Wednesday, August 12, 2009

the colony: episode 4

Have you caught this show yet? I wrote about it on my Examiner column last week, and I've been following it since. I love this sort of thing. I've been thinking, pretty much since I was aware enough to know that I might need to worry about it, that I need to know how to survive, at least theoretically, in case the world collapses in my lifetime, and this show gives tons of that sort of knowledge. If they do another season, maybe I'll see about trying out.

A little background: ten people have been dropped into a post-apocalyptic LA, survivors of a plague that killed most of the world and toppled civilization. Their job is not only to survive, but to rebuild what they can of society, and stay sane while doing so. So far, they've daisy-chained car batteries to make electricity, figured out how to filter and store water, found a few sources of food, gone on one scavenging expedition, turned a lawn mower into a mini generator, built a shower, defended their warehouse-home from merauders, and decided to rebuild an old truck to give them mobility.

This week, they focused on building security. The attackers last week got in through a back door and smashed up the kitchen, damaging alot of their food and all the milk they got from their one adult goat(stollen from another camp outside the warehouse), so they filled up the stairwell with big heavy things, which is a great idea. They don't use that door, and even if anyone can still manage to get through it, the noise of moving all the stuff will serve as a warning alarm. They also reinforced some of the walls and added locking mechanisms to the doors. And while figuring out how to defend the front door, they found a little room up above everything, perched up in the rafters and without stairs or anything, where someone had been living. Inside, there was a bed, a bottle of vodka, a few magazines, and a safe with some money in it, which is useless now, but may come in handy later. And I'm sure that's foreshadowing; this show is a little like an RPG; you find things that will be useful later, but the results are entirely up to you.

As for the little room, I think they should move their sleeping quarters up there; it's the most defensible place there; no one even mentioned that fact.

Meanwhile, Leilani the personal trainer built a punching bag and declared one of the side rooms to be a gym, where she started teaching the girls how to defend themselves; Mechanic Mike couldn't see the value of that, and kept picking fights, but it should be obvious that the better able to defend themselves they all are, the better off the group is, right? And if someone was going to attack them while they were out foraging, they'd probably attack the girls first because they're smaller and more likely to be helpless, right? So I don't know why he's so pig-headed about it.

Also meanwhile, John C was working on mad-scientist weapons, and really looking the part with his dirty apron and wild hair and beard. He built a massive flame thrower and a six-foot-long taser; I hope the producers warn the merauders that these are real weapons, and to look out for them. The colonists don't know that no one can actually hurt them, and they've been at this for three weeks: it's real now. Vladimir managed to come up with a way to build non-lethal claymores, which is awesome-- and Amy went on about 'bread not bombs', so I think she's pacifist and that that might become a problem later.

They managed to get the truck engine working, after cleaning out the moving parts and getting the airflow, and now everyone is free to make it into some sort of mega monster mad-max machine, which should be awesome.

But the most trouble was the traders. Two traders on a big truck and with guns came, and they had things the colony needed-- namely, a brand new generator and the oil to run it, and fresh food. So the colonists traded away some of the power tools they didn't need for the genny, and then started fighting over the fact that Mike and Joey were speaking for everyone and making it all tense, and giving away all their canned goods-- their last can of tuna, among others-- and all the oranges, for perishables. Leilani wasn't having any of that, and there was a huge blowup, and that's distressing for survival. See, I understand that they know where the oranges are, and they know how to get them, but oranges aren't infinite or year-round, and no one in this group seems to know anything about plants, seasons, gardening or anything like that. They aren't planning, as far as we've seen, for the fact that the oranges might not be there when they go back. Maybe they just haven't mentioned the little garden out back, but it looks to me like they're ignoring a valuable resource, and so far, no one has mentioned anything about choosing foods with seeds they can plant and get more of for free.

But they did get two chickens, and if they can keep them well-fed, each will lay at least one egg a day, and if they don't lay, there's some extra protein in the form of chicken soup and / or roasted chicken. But a live and laying chicken is more valuable.

Next week shows a huge man and another woman returning to the warehouse and claiming that they already live there; I hope they're absorbed into the group. The point is to rebuild society, right? But it looks like there'll be more fighting. ::sigh::

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