The arrival of Laura (Caroline Burt) and Norman (Denis Lawson) spells danger for everybody. After the death, Laura formed a relationship with a man called Bernard Huxley (Glyn Owen). Laura, already pregnant, was told by Huxley that she couldn’t keep her baby once it was born.
Laura, by now only days away from giving birth, seeks refuge at the Grange. Huxley’s not prepared to give her up easily though. As a trader he appears to view Laura as just another commodity and is clearly willing to use force to reclaim her.
Another Terry Nation script, The Future Hour sees a tense stand-off between Huxley and the Grange community. And we once again see Abby and Greg lock horns. Greg insists that Laura leaves (having met Huxley, he’s well aware of how dangerous he could be) whilst Abby won’t turn her out. Had Carolyn Seymour stayed for series two, it’s interesting to wonder how the Abby/Greg power struggle would have played out.
Is Huxley mad or stupid? At different times in the story both viewpoints are expressed. It does seem bizarre that after obtaining a considerable stockpile of every product imaginable (food, hardware, etc) he’s asking for gold as payment. As Greg incredulously asks, what use is gold? Huxley, like some others we’ve met, is convinced that eventually society will get back on its feet and therefore the man who holds a decent supply of gold will be in a powerful position.
Nothing we’ve seen so far supports this viewpoint, so it does seem to be a character beat that’s designed to flag up to the viewers that Huxley’s maybe not the most rational of characters. His pursuit of Laura is odd as well – since they’ve only known each other for a few months, why is he so determined to get her back (including terriorising the Grange community)? An extra reason for his pursuit is added after it’s revealed that Norman stole two bags of his precious gold. But once that’s returned, surely he would be wiser to cut his loses?
Shortly after they arrive, Laura and Norman leave, which gives us another tense scene between Abby and Greg. Greg tells Abby that she made her own mind up (although he admits that he told her about Huxley’s ultimatum). An incensed Abby slaps Greg (although it’s a bit of a feeble slap). Paul’s face, as he follows Greg, is a picture!
Laura and Norman don’t make it back to Huxley as she goes into labour en-route. She’s taken back to the community where she gives birth to a baby girl. And as befits a Terry Nation script there then follows some action as Huxley and his men step up the attacks and also engage in a brief gun battle.
Tom shoots Huxley dead and is shot dead himself. Given that he murdered Wendy in the previous episode, Law and Order, it’s possibly not a surprise that he’s killed off here (especially after he’s earned a degree of redemption – Greg’s epitaph for him is that “he’s done worse things”). Series two would see a similar character (Hubert) introduced, so it’s a pity that Tom couldn’t have been kept on longer – perhaps the thought of having a murderer walk around unpunished wasn’t acceptable?
Apart from Abby and Greg, character development amongst the regulars is quite thin here. Considering it’s his last episode, Tom has very little to do (which makes his sudden death all the more jarring). Jenny is also pretty anonymous, fading into the background somewhat. On the plus side, Paul does have a few nice moments, especially when he’s tied to a tree by Huxley’s men and threatened with death.
Glyn Owen’s very solid as Huxley, which makes up for the fact that the rest of his men are quite faceless. Overall, it’s a decent yarn, but it’s hard to feel that invested in the fate of either Laura or Norman since neither are particularly interesting or well-drawn characters.