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Survivors rewatch - 1.1 The Fourth Horseman
Vanessa Doffenshmirtz
Sorry I couldn't be part of the rewatch I got my winter trifecta, snow, cold, asthma attack. The latter was caused by me over-working myself moving the former.

Why did I move to Canada again?
I used to be such a sweet, sweet thing
Till they got a hold of me
 
Lurena
I'm sorry, I was about to join you in this rewatch, but the partly lifting of our covid-19 measurements forced me to go out and do my teaching in the evening classes.
I will have to miss the Wednesday rewatches now, but I will watch the eps later and read your comments.
*No, I am not. I am not expendable, I'm not stupid, and I'm not going.*
Lara&Sue's Blake's 7 stories
 
OneSparePart

trevor travis wrote:

My review from a previous rewatch:

(1.1) “The Fourth Horseman” by Terry Nation
Directed by Pennant Roberts

“Oh God, please don’t let me be the only one”.

EXTRAORDINARY!!!

The first episode of "Survivors" is simply amazing. It tells the spread of the Death and the vast majority of the population being wiped out.

The storytelling here is so clever. We see few very deaths (Jenny's friend is the first dead body we see). There is the odd snatch of a radio broadcast, or a tannoy announcement, as we gradually find out how serious things are.

At the centre of the episode is Carolyn Seymour's Abby Grant, upper-class housewife, whose comfortable life in the plush commuter belt is brought crashing down to Earth. Abby is terribly posh – she even has servants. And she’s married to Peter Bowles. Abby catches the Death herself, but almost uniquely recovers from it.

This episode is neatly split in two, as Abby lies on her bed for four days, as she fights off the Death.

Before that, we see plenty of life. Yes, lots of people not very well, but people thinking: "blimey, this will is going to leave a hell of a clean-up operation in a week.” There's quite an adult scene where three looters threaten to rape Jenny (hope they died in great pain!).

We then see reality starting to set in, especially the conversation between Peter Bowles and the local Doctor (whose wife has died). It's the last words we ever see David Grant utter.

And then the aftermath. There's plenty of shocking moments (such as Abby seeing David's dead body in the mirror - they killed Peter Bowles!!), but it's all very nicely underplayed. The characters here are completely knocked sideways, but there's no hysterics, which is much more like the natural reaction.

We see five people alive in the last 20 minutes: Abby, Jenny, Tom Price, the almost deaf character played by Peter Copley (Bronson the teacher), and the man with the bag of money that Jenny discovers with the Death... make that four people alive. There are plenty of nice directorial shots from Pennant Roberts, especially the shot from above of Abby alone walking from the church.

It's interesting to see the difference between Jenny and Abby... Jenny craves company and stays the man until he is dead, while Abby just leaves Bronson to his own devices (she’d be better teaming up with him, but clearly she’s not thinking straight at this point).

And then Abby symbolically ends her old life. That plush Tudor House, her dead husband, her locks of hair, all burnt down to the ground. The only thing left of her old life is the hope that her son Peter is somehow alive.

A very downbeat, but very effective opening episode. Oh, and I can't go without mentioning the brilliant opening titles, plus the evocative title music.

TT Og heads out of ten:

Pfft Pfft Pfft Pfft Pfft Pfft Pfft Pfft Pfft Pfft

I was unsure, at the start, whether it was a good idea not to show the course and effect ( I do mean course and not cause) of the virus amongst the larger population. I think, now, it was a good idea. Apart from the time, energy and money saved by the production company, it actually works well for the story. The viewer is immediately disconcerted and cut off from the reality that he/she is familiar with. So, the viewer is flung into the 'what will they do' scenario with relative ease. That said, I can't quite believe in Abby burning down the house. She has already decided by then to go to look for her son. If her mind is working clearly enough to do that then surely she must have thought that HE might be trying to get home...the home that she has just burned down. Like Huggy (?was it you Huggy?) said, she should have been leaving a note for her son just in case he did show up. I'd like to have seen her dragging the body into a garden grave (like the scene in The Stand/Stephen King in which Frannie buries her father). But that is really a small niggle. 10/10 as TT says. (When will this agreeing with you stop?) I remember being horrified as a child by watching this. Was there anything with as much impact/similar storyline before this?
There's an angel standing in the sun Free to get back home
 
Hugbot

OneSparePart wrote:


Like Huggy (?was it you Huggy?) said, she should have been leaving a note for her son just in case he did show up.

Actually, it was Nixxie.
Strange, I seem to be always on your mind... Pfft

But seriously, for me the burning works. That was a quicker, less strenuous and less icky solution to giving her hubby a decent burial as oppsosed to digging a hole in the garden and carrying the corpse over). Plus, it was a symbolic act - making it clear to herself that there is no way to go back.

Of course, leaving a message for her son would have been the sensible thing to do.

And there is also the question of fire hazard to the whole neighbourhood...
 
OneSparePart
I could have scrolled back and found out who had been so sensible to suggest leaving a note for sonny jim. But as you say, Huggy, or was it Elvis?...you are always on my mind...AngryFrown

It is great to watch Survivors in company. Especially considering what is to come...
There's an angel standing in the sun Free to get back home
 
trevor travis

Hugbot wrote:

OneSparePart wrote:


Like Huggy (?was it you Huggy?) said, she should have been leaving a note for her son just in case he did show up.

Actually, it was Nixxie.
Strange, I seem to be always on your mind... Pfft

But seriously, for me the burning works. That was a quicker, less strenuous and less icky solution to giving her hubby a decent burial as oppsosed to digging a hole in the garden and carrying the corpse over). Plus, it was a symbolic act - making it clear to herself that there is no way to go back.

Of course, leaving a message for her son would have been the sensible thing to do.

And there is also the question of fire hazard to the whole neighbourhood...


I think the neighbours are too dead to complain Wink

On the subject of leaving a note for Peter, it would make sense, although I don't think Abby is quite thinking straight at this moment. Another mistake she makes is leaving the deaf schoolteacher to his own devices. Yeah, he's almost deaf and old, but he's also a mine of information.
 
trevor travis

OneSparePart wrote:

[quote name=trevor travis post=603]My review from a previous rewatch:
Was there anything with as much impact/similar storyline before this?


I guess its nearest relation is Day Of The Triffids.

Meanwhile, Terry Nation had a trope of killing most of the human population through a plague, starting with The Dalek Invasion Of Earth. But that was set years after the event, whereas Survivors deals with the everyday stuff in the immediate aftermath.

Interestingly, some call Survivors pure sci-fi, due to its lack of fantasy elements. Star Cops also was pure sci-fi. Apparently B7 and Doctor Who aren't 'proper science fiction', but for me the term is all embracing.
 
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