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Utopia Series 2, Episode 5 Review

Utopia Series 2, Episode 5 Review

A chilling end to the start of something far worse – this review contains spoilers! 

This episode starts, like last week’s out-of-nowhere and mysterious opening, by introducing us to a fast-food employee: a perfectly ordinary man, berated daily by complaining customers, who happens to be an important cog in the Janus plot. Like a super spy he has cases at home full of foreign currency and passports, and he looks ready and waiting to receive his commands.

Throughout episode 5, there was a very powerful sense that something big was going to happen, and viewers were simply waiting for this looming threat to become apparent. Considering that almost every character has so far pointed a gun at Milner’s head, it was just a waiting game to see which one would ultimately pull the trigger. To say that big things happened in this episode seems like rather the understatement.
Utopia episode fiveGrant, Arby and Philip Carvel are somewhere remote and on the run. Grant is being a nuisance begging Arby to give him a gun and treat him as an equal, making me want Arby to just ditch him into a literal ditch and drive off. But Arby isn’t quite the same as he used to be and so keeps Grant close by while he tries to get Carvel to talk. Since Carvel still hasn’t retrieved all his marbles, he believes Grant is young Arby (Pietri) and communicates to his son through Grant.

As well as worrying over Grant, Becky and Ian must decide how to hide the dead body left by Arby’s rampage. When Ian finds out that his brother has been killed, and he has been framed for the murder, the palpable distress and emotion that Nathan Stewart-Jarrett conveys is heart-wrenching. It becomes even more painful knowing that former friend Wilson pulled the trigger. Wilson has truly turned to the dark side. In Milner’s absence – having become Jessica’s hostage – without a bit of hesitation, he takes over command of the Janus operation, becoming the elusive ‘Mr Rabbit’.

Becky’s Thoraxin use is causing bad side-effects, such as the hallucination she has that looks like something straight from a horror movie, as the eerie vision of the murdered Romanian translator (with a congealed-looking gunshot wound to the head) appeared to Becky in Shining-esque fashion.

When both have got their wits back, Becky and Ian head back to Dugdale’s house, where they find themselves trapped by Wilson and his Network henchmen. It looks like Wilson may be willing to use severe interrogation techniques on his former friends, but it doesn’t quite get that far. The manuscript page that Becky gives to Wilson proves that Janus isn’t a miracle cure for the world, but a discriminating weapon, and Wilson’s belief in Janus as a necessary evil is, understandably, shattered. Following this, Dugdale heads off with Becky to rescue his wife and Alice, who are still imprisoned in a barred room at an undisclosed location. The rescue itself is a funny, but still dark scene that involves building-scaling and hand-stabbing.
UtopiaEventually all roads led to Milner and Carvel reuniting. But before this, Carvel comes face to face with his beloved daughter Jessica. Milner and Jessica discover Carvel’s location thanks to the phone Jess hid in Ian’s coat (which Grant is conveniently wearing). When Carvel sees his daughter again, the uncertainty on Jessica’s face shows how much she distrusts and resents her father, but his emotional response upon seeing her makes her drop her guard, drop her knife and give her dad a hug. Arby and Milner, the eternally excluded two, are left to watch from afar. When Milner does finally speak to Carvel, he recognises her immediately and the two, surprisingly, reconnect. He reveals that his final alteration to the Janus virus was to make it compatible with one particular racial group, the Roma – who will be the only ethnic group on the planet to remain fertile. A man who dedicated himself to preventing a future Holocaust invented a virus to eradicate most of human life on earth a la Children of Men.

No good could ever come of the reunion between these two mad and idealistic people. When Wilson appears, pleading with Milner to cancel the release of the virus, she promises to call the handler to withdraw her command, but instead tells the person on the other end of the call to ‘commence’. As tensions rise, a shot is fired, and Milner slumps into Carvel as Grant appears in the distance. It is shocking that this death, though it has clearly been coming for a while, is actually a sad moment for the show. But, Mr Rabbit hasn’t died – like Batman, the legend will just live on with someone else taking the mantle. Except, an evil mantle. Maybe Wilson should start wearing a cape…

The danger hasn’t been prevented, as we find when we return to the fast-food worker from the start. Silently, he finishes his phone call, hands his hat to a customer and leaves his post behind the till, ready to commence the release of Janus.

This was a particularly dark episode with a chilling end. The more this show progresses, the less likely it seems our heroes will prosper and the villains fail. The bigger question is: do we want them to? If earth is truly facing catastrophic changes, is it time for drastic action to be taken? Where’s Batman when you need him?

★★★★

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