Sunday, April 19, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 3 ("Gone Away")

This is the third in a series of blog posts dedicated to the 40th anniversary of BBC's "Survivors" television series. Survivors followed a core group of characters who managed to survived a devastating viral outbreak -- one which managed to kill off somewhere between 95-99% of humanity. Society has crumbled and now those who remain must relearn the old way if they have any hope of surviving much longer.

Our last episode ended with our core group of "survivors" (Abby Grant, Jenny Richards, and Greg Preston) meeting at an abandoned church building. In this episode -- titled "Gone Away" -- the three are sharing a meal and discussing their next plans. Abby tells Jenny and Greg that she has two major plans. First, she plans to find her missing son Peter. And secondly, she plans to "find a place to live. Join up with other people." She plans to "grow food and things, learn to look after ourselves" and learn how to support their eventual children and grandchildren without the benefit of everything that's been left behind after the Death.

Abby invites them to stay with her. Jenny is instantly committed. Greg is still mulling over his options. In the meantime, she plans to scavenge in a nearby village for food supplies and maps.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. "Gone Away" actually started out with Tom Price. He's the homeless vagabond who kept running into Jenny during previous episodes and complaining about germs. This episode starts with him raiding an empty farmhouse. Most of the animals are dead -- left to starve and bloat within their stalls. A few chickens and sheep are left wandering the yard and within the house. He finds that others have already raided the home.

There is no food left -- though he finds a shotgun hidden within a cupboard. He uses the gun to kill a chicken, which is quickly scooped up by a young boy. Tom chases the boy to a neighboring property. He's warned off by an older man. It seems that the man and the boy are both ill. It's not the Sickness, but something else. The man said that he thinks they got sick from contaminated water. He believes that they are both sick with typhoid. He begs Tom to leave the chicken with them as they haven't eaten in two days.

Fearful of getting sick, Tom keeps his distance and watches as the man and the boy return to their private shelter.

We catch up again with Abby, Jenny, and Greg. They enter a store and begin gathering groceries. Everything seems to be going well until they come across this clear message:

It's clear that somebody has laid claim to this store. Despite her initial shock, Abby decides to go ahead and get their groceries. She figures that they will only be there ten minutes or so.

They are loading up their vehicle when a group of Arthur Wormley's armed thugs enter the store. The men tell Abby and the others that they need to register at Wormley's HQ if they are going to remain in this area. Once they are registered, they will qualify for food, clothing, and other stuff; which will be parceled out by Wormley.

Abby, Jenny, and Greg decline to sign up with Wormley's group. The men begin unloading the car. Jenny manages to disarm one of the men and soon enough our "survivors" have the upper hand. The food is re-loaded and the thugs' vehicle is temporarily disabled -- just long enough for our group to get far away:

Our group eventually returns to their camp -- only to find Tom Price waking from a nap. He found their base-camp and took advantage of their unattended canned foods! Abby invites him to stick around and he offers to share the wealth of his knowledge for the greater good. Greg is unimpressed.

That night at supper, Tom tells the others about the man and the boy from the chicken-incident. Hopeful that this boy is Peter, Abby makes a rash decision to track down this pair. Tom decides to stay behind, but the others join her.

Which is fortunate, because Wormley's men didn't just give up on our survivors. They were badly humiliated and are determined to make example of our trio. They eventually notice smoke from our group's campfire and descend upon the camp.

Meanwhile, our group eventually finds the old farmhouse that Tom had told them about. They discover that both the man and the boy are now dead. Fortunately, for Abby at least, the boy isn't Peter.

One of Wormley's men notices our group of survivors as they return to the camp. He advises them to hide from the others while he covers for them. He tells his boss that the group ran off after seeing their land rover. Wormley's men blow out each of the tires from Abby's car and then drive off with Wormley's latest recruit: Tom Price!

Abby, Greg, and Jenny return to their camp after the men have driven off and find it in shambles. Most of the food is gone. Most of their possessions have been damaged. Our group decides to begin their search for Peter Grant and then eventually to create a new settlement -- presumably far away from Wormley!

This is where we really see the darker side of Wormley's group. Last episode's interactions were a bit cloudier. After all, they executed a man who had just led an armed attack on his property. Here we see them hanging a dead man in a grocery store to warn off looters. They are threatening others into joining their cause. And it's pretty clear that they would have killed Abby and the others if fate hadn't sent them away to see if that boy was her son.

There's definitely a need for leadership in their new post-Death world. It's just too bad that somebody else isn't taking the lead!

Next week, we will look at Episode #4 ("Corn Dolly").

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