Thursday, 21 March 2013

Review: Survivors 2.4

Smithson is a mad History Professor.
Survivors - Series Two, Episode Four
Written 23/2/13

The second series is slightly weird in that it is collated into three duets with inner continuity - the Manchester arc, the "Justice" arc as I call it and then the finale arc. This episode was rather interesting, as we juxtaposed last week's focus on law and order in an organised society with a more antiquated examination of the role of slavery in the history of society. Albeit most of the time this meant that it was a standard runaround, but there were enough awesome moments to keep me entertained for the most part. Still doesn't feel like we're a few eps away from the end of the series.
     The gang track down Billy to his house, hoping to find Greg and Tom, who have been sent to the mining camp of local slave-driver Mr. Smithson. They are entertained by a woman named Sally, who reveals that she holds people for Billy while Smithson's men come to collect them. Greg pulls an escape attempt by claiming that there is a gas leak, and Smithson takes him to his mansion to offer him a partnership, while Tom uses his own methods to get away. While the rest of the gang's attempt to infiltrate Smithson's estate lead to everyone being locked up, Tom steals Billy's truck and arrives to save the day, leading to an uprising that helps them all to escape. In the coda, it's revealed that Billy has been set free by some of the kids he kidnapped, one of whom is Peter Grant, Abby's son.
     Smithson's character was a pretty blatant way of working in some examination of theme, being an Oxford history professor with a complex and an obsession with quoting Greek tragedies. He stole the episode, although he didn't exactly correlate with the more realistic feeling of the first series, which felt like an examination of what would really happen in a nation-wide extinction event. I did question the decision by the writers to have the only black member of the cast as the one speaking about putting people in chains, even if the slave trade isn't as raw an issue here as it is elsewhere, like the States.
Super-Tom to the rescue!
     The only problem with the episode is that is felt rather by-the-book - enjoyable, sure, but there was nothing really surprising about the course of events. We all knew that the gang's plan would cock up, and we all knew that Super-Tom would arrive to save the day at the last second. I am enjoying it and I think that the series still has a few good ideas, but there was a level of mediocrity present this week that made me worry a bit. I'm already a bit meh about the series' unfortunate cliffhanger ending in two weeks, and this hasn't improved my confidence that it will at all justify this series' existence.


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