First Watch: In the Flesh – “Episode 1” (Season 1, Episode 1)

During the height of The Walking Dead‘s popularity, the Zombie movement has experienced a reawakening. The BBC, taking it’s cues from AMC, explores human nature and social themes in it’s new series, In the Flesh, using the undead phenomenon as a backdrop.

The show opens with a British wasteland, the victim of an apocalyptic disaster. A lone woman gathers supplies from a grocery store, which is seemingly empty. She’s armed with a gun, sure, but we all know how this scene ends. A couple of zombies appear and eat her alive. And, thus, we meet our hero. No, not the screaming woman, but the zombie eating her brains: Kieren Walker (Luke Newberry).

After ‘The Rising’, the moniker for the zombie apocalypse, the living went to war with the undead (or “rotters” if you’re prejudiced). The government found a cure for these flesh-hungry beings (or person suffering from partially-deceased syndrome, PDS, if you’re being PC) and, after months of therapy, are considered ready to return home. Kieren calls Roarton his home. Unfortunately, Roarton is known for being extremely hostile towards those damn, dirty rotters.

This show has incredible depth. Roarton fits the mold of the rural town, constantly behind the times and unwilling to change. The undead hide themselves from the world using colored contacts and concealer. Just like a closeted homosexual, if a zombie is outed, their life is in jeopardy. The difference is the motive: the militia, the Human Volunteer Force (HVF), have lost men (and women) to the same zombies they’re expected to accept back into society. What’s worse is, now that the enemy is subdued and the threat is over, the veterans that were once considered the saviors of humanity are being forgotten and ignored. The government — which all but crumbled after ‘The Rising’ — provides very little comfort or reassurance, but expects complete compliance. To make matters worse, some renegade zombie has developed a drug, Blue Oblivion, to return PDS sufferers back to their ‘rabid’ forms.

In less than an hour, the episode has touched on Addiction/Recovery, society and veterans, big government, prejudice, and drug use. I’m sure they’re saving love, suicide, and the meaning of life for the next episode. Oh. Wait. Guess how Kieren originally died.

In the Flesh borrows the tone of American History X, and uses it successfully. In fact, In the Flesh is just as poignant as American History X, and, at times, just as disconcerting. In short, I love this show. I’m not the only one — it’s already been renewed for a second season, with twice as many episodes. Currently, In the Flesh only runs three episodes long, and only on the BBC — but I’m sure it’ll be making it’s way to Netflix soon enough. If you can get your hands on it, watch this show. I expect great things from future iterations.

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One response to “First Watch: In the Flesh – “Episode 1” (Season 1, Episode 1)

  • Daniel

    I do need to get over my fear of zombies and watch this show–it sounds pretty fantastic.

    On a side note, I’m not able to check this myself (since I no longer have digital cable), but In the Flesh did air on BBC America. It is possible you can catch episodes of it on BBC America On Demand. Someone should give it a check and report in so more people can give this show a watch!

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