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In The Flesh: The First Four Minutes

Television
by Darwyn Carson
May 6, 2014 2:13 PM
1 Comment
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Photo by Des Willie - Courtesy of BBC AMERICA

by Darwyn Carson

Last year, I wrote that In The Flesh was not your typical zombie apocalyptic tale. Those of you who watched the three part mini-series know that to be true. Season one did a lot of exploring in a thoughtfully entertaining way.

But time has passed.

BBC America has released the first four minutes of season two, episode one of In The Flesh, and inventive writer/creator Dominic Mitchell is not easing us gently into this ongoing world where people passed away in 2009 and rose up en masse the following year.

Season one picked up six years after The Rising; during a period of readjustment. The cycle of loss and pain had subsided. Though no one had discovered why this had happened, they had discovered how to control the rabid-like symptoms of the Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferers. Military and medical intervention had done its work. The disruptive panic was over; but barely. Emotions were still raw.

In the tiny community of Roarton, Lancashire, prejudice of the “rotters,” or PDS sufferers, remained thick. Complications rose as the partially dead were returned to their homes to reunite with loved ones and reintegrate into society.  

Luke Newberry is perfect as our unlikely hero; the melancholic, artistic Kieren Walker. Kieren was different because he had, in 2009, intentionally taken his own life. He had, also, wanted to be cremated. His parents ignored his final wish. He’d been buried wholly intact instead.  He becomes one of the thousands of ‘raised up” Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferers.

How often does one get the gift, as Kieren calls it, of a second chance to do it over—make things right?  How often do we give others a second chance? Why is prejudice, and everything that goes with it, such a ready, set, go-to place for Fully Alive Syndrome sufferers when all it offers is a hot-bed of trouble?

Conclusive answers weren’t really expected. It’s just a television show. This one, however, was a series that dared to shine a light while it entertained. And, I daresay, it succeeded.

In the season two starter, it’s nine months later. Dissonant groups of PDS sufferers, tired of being made to tow the medical line, are set to revolt. There’s a drug going around, Blue Oblivion, which is a good thing or a bad thing; depending on which side of the aisle you’re sitting. The tone is not the stuff of season one, but reality is already shaken. These four minutes are tight, tense and, fair warning, horrific. Let’s see where Dominic Mitchell takes us this year.

 BBC America’s In the Flesh returns Saturday, May 10 at 10pm and, this year, is a six-part series.

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1 Comment

  • Mary | May 7, 2014 12:33 PMReply

    I'm so glad I found your post--I never would have known what I'm missing. Straight zombie stuff is not something I typically go for, but you've really made the themes clear. What a perfect parallel universe for our troubled times.

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