It’s a slightly shorter concluding episode for In the Flesh but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty crammed into the final 55 minutes, with relationships between the characters brought to the fore (Simon and Kieren; Kieren and his family; Philip and Amy; Maxine and her brother notably).
Philip and Amy are the most tragic of these – although I have the strongest suspicion that the final scenes mean we may well not have reached the end of that particular road. Emily Bevan and Stephen Thompson bring exactly the right amount of surprise to the scenes – neither of their characters can quite believe what is going on, and they are grasping the moments that they have.
Steve Cooper and Marie Critchley also get a bit more attention as the Walker parents; both of them make their stand at the appropriate moment, and while no one else may have survived the madness caused by Blue Oblivion before, chances are that Kieren wouldn’t without his father. Steve Walker may have vacillated during this series but ends up doing the only thing a parent can. It will be interesting to see what happens if and when he finds out about Jem’s actions…
…which prompt one of my favourite scenes of the episode, as Kieren and Jem finally start to see eye to eye once more. The wall between them for much of this series has deprived us of the interaction between Harriet Cains and Luke Newberry, and the two of them work really well together.
As for Simon, I’m very relieved to see that we didn’t get the full Omen ‘strike down the Anti-Christ’ bit – even if it’s what sends Maxine finally over the edge. Simon has been one of those characters who has always seemed just that little bit ‘off’ – not necessarily evil (hence why the whole Omen bit sat badly), but almost easily led, gravitating towards a strong force in his life, whether it’s the Undead Prophet (understandable given what we saw happen to him last episode), or his feelings for Kieren.
One of the most depressing scenes of all is the final pub moment, as we eavesdrop on Kevin Sutton’s Gary and a group of PDS sufferers. The Walkers may have accepted Simon into their family, and are trying to create an inclusive unit; the majority of Roarton are not prepared to move on.
There’s still a lot of questions left to be answered in the In the Flesh world – not least, what has been going on elsewhere on the planet – and hopefully once BBC Three’s future is ascertained, a fresh series can be commissioned!
Verdict: In the Flesh goes out on a high with some shocking twists and great performances. 9/10
A DVD and Blu-ray comprising Series 1 and 2 is released on 9 June.