Sunday, September 6, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 20 ("A Friend In Need")

This is the twentieth 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 was titled "A Friend In Need."  It starts out with a pretty stark scene. A young woman is gathering eggs from a hen house. Meanwhile, a sniper is setting up his gun from a nearby hedge. The scene ends with the girl in his site and him pulling the trigger.

We then cut away to Whitecross. Charles and Greg have called together representatives from neighboring communities. It seems that Whitecross is trying to replicate what the Grange started at the end of season one. They are trying to create a federation of communities, who could share defense, commerce, communication, and possibly population resettling from time to time (to limit inbreeding!!).

This gathering isn't going terribly well. Nobody really trusts each other and most of the visiting ambassadors think that this is a waste of time. They are especially distrustful by Whitecross' efforts to get everyone to reveal their weapon stores to each other.

The meeting is abruptly interrupted by a visitor who reveals that the wife of one of the ambassadors was shot by an unknown assailant. Charles and Greg return to that community and go all CSI on us. Within ten minutes, we discover that the assassin is a crippled man with small feet and a high-power gun who only kills young women from a distance in remote areas of settlements towards the end of the day. We also learn that ten settlements have been attacked this way in the recent past.

CSI: Whitecross!
The folks at Whitecross soon suspect that the mysterious sniper is hiding out in their woods. They set up new rules that restrict the women's movement and allow for the men to keep a watch out for the sniper.

Eventually, Arthur comes up with the idea of a Judas Goat. Basically, they need to use one of the women to flush out the sniper -- or at least let us know for certain that he's in the area. Jenny volunteers and the gunman takes the bait. Fortunately, the men are around to prevent any lasting harm to Jenny!

Now that the Whitecross survivors have confirmed that the killer is near their settlement, they reach out to the other settlements for assistance. Most of the groups decline to help -- but one group steps up, which is a promising start to our newbie alliance of settlements!

Everybody gathers and begins flushing out the sniper with a line of people. This works out well -- except that the sniper runs through an area with a fox, which causes everyone to break formation for reasons that weren't apparent to me.

Even though they don't capture the killer, our group manages to find his camp. They also discover that -- despite the fact that he's an accomplished sniper with a high-power rifle -- has gone native and likes to eat raw food! Greg decides that they will keep near the pond. He figures that the killer will need to go there to drink eventually.

He's correct with that assumption. However, Charles ends up accidentally alerting the killer to their presence and a gunfight ensues.

Unfortunately, Greg had let John and Lizzie play with his rifle the other day. John knocked out the firing pin and didn't tell anyone about it! As a result, Greg's not able to make his killing shot. Instead, he pulls a snare from his pocket and strangles the gunman from behind!

The sniper is dispatched. It is then that we discover that "he" is a she and her name is George Oliver. Or something like that...

Yeah, this end line was pretty odd. After being terrorized for a week by a masked sniper, John wants to know why she had to die. Nobody seemed to have any answers. Maybe they were confused that the killer was a woman. We certainly never learned her motive.

Anyway, there were some other interesting bits. Jenny planted the seed midway through the episode that the gunman was Vic. You remember him? He was the man from Season One, who was confined to a wheelchair after getting his legs crushed from a tractor. Jenny was convinced that Vic survived the fire that destroyed the Grange and that he managed to relearn how to walk.

It's an interesting red herring -- and one that could have been cool if it had materialized. But I kind of like that it was somebody random instead.

We learned in this episode that Greg and Abby must have finally come clean about Barney's kangaroo court and execution. They mentioned Barney's trial and there was a desire to avoid similar situation.

Also, Charles noted that he hasn't killed anyone like Greg has. He wondered how it might change him. He must have forgotten about all of the mercy killings that he and Abby committed back in Season One!

Lastly, we were introduced to a new survivor in this episode: Daniella (played by Gigi Gatti)! She was found out in the wood by the men. She gratefully joined the group. She's Italian and recently lost her only companion to death. She also doesn't speak English very well. She really didn't do much in this episode except arrive. But she will appear at Whitecross at least two more times this season.

We return next weekend with another episode: "By Bread Alone!"

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