Survivors: 3.4 Leaving

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Updated: January 25 2016 22:08


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

The hope of a sea voyage to America brings Maddie Price to the coast; but her journey will be anything but plain sailing...

Survivors - Big Finish - Series 3 - Episode 4 - Leaving

SUMMARY series three

MADDIE PRICE IS hoping to find passage to America on board the Mayflower III. While she tries to convince captain Brooks to grant her a place aboard ship, Vinnie is determined to prevent the vessel from leaving port. Molly and Jimmy Garland make plans to harass and delay Vinnie's convoy, which is making its way to the coast along the abandoned motorway network. Initially, their efforts are successful, but Vinnie diverts onto the A-roads and races to the port at speed with a small group of followers. Abby and Daniel join Maddie at the quayside, and Daniel reveals his hopes of joining the voyage to the US. When Vinnie arrives, he deceives Brooks with a generous donation of supplies and denys all of Abby's accusations. Daniel goes into hiding to plot a way to thwart Vinnie. Jimmy and Molly arrive at the port. When his main force arrives, Vinnie drops all pretence and admits the truth of Abby's allegations. On board, Daniel and Molly discover the bomb that Vinnie has planted; timed to sink the ship once it has left the shore. When a vengeful Vinnie demands that Daniel and Maddie surrender to him, he sets in motion a series of events that will have explosive consequences from which not everyone will emerge alive...

COMMENTARY

AN ACTION-FUELLED finale to series three of the new Big Finish Survivors audio adventures, Leaving brings closure to the story of Vinnie's bid to take control of the country; to Daniel's evolution into a fully-fledged (if emotionally and psychologically scarred) hero; and (for now, at least) to Maddie's desperate desire to begin her journey homewards. The traumatised Molly also finds new reserves of courage, self-belief; and reveals a steely determination to take revenge on at least some of her persecutors (although, of course, her own psyche is even more damaged than Daniel's).

In the storyline of the TV series' episode Garland's War, the eponymous hero showcased just a few of his skills as a guerrilla and saboteur. In Leaving, with the able assistance of the increasingly self-assured Molly, Garland is able to put into action far larger plans to harry and attack Vinnie's convoy as it makes its way towards the coast. There is great dramatic tension in the Waterhouse crew's efforts to frustrate Vinnie's own plans to scupper the Mayflower III and secure once more the isolation of Britain.

There are some intriguing facets about Garland's character brought to life in this episode (and in Rescue). In the TV series, Garland is keen to present himself as a loner (something that his status as an ousted leader can only reinforce). But his status as an 'outsider' makes it difficult to assess his claims to have the interest of his community at heart, or the veracity of his leadership skills. Thanks to the skilled writing of Matt Fitton, Garland here comes across as a highly effective and responsible leader and someone acutely concerned with the fates of those he considers his wider family.

The possibility that Big Finish might return to the adventures of Maddie and her ship mates on the high seas is intriguing

In the original TV series, the survivors learn little about life beyond the shores of Britain in the months following The Death. But Maddie is able to begin her journey back to the United States secure in the knowledge that (although the fate of her fiancé remains unknown) there are hundreds of small communities scattered across the USA which have already begun to reach out towards one another.

As the Mayflower III prepares to set sail, director Ken Bentley and sound designer Benji Clifford make effective use of the quayside setting to create some immersive and atmospheric scenes. This provides a great background for some rich character exchanges as Maddie convinces ship's captain Brooks to give her passage (as a working crew member); and as a duplicitous Vinnie arrives, deceiving Brooks with his generosity and charm (despite the outraged protestations of Abby and Maddie).

As the Mayflower III prepares to set sail, director Ken Bentley and sound designer Neil Gardner make effective use of the quayside setting to create some immersive and atmospheric scenes. This provides a great background for some rich character exchanges as Maddie convinces ship's captain Brooks to give her passage (as a working crew member); and as a duplicitous Vinnie arrives, deceiving Brooks with his generosity and charm (despite the outraged protestations of Abby and Maddie).

When Vinnie's full crew arrives at the dock, his Mr Nice Guy act evaporates and he demands that Daniel and Maddie are surrendered to him. This ultimatum sets in motion the decisive and bloody events of the climatic closing scenes. Molly gets the opportunity to exact some retribution on Vinnie for the horrors he has inflicted on her; Daniel and Maddie thwart Vinnie's plans to blow up the Mayflower III; and in an act of self-sacrifice which would have seemed inconceivable to him less than twelve months earlier, Daniel puts a definitive end to Vinnie's twisted and dysfunctional bid for power; paying the ultimate price in the process.

Daniel's actions make it possible for Brooks and his crew to set sail from British shores (with a conflicted Maddie aboard); opening up the reality of transatlantic travel in the post-Death world. The possibility that Big Finish might in future return to the adventures of Maddie and her ship mates on the high seas is intriguing. Yet the drama finishes with a reaffirmation by Abby that the continuing search for her son Peter must remain her overriding priority and focus: it is, in effect, the thing that Abby cannot leave behind, or set aside.

Leaving succeeds as a sure-footed departure point for series three, demonstrating once again the versatility of the Survivors audio format; showcasing the breadth of the dramatic terrain it opens up; and reasserting Big Finish's conviction that, if the perils facing the survivors are to remain credible, the survival of even the most well-liked of new characters has to remain in doubt.

REVIEW QUOTES

THE AUDIO REVIVAL of Survivors has now proven itself easily the best and most consistent work that Big Finish has taken on... This is unreservedly recommended listening.
J. R. Southall, Starburst

THORNLEY, WHOSE PORTRAYAL bristles throughout this series with enough intelligence to make Vinnie's thuggery more shocking than it would be were it just reactive, continues his superb work... It's particularly creepy when Vinnie, whose attitudes are so utterly repugnant, is pleasant and plausible.
Tony Fyler, Warped Factor

A CHILLING AND heart-pounding conclusion as the forces of progress and regress have their final confrontation. Sacrifices for the good of all are made, and Survivors will never be the same again...
Ed Watkinson, Planet Mondas

 


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Links

Original TV series (1975-1977)
Survivors remake (2008-2010)