Sunday, May 3, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 5 ("Gone to the Angels")

This is the fifth 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 up with what initially appeared to be an ideal survivalist community. But they ultimately got turned off by the leader's obsession with "free love" and repopulating, so they left. We return in this episode to Abby's obsession with finding her lost son, Peter Grant. They decide to return to his boarding school in hopes that Peter had returned there.

They don't find Peter. In fact, the old teacher who had survived the plague (seen back in Episode #1) is now gone. Abby is privately mourning in the school chapel when she is introduced to two new survivors: John and Lizzie (played by Stephen Dudley and Tanya Ronder, respectively).

John Milton // Lizzie Willoughby
John had been sent to ride out the plague with his grandmother, but she died. Lizzie had been sent away by her dying father. She eventually ran across John and the two quickly teamed up.

Interesting digression: Stephen Dudley (AKA "John") is the son of Surivors producer Terrence Dudley and Tanya Ronder (AKA "Lizzie") is the daughter of Jack Ronder, one of the show's writers. These aren't my favorite characters, but they were probably key to solidifying our group of "survivors." It's a lot harder to disband as a group when you have a pair of dependents foisted upon you.

Abby learns that John and Lizzie had met a boy named Glynn at some point in the recent past. He'd been driving a bus and was looking for the "Angels." Our group finds the bus -- with an empty gas-tank -- filled with news articles about a group of three "Angels" who had left for the wood at the earliest signs of the plague. Our group also finds a map and decides to track down these Angels themselves in hopes that Peter might have gone there with Glynn and the other boys.

Our survivors were transferring their belongings from Abby's car to the larger bus when they had a brief fright:

Fortunately for Jenny and Greg, this growling dog turned out to have befriended John and Lizzie. Hence, our survivors gained their first four-legged member: Ben.

Our group finds a farmhouse and decide to camp out there for the night -- or perhaps longer. Things seem to be going well until Greg is suddenly threatened by a gun-toting man named Lincoln. Greg is accidentally injured by Lincoln, who had assumed that Greg was part of a roving militia band who'd disrupted his earlier group.

It is clear early on that Lincoln has mental health issues -- probably schizophrenia compounded by mental trauma brought on by the Death. He's socially awkward and friendly, but then goes through brief periods of paranoia accompanied by threats of violence. Everyone is leery of him, but they allow him to remain with the group while Greg heals from his gunshot wounds.

While the others wait for Greg to heal, Abby decides to search for the Angels. Quickly enough, she finds them. Jack is their leader and they have started their own self-sufficient farm out in the wilderness. They spend their days and nights tending to the earth and praying. They are actually very pleasant men -- especially when contrasted with Lincoln.

Abby reveals that she is not a believer, but Jack gladly allows her to remain at their cabin so that she can rest and figure out what to do next.

Meanwhile, Greg gradually discovers that their current house isn't terribly secure. It's somewhat far from the water, but it's also visible from far away. They are fearful of what might happen should another band of raiders target them and their supplies. He recommends that they move on.

This doesn't sit well with Lincoln. Who finally goes a step too far with his threatening behavior.

Fortunately for Lizzie, Ben is nearby. The dog attacks Lincoln and subdues him long enough for our group to leave without the unstable man. Quickly enough, they track down Abby and the Angels. The men are delighted to have company around -- especially the children.

Abby has decided to remain -- just as Matthew begins showing the first signs of illness (fever and glandular lumps under his arms). Soon enough, all three men are ill and that's when our group makes a startling discovery. They are carriers of the Sickness.

This brings up the question, will the survivors of this plague infect any previously uninfected area of humanity should they travel? And for how long?

Shortly after this, Lizzie and John discover that Matthew and Robert are dead and Jack is bedridden. Lizzie is shaken, but John is fairly cold towards Jack's situation. I guess that's what happens when you're eight-years-old and the world dies around you:

Jack soon dies, while Abby reads from his Bible.

Our group then moves on towards their next adventure. Will they find Peter? Will they finally find a place to call home? Find out next week when we watch Episode #6 ("Garland's War").

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