The Day of the Triffids (BBC 1981). Episode Three

triffids 03

After Bill and Jo escape from the maurding pack of blind people, they find a place to hole up for the night.  After enjoying a good meal and a decent mug of wine, they both learn a little more about each other – although Jo says, “but all that, all the details of my life, they were yesterday. It’s the same with you.  I think I’d like to know you from today and you know me from today.  You might not like what I was yesterday.  I might not like what you were”.  The sense that yesterday is a closed book and that the future starts today is a theme that is picked up again later in the episode.

They then discuss what to do next.  Bill is keen to get out of London as he tells Jo that soon, “the city will begin to stink like a great sewer.  There are already corpses lying around.  Soon they’ll be more.  That may mean cholera, typhoid.  God knows what”.

But a light in the distance changes their plans and the next morning they meet a group of thirty or so survivors who all have sight.  They see another sighted man, called Coker (Maurice Colbourne), who’s leading a group of blind people.  He asks the others for help in finding food, but they refuse.  This is a debate that has cropped up before and Bill and Jo discuss it again shortly afterwards.  Bill says that Coker is right and wrong.  “We could show some of them where to find food for a few days or for a few weeks.  But what happens afterwards?”.

They then meet the leader of the sighted group, Beadley (David Swift).  He proposes moving out of London and establishing a community that will isolate itself for a year (in order to protect against disease).  One of the other members of their ad-hoc committee explains how the community will function.

The men must work.  The women must have babies.  We can afford to support a limited number of women who cannot see, because they will have babies who can see.  We cannot afford to support men who cannot see.  In our community, babies will be more important than husbands.  It follows from this that the one man/one woman relationship as we understand it will probably become an illogical luxury.

As for the Triffids, they only appear in a single scene (where they attack an old couple who we’ve never seen before).  As their appearance (although it’s very nicely shot at night) is divorced from the main narrative, it seems to have been put in simply to remind the audience that they’re still out there.  And since they don’t feature much in this episode, it helps to make their sudden reappearance in episode four even more striking

At the end of this episode, Bill and Jo (along with the rest of the potential community members) are settling down for the night when a fire alarm is raised.  Bill rushes down the stairs, trips over and awakes to find himself tied up …..

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