As the architect-turned-preacher John, Kieran’ O Brien delivers a convincing performance. It’s still hard not to think of this fine actor as the Son of Cracker, but he creates a suitable air of mystery in the role and makes us wonder how genuine or malevolent his true intentions are. Interestingly, it’s left to Tom Price to adopt the audience’s perspective and turn inquisitor.
However, the revelation that schizophrenia is behind John’s actions proves to be unconvincing within the narrative, despite O’ Brien’s best efforts. How come his disposition hasn’t emerged previously during his adventures with his followers and alerted them to his psychological difficulties? Even worse is the hostage-taking finale, which could seamlessly slip into a stale episode of The Bill.
Elsewhere, the subplot involving Al finally getting laid is both funny and sinister – as his object of affection wishes to harvest his sperm! Be careful what you wish for. The Tom Price-Anya flirtations are a bit uninspiring though, especially as the jailbird’s homophobic rant rests uneasily with the programme’s apparent effort to present him as an anti-hero figure.
Still, at least the episode finally presents those shady scientists with a purpose in the story – to find Abby Grant. Let’s hope that the pay-off is suitably grand for next week’s finale, as Survivors has been teasing and frustrating us with this storyline for far too long.
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