Survivors – Gone Away

gone away by terry nation

Abby has started to establish her own little group but we soon see that, even with hardly any other people around, some of the Survivors are still truly terrible human beings. Whatever this plague was, it’s looking highly doubtful that it was divine intervention. Why couldn’t only the nice ones survive?

Looting

At some point, they are going to have to start farming land, yet that will all take time and for now they need to stock up some decent resources. It means we get a family trip out to the shop and I’m always curious to see the interiors of early supermarkets. Compared to the larger out-of-town places that have sprung up since, many of these seem small. That’s the case here, although I’m unsure if it’s partly due to the constraints of filming as we don’t actually see that many angles in there.

I’m surprised the supermarket is still so well stocked, but we soon find out why. We don’t really see the body in full, although the large LOOTER sign is perfectly clear. The swinging legs are enough. I’m shocked and I don’t entirely believe Arthur Wormley’s gang later when they say they found the corpse down the road. Why is the corpse inside the building, rather than right by the door? It feels like they are testing people: will they still leave things behind once they have been in and seen and touched the food?

It’s a tense few minutes. They are all weighing up what to do, but they each make fairly fast decisions. Greg’s choice to walk away surprises me and Jenny is far more sensible in saying that the quicker they load up the quicker they can get away.

I was wondering whether the sign might be from a group other than Wormley’s lot, but then he had already talked about ‘fair’ distribution of food. They must be watching the supermarket from nearby. Why not just sit on the carpark? Maybe they have been at a vantage point, keeping an eye on several areas – there aren’t that many of the gang there after all.

While there is a part of me worried for our protagonists, as they speak with Wormley’s henchmen I find I’m actually bubbling with anger. These men have no real rights. They have assumed power. There is no legal system anymore. They weren’t appointed by anyone in authority. They’re just thugs with shotguns. It’s this faux authority that is frustrating me. They can’t even believe it themselves – they must all know it’s rubbish. I’m so annoyed that they are trying to insist they are the reasonable ones. I want Abby and co. to confront them with all this, yet I know it’s hard to put forward reasoned statements when you’re scared and angry. And would it make a difference anyway? I think back to the terrified, stuttering colonel that Wormley talked over just before he calmly ordered his murder.

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Wormley's gang hold shotguns inside the supermarket and stare down Abby

I’m so pleased Abby puts up a fight when one of them starts chucking stuff out of her car. Tiny Abby against this giant bloke whose mates have shotguns and she’s still not going to take their shit! But the shotguns are there. We find ourselves with a standoff, and then…

Jenny grabs one of the guns! Bold move, Jenny. I like it – she’s got some guts in there. You wouldn’t have put money on it being meek and mild Jenny doing that so I love her for it. Why does Abby throw her gun away moments after grabbing it?! She doesn’t even empty that one!

Jenny points the shotgun at one of Wormley's gang while another one is facing the other way

But now we’re waiting on Jenny, who’s still pointing the gun, and Wormley’s lot are starting to doubt whether she would pull the trigger. As they edge closer I can see they are going to grab it back. Sod it, Jenny, just shoot one of them! Show them you mean business and they can’t shove you lot around! It’s a relief when Greg grabs it instead and the determined look on his face convinces them to back off. I’m mildly annoyed that a man has to step in, but while I could potentially see Abby pulling a trigger I’d have been stunned if Jenny had suddenly transformed into that kind of person.

Surviving

Tom Price must have had a change of attitude since we last saw him as he leaves behind the cash he finds in the farmhouse. Even a denialist like him has realised that things are not going to return to normal any time soon.

We see some of the challenges that the survivors in this new world are facing. Tom’s attempts to shoot a chicken are slightly amusing, especially when it ends successfully only for a small boy to run off with it. But Tom’s time at the farm highlights the fact that these survivors need to learn how to hunt – and efficiently; Tom is physically knackered by the time he’s ran around after that chicken, using up far too much of his limited energy reserves. We also see various dead farm animals, which did get me wondering what everyone will do if all the country’s livestock dies off.

The older man with the boy mentions that he’s been sick and thinks he might have contracted tuberculosis from some contaminated water they both drank. As tuberculosis is not a waterborne disease, this can’t be right and it seems likely he’s mixing it up with typhoid. What matters is that they are both found dead shortly afterwards. Clean water is something most people have taken for granted, but without any processes in place to maintain the country’s water system they need to find another way to manage this basic necessity.

They need to take action, to get organised. Abby starts to cotton on to this as they drive away from the supermarket – if violent, undemocratic groups like Wormley’s are the only ones organised, they will be able to dominate everyone else easily. There needs to be other substantial groups that can establish themselves separately, with enough planning and order that they are self-sufficient and can’t be intimidated by small rabbles.

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Rebels without a cause

I had clocked Robert Gillespie among Wormley’s gang at the supermarket. I don’t think he said a single word in those scenes and that seemed odd because I know he’d had plenty of television acting experience by this time. Therefore his appearance made more sense later on when Abby and co. find him outside the church, warning them to hide. I was unsure if this was a trick and was on edge waiting for him to reveal their hiding spot to the other two. But no, it appears he’s genuinely helping them out, which is intriguing. Maybe he realised he was safest standing with rather than against Wormley. It’s nice to know that one half-decent person has infiltrated there. It also makes me think back to the events on the supermarket carpark – perhaps he let Jenny take his gun on purpose, or at least was lax about ensuring her or Greg had the opportunity?

Robert Gillespie watches off camera for the return of the others while he whispers to Greg who is partially hiding in the shadows

Tom Price is taking similar tactical steps. He’s quite a bullshitter – and a poor one at that! Within seconds of chatting with Abby, Jenny and Greg he has been caught out as he claims to have both been using the Rolls Royce to take food to the sick, but also staying away from them all. Tom looks like he will be a leech on them and Greg is suspicious, quite rightly making sure he takes his fags back after sharing one. It’s no surprise when we see Tom agree to go off and ‘register’ at Wormley’s place. For him, it must sound like the easiest option.

We’ve lost the biblical episode titles, yet a church seems a suitable setting for Abby’s new commune to come together. Such a large and well-enclosed building seems ideal, so I’m disappointed that she wants to leave by the end of the episode, but I can understand why.

I’m still unsure what our three are all going to do. They’ve lost Ann, which is probably a good thing. Abby seems torn between setting up a collective and hunting for her son, but these could probably be done together – if they establish a settlement of sorts, it should start to draw in others. Will Jenny stick with her no matter what now? Greg keep saying he’s only going to stay with them for a short while, but why? I don’t understand where or what else he could go off to. He seems an independent sort of chap and, in the old world, I could see him alone on a remote farm. But that’s a difficult and impractical option now.

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