Moment that makes you most concerned for JT’s mental health
Shared interests keep a relationship from getting stale.
Sophy says: The fact that this is the happiest Natalie has ever been kind of makes me sad she gets obliterated in this episode. I really feel she should have gotten the chance to at least try watching RENT and/or eating potato salad…
Rin says: I guess this is their version of a dinner date? Human tartare?
Moment that makes you most in awe of JT’s mental awesome
“I will find a way…to hurt you. To kill you.”
“I didn’t come back to be a monster. D’you hear me? I’ll find a way to help you. Free you.”
Sophy says: THIS. THIS HURT YOU/HELP YOU JUXTAPOSITION. COMPLETELY BRILLIANT.
Okay, I’m going to be honest. I’ve been watching this show with hearts in my eyes exploding at every character, but this episode? This was the first one where I was rolling them a bit. And the cause of that rolling was our lord and saviour, Paul.
Because really, okay, I get it, you don’t want to be a killer, fair enough, but you cannot be that nauseatingly cut up about offing people who are eating the townsfolk. You just can’t, boy, do you hear me???
DO NOT WALK AWAY FROM ME???
Yeah, you guessed it, I’m pretty much a Neil.
But see that’s the thing. That’s why it’s okay that I kind of wanted to slap Paul in this episode. Because it may diminish my enjoyment of the character, but it doesn’t diminish my enjoyment of the story. The story gets me, you see. The story understands my objections to the Jesus approach to a crisis. And I’m pretty sure it respects them, whether it’s going to agree with me or not.
What we have here is a story about a supernatural war that’s a metaphor for a real war, and, more broadly, for the challenges we face in life and the kind of people we choose to be. And those people are neatly presented to us on a continuum: it’s Paul, to Neil, to John. Paul wants to do good and only good and only in the service of good. Neil is willing to do evil in the service, as he sees it, of good. John is all about the evil coming right back at the evil – and the good for that matter – let those evil chips fall where they may.
And it’s no coincidence that these three people are splayed out through time. John has lived death for the better part of a century. He has suffered in the worst way a human being can suffer, and his thirst for revenge and lack of empathy are consequences of that. Neil has lived, what, 40 odd years, most of it in loneliness and fear. He has seen a lot and he has lost a lot – at this point he has lost just about everything, really. And so he’s beginning to lose himself, maybe. But he’s also wise about all the nasty ways the world works – maybe. Paul is a baby. He’s suffered just enough to be sensitive, but not so much that right and wrong have become the mushy, enlightened mess they are for Neil.
And that’s why Paul had to be a teenager. I saw a few complaints early on along the lines of ‘Yes, but why does the one with the special powers have to be ~just a kid?’ Well, I think this episode answers that question. Anybody who’s lived enough learns to compromise. Anybody who’s hurt enough learns to hate. Paul is right when he says he’s been given these powers for a reason, and that reason is that well, basically, he won’t get them dirty. He’s a nice clean vessel for good, unadulterated, absolute.
And you know, personally I don’t think love is the answer, not in the real world.
But in this world? The one with actual angels with wings on them? All bets are off.
I’d also like to comment on how brilliantly this whole metaphor has been constructed, from the birth of the fantasy war being our own second world war, to the discussion of the Holocaust in history class and I’m not a pacifist, I’d kill them all, to Mac’s not-so-idle chit-chat about the second coming of Christ. It’s the attention to detail that makes this show a cut above.
OH YEAH, AND.
Joe Dempsie’s gesticulations are the best.
Rin says: You’re totally right. I was very eye-rolly over Paul not wanting to kill anybody. I was all — um, hello? Paul? They’re eating your townfolk. You do not just let a thing like that slide.
But yeah. It didn’t make me hate that he wasn’t able to go there. That he wanted to find another way, because again, this isn’t just some black and white fairytale story of good vs evil. It’s good vs well-we-kind-of-eat-people-but-guyyyysssss-it’s-not-completely-our-fault-:(?
So it’s completely believable that Paul, this boy, doesn’t want to cause anymore destruction. Especially after what he witnessed in that bunker/sewer place with Neil and John. He doesn’t want to be that, and that is perfectly understandable. It’s not that he doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to take out John, it’s just that, he’s a genuinely good kid. A little naive, maybe, but also should we really judge him for ultimately wanting to do good?
“I did it partly for you, and partly because… I was frightened of what was going to happen to me, but mostly… mostly… I did it because Mark didn’t want me around any more and I couldn’t… You always did see the best in me.”
“Please, please leave me. Leave me. You need to go to the school. You need to stop him. For me. For everyone. The boiler room… the boiler room.”
“Okay. I’ll always see the best in you.”
Rin says: This is another time when I’m just gagging and head in handsing at the same time.
Sophy says: It’s hard to gag whilst head-in-handsing. Can get messy.
BUT IT CAN’T BE HELPED SOMETIMES.
Because let’s be clear, okay, cocooning is still not okay with Rophy, not when it’s Joe Dempsie, and not when it’s Sarah, no matter how many pretty, sad shapes her body is going to make later. This slimy bathtub deal is just fucking gross, bottom line. But Oh Neil is singing to her slimy self. And holding her slimy hand. And kissing her slimy hand. Exactly how am I supposed to get my fists off my chin whilst watching that???
Both actors did an absolutely phenomenal job with this scene. Natalie in keeping the agony of her metamorphosis constant before us, and Johnny too, the same thing – the pain, always right there on the surface for Neil, like an endless thin burning. What really gets me is the subtlety here, both in the writing and in the performances. Sarah’s admission that this is not a heroic act is matter-of-fact; she is resigned, and unashamed because of it. Neil’s response to her admission is barely existent. He gets out a miserable “Mark,” with the most delicate hint of bitterness to it, and leaves it at that. And when she pleads grandly with him to leave her and go to the boiler room “for me, for everyone”, he simply says “Okay.”
And then Jack Thorne basically just kicks me in the emotional shins with the whole “I’ll always see the best in you.”
Because I can’t, you guys.
I just frankly can’t.
For better or worse, Sarah/Neil is my favourite.
Rin says: They are really the most intriguing relationship of the show, and I think a lot of that has to do with us not knowing their story. All we really know is that Neil loves Sarah, and she loves him back, but for her it’s Mark. And really, that in itself is enough to go on because the two of them just play it so spot on that we can feel the weight of everything. So we don’t really need to know more, but more importantly we really really want to. If there’s a second series (WHICH FFS HURRY UP AND ANNOUNCE THERE IS SO I CAN REST EASY), I would really like to see more of these two. I don’t know how that’ll work out with.. you know. But ya know. It’s a fantasy world.
Oh, that Mac
“Steve’s dead? My boyfriend’s dead?!”
“Surely more important is the fact that he’s a zombie? He was dead. Now he’s not. That makes him a zombie.”
“It’s more complicated than that.”
“In fact, you were dead and now you’re not. Makes you a sort of zombie.”
Sophy says: BAHAHAHAAHA. HIS FACE WHEN HE EDGES AWAY FROM PAUL. AMAZING.
Rin says: We don’t nearly say it enough. Daniel Kaluuya is fucking perfect in this role.
Reasons Lily should be in the opening credits.
‘Things I learned from Sket.’
Rin says: Lily is getting really good at using weapons. The whole time I was shouting that they needed weapons and of course it’s Anna who listens to me
I was half-expecting a brick, or a piper or a rusty mallet, but apparently today’s choice was fire extinguisher! Which made for ALL KINDS OF awesome with the spraying and the bashing. It’s multi-functional violence.
Upon reading back over my last bit, I noticed I made a little typo. Or maybe it wasn’t a typo at all.
Sophy says: OH MY GOD I WAS JUST LAUGHING AND LAUGHING. AND CHEERING. AND ALSO LAUGHING.
At Lily and her Piper.
And this whole scene.
I think my favourite part though is right after she’s smashed his face in she’s all “See? Now he’s de…” and she smiles and points and then the hysteria rolls back in with “This is your mess! I shouldn’t be cleaning up your mess!” Lily does a terrific job of balancing the comedy with the very real terror and confusion Anna is experiencing throughout the whole zombie romp.
Speaking of which…
Sophy says: APPLAUSE.
Rin says: My heart was THUMPING throughout this sequence and the way they weaved in the humour with JAY IS A LIBRARY MONITOR was a bit of comic genius. I found myself terrified and highly amused at the same time. It was quite an interesting mix. Lily kills it in this episode, wiggish hair and all.
Sophy says: We were going to manip Sophia in a nearby car, but then we realized she would have to be furiously masturbating, and we didn’t want to go there, you guys, okay?
Rin says: That’s just as disturbing as the little midriff thing Jay has going on.
…I’M SORRY JAY
I’M SORRY FOR EVERYTHING
JT YOU’RE JUST AS HEARTLESS AS JOSS WHEDON. There. I said it.
You can be my pyjamas. Close enough.
Rin says: I feel like JT knows exactly how to woo us. Matching pyjamas was never going to go unloved. And they’re such cute stripey pyjamas too!
AND I LOVED JAY. ‘IDENTICAL PYJAMAS’ … with the biggest WTF face. Brilliant.
Sophy says: Oh my god, Sophie’s line delivery for “Are you wearing identical pyjamas” was just divine. That’s why I let her sneak in on the guy-love.
And meanwhile, matching pyjama heaven aside, how adorable were they generally in that bathroom scene? “Tried and failed to save you.” “Tried and failed to save me.” BEST.
“You want me to look after me?”
Sophy says: Yeah, they hijacked this category with their cuteness. What are you going to do about it Jay/Paul??? HUH??? HUH????
Rin says: THIS WAS SO ADORABLE. MUCH MORE ADORABLE THAN WHEN MANDY DID IT. Which btw, like Joe/Being Naked, Lily/Being Groped. Don’t these kids just have the best jobs?
But this was super cute and pretty much sealed the deal for me on the Anna/Mac ship.
Also can I just point out that Anna is wearing a fucking BUTTERFLY necklace. And she wasn’t even in the scene with the mass-exodus-of-butterflies mishap. But for some reason it just works, because she’s Paul’s twin okay? IT WORKS.
Sophy says: ANNA IS SPECIAL, OKAY? SHE’S THE KFF DARK HORSE TWIN WHO WILL STEAL THE SHOW NEXT SEASON. MARK MY WORDS, PEOPLE.
Meanwhile Anna/Mac is the cutest thing. Especially the matching scrunchy faces they have going on up there.
Most traumatising/frightening/why am I watching this again?
“One time, during the war I was fighting alongside this NCO called Richard… something. They brought a man with his guts ripped out into the hole that we were in. Then someone shouted for medical support and Richard raised his hand in the air – “I’m a medic.” And then I watched him as he went and held this man’s guts together and then watched him till he died. And afterwards I said to him “Richard, I didn’t know that you were a medic.” And he turned to me and he said “I’m not. I just wanted to know what the insides of a man felt like.” Urges are okay. They’re human. Just eat, and you’ll be reborn.”
Rin says: You know, sometimes, all I want from a show is to not touch the insides of a person? You know? Apparently that was too much to ask.
Sophy says: To be honest, the visual didn’t worry me so much. It was more the utterly vile little story John told.
Like. Does that actually work on people, John? I would have thought it was the incitement-to-cannibalism equivalent of If you were a booger, I’d pick you.
Rin says: The story makes me want to put this under most concerned for JT’s mental health.
“I just wanted to know what the insides of a man felt like.”
WHAT IS THAT EVEN?!@!?!! EXPLAIN YOURSELF?!!
Head In Hands
“‘Got well soon.’ See what you’ve done there.”
Sophy says: Adorable???
Rin says: Adorable.
And you know what else is adorable? PAUL AND MAC BOTH HAVING THEIR NAPKINS TUCKED INTO THEIR SHIRTS. LIKE. WHY.
Sophy says: WHY NOT??????
And Rin would preserve the memory forever with a charcoal drawing.
Rin says: I have no idea why this is Most Rophy. I… I just don’t.
Or at least I wished I didn’t.
p.s. It has nothing to do with one of us walking in on the other changing. And everything to do with the pervier option.
Sophy says: LILY LOVELESS, IF YOU WERE A BOOGER, WE’D PICK YOU.
Our pants came off.
Oh Natalie. RIP.
Rin says: I think it’s the Quinn/Rachel-esque sundress paired with the framing from the door that makes this so pantless worthy.
And if you squint just right it’s almost like the dead body isn’t even there!
Sophy says: It looks like a fashion shoot. With dead bodies.
And actually the entire slow, faraway opening sequence was super pants-droppy.
Rophy says: Oh The Fades. How do you continue to blow us away each episode? Some kind of blood contract where you sold your soul? Do you no longer have a reflection?
We think that’s a fair trade.