on Nov 19, 2014
In this episode we run into some rock-solid acting, backed by skilled dialog, supporting some great storytelling, supported by a complete mastery of themes and tone.
And then we fight bandits.
I know we mention the ending in this episode. I’m hoping we can hold off on discussing the ending until it gets a little closer. I don’t want to get to the last block of episodes and feel like we’re all repeating ourselves and everything has already been said. Particularly since there is so much else going on right now. This episode is dense with stuff to talk about. For example…
Joel brings up an interesting topic when he’s talking about the hydroelectric plant. We’re a civilization of specialists, because the sum of human knowledge is orders of magnitude larger than any one person could ever learn in a lifetime. If 99% of us die, we’re certainly going to lose a lot of that. But what parts would survive, and how difficult would it be to fill in the blanks?
With no proof on my side, I’m going to assume technologies like smartphones are over for the time being. The screens, batteries, interface, protocols, satellites, security, software, chip fabrication… the device itself represents the best of the best of our ideas, and it’s only a small part of the larger system required to make it go.
But taking few steps back, I wonder how we’d do with early 20th century tech. Keep in mind that a car needs more than just a mechanic. A mechanic is nothing without tools and parts. Parts have to be precision machined and that process requires electricity. And you need the raw materials: Plastics, metals, petroleum, glass, rubber. Some of that would actually be easy to get: Just recycle the millions of cars that have rusted into uselessness. Sure, you could scavenge auto parts from the old world for a while, but a generation into the new world you’re going to need to be able to make stuff from scratch. And if any part in that long chain of knowledge is lost, the whole thing collapses. You might end up with tons of recycle-ready steel to make parts and a viable supply of mechanics, but nobody knows how to design and machine an engine block from the raw materials. Or maybe nobody knows how to get the steel hot enough so that it can be worked.