"I am a Partially Deceased Syndrome sufferer, and what happened was not my fault."
In The Flesh is a BBC series consisting of three episodes (Season 1) and six episodes (Season 2); set after a Zombie Apocalypse, zombies have changed attempting to integrate into a society ravaged by their initial slaughter.Series 1 is set three years after the dead rose from the grave. It follows Kieren, a Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferer, who is ready to return home. However his unlife is far from easy; suffering from flashbacks before his treatment and hounded by the Human Volunteer Force (HVF) he's stuck at home wallowing in the past. His parents are in denial while his sister, a member of the HVF, is more than slightly hostile towards him.Series 2 sees Kieren's unlife improved for the better; family and friends accepting, local community less hostile, part-time job and an extended stay in mainland Europe on the horizon. However battle lines have been drawn between two extremist parties; the terrorist/cult Undead Liberation Army (ULA) and far right political party Victus, once again throwing the delicate balance of peace of Roarton into disarray.
In The Flesh provides examples of the following tropes:
As the Good Book Says: Vicar Oddie and the Undead Prophet are both fond of quoting Bible verses to justify their fundamentalist views.
Back for the Dead: Ken in Series 2. Doubles as No Good Deed Goes Unpunished as despite being one of the most vocal PDS supporters, he ends up getting murdered by ULA extremists when they turn rabid on the train he's riding with his grandson.
Badass Gay: Rick, who is "one of the lads" and went off to Afghanistan and earned himself a medal.
Boy Meets Ghoul: There's a PDS brothel in Roarton, and presumably more elsewhere. Philip is a frequent customer and pretty obsessed with Amy, he pays a prostitute who looks like her to pretend to be her.
Bratty Teenage Daughter: Jem, whose first appearance is listening to loud music and swearing at her parents while they're trying to sell the house.
Bring My Brown Pants: Jem literally pisses herself when face to face with a zombie without her colt, of course it had to be in-front of her classmates to boot.
Disposing of a Body: Gary gets rid of Henry's body by burning the flesh and scattering the bones in the woods.
Drunk on Milk: Series 2 reveals that sheep's brain has this effect on the undead.
Fantastic Drug: The Undead Liberation Army have manufactured a drug that reverses the effects of their medication and turns them rabid once more, supposedly permanently. A small dose of the drug is also enough to cause them to temporarily revert.
Good Samaritan: Played almost biblically straight by Dean and Ken. Dean is put into a zombie pen because he was bitten, even though by then he and his friends in the HVF knew bites weren't contagious. Being a diabetic, he needed something to eat to keep his blood sugar up. He asks a boy and an old woman for help; the boy tells him off and the old woman spits in his face. When Ken walks by, he's the only one to actually help him, much to Dean's shame after he aided Bill when he killed Ken's wife.
Heroic BSOD: Steve before the events of the series when Kieren takes his life and again at the end of the series when it looks like he's about to do it again.
Hope Spot: In the first episode, when it looks like Bill is about to spare Ken's wife, and then shoots her in the head. Also in the third episode, when he seems like he might accept Rick after his "coming out" moment. The next time we see Rick, he has a knife sticking from his skull.
The Vicar who put Bill up to two murders and is free to continue preaching hate.
To a lesser extent, Dean's friend in the HVF who abuses Amy in her own home.
Laser-Guided Karma: The Vicar does eventually get his comeuppance after he suffers a heart attack whilst arguing with MP Maxine Martin, who callously leaves him to die rather than phone for an ambulance.
Kick the Son of a Bitch: Maxine Martin leaving the Vicar to die from his heart attack. While Maxine may be even worse in terms of villainy, it's really hard to feel any sort of sympathy.
Made a Slave: In Series 2, the "Give something back" scheme effectively makes those with PDS into indentured servants, having to do community service for six months to be able to apply for the right to regain their UK citizenship, before being reviewed by a committee for another six months. Simon breaks the truth of their situation to Kieren.
Kieren: It says on the website, they'll review all of our cases in six months. Simon: Yeah, and then they'll add another six months and another six months and another six months. Those certificates they promised, they don't exist. No-one is ever going to be re-citizenised... It's a scam.
Perpetual-Motion Monster: Zombies had to eat the living in this universe but once on the drugs it becomes impossible (or highly inadvisable at any rate) to eat or take liquids. Series 2 also makes mention that they are now Biologically Immortal, with no PDS sufferer having aged a single day since the Rising.
"The Reason You Suck" Speech: Jem gets given a devastatingly harsh one by her friend (and the daughter of a zombie she killed) after failing to defend the school from a lone "rabid" zombie.
Rewind, Replay, Repeat: Freddie is caught replaying his wedding video over and over again, focusing on his (now) ex-wife says she loves him. Kicks off major problems between the couple and her present husband.
Stages of Monster Grief: This is a big part of the show as zombies have to reintegrate into normal society; not just for the zombies themselves but the families and those affected and the community at large. Kieren and his family are deep, deep into denial however that's nothing when compared to Rick. Meanwhile the Undead Prophet and Kieren's friend at the center have jumped to treachery. Amy is actually the healthiest at the start, she's at acceptance with a few supremacist tendencies.
The Undead Prophet and Amy believe zombies are a form of superior species, and that were perfectly justified in killing humans after rising.
Simon, Amy's undead beau who is one of the Twelve Disciples of the Undead Prophet.
Ultimate Authority Mayor: The show depicts local M Ps and Parish Councils as having far more power and day-to-day involvement in their districts than they actually do in reality. Although, following a zombie apocalypse, it is likely that some decentralisation of power occurred during the collapse of society.
Though the HVF was legitimately fighting off a potential apocalypse, by the time the series kicks off it's been so well contained that the government is actively paying for the non-lethal capture of PDS sufferers to rehabilitate them. However many in the HVF don't seem to want to believe that feral zombies can be helped nor that treated ones aren't dangerous.
Due to the wide-spread erroneous belief that being bitten can cause someone to become a Zombie Infectee, the HVF detain Dean and keep locked in a cage for over two days without food or water. After experiencing as much mistreatment from his former comrades and the other villagers as he had given to those with PDS, Dean comes to a Heel Realisation.
Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: The Undead Liberation Army's main draw is that it seems that they're just trying to speak up for the rights of the Undead and, just like a lot of real terrorist groups, it's hard not to agree at least in part with what they want. Leading to more and more PDF sufferers joining. Thus enabling Victus to clamp down harder on zombies...which just pushes more into the ULA's arms.
Zombie Apocalypse: Unusually, the series is set after one but an apparently subdued one which ended. Zombies in this universe do not create other zombie by biting them, nor do human automatically die after a zombie bites them. Also unusual is that due to the advent of medication that helps repair the damaged brain cells, once properly medicated, the zombies are able to regain their sentience and be restored back to their former selves.