Sunday, July 26, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 14 ("Birth of a Hope")

This is the fourteenth 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 was the final episode of Season One. Our group of survivors had settled into the Grange. Their initial group of three swelled to roughly one dozen and they were slowly learning to how raise their own livestock and grow their own crops -- with lots of stumbles along the way. Our group decided last episode that there was a need to reach out to the surrounding communities and form some sort of federation to assist with defense and trade. Meanwhile, Abby Grant learned from a doctor named Ruth that her son Peter is still alive!

And that's how Season One ended -- with a promise of community, neighborly connections, and a familial reunion!

Season Two begins elsewhere. Whitecross, to be specific. Greg Preston traveled by horse and wagon 50 miles out of his way to trade for two bags of wheat. He was reunited with an old friend, Charles Vaughan. Greg met Charles back in the first season. He and the others nearly settled there, but Abby got frightened off by Charles' emphasis on free-loving and re-population. Greg learned that Charles' first colony didn't turn out so well. Loraine lost her baby during the delivery, though Isla's baby boy survived. But a rift developed and they all went their separate ways.

Charles eventually settled at Whitecross, which appears to be a multi-house colony. He met up with a woman named Pet Simpson (played by Lorna Lewis) and the two have become a romantic couple. According to Charles, Whitecross has ten adults and five children. They all work and they all share the bounty of their work. Including some grape wine:

Charles Vaughan // Pet Simpson // Greg Preston
It turns out that Greg's group is doing better these days. They have tons of sheep, plus some cows and rabbits and chickens. They also are living well on potatoes and carrots and other vegetables. But they still need some wheat, which Charles is all too happy to share. Oh, we also learned that Abby permanently left the group in order to search full-time for Peter.

But Greg isn't just after wheat. He's also looking for Dr. Ruth. She'd come to Whitecross to assist with Charles' babies' deliveries. Ruth is currently overdue to get back to the Grange. Jenny is weeks -- if not days -- away from giving birth to her own baby! Unfortunately, Ruth isn't at Whitecross. She'd gone to another settlement to help an injured man. Hopefully she'll make her way back to the Grange in time for Jenny's delivery!

Speaking of the Grange, this happened while Greg was away:

A fire started somewhere in the building. Jenny and Paul were awake when the fire broke out. The children, John and Lizzie, awoke and raised the alarm. Arthur managed to escape. Everyone else died in the fire. RIP Emma, Vic, Charmian, Donny, Pete, and presumably Laura and Norma and Laura's baby.

The next day, Greg left for home, leaving a puzzled Pet. It seems that Charles had told her that he wouldn't let any new travelers leave Whitecross. They needed more people, but he didn't even ask Greg about staying. Charles acknowledge what she was saying, but indicated that he and Greg would be butting heads too much. You can only have too many leaders, you know?

Greg eventually returns home and finds the remains of his group. They quickly realize that there's no way to salvage the Grange. He packs up what's left and they begin the long journey back to Whitecross.

Fortunately, they are welcomed at Whitecross. In fact, Greg, Jenny, and the kids are all given their own house and the others have been invited into the big house. It's pretty good timing. Jenny is about ready to give birth and welcomes the opportunity to lie down in an actual bed. But where's Ruth??

Fortunately, a grumpy shepherd named Hubert Goss (played by John Abineri) is there to help out with the delivery if Ruth doesn't make it back in time. Doesn't Jenny look pleased?

Hubert Goss
Charles takes off on a motorcycle and manages to track down Ruth (now played by Celia Gregory). The timing is remarkable, as Jenny is now feeling regular contractions. The baby isn't born by the end of the episode -- but you know that he's coming and Jenny is definitely liking the option of Ruth over Hubert!

Ruth Anderson
We're left with a big question mark at the end of the episode. Will Greg and the others remain at Whitecross? And if not, where will they go next? My hunch is that we'll be seeing a lot more of Charles, Pet, and Hubert over the course of Season Two!

Stay tune for next week's episode, titled "Greater Love."

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