In The Flesh, Season 1: Episode 3, Review

The In The Flesh season finale is loaded with symbolism, emotional punch, guessed it...zombies! And since the BBC has picked this up for another season, you'd best catch up now!

Whoa. Whoa. Whoa! I didn’t think a zombie series could get that freakin’ heavy, but apparently, it can. Mad props to creator Dominic Mitchell for taking the blood and gore of the zombie genre and turning it into a dramatic tour de force that rivals The Walking Dead’s best moments. Granted, The Walking Dead is about surviving during an apocalypse and In the Flesh is all about rebuilding in the aftermath. Still, by the end of the series finale, I felt like I had just watched an Arthur Miller play, except instead of salesmen dying, it’s all about zombies living…which is equally heavy.How do you go on living after you’ve already died? What does it mean to be granted that second chance? Can the living and dead truly find a way to co-exist when there’s that huge experiential gap between them?See? I told you it was heavy stuff.In the Flesh episode 3 picks up with Rick and his father Billy Macy at major odds because Rick refused to kill the rotters in the woods. Bill decides the way for his son to prove himself is to get him him to kill Kieren. You know, fellow PDS sufferer and Rick’s best mate/star-crossed love. Rick says yes, but doesn’t really mean it. He even calls Kieren and warns him to stay far, far away from him. Hey, we all have those moments where dad just doesn’t get you and you give him lip-service just to shut him up.Meanwhile, Vicar Oddie keeps going on and on about the second prophecy and how in the second rising, it’s going to be the righteous and not the pretenders, blah, blah, blah revelations and slightly unnecessary supernaturalish sideplot, etc. Bill of course, being the paranoid vigilante that he is, takes all this to mean that maybe Rick isn’t really Rick. Maybe he’s just some dead demon who’s piloting Rick’s body or whatever.Things between father and son don’t improve when the two manage to corner Kieren and Rick refuses outright to kill his ex-boyfriend. He then has a dramatic moment and strips off his cover up and contacts, forcing his father to confront what he really is: partially deceased. They have a moment where the two of them embrace, and it seems all will be well. Then Bill jams a knife through the back of his son’s head.Wow. Wow, Bill. Just…wow.Then, to top it all off and to get back at Kieren, Bill drops his son’s body off in front of Kieren’s garage. Kieren, naturally grief-stricken, goes to confront Bill, intending to kill him. He’s interrupted however by Bill’s wife going nuts on her husband after learning what he’s done. After all that bonding and therapy she’d gone through to help her cope with her zombie son, and glad to have that second chance, and then learning her psycho husband killed him…well. It’s enough to drive any woman to go all Medea on his ass. Which, she does, slashing his hands with a knife.Jolted into sanity by his bloody hands, Bill wanders out into the street in a daze, finally coming to terms with the fact he just KILLED HIS OWN SON. How will he deal? What will he do? Will Bill become reformed? Nope. Instead, in an epic example of karmic justice, he gets shot by Ken Burton, the neighbor whose wife Bill coldly executed in the street after learning she was a returned Partially Deceased sufferer.As if the episode isn’t already insanely dramatic, Kieren goes and finds the parents of his last victim, Lisa, and confesses he…ate her brains. They take it surprisingly well, and ask him if there is any chance she might have risen, and therefore might return to them. He has no clue, but realizes what the hell, throw them a straw. So he does and admits sure, she could be alive. It’s a mitzvah. In repayment for his good deed, he and Jem grow closer to re-establishing the brother/sister bond they had before he died. It’s lovely, the way these two tentatively reach out connect with each other, despite death.Of course, things don’t exactly stay…affirming. As if Rick’s re-death isn’t enough, Amy also leaves Kieren (after having an…ew…one night stand with Philip) to find the Undead Prophet. She promises to return, and God I hope she does in Season 2. Amy’s awesome.Kieren then goes off by himself and broods in the little cave by the sea where he killed himself after he learned of Rick’s first death in 2009. His mother finds him and coaxes him out of committing suicide for a second time by sharing a story of her broken heart, and how the shoulder she cried on ended up being Kieren’s father.Lesson: don’t give up on life, because life never gives up on you. Especially when you get a FREAKIN SECOND CHANCE AT IT.Kieren then decides to make the most of his new life by confronting his father and getting him to vent about how he really feels about Kieren and his return. It starts out intense and then gets painful as Kieren’s father eventually confesses what it was like for him to find his son’s body and carry it out of the cave. Arrghgh! So many tissues were used by me watching this scene that I ought to buy stock in Kleenex now.Still, father and son hug it out in a real, manly way and it seems that it’s a whole new series of beginnings for Kieren, Roarton and the world. The episode closes with the burial of Rick’s body, clearly a metaphor for burying the past and moving on with life.Obvious symbolism aside, In the Flesh is one of the best shows to happen this side of the Atlantic this summer. Sadly, it was only three episodes, but that only means it’s not hard for all you who have not been watching to catch up in time for Season 2. And yes, I will be watching Season 2. Even though most of the storylines were tied up in this episode, I’m sure there will be plenty of other tales to tell in this world where the dead and the living walk together on the earth in an uneasy truce.


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4 out of 5