Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 27 ("Manhunt")

This is the twenty-seventh 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.

This latest episode, titled "Manhunt," is the first episode of the third and final season of "Survivors." Six months have passed since we met Agnes and she successfully talked Greg and Jack into traveling with her by hot-air balloon to Norway to help rebuild civilization.

Jack shows up at the beginning of "Manhunt," all bloody and feverish. He's being chased down by ravenous dogs, but manages to climb up a tree to avoid them. A familiar farmer named Seth finds him and manages to call home to Challoner and to let Charles Vaughan and Jenny Richards know about his arrival.

That's right. They have a phone system now. They have regularly-scheduled phone calls between Challoner and this couple's farm. It's definitely not HD-quality phone service, but it's much better than previous seasons!

Also, it's not clear why they moved from Whitecross to Challonar. But Charles, Pet, and Jenny moved from Whitecross back to Charles' original settlement with the kids. And they made the mistake of bringing Hubert with them for some unknown reason. Whitecross is still an active settlement though. It doesn't make sense why they moved again -- outside of BBC production not wanting to rehire all of their old cast!

Jenny and Charles ride out to Seth's home and find Jack is still unconscious. He was carrying letters from Greg indicating that things were going well in Norway and that he's traveling around now with Agnes recruiting others for that country's industrial plants. Around this time, Jack's delerium gets the better of him and he begins warning of danger and broken bones. Jenny is fearful that Greg is in danger and convinces Charles to travel with her to Greg's last known location.

Meanwhile, Pet learns of Charles' traveling plans via the phone system and decides to send Hubert away as a form of back-up. I think she just wanted to get rid of him!

Shortly before arriving at the Willingham settlement, Charles and Jenny find a man held captive on the land by snares, apparently left to feed wild dogs by somebody. They free the man -- who appears to be strung out on drugs -- and are immediately detained by a traveling military soldier.

They are introduced to the base's commander, a man named Colonel Clifford. He tells them that Greg and Agnes had left the base a week ago. Charles is very suspicious of Clifford and his settlement, but is talked into spending the night before continuing with his travels.

Charles and Jenny are then introduced to a German scientist named Miedel. Miedel tells them that he is synthesizing drugs like pethidine and aspirin. They offer these medicines to the surrounding communities in exchange for food and manufacturing materials.

Charles is convinced that there is something more sinister going on and tells Miedel about the man in the woods. Miedel doesn't know anything about that man's (Richards) harsh imprisonment, but assures them both that everything is fine -- despite "malcontents" like Richards who want to steal drugs from the base.

Charles and Jenny begin snooping, which gets them in trouble with the local security force. Charles attacks one of the guards while Jenny runs away and stumbles into Hubert.

Clifford then has a come-to-Jesus moment with Charles. He tells Charles that he will never create his federation of communities if he refuses to trust those other communities. Clifford points out that there have been raids on their community, which have resulted in deaths. So they have set up psychological deterants for those surrounding communities in order to keep people away. For example, there is a plastic skeleton lying outside their property to scare people away. And the snares that held Richards were set up so that he would eventually be able to escape and warn off others.

Jenny and Hubert are safely recovered and Charles eventually allows himself to trust Clifford and Miedel. They ride off again to find Greg and Agnes -- but not before recognizing that they have found new friends.

I liked "Manhunt." You get primed over the years to distrust bases that are run by the military -- not to mention German scientists who still have memories of the Nazi years! But these guys were all on the up-and-up. Plus, it's good that somebody is actually working to do something about England's post-Death medicinal needs!

It was good to see John and Lizzie again (briefly). But Lizzie seems to have morphed a bit over the past six months. Her hair is now darker and she's portrayed by a new actress named Angie Stevens.

John and Lizzie II
We will catch up next week with Greg and Agnes in "A Little Learning."

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