Sunday, May 17, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 7 ("Starvation")

This is the seventh 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 group of "survivors" (Abby Grant, Jenny Richards, and Greg Preston; along with children John Milton and Lizzie Willoughby) getting involved in a feudal war between a young earl named Jimmy Garland and a man named Knox who'd taken over Garland's family estate. Abby fell in love with Garland, who opted to remain at Waterhouse with his war instead of joining our band. But this short romance appears to have jolted Abby out of her obsessive search for her missing son, Peter.

Case in point, Abby explains to the children that their group is going to seriously shift gears at the beginning of this episode (titled "Starvation"):

They then pop into their van and take off for parts unknown, but not before John asks Abby if Peter might be one of these new children. Harsh!

Meanwhile, we are introduced to two new people in a country cottage. Two very hungry people. First there is young Wendy (played by Julie Neubert). We learn that she began wandering the countryside after recovering from the Sickness. She is sick of eating nothing but daffodil soup:

She ran across an old woman named Emma (played by Hana Maria Pravda). Emma left with her family for the countryside to ride out the Sickness. Unfortunately, her whole family died and left her alone. Now Emma and Wendy live together and look after each other.

Emma Cohen
The problem is that they have nothing to eat. They have already scavenged all of the food from the surrounding cottages and there is nothing in their garden to eat. They have been subsisting in the recent past off daffodil and nettle soup.

Wendy makes the decision to make the long journey to a nearby community, much to Emma's dismay. It's really not safe in the towns due to illness, but Wendy doesn't believe that she has much choice.

While walking through the woods, Wendy meets up with the proverbial wolf: Tom Price. It seems that our wandering vagabond left Wormley under a bit of a cloud. He had just caught a couple fish and offered some to Wendy. For a price. Wendy was sufficiently repulsed by Price's lecherous proposition and managed to take off with his fish at her first opportunity:

Meanwhile, we meet up with a pack of wild dogs. It seems that man's best friends decided that humanity was a losing bet. The pack of dogs initially corner our survivors and later attack Emma.

Fortunately, Abby distracts the dogs with gunfire while Greg and Jenny lure them away with rabbit carcases. This allows Abby time to tend to Emma's injuries and to learn her story, but it also creates of period of prolonged separation for our survivors.

Because Greg and Jenny cannot get back to the cottage. They are stuck without weapons at a small castle (later named the Grange), surrounded by possibly rabid dogs.

The Grange
Back at the cottage, Abby and Emma are discovered by an angry Tom Price. He is angry about his missing fish, but offers to barter some food for the two women -- in exchange for sexual favors from Abby. She manages to trick Tom into his caravan and then, with Wendy's help, locks him into the back of the vehicle.

Back at the Grange, the dogs finally leave. Greg and Jenny decide to settle down in this large building for the evening with the children. The following morning, they discover a building with lots of rooms, as well as some kitchen space that hadn't been converted to use electricity or gas. That's right. They have a wood-burning stove! The property is also surrounded by large stone walls and there is plenty of room for them to begin raising crops and livestock. Could this become their new home?

They discover something else early into their stay at the Grange: a mentally disabled man named Barney (played by John Hallet). He had taken shelter on the property at some point in the recent past after being attacked by the dogs. He had a pretty nasty dog-bite, but it didn't appear to be infected and it helped reduce some of their worries about rabies.

By the way, if you ever wondered what my boy Leslie is like, watch an episode of "Survivors" and check out the scenes with Barney in them. There are a couple of minor differences, but otherwise there is little difference between the two.

Our two groups eventually reunite and our group of survivors nearly doubles in one episode! They make the decision to establish a collective at the Grange. Not only that, but they discover a flock of sheep. Plus, Emma can really cook! It looks like they might survive this post-apocalyptic world after all!

I really like this episode. I like most of the newcomers, plus the group really needed to settle down sooner than later.

My only complaint centers on their decision to keep Tom Price around. He has been no good since the beginning. He refused to help Jenny early on when she was wandering alone. He deserted the group to Wormley and his men when he first joined up with them. He then left Wormley's HQ -- with a truckload of stolen weapons and food supplies. Plus, he tried coercing sexual favors from both Abby and Wendy in exchange for food.

He's obviously untrustworthy and dangerous. And they know this! But they keep him around. Trust me when I warn you that this will bite the group in their collective asses at some point in the future. With horrible consequences!

We watch "Spoil of War" next week!

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