In the Flesh Series 2 Episode 2 Review

In The Flesh

There’s no getting out. Just as Kieran began daydreaming about a life away from stifling Roarton on In the Flesh, the idea is taken away and replaced with the prospect of endless community service, introduced by the government as a way to, presumably, curb the dangerously high levels of resentment among the living and keep the partially deceased in check. He’s in this fight for the long haul and, with the refusal of the ticket officer to let Kieran board an outgoing train, the sense of claustrophobia has really set in. Dreary, inescapable small towns are British television’s bread and butter, but its feels particularly apt here.

Despite the universally-relevant commentary on society, humanity and more, In the Flesh is also about being young and restricted, whether that’s by trauma like Jem or prejudice like Kieran, and those ideas look set to dominate the show’s second series just as much as its first. Kieran might be our protagonist, and as such must wait until later in the season to really stand out, but sister Jem is often just as compelling an entry point into this world. She spent most of last year dealing with her actions during the rising, much like her brother, and now she has to reconcile those memories with a new acceptance and return to normalcy.

False normalcy is something this show does very well, with the home and school settings lending a strangeness to things opposite to their surface function and, with Jem spending the bulk of her time in either, her displacement feels all the more stark. She’s as scarred and removed from her own reality as Kieran, yet her trauma can’t be seen from the outside, and her actions in this episode will set her off on a path I didn’t expect. It says a lot that her story wasn’t brushed aside after the small resolution of last year’s finale, and I look forward to seeing how she, along with several others, can live in a world teetering on the edge after already seeing so much.

What did you think of the episode? What’s Simon’s angle with Kieran? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.