Wednesday, May 21, 2014

In the Flesh, Season 2, Episode 3

We open with what looks like a different drama – a man, Freddie watching his wedding home video, him and his wife so happy, when said wife comes down to check if he’s had his meds. She doesn’t think he should watch the video and turns it off when another man calls her up to bed – it looks like he Freddie died and his wife, Haley remarried Amir. Awkward.

Gary takes Jem home – his plan is to cover up killing Henry and pretend nothing has happened, despite her protests. Rubbing salt in the wound is Kieren coming home telling Jem about his party and how Henry totally has a ting for Jem. She goes upstairs, hides the gun and goes to bed fully clothed.

MP Maxine is staying at the nosiest B&B with her landlady, Sandra, snooping through keyholes and hearing Maxine say things like “just you wait” “I will make it right”. Over breakfast, Maxine is subject to a whole ramble from Sandra on the various evils of the PDS but Maxine is more interested in what Sandra saw during the Rising – which Sandra quickly avoids answering

Amir and Haley have a cute, romantic moment on Haley’s birthday – and it’s pretty clear that Freddie is a not-entirely-welcome third wheel. Haley tries to keep the peace – and Freddie, despite being PDS, makes disparaging remarks about “Rotters”, putting him in a different class, that Amir finds dubious. It is unbelievably awkward, especially when Freddie brings up all the memories of awesome birthdays past and Amir is sick of it – Freddie cannot stay with them any longer, since it was only supposed to be a temporary arrangement and Freddie has made no real effort to move. But Haley can’t bring herself to kick him out

Freddie goes to the forced labour scheme all grumpy and certainly not in the mood for his fellow PDS to tell him what a wonderful gift it is to die and come back to find your old life lost. He wants to build up his own life again – but instead he’s being forced to work for free.

At the Walker house it’s breakfast with Steve trying to encourage Kieren that the “give back” scheme is all fine and everything will work – and Jem clearly upset. She skips breakfast and tells everyone she loves them before leaving. Amy then breezes in in her random fashion to take Kieren to their forced labour scheme and talk to Kieren about Simon saying nice things about her. Meanwhile Simon is praying with ominous music in the background – he and the Undead Prophet have turned PDS into a religion (which is not exactly unexpected given the whole “prophet” thing).

When they arrive at the centre, Amy envelopes Simon in a really awkwardly long hug. Everyone’s given their work jobs – except Amy who is asked to stay behind by Phillip who has his super crush on her. Freddie tries to get out of the work by paying off Dean who is supervising them, but Dean is still bitter about him cleaning windows without him – besides, the forced labour has ruined his business anyway. How can he get people to pay him for labour when the PDS are forced to do it for free?

Kieren and Simon go to work in the doctor’s office and Kieren takes the chance to ask Simon about Amy – because it’s not fair that Amy thinks they’re a couple while Simon clearly doesn’t agree. Simon says he loves her – but not like that and Amy needs to see she’s loved. Uh-huh she also needs some truth. At least Dr. Russo is sympathetic – but Simon is horrified to see unmedicated PDS just locked in a cage; there’s a delay in having PDS picked up for the centres. Simon is disgusted to see Denise, the receptionist, handle the PDS like animals without a shred of respect. Simon wants to take them to his cottage where he can medicate them – he thinks Kieren’s naïve to trust the doctor just because he smiles.

Simon steals the key to the cage when Denise isn’t looking, but Kieren sees it; he doesn’t want to be involved and objects that he was used as a distraction for Simon to get the keys. Simon gives the keys back – and Simon writes Kieren off.

Jem goes to see Maxine – to hand herself in, for killing Henry; making sure not to implicate Gary. Maxine seems more interested in where Henry died and rose than anything else. She makes Jem take her to where she killed Henry. Maxine makes the point that she considers PDS to be monsters who were given a “free pass” for the killing they did while unmedicated and certainly isn’t worried about one being murdered. When they reach the site of Henry’s death, his body is missing. They do find a still smoking bonfire – with bones in it – and Gary who has “taken care” of it.

Freddie visits Hayley at her training course – making a lot of noise in his car and trying to encourage her to go on a drive with him. She says no and tries to be sensible, but is clearly tempted; she gives in and gets in the car. He takes her to where he proposed to her for lots of touching reminiscing – and trying to win her back. He wants her to run off with him, but she won’t have it – and not just because of Amir. Freddie has an overly rosy view of their relationship and the only reason it didn’t come to a head was because Freddie died. Freddie was fun, but he wasn’t responsible or reliable.

She returns to work – but seems distracted and less than satisfied.

At the council office, Phillip tries to make nice with Amy who wants nothing to do with him and is far too smart to see through his silly lies. She also answers the phone with “Village of the Damned”. And Henry’s mother arrives to report Henry missing. When Maxine arrives Phillip tells her about the missing boy but once she hears he’s PDS, she doesn’t care. She won’t tolerate Amy’s presence either.

Maxine and Phillip do go to see Henry’s mother – but not to talk about finding him, it’s more of Maxine’s attempts to learn about the Rising and his mother repeats her belief that Henry had special powers (which even Henry denied). On his disappearance, Maxine only says Henry could have been recruited by extremists.

Maxine goes to the pub to talk to Gary – no more killing. She reveals her agenda, Victus (her PDS hating party) thinks the Risen are going to try and create another Rising – and they’ll be looking in Roarton; they need to find the First Risen whoever they are. The questions Maxine asked confirmed that Henry wasn’t the first but they don’t want the first to die before they find them.

At the cottage, Simon speaks to a group of PDS, a rising sermon about being who they are and not copies of who they were. He hands around a cloth for them to wipe off their make up.

Haley returns home to find Freddie has left a note for her – he’s leaving tonight and invites her to come with him. Which leads to an awkward conversation with Amir when he comes home with a birthday cake. She goes to see Freddie at his workshop – to tell him he has to go. She loves Amir now, she’s grown since she and Freddie were together, she’s mature, a different person now. She gives him a goodbye hug – but back home Amir finds his watch and his medication.

At the storage unit, Freddie bleeds black from his nose – he gasps that he forgot his medication while Haley rings for help. Amir rushes to help her, but the door is jammed. Freddie gives Haley a hammer and lowers his head so she can hit him – but she refuses.

Gary calls Jem to come help, having received Haley’s call for help – and Kieren gets the call. Gary arrives with a truck and a winch to open the door, while inside Freddie keeps giving Haley the hammer until he loses control. Kieren and Gary both go in at the same time – Kieren tries talking to Freddie, Gary shoots him in the leg. Kieren takes out one of his contacts and shows his eye to Freddie to try and calm him down. Gary keeps pointing a gun at Freddie – Gary’s determined to fire and he threatens Kieren while Amir passes Kieren Freddie’s medication. Despite that, Gary still rams him into his truck and plans to have him locked up and taken to a detention centre, despite Kieren’s protests. Gary answers, chillingly, “you’d be amazed what I can do to your sort and what you can do sod all about.”

Gary goes to see Jem to check on her – and see why she didn’t come and help against Freddie. But Jem is still worried about picking up a gun – and upset that Gary is so indifferent to her killing Henry. He tells her they’re soldiers – and more. He gives her the bracelet Henry made for her – and kisses her

Kieren rushes to see Simon, upset, torn – and kisses him. Simon kisses him back.

Gary wanting Jem to pretend nothing happened is kind of the entire story of Jem. She was a soldier, she fought for her life in an apocalyptic situation that would have been hard for anyone – but for a school-aged teenaged? That’s horrific – and now the war is over and she’s expected to fit into normal life and pretend nothing happened, she’s expected to go back to school and live without any help. It’s a very good parallel for how many trauma sufferers are regarded – and war veterans. The event ends and people are expected to move on, be “normal” not make waves and showing pain is seen as weakness – and it’s seen to somehow invalidate the previous heroism because all the suppressed fear and panic and horror all comes rushing back in times of peace.

Amy always feels slightly tragic to me. She tries so hard and she’s bright and vibrant and gutsy but she always expects better from people than they are (as we saw brutally in the last season), she is passionate about her cause but doesn’t always see the risks she is taking and she has this desperate hunger for acceptance as who she is. She wants society to accept her as a PDS – not as a fake living person in make up and she wants Simon to accept her as a person, an actual girlfriend, rather than just one of Roarton’s precious First Risen – a symbol. It makes me think about her passionate dedication to the ULA – is it another group she thinks will actually accept her?

On another issue – the forced labour is so obviously wrong that I don’t even need to address that; if you’re on this site I don’t need to tell you why it’s wrong to force people to work for no remuneration. But Dean talking about his business raised another issue – he’s gone out of business because there are people being forced to work for free. This is especially relevant as we see more and more schemes like “Work fare” and is often missed when people talk about forcing convicts or the unemployed into “voluntary” work. Everyone forced to work without pay means someone else isn’t being paid to do that job.

We continue to get lots of issues touched on – like Kieren’s trusting people, the nature of prejudice often wearing a smile and a polite face, the whole “I’m a good one, not like the rest of them” mentality we saw in the last season and with Freddie. Or there’s what counts as collaboration, how much can you expect people to be an activist and watch constitutes being a sell-out or traitor with Kieren and Simon.

Simon and Kieren – an interesting development, but one that can only end in disaster with Amy and their differing politics.