In the Flesh Episodes 3 and 4
Episode 3 of In The Flesh picks right up after the party, where Jem (played superbly by Harriet Cains) is grappling with her conscience, whilst the talk of the rising on both sides seems to suggest that Roarton was where it started, and dropping big hints that Kieren may well be more of a key to the rising than even he thought of. The biggest fear seems to be the idea of a second rising, which is linked to the first risen which could have a big impact on all the characters.The human impact of the Rising is explored in more depth this week, with PDS sufferer Freddie whose trying to change his life, and get his wife Hayley back at the same time, from his watching their wedding video over and over, to her new bloke Amirs anger at him living with them, one of the strangest and saddest love triangles on television at the moment, as PDS sufferer Freddie (a stellar performance by Bryan Parry) goes through all the emotions of a spurned lover, with the added factor that he’s dead, and the way their story ends has tragic consequences for Freddie. The dramatic showdown places Kieren firmly on one side, and Gary (played to perfection by Kevin Sutton) on the other.The slow burning attraction between Simon and Kieren comes to a head this week, and Amy is still oblivious. The disdain with which most of the living treat the PDS in orange hi-vis jackets is superbly played, as characters like the Doctors receptionist, or the lady who runs the B and B display open hatred and anger for them. Whilst the mysterious MP Miss Martins plans are still shrouded in secrecy as she charms and beguiles Roarton, with her agenda firmly hidden. In episode three its clear that all of the characters, whether living or dead are terribly damaged by the rising, and its also clear that the impact it’s had on them emotionally is being shown by their actions, and the fact that In the Flesh is building up to something momentous happening that’s going to leave no-one unscathed.
Episode 4 brings back the PDS Brothel hidden in Roarton (first revealed in episode 2) where Parish councillor Phillip (played by Stephen Thompson) has been indulging in his secret fantasies about Amy, and his secret is about to be revealed in a tape leaked to Maxine Martin, which she uses to blackmail Phillip into lying about Henrys disappearance.
Meanwhile Amy’s mysterious illness is starting to have an impact on her, whilst resentment is starting to build amongst the PDS sufferers on the course. Tensions are also starting to build up at home as Kieren gets more involved with Simon, and Jem who appears to be blocking in all her emotions, is now back in patrol in the HVF, which is reformed by Maxine Martin to protect the village. The battle lines of the divided village, which at the start of the series seemed to have reached a fragile peace, are now redrawn and the two sides of humans on the one hand and PDS sufferers on the other are lining up for a confrontation. Which starts when some of Simon’s disciples free two rapid, untreated PDS sufferers from the surgery and continues when the residents’ protest and raid the brothel, parading the clients and the PDS prostitutes. Phillip in an unexpected act hijacks the protest, and admits to the angry crowds who he is and what he’s done at the brothel.Simon is invited to a meal at Kierens family house, where Jem brings Gary back, with a big confrontation between Gary and Kieren, as Kieren talks about his rising, how he came back from the dead, with a major reveal that he is the first risen, and finally his anger bursts through, and all his repressed emotion about being risen is vented, in an emotionally charged and beautifully played scene. If the last episode was about the repercussions of the rising, this one is about the removing of masks and facades, from Phillips admission to Kieren and Simon wiping their make up off. The end where Phillip admits he likes Amy and Maxine Martin is stood at an unknown grave sends shivers down the spine, as the tension is building up week after week.The beauty and skill of the writing in this series is that is slowly builds up the narrative, layer by layer, drip by drip, until the big moment at the end leaves you gobsmacked, emotionally drained and also impatient to see where its going to take you next week. The decision to make this season a 6 episode series is vindicated, and the ensemble nature of the drama, and the outstanding performances from everyone in the cast draws you in, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. This is true 21st century boxed set television, in that once you’ve seen one episode you’re too impatient to wait a week for the next one!