Thursday, 4 April 2013

Review: Survivors 2.6

Whitakker has Peter held captive.
Survivors - Series Two, Episode Six
Written 23/2/13

In the first series of Survivors, the problem came not with its core ideas but in the way it treated its characters, unable to escape their core tokenisms as created by the series' modernisation. The second series realised this and gave most of the characters more complex motivations, which is one of the reasons why it's vastly better than its predecessor. The only problem now comes in its simple lack of ambition - it doesn't know whether to carry on as a realistic examination of a post-apocalypse Britain or to go into full sci-fi conspiracy mode. The result is a finale that shoved a series of exposition into five minutes, and did very little for the remainder.
     Still in the PSJ facility, the gang found scientist Fiona Douglas, who revealed that Peter had been taken to the facility for a short time and has the same immunity against the virus as his mother. She explained that she had created from their blood a vaccine that targeted all forms of the flu, and that she needed a short amount of time to work on it. While Whitakker was captured by the group, refusing to reveal Peter's location in a local static caravan park, she finished the vaccine. Evidence on Whitakker's computer shows Greg that PSJ had a larger role in the virus' spread, with it beginning in China a whole year before the outbreak. The vaccine is tested on Al and it works. Fiona lets Whitakker go in exchange for a place on his plane; the group ends up in a confrontation with a man named Landry at the airfield, who explains that his company was attempting to create a vaccine for all forms of flu, and created a secluded paradise filled with chosen individuals when the experiments went awry. While Peter is returned to his mother and the vaccine heads off to be mass-produced, an injured Tom ends up hiding on Landry's plane.
     The final few minutes of pure exposition do tie up a lot of new ends, and had the ideas been explored fully (and perhaps hinted at from the beginning), then they would have real potential. The central arc with the mine seems to have distracted away from that, leading to this rushed conclusion to the central mythos, and that I feel is in part one of the reasons why the show was canned. It all goes a bit Lost, really, and not in a way that Survivors can support.
Landry comes out of the woodwork as the virus' creator.
     It's weird whenever I come to the end of a series. Especially when this is one of the first series that I long-hauled on the blog, and one of the ones I had the most fun tearing apart. Survivors suffered not from being inherantly bad, but from a lack of that spark the seperated it from all the rest. That, combined with the unintentional year gap between its series, meant that it sorta ran out of steam even when the writing wasn't half bad. It died because of mediocrity and public apathy, and because it made several mistakes in its first series that the second just couldn't fix. And that's a shame.


IN TWO WEEKS: I start reviewing the second series of TORCHWOOD! "cue cheers" And this time, I won't be unfairly ripping into it...

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