Survivors: New Dawn 2 / 3 Last Stand

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Updated: March 05 2022 12:50


Survivors audio dramas from Big Finish

As Dominic Crayle and his enforcers close in, Abby Grant and Jenny Richards seek shelter in a abandoned tower block where a bloody confrontation becomes inescapable

Survivors - Big Finish - New Dawn 2 - Episode 1 - Last Stand

 

SUMMARY New Dawn 2

FLEEING FOR THEIR lives from Crayle and his merciless gang of killers, Abby and Jenny reach the outskirts of a long abandoned city. Under fire from Crayle's snipers, the pair seek refuge in a sprawling tower block. Events take a desperate turn when Jenny is hit by a rifle shot and badly injured. Knowing that she needs urgent help if she is to save Jenny's life, Abby enlists the reluctant help of Arkhil - one of the block's last remaining residents. While Crayle's men close in, Arkhil and Abby do their best to stem Jenny's profusely bleeding whilst keeping out of sight. Abby learns more about Arkhil's solitary but sustainable lifestyle in this otherwise desolate estate. He has maintained a lonely vigil for his absent wife, whose return he has patiently awaited since The Death. Arkhil is discomforted by Abby’s insistence that his much-loved wife will have perished years earlier and will never return to him. As he begins to doubt the wisdom of endlessly waiting in vain, Crayle's men tighten the net around them. A hunt for medical supplies increases the risks that all three of them will be found, but Jenny's worsening condition compels them to try. With the rogue Governor's gang preparing to set fires to block the available exits, there seems to be only one option left open. But even with Arkhil willing to risk his own life by deliberately drawing Crayle's attention to his position, there's no guarantee that Abby and a fast-deteriorating Jenny will be able to escape his trap and bring the truth of the Governor's crimes to light...

COMMENTARY

THE EVENTS OF the series' finale Last Stand begin with a jump forward in time that will, because of the clear implication of Abby's graveside oratory, leave every first-time listener on tenterhooks throughout the episode that follows.

Roland Moore's gripping script focuses on a single, powerful storyline as Abby and Jenny attempt to reach the authorities in Cambridge with evidence of Crayle's brutal, murderous regime. Moore chooses the atmospheric and eerie setting of an abandoned cluster of tower blocks on the fringes of a city for this story. The combination of literate scripting and well-judged direction by Survivors' stalwart Ken Bentley ensures that the layout of this cavernous and sprawling setting comes across very convincingly on audio.

There's a huge upheaval in the character dynamic between Abby and Jenny, as Jenny is seriously wounded and incapacitated by Crayle's rifle shot. As Jenny’s condition worsens, and the risk of her bleeding-out becomes more pressing, it falls to Abby to save and extricate the pair of them. Their survival depends on the chance encounter with Akhil Sarkar.

Akhil has also been locked into a state of a paralysed stasis

Akhil is a superb invention, beautifully brought to life through the mellifluous tones of Paul Bazely. Series one introduced the idea of an individual who was paralysed into a broken sense of stasis by the trauma of the death. Wife and mother Jackie Burchall (who was eventually killed in the plane crash of My Generation) had to be gently shaken out of her denial and psychologically closed-down state by the caring ministries of Daniel Connor. Arkhil has also been locked into a state of a paralysed stasis, albeit one in which he has put together a rudimentary smallholding across the territory of the abandoned blocks.

In Abby's anguish over Jenny's failing state, she bluntly tells Akhil that his vigil is doomed and pointless. That might seem an overly harsh judgement from someone who spent years looking for her son, overruling all objections to her search, only to have her patience vindicated in the end. But it's clear that Akhil needs someone to push him back into motion again. From a first meeting in which he is reluctant to be drawn into someone else’s conflict, he gradually becomes more invested in the women's fate.

In the accompanying interviews, Carolyn Seymour suggests that Abby was clearly attracted to the thoughtful and self-possessed Akhil. That something that comes over, with the degree of restraint appropriate to the crisis they are grappling with, in her sensitive performance. It’s also provides moments of tenderness that contrast very effectively with the others that emphasise Abby's bravery, selflessness and determination.

The sense of jeopardy increases as the skills of 'pyro' are called upon to prevent the women’s escape from the block. It all builds towards an impressive endgame in which the hubris of Crayle ultimately self-immolates (with a little assistance from a defiant Abby).

There's none of that sense of relief that floods in after an easy victory

After the impressive set-to at the tower block, there's none of that sense of relief that floods in after an easy victory (this is the world of Survivors after all). In fact, there's an intensely emotional moment at the point where victory itself appears to be cruelly snatched away at the final minute. Death has haunted the story of Survivors since the time of The Fourth Horseman, and it's fitting that the New Dawn series reaches its conclusion at a graveside.

It's very convincingly put together, and it reveals a series of surprises that deliver an end with clarity, impact and a measured degree of optimism. What's evident as events return to Cambridge on the eve of new England's first democratic election is how measured the new sense of optimism needs to be. There is much that the 'survivors' generation and the post-pandemic generation have to be proud of, but there is still a mountain of work still to do, and a mass of new challenges to confront.

The New Dawn series has been a compelling, well-executed foray into a 'future' post-pandemic Britain never before attempted in the Survivors universe. Big Finish regularly jumps around within and beyond the established canon of TV series in its range, and that option would remain open in the world of Survivors. Who knows what will come next? If New Dawn 2 marks the end of Survivors journey on audio, then that will mean that an accomplished, inventive and assured series concludes with a remarkable and satisfying endpoint.

REVIEW QUOTES

THROUGHOUT ITS RUN the series has never pulled its punches and the finale of New Dawn is no different. Yet it offers hope too, striking an optimistic tone for the future.
Ian McArdell, IndieMacUser

LIKE ALL THE best Westerns though, this is the story of order and chaos, personified by people and groups, and affected by their actions, the stands they take, and even the deaths they die.
Tony Fyler, Warped Factor

MOORE'S SCRIPT IS gutsy, daring us to buy into something seemingly impossible and then building and building and building until no other outcome seems plausible, let alone possible.
Alasdair Stuart, Sci-Fi Bulletin


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Survivors - Big Finish - series five - cover  

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Survivors - Big Finish - series four - cover  

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Survivors - Big Finish - series three - cover detail

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Latest updates

 

Review of Crusade audiobook added

Added: 21 June 2022

 

New Dawn 2 reviews added

Added: 02 March 2022

 

New Dawn 1 and Ghosts and Demons reviews added

Added: 03 January 2022

 

Series nine reviews added

Added: 13 July 2019

 

Links

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