Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Survivors" 40th Anniversary: Episode 28 ("A Little Learning")

This is the twenty-eighth 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.

 Season 3 started last week. We learned that Greg and Agnes (now played by Anna Pitt) are traveling around the British countryside searching for help to rebuild civilization. Meanwhile, Charles, Jenny, and Hubert have taken off on their own journey to find and assist our missing pair.

This latest episode, titled "A Little Learning," introduces Greg and Agnes to an old woman named Mrs. Butterworth. She is a dotty old lady who complained that her cottage has been raided twice by wild Indians. Greg was his usual caring self:

Greg finally agrees to look into this report and finds an old boarding school filled with teens and 'tweens. He's bright enough to realize that these were the thieves. But he's still not terribly clever as he automatically assumes that there are "grown-ups" watching over these kids. Of course, they capture him!

The community's leader is a guy named Eagle. He has been collecting boys and girls from all over the area. They all found surrounding adult communities to be abusive and exploitative, so they founded this community and have done their best to keep it secret from the outside world.

One of those secrets is an illness that's spreading throughout the community. It has a wide range of symptoms, including sensations of pins and needles in one's fingers and toes, the sensation of creepy-crawlies under one's skins, confused state, fatigue, hallucinations, deafness, and eventually gangrenous fingers! One little girl named Libbie seems to have been affected the worst by the disease, but most of the children seem to be infected.

Eagle initially tries to distract his people by having them hunt Greg, but he soon discovers the illness and then recruits Agnes and Mrs. Butterworth to help figure out what's affecting this community. And soon enough, Greg discovers the source of the illness: fungus-infected rye bread!

Greg comes up with a flaky cure. He has all of the kids march all over banging drums and singing Beatles tunes! He's not quite sure how this helps them, but the activity is supposed to work the fungus out of their systems. Or something like that...

They then track down the source of the infected rye: a pair of traders named Miller and Mackintosh. Eagle and Greg track down the traders and force them into servitude in order to make up for killing Libbie and making the others sick.

The traders agree to their punishment -- Just in time for a major bit of unexpected zaniness! This elephant walks through their field! For apparently no reason. Just because. The kids want to take the elephant on as their pet, but Eagle tells them to let them be. After all, the elephant has probably lived in a zoo all of its life and it would eat all of their food. Plus, it will just get shot anyway!

There were a couple of other points that I've pretty much glossed over. Jenny has been racing around the edges of this story looking for Greg -- but never quite finding him!

Plus, Miller and Mackintosh find themselves pining over Jenny -- when they're obviously missing the romantic connection sitting literally right next to each other!

We return to Charles and Hubert next episode with a less edible opponent in "Law of the Jungle."

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