Wednesday, October 21, 2015

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 24 ("New Arrivals") // Updated Below

(Originally written on 10/18/15): This is the twenty-fourth 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.

Whitecross was introduced to five new recruits in this latest episode, titled "New Arrivals." We are introduced to a young man named Mark Carter (played by Ian Hastings) and his group of teen and young twentysomething followers (Melanie, Sally, Dave, and Pete). Mark makes a strong first impression with Jack and Charles when he begins stabbing all of the cattle to treat a form of bloat. Of course, he doesn't explain what he's up to or why he has begun stabbing their cattle until after the cows had been treated.

Mark Carter and the Carter Commune
Not only that, but he begins running though a litany of everything that Whitecross was doing wrong -- complete with a contemptuous sneer! Needless to say, Pet was not happy when Mark began criticizing her pig sty!

Soon enough, Mark Carter and his people have set up headquarters within the Old Mill. And -- happy to finally find some people his own age -- Alan moves in with this bunch!

Carter's Commune
 But I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. There is a reason that Mark and the others have come to Whitecross. Ruth had been called out to their old settlement last week to treat a flu bug. There were several deaths -- mostly older residents -- and the settlement ended up falling apart. Ruth recruited Mark and his bunch, but there was another segment of that old settlement that went elsewhere. It seems that there was a strong generation gap within that group that never got bridged!

Unfortunately, the messenger who'd come for Ruth had also left behind some flu! This ended up infecting Arthur -- and Mina and Peggy! It's sad to say, but Arthur ended up dying about midway through the episode! Even Jack fell ill -- which resulted in a soccer-fueled delusion.

Ruth gradually realized that the older people were succumbing to the flu because they lacked hope and morale. They were lonely and felt out of place. That's why the younger people either weren't falling ill or they were getting better faster.

R.I.P. Arthur
Meanwhile, Mark Carter might hold Charles and the other older people with contempt, but he definitely approves of Greg and his plan to produce methane for fuel! He develops a five-year plan for Charles that relies heavily on Greg's ability to produce methane. Charles is dubious. After all, Greg hasn't actually produced any usable methane yet. But Mark insists that the matter be brought to a vote by the entire community -- and that he become responsible for all of Whitecross' agricultural planning!

The meeting is held and it quickly falls into a "young versus old" competition. Charles largely resists most of these changes and Mark insists that all of the changes be made or else he will leave. Greg finally speaks up and asks about Mark's leadership at his old settlement -- the same leadership that resulted in mass desertion, suicides, and illness. Needless to say, Mark got fed up and stormed off!

Fortunately for Whitecross' long-term survival, all of the other members of Carter's Commune decided that their new home wasn't a terrible place. That means that we now have four new permanent members of Whitecross! But they still plan to live in the Old Mill away from the old people.

Mark Carter then rode off into the sunset with a contemptuous forecast for Whitecross' survival. And the voting in favor of Mark's recommendations -- but with Charles' continued leadership!

I don't know why this struck me, but it was interesting that Jack participated in the group meeting, given that he'd just been wandering around all sweaty and delirious earlier that afternoon!

I should be back to my regular routine next week. I've had two weeks of high school and college reunions, which has affected my writing. I won't be traveling at all next week or for most of November. Our next episode will be "Over the Hills."

Updated on 10/21/15: It occurred to me last night that I really didn't highlight Mark Carter's followers eventually though they had decided to stay at Whitecross and even though they will all be actively involved with storylines for the next couple of weeks.

Our four new survivors include Melanie (played by Heather Wright), the new arrivals' emerging leader in Mark Carter's absence...

Then there is Sally (played by June Page). She will be heavily featured next week...

Lastly, we have Dave (played by Peter Duncan) and Pete (played by Roger Monk). It took me a while to figure out which character is which, as they were never properly introduced in this episode. I'm still not 100% certain that I got them labeled correctly in the picture below...

Dave & Pete

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