In The Flesh – S1 Ep2

As the In The Flesh three night miniseries draws to a close, we discover how Kieren died and we see the myriad views of being a PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferer, aka a former zombie.

At the end of act 1 (that being the first episode) we learned that the son of head of the HVF, crazy Bill Macy, was found partially alive in Afghanistan. This comes on the heels of Bill executing an elderly PDS sufferer in the middle of a neighborhood road. When Bill’s son, Rick, comes back it’s expected of everyone to welcome him back, despite his having PDS. You can imagine this is a hard pill to swallow for the town, as Bill was so adamant on killing those with PDS.

In The Flesh S1 Ep2 Kieren

Kieren sneaks out to clear his head and winds up running into his former zombie hunting partner, Amy Dyer, and now fellow PDS sufferer. Where Kieren is shaken by not only the things he did as a zombie but also with his own death, Amy is at peace with it all. Amy represents the PDS sufferer that has come to terms with what has happened and isn’t afraid of how people react to her. Kieren is of course the guilt stricken and shut-in antisocial who wants to move on with his second life but can’t. You can imagine how much fun these two had at the park fair.

When Kieren learns of Rick’s return we learn a few things that I found not only interesting as storytelling devices, but also as something that I am sure would not have been permitted if this was an American show. Rick and Kieren used to be best mates, and they explored their sexuality together before Rick went off to the military and Kieren left for art school. When Rick was killed in Afghanistan, Kieren committed suicide because he couldn’t bear to live without the person he loved the most. I applaud the BBC and Dominic Mitchell for their fair handling of the subject and the inclusion in the story. Now if only American television could get over homosexual tropes and their portrayal of gays on screen.

In The Flesh S1 Ep2 AmyRick and Kieren get to meet up at the behest of Amy at the HVF pub where Kieren is ousted as a PDS sufferer. The tension in the pub is heavy and is only broken by the announcement of a rabid rotter in the woods. Bill tests Rick and Kieren’s loyalty to society by having them come along as part of the hunting party. If Kieren is the uncomfortable and awkward PDS sufferer and Amy is the one that’s embraced her nature, then Rick is the one that’s in total denial of his state and hates the untreated PDS sufferer. There is also the added subtext of PDS as a metaphor for  PTSD, in the case of Rick.

This is illustrated in his willingness to put down two zombies in the woods, rather than capture them and turn them over to the hospital for a large monetary reward. It is only Kieren interfering and bringing the matter to a vote that peacefully resolves the matter.

In The Flesh S1 Ep2 Rick

This episode also brought up some interesting takes on the zombie mythos. The first being that zombies hunt in pairs and seem to regard their hunting partner with care. The rabid zombie in the wood is an older man and his partner is a little girl whom he brings food. Whether or not this is a father-daughter outing I don’t know, but seeing how Amy feels attached to Kieren without previously knowing him, you can easily believe these are two unrelated zombies forced together. Also note that in this world the zombie disease isn’t spread about by bite; rather, those who were dead before the “Rising” became zombies and those that died after don’t. See the fact that the older cemeteries are under quarantine, and the new cemeteries aren’t.

This show may be low on the gore factor that many people have come to expect of the zombie genre, but I find it refreshing. Zombie stories are always best when used as a social commentary and this show has it in spades.

Saturday is the last episode of the miniseries and I hope it delivers. If you’ve missed an episode or want to download them check out Amazon, where you can stream the series or pre-order the DVD.