The Magic School Bus
Episode 7 of The Midwich Cuckoos begins with Cassie being rushed to hospital. After seeing Evie walk out on her, she seems to have taken something but thankfully the paramedics get there in time and she’s stable.
What are the kids planning?
When Cassie awakens, Susanna admits she was locked in the school basement, hence her absence. Cassie doesn’t believe her, pointing out it’s a recurring story that she’s never there when Cassie needs her.
Outside the room, Bryony admits to Susannah that she knows something is not quite right with Westcott. She hands over the Nordosk file; the top secret information about the Russian village affected by this back in 1973. Here, Susannah sees for herself that there were no survivors.
The trio soon realize that the soldiers are being controlled by the kids, who forced them to turn and shoot their superior officer. Westcott is working alongside the kids, as it would appear their target may well be Midwich and those who live there.
What happens with Curtis? Does he manage to escape with David?
Meanwhile, Curtis pays off a shadowy figure in a car in exchange for a gun. He’s going after Joe. At the same time, Hannah sits down with Zoe and demands answers. Sam is the weak link here though, and with Ellie locked outside, playing in her paddling pool, Sam snaps and admits the truth that Susannah was at the Prep School that night and locked in the basement.
Joe is the one to Susannah about this, forcing her to be frozen in spot outside the clinic. As the roof starts cracking and prepares to fall on her, sudden gunshots sound from behind her. It’s Curtis. He shows up and shoots Joe in cold blood. He also kills the security officer who appears out the lab too.
As a result, everything changes. Any semblance of a truce in place is broken, with the kids all bleeding from the nose at the same time at the loss of one of their own. Susannah warns Curtis that he’s going to be killed and leaving with David is a suicide mission. He doesn’t listen but when he turns around, finds Hannah controlling him. She moves the gun across to David’s head… but it’s Paul who fires and kills Curtis before he can pull the trigger.
It’s a shocking and tense sequence, especially as the kids all circle around Joe’s dead body in the aftermath of this. Grief-stricken, the children leave together while the adults watch on from afar, scared and concerned.
Why do the kids want revenge? How does Mr Westcott tie into this?
With all the kids gone, the adults join in the town hall and try to work out what’s going on – and how they can stop it. The kids have locked themselves in the school, while the military show up in town. They force everyone to stay at home and remain under strict curfew. Given they all have guns, it’s not as simple as fighting back, so the adults comply.
The military begin questioning people one by one, wanting to know where Paul Haynes is. He sneaks around them though and arrives at Susannah’s. Susannah warns that this is a takeover and the kids need to stopped.
They’re due to leave on a military bus to the compound in the morning, and if that happens it could cause havoc. If they can control the soldiers there, there’s nothing stopping them from controlling a whole army. Cassie is willingly going with them though, given how much she cares for Evie, which makes Susannah’s stake in this all the more desperate. The other part of this stems from Nathan, who wrote a letter to Paul earlier reading “Help me”; he doesn’t want to be part of the hive mind anymore and could be saved.
Susannah arrives at Midwich Prep, desperate to talk the kids around. Mr Westcott appears first though as Susannah tries to reason with him, pointing out that 40 years is a long time to be alone, in mourning over losing his children in Russia. “My hive died. Burned alive by your bombs.” He says bitterly.
It’s worth cutting in at this point because it’s clear that the man who Sunny spoke to for an hour in the past was probably Westcott, telling her to show up in town so they can start their operation, explaining that part of the mystery.
Do the kids manage to leave Midwich?
Anyway, Susannah tries to talk the kids around outside the Prep School, pointing out that she does love them. After all, she’s seen them all grow up. However, Westcott is convinced that humans are deceptive by design and doesn’t believe her pleas. Mary-Anne appears though, tears streaming down her cheeks. She wants to hug her daughter before she leaves, but when she grabs the girl, refusing to give her up, the soldiers turn and fire.
Susannah pretends to be on the children’s side, despite how shook up she is, as she and Cassie are led down to the basement. Just before Nathan shuts the door, he tells Susannah that they plan to enact blackouts across the town. Nathan also lets Paul know, while Sam and Zoe snatch up Ellie and scramble down to the basement.
Susannah realizes that the plan here is for the blackout to cause the kids (or “the hive” as they’re called now) to team up and make all the adults forget they exist. All the pictures are removed from the houses, in preparation for the kids boarding their military bus out of Midwich, leaving for good.
Nathan stops by Jodie’s, but unfortunately she can’t remember who he is. When Hannah stops by her house just after, Sam and Zoe play the same game but Ellie breaks cover and says “hey Hannah!”
This catches us up to the opening of episode 1, as Zoe and Sam attempt to leave Midwich and escape from the kids. Hannah is about to hurt them both but when she spots Ellie in the doorway, she shows mercy and tells them to be quiet instead.
Are the kids stopped?
As for Paul, he manages to infiltrate the military, knocking an agent out and taking their outfit. The kids all prepare to leave Midwich in the morning, but Susannah convinces Nathan to take Cassie and run the other way.
The other kids quickly catch wind of what’s happening and send the military after them. When they lose sight of Nathan, partly thanks to him stepping on a bear-trap and being wracked in pain, Susannah convinces the kids to let him go from the hive mind, promising that he won’t say anything and neither will Cassie. It seems to work, and the soldiers walk away.
How does The Midwich Cuckoos Season 1 end?
Back in Midwich, all the kids walk in single-file onto the bus as Paul and the other watch on. Now, Susannah actually boards the bus with them, as her earlier promise about bearing the brunt of this, rings true. Susannah keeps her cool, especially when Westcott learns of the rogue agent among them. When the bus and the jeep in front are stopped, Paul hits the detonator and watches with the others as the bus is absolutely obliterated.
From afar, Zoe and Sam see the black smoke and hold hands while at the bombing site, the place is a complete mess and it seems there are no survivors, especially given the charred fragments of the bus remaining. Out in the woods, Nathan leads Cassie away.
The Episode Review
Ah, a cliffhanger ending bows out what’s otherwise a really solid series. The Midwich Cuckoos has perhaps been a little bloated with its sheer number of characters, especially around the middle portion of episodes, but there’s a good deal of drama here that makes this one of the better Sky Originals this year.
This adaptation has been decent, on the whole, and while the motivations for the kids is a little muddied at times – why does Nathan not want to be part of the hive mind? What led him to this conclusion? Why not any of the others? – it’s enough to make for an intriguing watch nonetheless.
There’s something unnerving about little kids acting in a spooky manner and that’s something Midwich Cuckoos manages to get right from its opening episode through to this conclusion. At the same time, there have been a few characters that have just faded out, like Sunny and Mary-Anne, with the latter’s death shocking but not quite as emotionally engaging as it could have been.
While I understand why the show has focused on its 2 or 3 main couples, I can’t help but feel some of these other mums would have made for a far more fascinating watch. Mary-Anne who hasn’t had sex for years; June who’s religious and sees her daughter a sign from God; the teen mums alongside Cassie. These three in particular could have really helped echo societal struggles with parenthood but we brush over a lot of that to get on with the story with the other couples
That’s a minor gripe though as on the whole, the series does a decent job keeping the horror and suspense going right the way through to the ending. And what an ending that is! Whether Sky will renew this for a second season or not remains to be seen but for those in the UK, there has been a lot of advertising for this show and it wouldn’t surprise me if it is. There’s definitely enough here to whet the appetite for more, as a gripping series comes to a decent end.