After the intensity of Law and Order, the next episode was always going to suffer in comparison. I’m not sure what the production team for Survivors could have done to deliver an episode which didn’t pale into comparison with the tour de force that came prior. But what they did provide has so many things I didn’t like about it that I still think they could have done better.
We open with yet more new ‘survivors’; one of whom is a heavily pregnant woman, Laura. We’ve looked at adults and children surviving the viral apocalypse but what about newborns? Will they be immune, or will we be in a Gone to the Angels situation? A horrific thought, but not one for this episode apparently.
We are also introduced to a new villain of the week – a man called Huxley, who is hording supplies and trading them for gold (with the aim to becoming rich and powerful when the world returns to normal). Laura and her companion, Norman, are on the run from Huxley and pitch up at our friendly community looking for sanctuary.
Consequently, this brings Huxley and his men to the grange looking for Laura and, despite Abby’s efforts to conceal their presence, the game is given away (by the kids) and he vows to come back and get Laura.
To provoke the community, Huxley burns crops, attacks Arthur and Paul and slaughters their flock of sheep. With Laura still refusing to go back to Huxley, he declares that he will lay siege to the grange and in an attempt to avoid this, the community decide to pre-emptively strike against Huxley.
In the ensuing battle, Tom Price is shot dead but not before he has killed Huxley. With Huxley dead, the other men leave and Laura decides to stay at the grange with her child.
The story focusses on the not-very-interesting dilemma involving Huxley and Laura; characters we have only just been introduced to who give us nothing to really care about. Regulars such as Jenny are pushed well into the background but are being replaced by one-note characters for the sake of some plot. Huxley is a relatively dull villain (played by Glyn ‘The Power of Kroll’ Owen) and Laura’s defining characteristic is the fact she is pregnant. There are hints she was in an abusive relationship with Huxley (he wants her to get rid of the baby) but it isn’t really explored in any meaningful way.
But none of this is particularly involving. Most disappointing of all is the use of Tom in light of the events of the previous episode. There is no follow-up. There is a brief exchange between Greg and Tom at the beginning of the episode but then nothing. Tom’s demise at the close of the episode smacks horrendously of pushing out the issues that keeping his character around would have caused. Rather than deal with having a self-confessed murderer in the community and explore Greg and Abby’s complicity in keeping the fact secret could have produced some great drama. Instead, however, Tom commits what I presume is supposed to be a noble sacrifice to redeem his character a little. It all seems rather pointless.
Overall, The Future Hour is a complete come down from the intensity of Law and Order. There was, realistically, little chance of this episode reaching the heights of its predecessor. However, it as if the production team haven’t even tried to match it and the ramifications are brushed quietly under the carpet.
With three episodes of this series left, I wonder whether it will peter out or manage to claw back some drama and tension.
A primary school teacher and father of two, Andrew finds respite in the worlds of Doctor Who, Disney and general geekiness. Unhealthily obsessed with Lance Parkin’s A History, his Doctor Who viewing marathon is slowly following Earth history from the Dawn of Time to the End of the World. He would live in a Disney theme park if given half the chance.