The Fades episode 5 review

Quietly superb homegrown horror The Fades continued its perfectly paced descent into darkness this week with a murderous penultimate episode...

This review contains spoilers.

Having eaten and/or turned pretty much everyone in town, John and his ever growing army of flesh eating immortals seem content enough. As far as world domination plans go though, it’s languorous at best. And quite possibly ill conceived – what happens when they’ve eaten and/or turned everyone? Surely even immortals need a steady food supply?

Whatever their grand plan, the immortals have proved creepily efficient at creating and feeding their army. With just Paul and a small number of normals left, the authorities have admitted defeat and ordered an evacuation of the town. As is generally the way with authorities in a crisis, this was completely the wrong decision. As Paul points out, immortals are indistinguishable from normals, unless he happens to have shoved his fist through one; the evacuation could well scatter them across the county, making tracking them down incredibly difficult.

Paul and his magic hands need a plan, but for reasons not fully explained, he doesn’t want to simply kill all the once dead, now immortal not-quite humans – despite the fact that they are killers themselves, and would quite like for there to be no humans left. Sensitive and nerdy is one thing, sensible is quite another. Given that John is hell bent on staying where he is, and now faces the prospect of life eternal without the second love of his life, thanks to the aforementioned magic hands, you’d think Paul would jump at the chance to be rid of his nemesis. That’s teenagers for you.

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As dark as it’s possible to get on prime time Beeb – even on the less glamorous channels – The Fades has been ruthless in its, in some cases literal, execution, with characters dropping left, right and centre. Okay, Steve’s death was glorious and particularly deserved, but the poor young DI’s was callous in the extreme, and strangely affecting. And that’s what has been so interesting about this show. It’s definitely not groundbreaking stuff – we’ve seen much of it before – but it’s handled so deftly, paced so well, written so beautifully and acted with such conviction and passion that’s it’s almost impossible not to be impressed with, and immensely satisfied by it.

It’s not perfect, mind. Natalie Dormer has been criminally underused – nudity is no substitution for having something to do. Also, Mark’s brief stint as suspect number one fizzled to nothing in quite a clunky way, and the entire investigation itself never really got going, leaving Robbie Gee with very little to play with. Having said that, perhaps these things were sacrificed so that Anna could become more than a little kick ass – something that was long overdue – and to make sure that we know that the visions that Paul, and probably Sarah, had are not set in stone. As with any show, choices have to be made and, while we’re still an episode from the full complement, it’s more than possible that the choices were absolutely correct.

With the zombie army raring to go, and Paul stubbornly adhering to only using his powers for good, the final episode will see a victor one way or another, and under these circumstances, John would appear to be a pretty good bet. But, as the visions have proved to be just one possible outcome of the events they portray, who the actual winner will be is anyone’s guess. But then, the powers that be do seem to have a thing for bed wetters…

Whatever the outcome, it’s a pretty good bet that it’ll rock. Oh, and if anyone is wondering what the architect is a metaphor for, it’s cash. Cold, hard cash. That’s what the Wachowski brothers were thinking about when they wrote the Matrix sequels…

Read our review of The Fades episode four here.

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