I have heard the phrase, more than a few times, “#SaveInTheFlesh because it is saving others” and while I assume this is true, it’s not just others to me. It’s me, too.
Just before I found In the Flesh, I was in a bad place. I had recently experienced losses of lives which were incredibly dear to me, losses that left me feeling like something had been torn out of me that couldn’t heal. I was going through the motions of life, trying to find some kind of spark worth smiling over, worth engaging with the world again.
I had seen pictures and heard a very small amount about ITF. I knew it was “about zombies” which is usually one of my favorite things. I knew it aired on the BBC. I recognized Kieren and Amy’s faces even if I didn’t know their names. I wasn’t up to it though. I had been trying to be up for television, watching the pilots for various shows I would normally be at the very least interested in.
And then a gifset passed my dash, of the moment Amy asks Kieren where he wanted to be buried, and Kieren tells her that he wanted to be cremated. She points out “that didn’t happen” and his response was “Yeah, no shit.” And in a million years I cannot tell you why that particular phrase got through to me, but for the first time in weeks, I laughed.
It was just a short burst of laughter, startling, but the smile lingered as I watched the gifs replay a few times. That felt good. That felt really good. So good that I knew I had to give the show a chance.
There is nothing quite like feeling light leak back into your life when it has felt oppressively dark. I found myself laughing at Kieren’s sarcasm and dry wit. I found myself sobbing when these characters I had known only for a couple of episodes were hurting. It felt good to feel for someone else again. It felt good to fall in love with these characters and their plights and their struggles and to care about something again.
Because I do care. I care what happens to Kieren as he struggles to find a place in the world, with his family, with his friends, with Simon. I care about Amy and what happens to her after she dies - and I really hope that it’s that she comes back. I care about Simon and his struggles to break away from his cult, to figure out who he really is and to find his own path both with and apart from Kieren. I care about Jem as she fights the PTSD that haunts her, as she struggles with the guilt weighing upon her as she tries to sort out her feelings of love and loyalty toward her brother, her family, and the HVF ideals. I care about watching Sue and Steve figure out how to love both their children, and how to survive in a world where so much has been taken and given back to them. I care about Philip coping with Amy’s death and trying to be a better person, to be the person Amy would have wanted him to be. I care about Shirley and Janet and Dean and hell… I even care about Gary, and what is going to happen to him, how he will change or not change in this rapidly evolving world without anyone to guide him. I care about Halperin and Weston, and what they are going to be up to, what plans they have in store for our motley crew of grey-area protagonists.
I cared for all of them at a time when I felt like I couldn’t care for anything, like there was nothing worth caring about anymore.
What I’m saying is that… In the Flesh did something for me that other shows were unable to do. It redeemed me from my dark place. It saved me.
And now I want to do everything in my power to save it back.
So please, bbcthree and bbcamerica, #SaveInTheFlesh.