Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 18 ("The Face of the Tiger")

This is the eighteenth 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.

Ruth, Charles, and Greg managed to escape from what's left of London at the end of our last episode. They returned home and, after spending time in the group's new isolation building, started the process of building a stockade for their sheep and of creating tons of soap. Much to the chagrin of both Hubert and Jenny, respectively.

Hubert is upset that his home -- a hut near the sheep -- has a persistent leak in it. The group's resident carpenter, Jack, has promised to fix it once the stockade is completed. Meanwhile, nobody (i.e., Arthur) wants Hubert to take up temporary residence with them because the shepherd stinks and has a sour disposition.

Meanwhile, Jenny is feeling put-out that Ruth is insisting that she help with the production of soap. Following her stay in London, Ruth is more committed than ever before about maintaining better hygienic standards at Whitecross. But Jenny is busy with the children and her other chores. She's really upset that her life has been reduced to soap-production!

Meanwhile, John and Lizzie run across a traveling stranger named Alistair. He's brought to the group and placed in isolation -- until Ruth decides that he must not be contagious because he says that he hasn't been around any other people. (Jon's Note: I know. That doesn't make any sense. But I don't write these episodes!)

We learn that Alistair was a librarian and he has knowledge of herbal medicine. He ends up moving into Arthur's house -- which really pisses Hubert off! "Them's last in is best served!" It doesn't help that Hubert thinks that Alistair received a pretty cushy job -- that of the herbal medic. But here is Charles' reasoning:

Meanwhile, there's a bit of a diversion where John and Lizzie ask Hubert a question about what to do if you ever meet up with a tiger:

This leads to a discovery by Hubert. He goes through Alistair's coat pockets and find a newspaper clipping. He brings this to Charles and says that he will keep the contents of the clipping quiet from the rest of the group... if he gets to move into one of the nice houses.

Alistair shows up and quickly admits the truth contained within the clipping. Alistair's real name is Andrew McAlister. He had been in a mental hospital for the criminally insane when the Death happened. He was there for killing a child. She had seen him and became afraid of him. He was angered that she was frightened of him and so he killed her. He spent the past year in isolation and recovery, spending his time reading nature poetry and catching fish. He believed himself mentally recovered and did not believe himself to be a threat to any others.

Pretty much all of the regular cast -- minus Hubert -- agreed, to one extent or another. Ruth planned to let everyone else know about Alistair's background and about his professed recovery -- but the plan was to let him remain at Whitecross.

Unfortunately, Hubert is still being a jerk. He tells John that Alistair is a tiger in human-form. He tells him to run away if he ever seen Alistair. Which is exactly what John does. He sees Alistair and runs away.

Next thing we viewers know, Alistair is packing and planning on leaving. He is upset that the people of this community spend all of their time bickering over roofs and soap and sheep. His departure is halted once everyone realizes that John has disappeared. Of course, suspicion falls on Alistair. But (unlike "Law and Order") the group refrains from a mob reaction. Alistair is kept under supervision, but no rash decisions are made.

Which is good. The following day, John is found in the isolation house. It seems that they searched everywhere BUT there. He left the area and came back, but placed himself in isolation because "rules are rules."

Alistair then departs. He leaves behind his book on herbal medicine, as well as a poetry book that essentially calls out the group for being "the meanest of created things."

Our next episode contains the message of persecution in "The Witch."

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