In the Flesh 2:01/2:02
BBC Three’s output has been criticised over the years for some of its dumbed down documentaries or puerile comedies but it’s real strength has always been in its dramas premiering such TV hits as Being Human, the sadly missed and sadly unresolved The Fades, and now last years jewel in its crown, In the Flesh returns. This novel and innovative Zombie drama focuses on the aftermath of the Rising, and the reintegration into society of the Zombies, called Rotters, or sufferers of Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS), and is a totally different beast to the Walking Dead (as an aside why do neither of the characters in either drama call the undead Zombies, instead of either Walkers or Rotters?) In a further piece of good news, this season is 6 episodes instead of the 3 from last year, which means that whilst the episodes are of a slower pace than the first season, the drama and narrative is given space to breath, and plotlines are drip fed in, planting seeds that suggest an epic finale to come. Episode One returns us to Roarton, the conflicted Lancashire town where the living and the PDS sufferers live together in an uneasy accord. Focusing on Kieran Walker (Luke Newberry) as he attempts to overcome his PDS and escape Roarton for something better. However events get in the way of Kieran, as he struggles to come to terms with his role in the rising, his resurrection and his death, when his friend and fellow PDS sufferer Amy (Emily Bevan) returns from a commune with the mysterious Simon (Emmett Scanlon), her fiancé, and one of the apostles of the undead prophet. In direct opposition comes new MP Maxine Martin (Wunmi Mosaku), with her mysterious background, her intense interest in Roarton and Kieran in particular. Her membership of the Victus party are against the PDS reintegration back into society, (and with their policies and attitudes there is a definite shadow of contemporary politics and some of the nastier right wing organisations echoed in Victus) and she seems determined to shake up the fragile peace. This original idea of reintegration of Rotters as they are known, and the aftermath of rebuilding the society is as far from the fragmented post apocalyptic world of the Walking Dead as is possible, and the focus is on the relationships between the PDS sufferers and the traumatised survivors is key to the dramatic tension here. The slow build events of episode one, which reintroduces the characters after around a year from Season One starts to set the scene and leaves the door open for episode Two. While the focus of the series is on Kieran, it’s his sister Jem (played superbly by Harriet Cains), who is struggling with going from being a hero in the now disbanded HVF (Human Volunteer Force) to being back at school, reintegrating there whilst reconciling what she has done in the rising. The events of episode two, where Miss Martin starts to implement the giving back scheme for PDS sufferers, helping out in the community (complete with their requisite Orange vests) starts to redraw battle lines, with the PDS sufferers firmly on one side, and the humans on the other. Which, as episode two builds to a shocking and inevitable conclusion, sets up more questions that I hope get answered in the remaining four episodes. With a strong and relentless story, some fantastic and intense acting particularly from Harriet Cains as Jem and excellent cinematography and make up, In the Flesh is one of the strongest dramas on TV at the moment.