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Utopia Series 2, Episode 2
Written by Dennis Kelly
Directed by Marc Munden
What are you willing to give up for the greater good? What would you sacrifice for the things you believe in? That appears to be the theme of this season of Utopia. It’s highlighted most prominently in a scene between Wilson Wilson and Millner. He questions why she has brought him in as part of The Network, and she reasons that its because they killed his father, tortured him, took his eye and still when the moment came he betrayed his friends for The Network. She states that this level of devotion made him stand out as someone they were looking for. On looking back at episode one, we see that Millner and Carvel both gave up their whole lives, with Carvel being the exception who showed regret. Yet even Millner broke during Carvel’s torture on Three Mile Island.
The episode opens with the reveal of Jessica Hyde’s whereabouts. Millner has had her taken to prison right out of the 1960s television series The Prisoner, surrounded by eye-bleedingly purple lilacs and covered in a reflective mirrored glass. Her new interrogator has arrived for the job and quickly learns Jessica has a reputation as a dangerous lady. He goes for the kill her with kindness angle, but it is no big leap in logic to know that she will turn on him. It’s pretty apparent that Jessica’s mind has gone even more than it was before and what is capable of is anyone’s guess. Millner shows regret near the episode’s conclusion about what she has done to Jessica, and we can’t help but recall how all this start in the 1970s.
Dugdale is now the interim director of Corvadt, recovering from the fire in the warehouse that held the Russian flu vaccine. The Ministry of Health has assumed control of the pharmaceutical company citing the dire need for the vaccine to continue production. Secretary of Health Geoff Lawson, who had Dugdale under his thumb in series one, is brought into a meeting hosted by Millner where career ruining plans are laid out on the table. The distribution of the vaccine in the UK is to be delayed until a worldwide rollout can occur (they call it V Day). This incredible global event will be backed by Leah Gorsand, the CEO of the Rochane Foundation, another Network loyalist using her clout to strong arm the planet’s billionaires into funding this effort.
Jessica’s brother Arby/Petrie is living quite a surprising existence. He’s taken up domestic life with a woman named Amanda and her daughter Amanda. He’s grown a beard and even smiles now, recovering from the torturous conditioning Philip Carvel gave him as a baby. Before Petrie existed as a living weapon of The Network but now he actually is experiencing life and understands what it means to love someone. This, of course, means something terrible must enter his life and upset this peace. That comes in the form of Lee, not glimpsed since the very first episode of Utopia and presumed dead at the hands of Wilson. Well, Lee most certainly is alive and making it clear that Petrie doesn’t get to cash in and go live a happy life.
While Petrie wants to cling to domesticity, the rest of our crew appears to be struggling with the mundane. Ian is tempted to staple his tongue in the middle of a mind-numbing workday, and Grant is forced to stay inside Ian’s apartment 24/7 as the Network has convinced the public he killed himself. They are pulled out of the day to day drudgery when Ian positively IDs Becky on a CCTV scanning app. Becky has gotten herself more entangled with the sleazy Donaldson who is after a rival, Dr. Bradley, that just published a book on Deal’s disease. Bradley’s sudden jump in knowledge about the illness came after a strange old man named Anton just showed up during one of his university lectures and began scrabbling complex formulas on the board. Anton now lives in Bradley’s dungeon-like basement. Everyone converges in an abandoned gymnasium/sauna where the Network plans on surprising them and then its back on the run again.