Sunday, June 21, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 12 ("Something of Value")

This is the twelfth 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 tied up some loose threads involving Greg Preston, Vic Thatcher, and Ann Tranter (who returned for one episode before wandering off towards parts unknown). Meanwhile, our group continues to have ten members. We keep adding people, but apparently they take off between episodes!

Today's episode is "Something of Value." It's the penultimate episode of Season One. Greg invites a traveler into the Grange. This guy's name is Robert Lawson. Lawson warns our survivors about traveling nomads who do nothing but steal from established settlements. He knows all about that, because he's one of those nomads. But our group doesn't know that, so they feed him and let him wander their property unsupervised.

Lawson discovers the Grange's 1,000 gallon-truck that filled with petrol (also from this episode). He sneaks off to find his two companions. The trio then plans to steal the tanker from our survivors.

Meanwhile, there was a terrible rainstorm. The garden was flooded and most of their vegetables are destroyed. Not only that, but most of the food supplies that they got from Vic's quarry stockpile (acquired in this episode) got flooded out in the basement! In a convenient twist of timing, our group realizes that they can trade their petrol for more food from a larger settlement called Little Barton.

They decide to send Greg and Jenny off to barter for more food and seed.

Lawson and his companions (Jim Buckmaster and Thorpe) arrive at the Grange, only to discover that Greg and Jenny have left with the petrol tanker. Abby tell them -- fairly smugly, I might add -- that our pair has a pretty good lead on the bandits.

Unfortunately, their lead doesn't last for long. The breaks on the tanker are pretty much shot and it's been leaking fluid. Greg barely avoids crashing on a hillside road. He manages to pull the tanker into a garage and sends Jenny off for some tools.

On the way back to the Grange, Jenny runs across Lawson and his friends. Unfortunately, they trick her into admitting that the tanker is broken down and parked fairly close by. They end up taking her hostage to prevent her from getting help from the others.

Fortunately, Greg sees the bandits when they arrive and manages to capture Buckmaster fairly early on.

Greg trades hostages and gets Jenny back with him, but not before telling Buckmaster that he's not giving up the petrol. His group needs it for food and supplies and, without it, they will have to dissolve. Buckmaster really doesn't care. In his mind, the petrol belongs to him and his group, just as much as Greg's group.

The two groups have a gunfight, which allows Jenny to escape in the bandits' jeep. She plans to get help from Paul and Abby and the others.

Of course, this also leaves Greg on his own. He is quickly overwhelmed by the three men and the tanker is stolen.

Of course, Greg still hasn't repaired the breaks. It's not long before the bandits crash the tanker on that hilly road. Lawson and Thorpe are dead and Buckmaster is pretty much out of his mind. He decides that nobody will get any of the petrol if he can't have it. Greg ends up having to take him out in order to save the petrol!

The reinforcements show up just in time to handle the bodies. Abby tells Greg that they lost roughly 150 gallons from the truck. Greg moans that a life must be worth 50 pounds these days -- which is still 50 pounds more that Barney's life was worth! But I digress...

This is probably my least favorite episode of Season One. I understand that they were trying to impress upon us the tremendous value of petrol in a world where gas and oil refineries no longer function. But the back-and-forth gun play just left me bored. It's not a terrible episode. It just doesn't do much for me overall.

It was interesting to hear about the community of Little Barton. We don't hear exactly how big it is, but it's sizable enough to be fairly organized and filled with food and other supplies. We learned that our group has traded with Little Barton at least twice before this episode. Emma was gushing last episode about the potatoes that they had recently bartered for. I'm assuming that they got them at Little Barton.

Paul also did his part to make this episode more enjoyable for me. For whatever reason, we was running around with his shirt open all episode -- and I'm not complaining! This show needs more skin. Or not. But I appreciated it!

We will watch the final episode of Season One next week: "A Beginning."

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