PDS (Partially Deceased Syndrome) sufferer Kieren Walker continues his struggle to find acceptance in the second series of BBC Three’s zombie drama In the Flesh.
Series 2 propels us back to the hotbed of Roarton nine months on, where the living and the undead have reached a fragile peace. Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer, Kieren (Luke Newberry) is still struggling to find self-acceptance, and is keeping his head down, squirreling money into his ‘escape fund’ for Paris. Only problem is, he can’t escape himself.
In the wider world, fear is in the air, provoked by radical Pro-Living Party, Victus, and extremism linked to the Undead Liberation Army. Scarier still, there are whispers about a Second Rising.
When explosive characters from both Victus and the ULA descend on Roarton, Kieren’s dreams of escape are thrown into disarray. Victus MP Maxine Martin (Wunmi Mosaku), is stirring up anti-PDS sentiment in the village, while charismatic ULA disciple, Simon (Emmett J Scanlan), wants Kieren to stay for different reasons altogether.
As Kieren increasingly finds himself in Maxine and Simon’s crossfire, tensions re-ignite within the Walker family, where schoolgirl Jem (Harriet Cains) is facing her own demons, struggling to come to terms with vivid flashbacks from her time in the HVF (Human Volunteer Force). Kieren’s only saving grace is the return of his old hunting partner Amy Dyer (Emily Bevan)… but has his happy-go-lucky BDFF (Best Dead Friend Forever) been radicalized by the ULA?
As Series 2 progresses, we follow Kieren, his friends and family, as he wrestles with his identity, and his own and other people’s beliefs. One thing’s for certain, a quiet life is no longer an option.
Sunday 4 May 2014, 10pm
We’re re-united with Kieren Walker in the now seemingly PDS-friendly world of Roarton. Our hero is keeping his head down, working soul-destroying shifts in the Legion pub and squirrelling money into his ‘escape fund.’ Only problem is, he can’t escape himself.
In the wider world, tensions are re-igniting. The radical Pro-Living Party, Victus, is gaining government seats, prompting a backlash of PDS extremism connected to the Undead Liberation Army. Kieren is worried sick when Victus MP Maxine Martin enters the village, ostensibly offering her condolences in the wake of a brutal ULA tram attack.
She can barely conceal her disappointment at what she sees in the Legion: PDS Sufferers and the Living happily rubbing shoulders. Not to mention Kieren himself behind the bar., She recoils in disgust from his cold touch. When Maxine violently clashes with Vicar Oddie, it seems Kieren was right to worry… danger from the outside world is encroaching.
Kieren’s overjoyed by the return of his BDFF (best dead friend forever), the irrepressible Amy Dyer – but his delight is cut short by a tense encounter with Amy’s opinionated ‘beau’, ULA member Simon. Kieren warns them both not to rock the boat in Roarton.
However, they have other plans in mind, choosing to enter the Legion barefaced and wearing the clothes they were buried in. When they reveal the prejudice and hatred still bubbling under the surface in Roarton – not least from Gary Kendal – Kieren knows he needs to leave the village. Now.
Sunday 11 May 2014, 10pm
Kieren’s dreams of escape are left in tatters when Maxine imposes an Undead travel ban on Roarton, also introducing stringent measures for PDS Sufferers to pay back their debt to society.
However, being thrust together with Simon on Maxine’s ‘Give Back Scheme’ has its benefits. The two have a connection, and Kieren agrees to go to Simon’s Undead party that night – where Simon makes a surprising declaration. Meanwhile, Amy disguises her increasing health worries by getting high on sheep’s brains.
We also follow troubled Jem into school. A 19 year-old among 16 year-olds, she feels completely alienated… until her history class studies the Rising and she’s revealed to be an ex-HVF war hero. Although inwardly conflicted about her former life, and suffering from the symptoms of undiagnosed post-traumatic stress disorder, Jem enters into the role of the bad-ass heroic war veteran. Her reputation soars and she’s befriended by the school’s popular girls.
When a PDS prank goes wrong, resulting in a terrifying rabid in the corridors, Jem’s class look to her to protect them. However, her PTSD kicks in and she is humiliated in front of everyone, much to the delight of one of her classmates with an axe to grind.
Jem gravitates to Gary, finding solace in a world she understands: hunting rabids in the woods. We see Gary’s gentler side as he and Jem grow even closer. But disaster strikes when Jem, drunk and suffering flashbacks, gives chase dangerously near the perimeter fence…
Sunday 18 May 2014, 10pm
Fate throws Kieren and Simon together on the Give Back Scheme, much to Amy’s dismay, who is stuck at the village hall with Philip. Simon reassures a concerned Kieren that he’s not leading Amy on; he loves her as friend, nothing more.
However, the two of them come to blows over their work at the GP’s surgery. Simon is disgusted to discover caged rabids and furious when Kieren thwarts his plans to free them. The two angrily go their separate ways.
Meanwhile, Gary tries to contain the fallout from last night’s patrol, and is livid to discover Jem has confessed to Maxine. Jem is surprised by the MP’s strange reaction to her crime and Gary is intrigued when he’s taken further into her confidence…
We also get to know PDS Sufferer Freddie Preston. Freddie returned from the grave to find his childhood sweetheart, Haley, shacked up in their marital home with her new boyfriend Amir. Not ideal. Haley’s allowing Freddie to stay in the spare room until he’s back on his feet, but Freddie – who struggles with the notion of ’till death do us part’ – is reluctant leave. When the former couple bond over their wedding video, Freddie senses Haley still has feelings for him and resolves to win back the woman he loves.
When Kieren is thrust into the aftermath of Freddie’s plan, he sees Simon’s views in a different light. Even though he hates the thought of hurting Amy, he can’t help but follow his heart.
Sunday 25 May 2014, 10pm
Kieren is conflicted about seeing Simon behind Amy’s back, and also frustrated by his cult leader persona around the adoring Undead of Roarton, as the zombie drama continues.
However, Simon proves how much he cares for Kieren by agreeing to go to Sunday lunch at the Walkers. Unfortunately, Amy witnesses the loved-up pair en route to Kieren’s house and is crushed by their betrayal.
Sue is shocked to discover Jem has joined the newly established Roarton Protection Service (the HVF in all but name) instead of returning to school. Privately Jem has her own doubts too and after experiencing a terrifying vision in the woods, it’s all Gary can do to keep her together.
The two of them turn to a drinking session in the Legion to set the world to rights. The Walker Sunday lunch starts well until a tipsy Jem and Gary descend on the meal. Gary deliberately dredges up his gory experiences during the Rising, provoking Kieren into a confession which sends shockwaves round the family – and astounds Simon.
Meanwhile, Philip can’t reconcile himself with Maxine’s questionable politics and the two go head-to-head. Philip is determined to do the right thing, until he realizes his penchant for Undead prostitutes is at risk of being exposed. He goes to extreme measures to keep his secret safe, but unable to stoop to Maxine’s level, is forced to witness his political aspirations come tumbling down around him. However, when Philip hits rock bottom, a silver lining is provided by an unexpected romantic encounter.
Sunday 1 June 2014, 10pm
Kieren finds the strength to face his family without contact lenses and cover-up mousse for the first time but is saddened by their reaction.
Worse still, he’s arrested by Dean and hauled in front of the parish council, wrongly accused of freeing the rabids in the GP Surgery. Despite his protestations, the council place Kieren under house arrest, threatening to send him back to the Norfolk treatment centre if he doesn’t confess. A desperate Kieren escapes the house and is floored to discover Simon has disappeared – and has a stash of illicit Blue Oblivion at the bungalow.
Philip, who is contemplating life beyond the village council, is delighted when Amy invites him on a ‘crazy’ daytrip and they share their first proper kiss. However, as her health worries increase, she has a shocking proposition for him.
Meanwhile, we – and Gary – follow Simon to the city. We flashback to his horrific experiences in and outside the treatment centre, learning how he was radicalized and became the Undead Prophet’s final and most beloved disciple. In the present, Simon receives a mission from the Undead Prophet which rocks his faith for the first time. However, he returns to Roarton grimly resolved to do his duty.
Gary, also back in the village, is growing increasingly riled from Maxine’s classified intelligence. He doesn’t know the nature of Simon’s mission, but one thing is for certain – danger is looming in Roarton.
Sunday 8 June 2014, 10pm
The series climax takes place against the backdrop of Roarton’s annual winter fete and traditional boundary march. Kieren, now locked in his bedroom by a mistrustful Steve, is readying himself to be taken back to the Norfolk treatment centre for non-compliance.
Indeed, we see two Halperin and Weston executives with a car full of sinister equipment heading towards the village. However, there are more pressing dangers nearby: Simon believes he must sacrifice Kieren to instigate the Second Rising and Gary thinks he’s privy to a ULA attack on Roarton. When Kieren’s estranged family leave him alone to join the village festivities, he’s a sitting duck – and Gary’s the first to reach him…
Meanwhile, Amy is ecstatically reeling from not turning rabid – and she and Philip face the village’s prejudice head on as they attend the fete as a couple.
Back at the Walkers’, an unhinged Gary becomes convinced that Kieren himself is an extremist. He manhandles Kieren to the new graveyard where he knows the boundary march will be heading – then forces him to take Blue Oblivion. Kieren is made to face his darkest fear… turning rabid again. When he endangers Steve, Jem finds herself pointing a gun at her brother’s head. It looks as though Simon’s job is going to be done for him…
To top it off, Maxine’s deepest secret is revealed when she has a public meltdown at the fete. The villagers finally see her for what she really is, but not before tragedy touches Roarton.
Watch the Series 2 trailer…
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