Series 1 of The Tribe consisted of 52 episodes which aired on Channel 5 from April 24 to October 23, 1999.

Plot synopsis Edit

Six to nine months after a deadly virus has wiped out the entire adult population, a group of children form a tribe and reside in a deserted shopping mall to hide from the dangers of the streets, eventually naming themselves the Mall Rats.

Early in the series Lex kills the leader of the Locos, Zoot, after this the Locos gradually lose power, but their new leader, Ebony, holds a grudge against the Mall Rats. It is then revealed that Zoot was Bray's brother and the father of Trudy's baby. The Mall Rats also have to look after Trudy's new-born baby, Brady while Trudy suffers from postnatal depression. Lex becomes the Mall Rats' leader after an election during which he bribes or blackmails most of the voters, but, he soon realises leadership isn't his strongest skill, so he shares the job with Amber and Bray. Lex becomes head of security, Amber worries about the cleaning schedules and Bray is in charge of foraging for food.

Jack, Dal and KC invent a wind turbine and a water purification system which allows the Mall Rats to become almost completely self-sufficent. Salene suffers from bulimia and ends up eating nearly all the Mall Rats' food, but she pulls through it with help from Trudy and Ryan. Amber nearly leaves with her new boyfriend, Sasha, but decides she can't leave after she sees the chaos it would cause amongst her friends. Lex becomes frustrated with Zandra playing hard to get and nearly rapes her. But, Tai-San convinces them to get married that way Zandra would feel more inclined to succumb to Lex's advances.

Jealousy is a big issue throughout the series - Lex of Zandra and Ryan's friendship; Zandra of Lex sleeping with both Ebony and Tai-San and Trudy of anyone else being with Bray.

In the final episodes of the series the virus returns and starts to rapidly age the children and kill them off too. Lex is infected and Zandra reveals to him that she's pregnant. The Mall Rats have problems with the Tribe Circus and The Locos which results in the Locos stealing the cure for the virus and using Lex as a test subject. Lex is cured, but he destroys the antidote by mistake, believing it doesn't work. The Mall Rats go to Eagle Mountain to look for answers to an antidote, and when they arrive an Observatory there starts up and they are given a recorded message giving them pivotal information about the virus and a possible antidote.

In Depth

At the beginning off the series, we are slowly introduced to the key characters of the show that would form the Mallrat Tribe. The headstrong 'look out for number one' Lex, along with the material girl Zandra, bumbling Ryan and the confrontational Glen are awaiting a visit from the Locusts or Locos, the most powerful and evil Tribe of the city. They hope to join them, but find the Locos have no intention of allowing them into the Tribe. Running for safety, Lex sacrifices Glen to the Locos pack as they escape, in order to save his own skin. We find Amber and Dal trying to cross through the city, heading for the countryside beyond in order to start their own farm, a life dream for the young Dal. They are hiding from a local dangerous tribe, The Demon Dogs who are hounding the streets and come across Cloe, wandering aimlessly alone. Cloe takes them to Salene, the young woman who has been caring for her, along with twins Patsy and Paul.



Lex, Ryan and Zandra find them there, and Lex tells them the city zone they are in belongs to him, but they are all set upon by Locos and make a swift escape. Finding all find themselves in the Phoenix Mall owned by the boy scientist Jack. All unwilling to leave and with no food or water, they decide to stay at the Mall and soon the peace-loving loner Bray joins them with a pregnant Trudy in tow. The group are reluctant to let them stay but when Trudy goes into labour they see no other option but allowing them to stay. When Cloe goes missing later in the season, it is the Asian spiritual Tai-San who finds her and returns her to safety, and she stays with the Tribe, and eventually blesses them with the name, Mallrats. The slippery thief KC also joins the Tribe, finding an ally in the shifty Lex.

Throughout season one, along with survival, many issues are addressed. Power struggle is evident, within the Mall the tribe go through various ways of designating a leader. First Lex is given control, but he is soon replaced by Amber, before an agreement is made, where Lex, Amber and Bray become mutual leaders of the Mall, each with their own qualities being put to good use for the Tribe. Lex for security, Bray for survival and Amber for leadership. We also witness the power struggle in the outside world, where Demon Dogs and Locos fight for control of the city, with all tribes fighting over sectors and zones.

When Lex kills the Locust Leader, the power hungry, Zoot, it is revealed that he was Brays younger brother and the father of Trudy's daughter, whom she called Brady. The tribe gives Zoot a warrior's burial, sending his body into the sea on an old boat and setting it alight. Ebony becomes the new leader of the Locusts, just as power hungry and driven as Zoot himself. Jealousy runs rife within the tribe, Trudy is jealous of Brays friendship and brief relationship with Salene, and holds a grudge against Salene despite the young woman's help with the baby, Trudy also becomes jealous of Brays closeness with Amber, when his affections change from Salene to Amber. Lex is jealous of Ryan and Zandra's friendship, knowing Ryan is in love with the younger woman and Zandra becomes jealous of Tai-San's closeness to Lex.

Teen pregnancy and the resulting depression are also present as Trudy sleeps into a deep state of depression after giving birth to Brady, not wanting to have anything to do with her. Salene takes care of the child, as Trudy becomes more and more bitter with the circumstances around her, as she becomes more bitterly enraged at Brays relationship with Salene, her depression hits a low and she takes an overdose of pills. Thankfully she survives through the doctoring skills of the young Dal. After nursing her to health, the two leave the Mall, Dal wanting to start his dream as a farmer, and Trudy just wanting to escape the reality of the world they live in. But Trudy cannot cope with the knowledge of abandoning her daughter and Dal continues on alone as Trudy returns to the Mall.

Dal is taken in by a traveling Tribe, the Nomads, but they turn out to have drastic plans for him, as they are a slaver Tribe heading for a meeting of the Tribes on the beach. Dal meets another captured soul Sasha and they attempt an escape but are recaptured. Salene, after the rejection of Bray and harsh words of Trudy, spins into a depressive state herself and becomes bulimic, eventually running away to find food so that she no longer steals from the Mallrats. She's held prisoner by some rogue tenants who give her food in exchange for her 'services'. Ryan, having left the Mallrats himself because of Lex and Zandra's growing relationship finds Salene and the two forge a strong friendship promising to look after each other. Although Salene sometimes slips back to her bulimic state, it is Ryan who gives her the strength she needs to battle it, along with the help of the other tribe members including Trudy who also becomes a close friend.



The Mallrats know they need to do something to show they can be a powerful and important Tribe of the city and look to trying to impress the Tribes around them. Using their resident scientist as the key, they put Jack to work to create a piece of machinery capable of providing constant electricity after he creates a water purification system for the mall using the old sand, rocks and dirt filter system. He designs a windmill and the Tribe travels to the Beach where the Tribes have met to show them the design in an attempt to start peace and trade. But there Amber encounters Dal, in a chain gang being traded to Ebony and the Locusts. Lex is set upon by a gang of Locusts led by Glen, who is angry with the man for letting him be captured and beaten by the Tribe. When things go awry at the beach, the Mallrats rescue Dal and Sasha and make their way back to the Mall.

When Amber and Sasha realize their feelings towards each other, they leave the mall for a few days, and Sasha asks Amber to leave with him for good. Being a traveler he cannot set down roots in the city. However, despite her feelings she realizes her loyalties are to the Tribe and heartbroken the two go their separate ways. When Jack fixes up the old video security system, the young Patsy and Cloe spy an 'adult' and insist on looking for them, despite the rest of the tribe disbelief. The 'adult' is in fact Glen and the horror finally grown on the Tribe. The virus has mutated and is now affecting the young as well.

Bray and Amber's relationship, having quite a rocky start, begins to make headway, and they exchange tokens. Amber gives Bray a ring her father gave her before his death, and Bray gives her a set of keys from his old house, the keys to his heart.

Hope Island

A search is mounted of all the official buildings on the city, anywhere that may have clues to the answer, and the antidote they needed. Bray, Lex, Amber and Dal travel to Hope Island which houses a top security building that may hold some information. There they discover a possible antidote and return home with it, hoping Jack can do more research. Lex soon finds the virus and starts to age rapidly within days infect him. Tai San show him ways of focusing his Karma, in hopes that he may fight the virus through power of the mind and body.

In the city he encounters the harsh life the tribes play as he witnesses other kids infected by the aging virus stoned and killed by Tribes. Meanwhile KC has been getting himself into trouble at a nearby gambling den and is taken prisoner by the crazed leader, Top Hat of Tribe Circus. Cloe explains to the other Mallrats about the gambling den and Bray realizes it is Top Hats Tribe who owns the place and knows the danger they could be in, should KC reveal the location of the Mall, which he unduly does. Lex goes to Ebony, who holds him prisoner at the Hotel, which the Locos control, but the guards are fearful of the virus ravaging the city and desert. Top Hat attacks the Mall and after an all out fight, cages then men up and makes Amber, Tai San, Salene and Zandra cook for he and his tribe. Taking a shine to [[Zandra], he takes her away and attempts to rape her but KC saves the day when he fights Top Hat. However the victory is short lived as Top Hat takes revenge on the entire Tribe, caging them up and starting a fire in the Mall.

Finding the guards gone, Lex makes Ebony take a mob of Locos to the Mall, having seen Top Hat take KC as prisoner to the Mall previously, and they save the Mallrats. However Ebony takes the antidote and Lex, using him as a lab rat for the still yet unknown substance they retrieved from Hope Island. It's a risk but with no choice, Lex complies and takes the antidote and it is found it actually works, and Ebony wishes to use the antidote as he power and control over the needing city. However Lex double crosses the Locusts leader and destroys the remaining antidote.


Top Hat

The threat of the virus is still present and the Mallrats find they need to travel to Eagle Mountain if they are to find any answers. The set off on a journey to find the mountain, using an old map Jack finds. On the way, Lex and Ryan set off by themselves, returning victorious having paid a private visit to Top Hat. They also come across a tribe unwilling to let them out of the city, afraid of the spreading virus, the cavalry arrives in the form of Lex and Ebony and a bus the Locos had hidden away, and they drive part of the way to the mountain before ending the journey on foot. Eventually they reach Eagle Mountain, finding a scientific research station set at its peak. Amber has become increasingly edgy about Bray and Ebony; having found out from Trudy that the two had known each other and had been in a relationship before the virus that had wiped out the adults.

There some of the Mallrats voice their feelings: some do not ant to return to the city; Lex and Zandra, expecting a child, may move on and Bray seems elusive to whether he will return. Patsy and Cloe become concerned and Salene assures them they will be looked after, Ryan agreeing that they would stick together. Dal also voices his wanting to move on, when they find nothing at the facility. When Bray tries to quietly leave, Amber follows him outside and accuses him of skulking away like he used to. Lex follows the two and in his usual abrupt manner tells them that they are in love with each other and to kiss and make up. Jack manages to get the computers working and they find it's a satellite system of some sort. A voice starts to speak, informing them that the future depends on them.

Production Edit

The scripts for series one were commissioned in March 1998 and pre-production started in June. Filming commenced in August the same year and lasted for six months until March 1999. Post-production lasted for six months.[1]

Filming locations Edit

37 sets were used in the production of series one.[1] The Phoenix Mall set was located in Studio A at Cloud 9 Studios, while Studio B housed the sewers and other temporary structures that were built for specific scenes and demolished once filming was completed.[2]

The mall set was constructed and completed over five weeks, during which hundreds of people worked around the clock. At the time of production, the mall was the biggest permanent set for any television or film production ever made in New Zealand.[1]

Cast Edit

Trivia Edit

References Edit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Tribe Trivia 1: Making the idea for the Tribe real, trivia about the shopping mall" Tribeworld.
  2. "Art and Design Department" Tribeworld.

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