below? I don’t know, it depends on if Bob can be rehabilitated. I honestly can’t believe that Bob has survived this fucking long. He’s out on his own, and gets blackout drunk every night to go to sleep. How has he not gotten his ass eaten? And now that he’s a member of the larger group, he can’t abdicate his role as an able bodied person to defend the group, and incapacitating yourself with any sort of drug or alcohol is not okay.
It will be interesting to see where they go from here, because the cliche’d drunken role in television goes through a series of ever lower spirals of fuck ups and misadventures before hitting rock bottom when they really fuck up and hurt themselves or someone else. I’m not going to have much patience for this in “The Walking Dead”, and hopefully neither will Daryl. I hope Bob gets his act together, or all the dominos in the world won’t save him.
Scenario: Rick, after hearing hears Carol’s confession of the murder of David and Karen, must decide what to do.
What the survivors did: Rick provided Carol with food, water, and a car, then made clear to her that she was no longer welcome at the prison.
What the survivors should have done: This was horseshit. Not the decision to banish Carol itself. You could argue that multiple ways. What is horseshit was Rick doing this on his own authority, of which he has none. He used to have this kind of authority, and I suppose he could get it back quite easily, because of his standing in the group, but to me, this is the slippery slope towards being the Governor.
What is Tyreese going to think of this brand of “justice”? What is Daryl going to think about it? What is this going to do to Carol’s adopted charges? If Rick is back into full blown Ricktatorship mode, how will the now much larger group react to him basically usurping power from the prison council? Shit, how was the council formed? Is there a mechanism to remove a member from office? How do you hold trials and what kind of punishments will you hand out? Shit, maybe think of these things before you decide to banish one of the council members in good standing?!
The group would be well within their rights to banish Rick for this, assuming he tells them the truth about what happens. And I’m not even considering the possibility of him lying, because damn. He’s omitted vital information before (“everyone is infected”) but this would be a betrayal of the group on a whole other level. Not only could they put him on the wrong side of the walls, but they could very well keep Carl against both of their wills since he’s a kid, using his same logic that he used on Carol to keep her from collecting her girls. Unfortunately, that wouldn’t be funny. Neither would Rick getting into fights with Daryl or Tyreese. Which is rough business for a guy like me that makes his trade poking fun of the survivors each week. The truth is, Rick made a very bad call in the way he handled this, and I’m interested to see how the show handles the fallout.
So that’s it for this week, see you back here next week for more Survival Guide! If you’re hungry for more, have you read all my other survival guides for this season and season 2? Also, we generated so much content this week I want to throw up my guts and cry about it! We posted a making of video from our “Daryl confessional” skit this week, and you can also see a video of me confronting Andrew Lincoln at the Walker Stalker Con with my Rick Grimes over here.