Jem is still suffering horrendous nightmares, ongoing trauma from her time fighting the rabid PDS before the treatment was found – and her continuing struggles with fitting into normal life. Of course, normal life would probably be easier to fit into if your parents didn’t decide on a ridiculous French theme breakfast to say goodbye to Kieren before he goes to Paris – which he considers more accepting of PDS people.
Kieren’s father, Steve, still forgets and serves Kieren food. After which they have a touching goodbye and Steven heads off with his suitcase
At the cemetery, it’s the vicar’s funeral – and he has a metal grill bolted over his body; to protect against the second rising and he’s not the only one who believes it will happen.
To Amy who ominously keeps some objects in jars in her fridge – and draws off a liquid from them. It looks very… organic. She injects it into Simon’s back (is this the drug that stops him going rabid?) while he councils a young PDS. He repeats that those who rose in Roarton are special – and Amy wants to stop Kieren from leaving, partly because of that but also because Kieren’s her best friend.
Elsewhere, local comic relief Dean and Freddie have an upset because Freddie is washing windows without Dean for extra money (they have a window washing business together).
Meanwhile Maxine has promoted Phillip to Councillor (which apparently MPs can do here) and has pushed through a new policy from the national government – to mixed reception. Of course Phillip has just been promoted to chief dogsbody, bought by loyalty and she has him ensure that a list of people attend her “seminar”.
Amy meets Kieren as he heads to the station and tries to talk him into staying, first with jokes then with serious questions – how much cover-up make up is he wearing and just how far will he have to go before he doesn’t have to wear it? But when Kieren tries to buy a train ticket, the seller refuses because he’s PDS and tells him he has to wait. Phillip arrives to order them both to the seminar.
The happy dappy seminar has a DVD which basically forces PDS to become slaves in the “volunteer” sector which they have to do if they want to be considered British citizens. And Kieren can’t get a passport unless he completes the course. Maxine seems especially interest in Kieren – especially when he rose. When she goes back to the guest house, she circles his picture
At school Jem is invited to sit next to the PDS boy, Henry, who crushes on her desperately. And he brings up the HVF in class as an important part of history despite the teacher’s obvious discomfort with it; he’s trying to make Jem seem special to the class since she was a member. She gets up and is asked many many questions about her war days. It works – it makes Jem much more popular.
Of course, the people it makes her popular with are happy to use the word “Rotter” even while Jem isn’t. Jem dated Henry when they were both 14 before the rising and actually liked him – but his plan’s backfired since Jem’s new friends are extremely hostile to him. Henry joins is friends and one of them is all looking forward to the second rising. He also has a vial of something with a ULA label – probably Blue Oblivion.
At home Kieren’s family researches the “give back” scheme and finds it takes 6 months before a case is “reviewed”. Kieren isn’t happy but his family point out that he does have time (since PDS don’t age). Going out with her new friend, Charlotte, Jem still has flashbacks and problems in the local shop. She comes back and Chatlotte is all impressed by her medals while Jem tries to fight back trauma – and her brother coming in to give her his extra cover-up which she uses on her spots. Yes, I think, even PDS aside, she’d probably want to kill her big brother for that one.
Charlotte is surprised that her brother is PDS – but she calls Jem lucky. She got her brother back forever.
Phillip has his mother, the usually awesome Shelley, very unhappy with the fanatic Maxine and Phillip defending her. But she’s also very eager to get her son a girlfriend (“to take care of him”) to the uber creepy extent of setting him up a dating website. Ew ew ew ew ew. Phillip storms out, quite understandably.
He goes to a very hidden, secure PDS brothel – human men and PDS female prostitutes. He hires one of the women who he has dress up like Amy (who he has slept with before) and pretend to be his girlfriend.
Simon and Amy talk about the Prophet’s plans – or more instructions – to gather the first risen. But they don’t know why. Amy has a bad reaction to their home made drug. She dismisses it but it causes a headache and shaking hands – a bad sign for a PDS.
The next day we see Charlotte make breakfast for her unresponsive and clearly ill mother – her father is, we can assume, dead.
At the PDS work detail, Phillip objects to Simon calling him “commandant”. And tries to justify carrying a cattleprod. Simon tries to make friends with Kieren, even reassuring him when Kieren hides the scars from when he committed suicide; Simon says he did as well, suffering from depression; which he no longer feels from rising. And Gary takes over from Phillip – not a good idea. Simon invites everyone to an undead only meeting – everyone comes in the clothes they were buried in. Gary tries to intimidate them out of taking a break and Simon stares him down. Simon also thinks Kieren is naïve to think the scheme will be finished in 6 months
Amy goes to the doctors with her problem and he is quite surprised to find she hasn’t taken any medication for a year; she tells him she went somewhere that made their own drugs – so he writes her a prescription for the real drug.
At the school, peer pressure leads to the foolish and one of the PDS pupils takes some of the Blue Oblivion he’s got, instigated by his friends. And becomes Rabid. Which is a shame because it completely overwhelms Charlotte’s attempt to have a really heartfelt show and tell. Of course, the whole class expects Jem to handle it – with a machete someone brought in (as you do and this teacher totally deserves an award for teacher of the year).
But Jem, overwhelmed by trauma, wets herself in terror and tries to get back in the barricaded classroom. The Blue Oblivion wears off before he can attack her though.
Charlotte confronts Jem later – and she’s not angry at Jem for her fear. She’s angry because her dad rose – he rose in the Supermarket and was killed; since Jem talks about killing PDS in the supermarket during the Rising, Charlotte things she did it.
Maxine and Gary are called in to talk to the PDS students and she forces him to give up the web address and any passwords of the site he got the Blue Oblivion from while the teacher rants about having no protection since the HVF disbanded.
Kieren checks the internet and sees sites claiming the whole 6 month review is a scam and that seems to make up his mind to go to Simon’s little undead party – including wearing the clothes he died in (why he kept them is not explained). Everyone inside is very happy and, it seems, pretty high – they’re on sheep’s brains. Kieren passes on the brains – but wants to see Simon.
Simon is interviewing someone else on what they first saw when they rose – only this time he remembers. And one thing he remembers when he rose was Kieren (he recognises the clothes, which explains the demand to wear the clothes they rose in). Simon talks to Kieren about how things generally look better far away – but disappoint you when you get there (drawing on his own experience with depression and how he thought it would go away when he reached the US). He tells Kieren what he has there – his family, Amy, Simon (is that flirting?)
Jem, drinking and upset on a park bench, is picked up by Gary who tries to comfort her about freezing in the face of the rabid PDS. He’s on patrol again – complete with gun – with the ok and funding of Maxine. He takes her out on patrol
Jem hears something in the woods and runs off without Gary. Seeing a figure moving beyond the fence she shoots him. She’s shot and killed Henry – who was walking away from the party.
Things are developing, it’s more focused on atmosphere and development though, than it is action. I think there’s a strong sense of things escalating. Not a lot to say this episode – but a lot is brewing because there are so many conflicts on many levels
Jem’s battle with her PTSD is a fascinating storyline on its own – what she went through has hurt her and she is really showing that well.