Survivors: 7:4 Reconnection

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Updated: January 14 2018 21:22


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

Jenny Richards is reunited with Abby Grant but, at a nearby power station, they encounter some unexpected fellow travellers

Survivors - Big Finish - Series 7 - Episode 4 - 7:4 Reconnection

 

SUMMARY series seven

HEADING TO A meeting with Alec Campbell at Derwent hydroelectric plant, Jenny seeks overnight shelter from the torrential rain at Saltbridge. To their mutual surprise, Jenny finds a maudlin Abby Grant consoling herself in the local pub. Reeling from the news of Peter's death, a grief-racked Abby lashes out at Jenny, and the old friends clash and argue. The following morning, the now reconciled pair head off together to Derwent. Jenny demonstrates her new-found expertise, as an engineer's apprentice, to an impressed Abby. They are interrupted by the arrival of a trio of Laird McAlister's men: the level-headed Nick, the gruff and surly Blair, and the sketchy Ewan. They report that Alec is unwell and that they have been sent to restart the power plant in his stead. Relations between the two groups are tense. Abby and Jenny are initially unaware that McAlister has reneged on the deal brokered at Loch Mannoch and that he has dispatched his men to wreck this plant and others like it, the better to protect Scotland's power monopoly. When the two women refused to be intimidated, and Jenny challenges Ewan's technical explanations, their subterfuge is abandoned and the pair are locked up. Can Jenny and Abby escape and protect England's nascent power system from sabotage it might never recover from?

COMMENTARY

THE EVENTS OF "Reconnection" follow on closely from the developments depicted in "Power", the final episode of the third TV series, which show the country's first hydroelectric power plant brought back online. The now fully-operational Loch Mannoch station had been left in the capable (if somewhat grumpy) hands of station engineer Alec Campbell, while Jenny, Charles Vaughan and Hubert Goss returned south to spread news of their success in restoring electric power and light to the survivors of England.

Yet the events of the series seven finale show that Laird McAlister has revealed himself to be an untrustworthy ally. It transpires that he has reneged on their nascent power sharing deal, has locked up Campbell and despatched a gang to wreck the power plants outside of his domain the better to ensure a Scottish monopoly under his control.

The reunion between these old friends begins by being barbed, and hostile

This premise, and the struggle to control the fate of the mothballed Derwent power plant, provides an excellent setting for the action sequences of this series' finale; all the more so because it is the first struggle that the reunited Abby and Jenny are immediately plunged into together. But what sets up this battle so well is that the reunion between those old friends begins by being so barbed, so acidic and so hostile.

When Jenny discovers Abby encamped at the bar of the Saltbridge settlement, she finds a changed woman. Abby left The Grange, in the first summer following The Death, an animated, hopeful survivor, re-energised by her developing relationship with Jimmy Garland and by the news of Peter's possible survival. The crushing 'truth' about Peter's apparent fate she uncovered at Little Tadlow, has left a deflated, angry and accusatory Abby maudlin and in search of solace at the bottom of a bottle. The two women snipe at each other, both of them frustrated by the worldview of the other: a perspective of hope (Jenny) or of despair (Abby) which appears to be irreconcilable.

What must come as a surprise to Abby is that, as a result of her own travails, Jenny has become a strongly independent survivor in her own right, now capable of running a settlement, and someone capable of giving as good as she gets in the verbal sparring stakes. It's a brilliantly written exchange, in a typically strong script by Christopher Hatherall, delivered with a sense of complete shared conviction by Lucy Fleming and Carolyn Seymour, which casts their relationship in a entirely fresh light.

It is only in the sober light of the following morning, with the air cleared (even if, in Abby's case, the head remains muddied) that they are able to agree a new mission of common purpose. As the pair become ensnared with the mission of McAlister trio of plant workers (the diplomatic Nick, the snarly and disdainful Blair, and the skittish and unpredictable Ewan) their true nefarious intent gradually becomes clear. As the unity of the ill-assorted team of saboteurs starts to come apart under pressure (something Jenny and Abby do all they can to intensify), the resolve and confidence of the two women only increases.

As the future of the country's nascent power supply network hangs in the balance, the stakes remain extraordinarily high, and Jenny and Abby have only their own resources to call on in their struggle to save Derwent from destruction.

The future of the country's nascent power supply network hangs in the balance

The episode concludes with the wreckers thwarted and, with Blair and Nick killed, a penitent Ewan sent back to McAlister with two non-negotiable demands: free Alec Campbell from confinement, and consent to the original power sharing agreement. Although Jenny misses out on the chance to reacquaint with Alec, the two women secure an outright victory at Derwent that should have huge, positive effects for survivors across the British Isles. With Abby and Jenny fully reconciled, and the timeline of the original series now comfortably exceeded, there is the enticing possibility that the pair could together take on joint responsibility for the running of Retworth and the equitable sharing of its vast stores, and the extension of the reach of electricity supplies to new territories across the country.

If the seventh series of Survivors audios begins with a restatement of the perilous material position those living in the UK in the third year following The Death must endure, the series end with the more upbeat and optimistic implication that, for some British survivors at least, heat, power and light may soon be available once again at the flick of a switch. What our survivors might encounter next as the canon of the TV series is well and truly left behind is something listeners will have until the summer of 2018 (and the release of series eight) to contemplate.

REVIEW QUOTES

WITH A COCKTAIL of nationalistic rivalry and all-too-believable 70's sexism thrown in, and we are reminded how resourceful these two women have learned to become
Ian McArdell, Indie Mac User

IT'S A DARK, dark story with great performances from the supporting cast.
Tony Jones, Cultbox

HATHERALL'S WINNING STORY combines strong character interactions with well-plotted adventure motifs in a tale that follows on seamlessly from the TV series' closing episode
Rich Cross, Starburst

IT's A STORY that balances the progress of plot with some blistering characterisation and dialogue for Jenny and Abby
Tony Fyler, Mass Movement


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Latest updates

 

Series nine reviews added

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Series eight reviews added

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Series seven reviews added

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Series six reviews added

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Series five reviews added

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Series four reviews added

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Series three reviews added

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Links

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