Review – In The Flesh: Season Two, Episode One

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The first episode of a brand new series of BBC3’s zombie drama In The Flesh marks a brilliant return to form for writer and creator Dominic Mitchell.

In Season Two, what began as a show about the effects of resurrection on a grieving family within a small, tight-knit, northern community has now expanded its reach to address the impact that “The Rising” has had on the UK as a whole. As anti-PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) oppression and prejudice grows, increasing numbers of disillusioned sufferers are drawn to a revolutionary group known as the Undead Liberation Army, who are suspected of carrying out terrorist attacks. In response, PDS-phobic propaganda has proliferated, and support has swelled for extremist, “pro-living” political party Victus, whose publicity material cleverly mirrors that of certain real-world, anti-immigration parties. 

intheflesh2_1Meanwhile, life for protagonist Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry), hasn’t got any easier since Season One. In addition to battling with persistent guilt and self-loathing about his actions during the Rising, and his family’s struggles to adjust to his condition, he’s now grieving for a second time over old flame Rick Macy, and fearful for his best friend Amy, who has become involved with the ULA. It’s clear that the fragile peace established in his home town of Roarton has yet to settle over the rest of country. Worse still, developments beyond the little town are now threatening what limited stability there is there. As the fear, hatred and violence start to peak, Kieren is faced with a dilemma over whether to flee to safety in a more tolerant society abroad, or to stay at home with his loved ones and defend his right to be there.

As ever, the show’s cast are utterly superb, with young stars Luke Newberry, Harriet Cains (Jem Walker) and Emily Bevan (Amy Dyer), giving powerful, nuanced performances. Cains in particular is given plenty of room to develop her character as the show explores the traumatic psychological effects of the Rising on Kieren’s sister, Jem. Their parents, too (Marie Critchley and Steve Cooper), begin to express their feelings more fully. Two new characters are also introduced: Roarton’s cold and calculating Victus MP, Maxine Martin (Wunmi Mosaku), and Amy’s mysterious new boyfriend and fellow undead revolutionary Simon (Emmet Scanlan).

Overall, It’s a gripping, moving and even, at times, frightening start to the new series which, if it’s predecessor is anything to judge by, will almost certainly only get better. 

If you missed the first episode, you can catch up on iplayer here.

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