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Hope Never Dies: An Advance Review of the Season Premiere of BBC America's "Survivors"

For the survivors of the European flu, things have not been going so well lately.

During Saturday night's season finale of BBC America's Survivors, members of the group were alternately kidnapped, shot, and forced to participate in a child thief gang that would have felt quite at home in Charles Dickens' Oliver. In other words: things couldn't really get much worse. And yet...

In tonight's gripping second season premiere, the loose band of survivors discovers that things can in fact get a lot worse, as they face their toughest challenges yet and continue to become increasingly splintered by outside forces. Tonight's episode pushes them to the brink of death itself, as several characters find themselves trapped in untenable situations from which escape seems futile while one of them makes a selfless sacrifice in an effort to earn her place among the group.

Survivors has thrived by offering a heady blend of post-apocalyptic suspense and a meditative exploration of the human condition under some bleak circumstances and tonight's episode is no exception to that rule. What do we do when faced with certain death? When the world comes crumbling down around our heads, do we hide or fight? Can you trust in the kindness of strangers or is there always a price to pay?

Season Two of Survivors takes place moments after the end of the freshman season as Anya and Tom attempt to save the life of Greg, wounded by a shotgun blast minutes before at the hands of the sadistic Dexter. But attempting to operate on a gunshot wound victim in the middle of a horror-filled London isn't exactly easy and Anya needs vital hospital equipment if she has any chance of saving Greg's life. Thus, a last-ditch mission to the hospital where Anya worked as Anya, Tom, and Al attempt to grab some supplies while Sarah and Najid keep an eye on the delirious Greg.

The only problem: Anya didn't count on the hospital being on fire.

I won't say any more about that situation but it ranks up there with some of the most grueling and tense situations on the series to date as the severity of their situation is tested by even more terror, the aching possibility of loss, and a brutal encounter experienced by the manipulative Sarah, who discovers that she is in way over her head.

Greg, meanwhile, suffering from the results of the gunshot wound and having his chest cut open without any anesthesia, begins to imagine/remember life before the virus outbreak, giving the audience some vital clues into his past and his character, including one reveal that tantalizingly dangles in the air. While he struggles with his past actions, his sole desire is to locate and save Abby, taken during the season finale by a group of armed men from the lab.

Abby's presence at the laboratory kicks up a whole new direction for the series as we learn more about the lab and its scientists, who they are, what they want, and what their true mission is. I was extremely surprised by a crucial reveal at the end of the episode as well as an intriguing subplot that makes me wonder just what is actually going on with this lab. Look for Whittaker, the Machiavellian head scientist, to become a more fully realized and three-dimensional character as he explains--or lies--to Abby about what they want from her and as we learn a great deal about his own character flaws.

Three words--"hope never dies"--may hold some critical answers and I can't wait to see just how this story pans out. Survivors continues to surprise with its grittiness, plot twists, and compelling characters and despite the series' move to Tuesdays (where it will now air opposite Lost), it's a series that's well worth your time.

Season Two of Survivors begins tonight at 9 pm ET/PT on BBC America.


Larry said…
I so love this show. Does anyone know if their will be a third season?
MeganE said…
It took me awhile to get into the first season (I think because of the bleak topic) but now I'm addicted. Very compelling storytelling and an interesting cast of characters. Looking forward to season two!
Page48 said…
I enjoyed both seasons. Hopefully there will be more to come.
Chuck said…
You just can't leave us like this. This series must go on.

This is clearly one of the best shows I have seen on any channel this year.

Please consider another episode.

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