“Season” in this case is a bit of a misnomer seeing as it is comprised of a whopping three episodes. But it is the proper term, as a second season has already been ordered and is planned to air in 2014.
IN THE FLESH on BBC America is an extremely unique show, and one of my first official forays into the realm of modern British entertainment. Allow me to point out the single, most glaring flaw up front: there was simply not enough. There was easily a full 8+ episode season able to be ‘fleshed’ out of the material (pun intended), so why the creators chose to stick with the random number 3 is outside of my ability to comprehend.
Although the three episodes presented were simply fantastic.
**Full Spoilers Ahead**
As stated from my review of the first episode, this is one heck of a deep take on the typical zombie story. The real heart and soul of the show is not so much about the zombies per se, but more about the inner workings of family and society as they work to grasp the major changes happening around them.
Starting in the second episode, we meet two more of the ‘partially deceased’, one girl named Amy who was Kieren’s former zombie hunting partner, and Rick who is the son of the HVF leader (Bill) and was ‘killed’ while serving overseas in Afghanistan. Important to note that Rick and Kieren were in a romantic relationship whereas Rick’s death overseas was the cause for Kieren to kill himself in the first place.
Each of these three partially deceased individuals take their condition in very different ways. Kieren wants to play by the rules and move past the whole ordeal while Amy embraces her zombieness, taking it as a point of pride to walk around naturally without wearing her government issued makeup. Rick is in a state of complete denial due almost entirely to his father refusing to admit that his son is a zombie, and gets to the point of training to be on the HVF himself just to please his dad.
Those with PDS start to be segregated and treated like lesser citizens, having a separate room in the town bar, forcing them to identify their homes and even being assaulted by the HVF members sent to check on them. The show even went so far as to start exploring some of the sexuality of the zombies and how they are frequently lusted over by the living.
Everything culminates into tragedy when Bill ends up killing his son because he refused to believe it was really him, and Ricky (The husband of the woman Bill kills at the end of the first episode) kills Bill essentially for being a complete dick.
Kieren is understandably mortified and runs away from home, only to be found by his mother and brought back where he (supposedly) lives happily ever after.
Personally I could have gone without the gay bit, but it is what it is on that part. And as far as gripes go, there are so many unanswered questions and unfulfilled plotlines, that it begs for a much deeper exploration next time around.
Partial list of questions are as follows:
What was the government really doing with the zombies who did not take well to the treatments? What would really happen if they stopped taking the medication or if there were somehow supply shortages? Who is the undead prophet, and what of his mysterious (and “dangerous”) drug he markets to those with PDS? Whatever happened to Amy… she supposedly left to find the undead prophet, but there was zero closure. How will the Vicar respond, considering Bill’s death? Is the girl that Kieren killed while zombified still alive by chance?
I really wish they had explored the scene with the zombie father and daughter a bit more than they did. The HVF are hunting them in the woods, and the zombie father was merely killing animals so that his zombie daughter could eat. Again, highlighting the ways that the zombies continue to cling to their humanity. I almost wish that Rick would have shot them to show how disconnected he was from his predicament and to drive a further wedge between him and Kieren. But to do so, they might have needed a fourth episode and god forbid that would have happened…
Knowing that IN THE FLESH has been renewed for a second (and ideally longer) season allows me to forgive the plotlines that were left hanging, and I would rate the first season an enthusiastic ‘A’ for being thoroughly novel and terrific. It would have been an A++ had we been given a couple/few more episodes worth of filler on the story, though.
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