Friday, May 23, 2014

TV Review: In the Flesh, Series 2, Eps. 1-3

In the Flesh, Series 2, Episodes 1 to 3

See my review of Series 1 here.

I thought the second series of In the Flesh would be three episodes just like the first series. As I watched the third, I wondered how they were going to wrap up so many story lines. They didn't and scenes for the next episode were intercut with the closing credits. A little on-line research reveals that there will be six episodes. I'm not sure if I'll start reviewing episode by episode or do another set of three. Anyway, here's what I thought of the first half of series 2, broadcasting now on BBC3.

The series picks up a few months after the end of the last series. Two new factions have arisen. The Undead Liberation Army is a clandestine group of zombies who fight for respect and recognition of the undead. Members of the group have made terrorist attacks on the humans by taking a drug that temporarily reverts them to their rabid state. In a crowd of humans, that means they eat a lot of humans. The ULA is led by the Undead Prophet, a mysterious figure on the internet who has gathered disciples and is clearly sending them out to cause trouble.

The other faction is Victus, a political party that fights for human (i.e. non-zombie humans) rights and seeks to oppress the Partial Deceased Syndrome sufferers, i.e. the zombies. They've enacted laws that restrict travel and business opportunities for PDS people. The latest is the "Give Back" scheme, where all local zombies are forced to volunteer for menial jobs as a way to pay back the community for the destruction they caused in their untreated state.

In the middle is Kieren Walker, who wants to return to his life as an artist and plans to move abroad, presumably to somewhere more PDS-friendly. His old PDS pal Amy Dyer soon shows up, which makes him happy, but she comes with Simon, an adamant disciple of the Undead Prophet, which makes him sad. Simon both warns of coming oppression and stirs up trouble in the town. Kieren is unable to leave and reluctantly accepts the "Give Back" scheme; Amy and Simon are ready to revolt.

The other new arrival is MP Maxine Martin, recently elected and member of Victus. She meets with local anti-PDS agitant Vicar Oddie. He's not extreme enough for her and rather conveniently dies (though not by her hand), leaving her as the main baddie for the show. She seems to have some secret agenda involving Kieren.

Half-way through this series, the show seems a bit all over the place. The opening up of a larger political story is interesting but not as compelling as the personal story of the first series. There's two or three other plot threads I haven't mentioned that don't seem as tightly tied in to the main story, but perhaps they will pull together in the second half. One of the things implied in the last series has become explicit. Kieren, whose friendship with macho-man Rick in the first series could have been interpreted as best friends or as homosexual lovers, is clearly homosexual. There's a little bit of touching and one kiss so far. It's another odd plot thread that may tie in or go nowhere. More to come.

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