An In The Flesh Community
Saturday 9:00 PM on BBC America
As always, if you’re not in the UK, that means you’re probably going to watch this episode on BBCAmerica this Saturday at 10/9 central. If you live in the UK then you saw it last Sunday. Just to add to the confusion, TV.com gets its title feeds from an American provider, so the BBCAmerica airdates are the ones at the top.

So we're off to the races with this one! If the first episode was kind of slow, Dominic Mitchell dumped all over his audience with this one. Kieran is off to Paris (or is he?) after a traditional Gallic breakfast compliments of his consistently weird father. Compliments to Marie Critchley, who plays Sue Walker and has the perfect long-suffering attitude toward her husband while still coming across as a loving parent. More so in Series 1, so hopefully they'll give her more to do in series 2. So far, not so much.



And besides, Luke Newberry looks so cute in a beret.

In any case, more on the "Kieran is the One plot," as Simon and Amy plot to keep Kieran in Roarton. Turns out they needn't bother, because everyone's favorite MP, Maxine, has the authority to prevent the PDSSs (PDS Sufferers: I'm not going to keep spelling it out) from leaving town. They now have to participate in a give back program, expertly demonstrated on a cheesy government promotional video that's the funniest thing since the United Appeal for the Dead (see end of the review).



The United Appeal for the Not Quite Dead Yet

Meanwhile, more subplots! Jem gets three: she's having nightmares about her time as a undead killer and is bed-wetting. And she makes a new friend, who turns out to hold a grudge. And a boy is trying to hit on her by talking up the HVL in class, since Jem was a member of that group.

What about everybody else? Amy has a reaction to homemade neurotriptyline. Phillip is going to a zombie brothel to pay a prostitute to pretend to be Amy and snuggle with him (real snuggling!). However, when he meets the real Amy for the first time since her return, he spills pee on himself in what seems to be a running theme for the episode. It also turns out his mother, the eternally chipper Shirley, has created a page for him on an online dating site.



"Pee's leaking."

Simon reveals that he suffered from terminal depression and killed himself with an overdose. He also declares his love for Kieran on what seems to be very short notice.
Heck, even Gary gets hired by Maxine to guard invisible PDSSs as an excuse to patrol the town. Dean, admittedly a minor character, has a vague subplot because he's on the outs with his PDSS friend Freddie, who is taking jobs to meet ends meet. It looks like more with Freddie next week.

Only Maxine really doesn't do much this week, so no mention of her dark secret that Vicar Oddie discovered. (And he's confirmed dead.) Or what was up with the toy train she has in her luggage. She mostly does that villain thing where they circle photos and make enigmatic marks in file folders.

What else do we find out? Undead get drunk on (sheep) brains. And even high school students can get Blue Obsidian, when one of our trio of PDSS students gets hold of some, takes it, and transforms into a rabid in the middle of a school day. This leads eventually to the finale, where Jem inadvertently guns down a non-rabid PDSS.



Martha Stewart explains how to serve for the undead

As an offsite reviewer noted, this series the show is turning into less of a character study and more of an out-and-out exploration of prejudice against a minority. Basically the Victus Party has turned PDSS into slaves with the carrot of a re-citizenship that they'll never earn. With four episodes to go, things will presumably get worse. I'm not entirely clear how, since how much authority Maxine has seems to vary. She mentions her hands being tied by the parish council at one point, but she still seems to be able to order Roarton to participate in the give back scheme. It must be a UK governance thing.

All of the cast is pretty solid this week, although Luke Newberry isn't given a lot to do. It looks like he's going to get more aggressive in the next episode. Which is good, because his sad tortured act is getting a little old. Tipsy Amy is funny, and Emmett Scanlan is still working on his "I'm a dead guy" look. Which in fairness, he does well.

Newcomer of the week award goes to Tasha Connor (last week's was Charlie Kenyon as Henry), who plays a high school mean girl who actually has a reason to be mean.



And the winner!

So overall, while the show is a bit different from the first series, with a more blatant study of prejudice and bigotry, it's still pretty entertaining. And the hints that Kieran had some kind of role in the start of the Rising seems a little out of left field, but still interesting. So I'll keep tuning in.

-----

As promised, from the 1977 movie Kentucky Fried Movie. Who knew it'd be so prophetic?




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The first season concerned itself more with the psychological aftermath of the rising -- the guilt of the PDSers, the unresolved anger of the never-been-dead, and the denial of family members. While it touched upon prejudice, the rising was still an immediate reality and the HVF was still active so it seemed far to soon to predict the long term consequences of the situation. Would there be some kind of reconciliation as the wounds healed or was the horror of the whole thing simply too much to get past.

In the current season, as Gislef notes, the rising is pretty much history (just a few rabids left to wrap up and no heavily armed HVF) and the focus is almost entirely upon the issue of prejudice and oppression, and that's where the show is starting to fall into the numbingly familiar narrative of the poor oppressed folk vs. the narrow minded bigots. Unfortunately, the outrageous scenario doesn't lend itself to such simplicity. Our PDSers, after all, are guilty of horrific murders and, even if they weren't responsible by reason of supernatural influence, they DO remember at least some of their rabid acts which, while a major theme in season one, is virtually ignored this time around. Yet how could any PDSer slip easily past those memories and act as though the never-been-dead are completely unjustified in their fears, particularly when some seem intent upon reliving that horrid state by voluntarily taking Blue Obsidian? And how could anyone paint the HVF as no more than bloodthirsty fascists when they were protecting family, friends, and possibly the human race from a very real and present danger?

It's a bit of a stretch to think that many PDSers would sympathize with the rabid given that they and their loved ones are as likely to be their victims as anyone else. More importantly, and in contrast to the implied equivalence with racism, PDSers grew up human and, once treated, are still human in their thoughts and memories. PDS is a disease and, while it's unfair to expect sufferers to feel shame for it, you wouldn't expect them to become nostalgic for it either. A more apt comparison to than race to PDSS, would be something like schizophrenia, or addiction and alcoholism where the victims suffer as well as causing suffering in others. And I can speak from experience when I say that virtually all addicts in remission suffer a significant amount of guilt. You won't see too many drunk power rallies, or junkie pride parades.

There's too much moral ambiguity in all of this to bring it down to right and wrong, to a morality tale where the lesson is "why can't we all just live together". Far more interesting, and believable, is the psychological journey all of the characters must undertake on the road to redemption and reconciliation, if that's even possible. We're not talking about race here. That your skin is a different colour than mine is pretty trivial compared to the fact that you ate my sisters brains or that I chopped off your mother's head!

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some great and well thought out comments here - yeah this is my problem with the show as well. Whilst I do like and think it is a great take on the zombie theme. I have a real problem with the idea that some zombies would willingly take drugs to go back to a rabid state (I know teenagers do stupid things but turning yourself into a rabid zombie whilst at school is beyond dumb). and like you said - the never-dead do have reason to be scared for their safety. I liked your comparison to schizophrenia and addiction as opposed to race - it is much more apt, and gives the show more depth as these issues aren't explored as much race in the media.
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