Life of the Undead: ‘In the Flesh (BBC TV Series)’ – review

91lCcNIQVvL._SY445_“You can’t go home again,” declared Thomas Wolfe, who even wrote a book titled the selfsame slogan. That is, the place of memory however dearly held and fondly deemed exists only in the world of your reality, not in this world of existential truths and brutal subjective narratives of inflated egos and cosseted self-aggrandization. Once you’re out of it, you’re cut off from its association that binds you in the circumstances surrounding your whole being like a halo of a saint. For you’re one of them, you’re part of their culture, you’re in their clique. But what if you are sent back home after resurrection from death? Will your expectation meet with open arms or less than heartfelt welcome or even guns and knives?

Meet Kieren Walker, who is one of the undead, a Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer (“PDS”). To put it more blatantly lucid, he is an unlikely zombie who was treated and humanized to return to home and society. Kieren, a sensitive artistic 18-year-old boy who committed suicide, is “reanimated” thanks to the splendid medical advancement. But the blessing of a second life can be also the cursing of resurrection because Kieren the walking dead must confront the ills of social ostracization, which also include his own family’s changed sentiments toward him in their facades of niceness. It would have been better if he had not risen from death. What a rotten fate for a rotter, thinks Kieren until he meets his best dead friend Amy Dyer, a romantic bluestocking who happens to be a PDS. Despite her abundance of undying feminine sensitivity, Amy smothers her woes and disappointments with her vivaciousness and smiles which are her jewels of loveliness. She is in fact a Beatrice who guides Kieren in the course of his unfinished coming of age with encouragement and support and most importantly, friendship that seems matter even in life after death.

In the Flesh is a well-crafted television drama without shocking suspense or spectacular visual effects associated with Zombies. It is an intelligent drama that draws on social alienation of individuals shunned away for the singularities of their individualities. It spurs the detritus of existential dilemma of anyone who feels estranged from the social mooring made up of jetsam and flotsam of failed expectations, forced conformity, and false valuations of oneself setting against the backgrounds of Social Spencerism, which basically sets forth that might is right to be the fittest. However, this drama doesn’t turn out to be a grand social commentary that vehemently calls for equal rights for all. Rather, its strength lies in the subtle expressions of human feelings and emotions with elliptical scripts rendered authentic by a cast of characters, both imaginary and ordinary. The pathos of the characters is elegantly nuanced throughout the episodes, capturing all the conflicting emotions that one can imagine. For this reason, it is a drama worth viewing among others, all mindless and senseless adrift in Sea of Ignoramus.

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Stephanie Suh

I write stuff of my interest that does not interest anyone in my blog. No grammarians, no copy editors, no marketers, no cynics are welcome.

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