Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 19 ("The Witch")

This is the nineteenth 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.

Today's episode, titled "The Witch," turned out to be pretty basic. We were introduced to two more members of the Whitecross community. One is an older woman named Peggy (played by Catherine Finn):

The other is a bit of an outsider named Mina (played by Delia Paton). We've heard of her in a past episode, but this is the first that we've actually seen her. Mina lives alone with her baby Matthew on the edges of Whitecross. She generally keeps to herself and is a bit of an odd-bird. She mixes with the others once weekly, when she gathers flour for the community's baking.

Mina & Baby Matthew
Here are two things that you need to know about this issue. First, Hubert wants to mess around with Mina and Mina is disgusted by Hubert. That doesn't stop him from trying -- for all the good it does him!

Here's the other thing: Hubert is a trouble-maker. He doesn't like John and Lizzie hanging around Mina's home. After all, she might eventually agree to his advances and he can't risk have the kids blocking that action. So he convinces them that Mina is a witch who likes to harm children!

Which makes it poor timing when Mina tries making marbles and a Hubert doll out of clay. She meant these to be toys for the kids -- to thank them for helping out with the baby. Instead, they think that she used her witchy magic to cause harm to Hubert!

In case you can't tell, that's mini-Hubert's leg breaking off! Which is another bit of bad timing, because Hubert sprained his ankle the previous night while trying to break into Mina's house for a bit of hanky-panky. Not that he will admit to it. Instead, he feeds into the children's fear that Mina is a witch, who'd place a curse on him.

Soon enough, pretty much everyone is freaking out about Mina. For example, Mina was accused of cursing the cows so they that they wouldn't produce milk (Actually, Hubert forgot to separate the cows from the weaning calves so there was no milk for the people.)

Pretty soon, Mina is racing off into the late-night wilderness to escape Whitecross' raving witch-hunters. Fortunately, they come to their senses before there's too much harm done and Mina returns to the community -- free from the stigma of being a witch!

I can forgive the kids for believing Hubert -- but people like Pet and Peggy and Jack aren't so removed from modern society that they've begun believing in witch curses -- certainly not at the coaching of a known trouble-maker like Hubert! Next time, the people of Whitecross need to chase Hubert off instead of listening to his slanderous lies!

Next week's episode is called "A Friend In Need."

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