Sophie Turner ‘Survive’ Series Addresses Coping with Mental Illness Too
Isn’t that always the way. You survive the Game of Thrones only to star in another life threatening TV show. Sophie Turner’s new gig is literally called Survive, and it’s about more than one kind of survival.
Survive is another Quibi drama, a “movie in chapters” as it were. This one takes about five chapters to set up, although it admittedly has more ground to cover than Most Dangerous Game.
What does Sophie Turner have to ‘Survive’?
Each episode of Survive begins with a warning that the show depicts mental health scenes and suicidal thoughts. Take the warning seriously. Survive warrants a trigger warning.
Jane (Turner) is a patient at Light House, a home for young people suffering from mental illnesses. She runs down a list including but not limited to bipolar, borderline, bulimia and anorexia. Other characters get identifying text on screen so the viewer understands their conditions.
Jane has been suicidal. A guard has to watch her shave her legs so she doesn’t attempt again. Turner gives a sensitive believable performance as someone dealing with suicidal thoughts. You understand that survive refers to what she’s doing every day before the plane crash.
Sophie Turner must ‘Survive’ a harsh environment too
In episode two, Jane goes to the airport to return home. She meets other passengers who all have hopeful futures, like the fiances going to their destination wedding, or Paul (Corey Hawkins) who’s just a nice guy. He gives the TSA officer a break even when he’s being harassed.
When the plane goes down over the mountains, survivor guilt takes on a whole new level. Jane has to deal with why she’s still alive, and how hard she’s going to fight now. Hawkins is a rock. Paul’s “no drama that’s not drama” attitude is a real survival mechanism but mental health requires a more nuanced touch.
So yes, their first priority would have to be the necessities, keeping warm, eating, hydrating and finding help. Yet none of that is going to happen by yelling at Jane. Paul needs her help and he also has to motivate her to live.
It’s also potentially dangerous territory for Survive. Let’s hope it’s not saying all a person struggling with suicidal thoughts needs is a life threatening situation to motivate them. All indications so far are that Survive will be more sensitive to that, but it will remain a troubling possibility until the series resolves.
Will ‘Survive’ survive Quibi?
Survive has a poignant dramatic premise. Quibi’s “movies in chapters” aesthetic may undermine it. Each of the first five episodes lays the groundwork for the characters and the scenario in which they find themselves. However, it might better serve the drama to just play it out in two straight hours.
If you’re invested in Jane’s life at Life House, you’re not going to wait to see her go to the airport. Then you’re not going to want to wait to see who survives the crash and then you shouldn’t have to wait to explore Jane’s inner conflict. Movies in chapters could work, but so far these movies warrant unbroken viewing.
In addition to the warning before the show starts, each episode of Survive also ends with the below phone number too.
How to get help: In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a trained crisis counselor at the free Crisis Text Line.