Survivors: 3.3 Rescue

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Updated: February 21 2016 08:39


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

When his friends' lives hang in the balance hundreds of feet above London, will Jimmy Garland's rescue mission end in triumph or disaster?

Survivors - Big Finish - Series 3 - Episode 3 - Rescue

SUMMARY series three

WHEN MADDIE ARRIVES at Waterhouse with news of Abby's and Daniel's capture, Garland agrees to launch a rescue mission. Molly remains at the estate while Jimmy and Dalton head back to the capital and reach the Post Office Tower. Equipped with a hidden radio, Dalton agrees to be captured by Vinnie's group to give the rescue party vital inside knowledge. With the guards distracted, Daniel launches a daring escape bid of his own, climbing out of a high window in the Tower. At huge personal risk he succeeds, but Jimmy convinces Daniel to return to the group while he continues to set explosive charges. An emergency signal from Dalton alerts Garland to the fact that his friends are in serious trouble. In an explosion of violence, Vinnie attacks and murders Dalton. Appalled and enraged, Daniel confronts Vinnie and proudly reveals his homosexuality. Garland arrives and warns Vinnie that unless his prisoners are released he will detonate charges that will collapse the building. He sets off one charge (the only one he has had time to prepare) to prove his determination. As Vinnie acquiesces, Jimmy leads the captives from the building. But Vinnie has no intention of being humiliated, and his men set off in pursuit. Will the prisoners make it to freedom, or will Vinnie exact his retribution..?

COMMENTARY

WITH A TOWERING performance by Paul Thornley at its core; and Richard Heffer giving equal measure as his nemesis Jimmy Garland, Rescue is a powerful tale of confinement, subterfuge and the struggle for freedom from a tyrant's grasp.

What lifts the story from the memes of a traditional Terry Nation capture-and-escape trope (satisfying though those can be) is the stark presentation of the repellent and terrifying prejudices of the all-too-plausible Vinnie, whose spleen and hatred shines a dramatic spotlight on a repugnant worldview not fully explored in the series before.

But alongside the hothouse conflicts unfolding in the Post Office Tower, there is (for long-term fans of the original TV series) the frisson of reconnecting with the story of Jimmy Garland. Despite the four decade gap since he last played the part, Richard Heffer reinhabits the role of Garland's with believability and conviction, giving voice to the recently-reinstated Earl of Waterhouse in a way that immediately rings true. And once a breathless Maddie Price arrives at Waterhouse to reveal Abby's and Daniel's desperate plight, Garland has no hesitation in setting out to free his new partner from Vinnie's clutches.

The violence that follows Vinnie's murderous meltdown is genuinely shocking

If the psychopaths of series two (Ridley and Patricia) expose just how far it was possible to depart from the norms of humanity in the aftermath of The Death, Vinnie shows how a former football thug can attempt to elevate himself to the stature of an establishment figurehead, professing to be the new British government (and doubtless prepared to give fellow 'pretenders' to the throne, including the TV series' Arthur Wormley a run for their money).

Locked in the Tower, neither Abby nor Daniel are willing to meekly comply with the dictates of Vinnie. True to her nature, Abby challenges him at every turn (not something that always goes well for her); but Daniel also finds new reserves of courage and launches his own insanely-risky escape bid (in the hope of summoning help). It is when Dalton agrees to Jimmy's request that he become the rescue party's 'inside man' (and Daniel is voluntarily recaptured) that events spiral to a bloody conclusion. Vinnie is not an astute reader of people - misunderstanding Abby, Dalton and Daniel in turn; failing to appreciate how far his followers simply pay lip service to his delusion ideas; and readily out-manoeuvred by Garland.

If Vinnie's 'unspeakable' ideas make for some startling and uncomfortable listening, the explosion of violence that follows his murderous meltdown is genuinely shocking. Outraged at the killing of Dalton, Daniel defiantly confronts Vinnie with the truth of a sexual orientation that is 'unacceptable' to Britain's new would-be leader; goading him to attack him (until Garland's well-timed intervention almost certainly saves his life). 'My knight in shining armour', says a relieved Abby, half-jokingly.

As explosions rock the building, and the prisoners are freed, it's still heart breaking to listen to Maddie's renewed connection to the USA being severed so cruelly. The excitement of the rescue mission, and the humiliation and wounding of Vinnie expertly sets up the drama of the series' finale. It's all unquestionably rip-roaring stuff; and drama of a bigger scale and with a larger cast of characters, than is often seen in the Big Finish Survivors' adventures. And as a newly-freed Daniel Connor observes, it's not every day you get to blow up a world famous landmark. However, the newly freed and reunited group will quickly discover that they are a long way from being truly free of Vinnie's clutches.

REVIEW QUOTES

WHILE THE PLOT is essentially a kind of British, 70s, 'Die Hard at the Post Office Tower', [scriptwriter Andrew] Smith gives us plenty of gruesome confrontation between attitudes.
Tony Fyler, Warped Factor

GARLAND'S AN INTERESTING character... a man whose endless competence could step across into arrogance at any moment. It never does though and Richard Heffer plays him with just enough polite menace.
Alasdair Stuart, SciFi Bulletin

THERE ARE SOME very upsetting scenes during this episode, and some of the language is unpalatable at best – but... Andrew Smith pulls no punches
Ed Watkinson, Planet Mondas

 


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Links

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