Apart from a few qualms over the Omen-esque “take these knives and dispose of the <insert parallel for the Anti-Christ here>” bit at the beginning (and to an extent those fears were allayed when we saw the toolkit that Simon was actually given), this is the strongest episode of In the Flesh yet, with some quite stunning performances by Emmett J. Scanlan and Emily Grace Bevan – amongst, it has to be said, many others.
Simon’s extended flashback explains much of the backstory of the series: we may not know yet how the First Rising happened, but we certainly now understand who the first rabid to respond to treatment was (and you can quibble about the coincidence of it being Simon – but surely that’s the whole point: the first apparently ‘cured’ is on the trail of the first risen). The scenes in the treatment centre are barbaric – you may well want to look away from the screen when Simon’s spine is laid open and understand why he doesn’t want to carry on any more – and they’re added to by the desperation in Simon when he faces his father and learns exactly what he did during the Rising.
These are counterpointed by the discovery of the truth of Amy’s condition, which I really didn’t see coming. Crazy golf as a metaphor for ordinary life versus “risen” life gave the best insight to her that we’ve had this season, and the scenes where Philip comes close to fulfilling her desires were very powerful.
And then there’s Kieren, accused of a murder he didn’t commit, with Luke Newberry also showing Kieren’s conflicted thoughts well. With no real support from his parents, he’s starting to face life back in the treatment centre – and now we know what that can be like. As for Maxine, her quest is drawing to a close; still time though for her to be party to one of the best comic scenes of the show as undead mother-in-law from hell blows the story on the TV cop show ending with some unexpected consequences.
Verdict: Kudos to all involved for a great episode. 9/10