Sunday, June 14, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 11 ("Revenge")

This is the eleventh 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 welcomed a baby girl to our group of survivors. The group brought in two new adults -- a very pregnant Laura Foster and a new guy named Norman. Laura gave birth to an unnamed baby girl -- but not before her post-Sickness common law husband terrorized the Grange in order to get her back. Tom Price killed her husband and then promptly got himself killed. But the Grange now has the first in a new generation of post-Plague babies. Fortunately, she doesn't seem to be at risk for getting sick herself -- though this isn't a plot-point that is ever addressed by the show. (How immune is the next generation?)

Today's episode -- "Revenge" -- starts with a bang. The group goes out into the field to harvest some hay. Vic Thatcher -- the group's one physically disabled member -- became dispondent after being left behind and generally feeling useless. So he shot himself in the face!

Vic Thatcher 2.0
Fortunately, he survived. However, the gunshot was apparently strong enough to morph him into a new actor (now played by Hugh Walters).

Emma lectures the men that they need to do something about Vic. He feels pretty useless. His main task is educating the kids. But he lacks the tools to actually do much more than basic reading and math skills. Plus, he lacks a wheelchair. He's pretty much getting around in a wheeled desk chair. After much prodding, Greg and Paul decide to go into the nearby stinky town and find a wheelchair, plus lots of new books and school materials.

Meanwhile, we reintroduced to a familiar face: Anne Tranter! She has a history with both Greg and Vic -- and not a good one! She is now traveling with a handsome guy named Donny.

Ann Tranter's Return!
They saw smoke coming from the Grange and really want to join up with a new group. Not only that, but they have a tanker-truck nearly filled with petrol -- which is becoming increasingly rare in this new world.

Everyone is excited -- both about the prospect of two new members. But the prospect of petrol makes them all downright giddy! Until Greg sees Anne.

Let me remind you about their shared history:

Vic and Anne met up shortly after the Sickness and set up a base of operations/love nest in a remote quarry. They gathered all sorts of goods -- food, tools, clothing, etc. -- and took them down to the quarry. Anne was messing around with the tractor and managed to tip it over onto Vic. His legs were crushed and loosely set by Greg, who just happened to be passing by. Greg went away to pick up pain medications. While he was away, Anne decided to cut her losses and abandoned Vic and his crushed legs. She then ran into Greg and told him that Vic was dead. Greg went back to the quarry four months later and found him -- still alive, but his legs are pretty much useless.

Needless to say, Greg is worried. He wants to petrol, but he doesn't see how Donny and Anne can remain in the same house with Vic. His immediate plan is keep Anne and Vic apart until he comes up with another plan.

Anne -- shaken that her misdeeds have caught up to her -- decides to hide upstairs and Emma agrees to keep Vic in the dark about her presence within the house. Of course, John and Lizzie spill the beans, which send Vic into a tailspin. He abandons his teaching in order to sit in his wheelchair and the bottom of the staircase, waiting for Anne to come down.

Vic eventually confronts Anne during supper. He tells the story of how Anne had left him for dead six months ago. He tells everyone that it's all water under the bridge. The group needs both Anne and Donny and they should stay. But it's clear to everyone that Anne will be unable to remain in the house. Donny -- unaware of Anne's actions before this discussion -- agrees to stay at the Grange, but Anne will leave first thing in the morning.

That night, Vic pulls himself up the staircase in order to confront Anne. She greets him, holding a blade and threatens to kill him. Which is what he wants. He tells her that he would have rather been killed than abandoned. So why not now?

Of course, it was all a big ruse. He begged for his death. She reached down to comfort him. And then he began to strangle her.

Ultimately, nothing came of it. Anne admitted that she has nothing but her life. He has his life and the children and his community. Ending her life or his life won't accomplish anything. Life is too precious -- both of their lives. It was a cathartic moment for both of them -- ending with the two of them holding each other and talking late into the night.

The story ended with Anne walking away on her own while Vic watched from above.

I am glad that they created a start and finish to the whole Vic-Anne-Greg storyline. It would have been so easy to drop things after the initial story. But I like this resolution -- giving Vic an opportunity to let go of his anger and resentment and even allowing Anne a moment to stay within character while also accepting some accountability for her earlier selfish behavior.

It's interesting to note that Norman -- introduced last episode -- appears to be gone. And Laura is  mentioned, but not seen. She is hiding away in her room, suffering from postpartum depression. It's also interesting to note that Emma -- who normally feels for others during their times of emotional needs -- doesn't feel very sympathetic towards Laura.

I'm pretty sure that this is the last that we will see of Donny -- though his petrol truck will make an appearance next week! Speaking of which, we will be looking back at "Something of Value" on next week's episode.

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