In the Flesh S2 Ep3

Episode 2.3 of In the Flesh is the first one not written by creator Dominic Mitchell, and the first with a nearly self-contained sub-story. Written by Fintan Ryan and John Jackson,  2.3 is largely about PDS sufferer Freddie Preston, who has become a familiar face; he runs a window-cleaning business with Dean and appears to be the most well-adjusted and assimilated of Roarton’s partially deceased. A closer look at Freddie’s life finds that he returned home from the facility to his beloved wife, Haley, who had moved on after his sudden death by car accident and is now with a man named Amir.

Haley and Amir carry on with their happy, if uneventful, life together while Freddie, still in love with Haley, lives in their house and pines away. Freddie is cast in a sympathetic light, leaving Amir looking like an intruder on Freddie and Haley’s true love, but it becomes clear that Haley hadn’t been entirely happy with her ever-so-youthful marriage to Freddie, and Amir’s presence is her choice. He isn’t forcing himself between them. Freddie, on the other hand, is clearly trying to get Haley to leave Amir, and Haley, with happy memories of teenage romance with Freddie, seems to almost give in. She agrees to meet him in Freddie’s converted storage unit. Things are set up to look like she’s left Amir for him, but she hasn’t. She’s come to tell him it’s officially over and he has to move out.

Amir and Haley

Amir and Haley

Freddie is upset, of course, which may or may not have caused him to start going rabid just minutes after missing a dose (this, in fact, is exactly what Maxine had warned about; she may not be ethical, but she was right about the danger of missed doses). Haley is trapped inside the unit as word spreads quickly, first to Amir, then to Gary, who phones Jem but alerts Kieren instead. All of them rush to the scene. Freddie, who really does still love Haley, gives her a hammer as he starts to lose control and tells her to kill him. When she drops the hammer, unable to do it, he kicks it toward her in his almost fully rabid state.

Meanwhile, Gary, Amir, and Kieren manage to force the door open. Gary, who has a clear head shot, shoots Freddie in the leg, disabling him (whether he spared him out of greed –  “living” undead are worth more than corpses – or a momentary flash of compassion is not entirely clear, but he certainly had the opportunity to kill him). Kieren rushes to save Freddie. He didn’t think to bring a dose of PDS meds, but Amir did – he grabbed the drug before leaving the house. Which really shows Amir as the most compassionate and deserving of Haley’s love. He wanted Freddie gone from his home (for good reason), but faced with the chance to get rid of him altogether, to destroy him without repercussions, he chose to try and help Freddie, even as he was attacking the woman he loved. The injured Freddie is taken by Gary, who throws him into the back of his pickup as if he’s an animal, and Kieren runs off in outrage. We’ll get back to that.

As Freddie’s story plays out, Jem decides to turn herself in for killing Henry. Instead of going to the police, she goes to the highest-ranking person in town: Maxine. It’s not clear what Jem expected, but it seems she expected punishment. Maxine wants to see the body. She escorts Jem back to the woods, but Henry’s body is gone. It’s not long before Gary shows up, shovel in hand, having just cleaned up the scene and burned the body. Maxine, who had made it clear to Jem that she would not be accountable for the murder, just as Henry and the other undead were not held accountable for the murders they committed during the Rising, seems keen on a cover-up. But not just a cover-up. She is intent on making people believe that Henry has most likely been taken in by the ULA. When she returns to her office and Philip tells her that Henry is missing, she doesn’t flinch, doesn’t miss a beat. She lies seamlessly, even telling Henry’s horrified mother that he’s most likely fallen in with the Undead Prophet’s drug-using followers (not that this is entirely untrue – Henry was in fact killed after leaving a ULA party where he was using sheep brains, a euphoric drug to the undead – but Maxine knows perfectly well what happened to him).

There goes the fandom.

There goes the fandom.

Maxine acts like she has only a suspicion about ULA activity in Roarton, but that day’s assignments for the Give Back program singles out Simon and Kieren to go clean out the rabid holding cage at the hospital. Simon is outraged at the sight of the caged rabids and tries to set them free, but Kieren stops him. Simon storms out, as if Kieren has failed a test. Anyway, although Philip and Dean supposedly pick the assignments without much thought, pairing Simon and Kieren hardly seems random. Maxine’s awareness of the ULA’s presence in town is pretty clear, even as she acts like Simon is just another PDS sufferer. She also knows that Roarton is a point of interest, because it’s believed to be where the first person rose from the dead. Whether that is connected to the circle she put around Kieren’s photo on her wall of Roarton undead remains to be seen, but Kieren has been of special interest to her from day one.

The hospital assignment happens the day after Simon tried to get closer to Kieren at the party. Amy isn’t unaware of Simon’s advances toward Kieren, and she’s becoming more than a little jealous. Simon and Kieren being assigned alone together doesn’t help, especially since a still-smitten Philip has arranged for her to be assigned to work with him. Amy, as Simon explains to Kieren, needs to be loved, but Philip’s obsession is hardly what she needs. Neither is Simon’s act. But Amy is far from the only one to fall under Simon’s spell. Everything Simon says sounds wonderful and liberating, and he attracts PDS followers like flies. Up until the night of Freddie’s rabid episode, Kieren had resisted Simon’s charms. He was suspicious of his advances, which were undoubtedly motivated by the ULA mission more than anything else. But after witnessing Gary’s treatment of Freddie, he  runs to Simon. He kisses him (around the same time, across town, Gary kisses Jem). He needs the help. He needs the protection. If Freddie could wind up on the back of Gary’s truck, anyone could.