According to one interview with the show’s creators, the first episode of THE TRIBE kicks off around 6-9 months after the death of the adults. None of the characters could have survived that long without developing a certain amount of resourcefulness, or attaching themselves to somebody with the necessary skills, so let’s take a look at how some of them did it.
If you’re going to survive the apocalypse, the first thing you’re going to need is food and water. Jack fortified himself in a shopping mall with all the resources it contained, then surrounded himself with allies who could help him find more. Of course he was also keeping back his own secret stash while everybody else scrimped and saved, unable to quite let go of those lone survivor instincts.
Related to this is trade. When we meet Lex and his gang they have been amassing useful items such as batteries and walkie-talkies, which they hoped to use as leverage to help them join the Locos. Even Ryan has developed a head for what’s valuable in this new world, gambling for food with Patsy and Paul and taking bets on Brady’s sex for provisions. And, while misguided, his stockpiling of useless banknotes does at least show an attempt to look to the future rather than just survive in the moment.
But let’s not forget the dark side of trade either, with characters like Roanne and the Nomads using their trading power to exploit others.
Another character who knows how to get their hands on the right things is Dal. When Amber needs to gather together some items for the baby’s arrival it’s Dal she trusts to go outside and find them, and to return safely. We see this practical character scavenging through abandoned buildings, ready to make a quick getaway on his roller skates if he runs into trouble. While he doesn’t find anything on his list, he does recognise the usefulness of the Moses basket and brings it back to the mall with him. It can only be hoped that it saw a good clean before Zandra put the baby in it.
Other, more vulnerable, characters look to allies for support. Pregnant Trudy relies heavily on Bray, while Patsy and Paul are looked after by Salene. Sometimes it’s a mindset rather than a certain set of skills that gets you through and, although not one of the more assertive characters early in the show’s run, Salene is one of those people who just get things done. While the others deal with tribal politics or their own issues, Salene just goes along quietly taking control and establishing a sense of order. During the discussions over whether Bray and Trudy can stay at the mall, she feeds and comforts Trudy, expresses complete confidence in the tribe’s as yet unmade decision to take in the newcomers, and finds time to explain to the younger children why they will all have to have a little less to eat for a while.
She is also the first person (in fact the only person, other than Bray) to show that she understands the importance of babies for the future of this post-apocalyptic world. You can’t help but feel she’s survived by tackling one small problem at a time and keeping herself busy enough not to think about what’s going to happen next.
This is both similar and completely opposite to how Amber has survived, using that same can-do attitude not to focus on the day-to-day but rather the bigger picture, building something out of the ruins of the old world according to her own ideas about what kind of society the tribe should be making. She makes reasoned, logical decisions, if not always empathetic ones, voting against Bray and Trudy staying at the mall by citing the lack of food and the tribe’s inability to look after themselves let alone a baby. While this makes her an intelligent and persuasive leader, series 1 Amber is definitely not so much of a people person.
These skills and attitudes – some more flawed than others – helped our characters to survive and cope with the collapse of their world. What would you have done in the same position?