Utopia (2013): Utopia: Episode #2.5
August 7, 2014 10:03 AM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

In the penultimate episode, following the revelation that her father is alive, Jessica sets off to find him, with hostage Milner in tow. Meanwhile, Wilson and Leah analyse their information and discover the far darker and more terrifying secret it holds.

Recap from Wikipedia:

A man working at a fast food restaurant is abused by a customer, who asks if this is what he wants to do in life. The man goes home, and is revealed to be a sleeper agent. He packs several different passports and money into a bag, ready for when he gets a call to spread Russian flu. Arby takes Grant and Carvel to the countryside. After disposing of the interpreter’s body, Ian and Becky find out that Ian’s brother has been killed and framed for the murder. Jessica takes Milner from Dugtale’s to track down the phone she placed in Ian’s coat pocket, only for it actually to lead them to Arby, Grant and Carvel. Ian and Becky go to Dugdale’s for answers, but Wilson turns up and asks them where Milner is. Dugdale tells them about the phone Jessica planted in Ian’s coat, and remembering Grant is wearing it, him and Wilson go to track them down. Becky helps Dugdale rescue his wife and Alice. After Jessica finds Arby, Grant and Carvel, and struggles to get Carvel to reveal what has changed, Milner speaks to him and he reveals what he has done. The Janus ‘vaccine’ does not work except for Romani people, his people (whom he chose after almost selecting an East Asian people whom he realised via statistics are the most peaceful people in the world), and should continue the Human race, leaving everyone else to die from Russian flu. Milner tells Carvel what he needs to do, to which he shoots Arby. Jessica then takes the injured Arby to safety. Grant and Wilson arrive, and ask Milner if she agrees with the change, she says she does not but understands it. She then calls up the man from the beginning of the episode and gives him his order. Wilson tells her to reverse it, but she does not. He threatens to kill Carvel, but Grant appears and shoots and kills Milner. Any hope of the order to be reversed are gone. The man from the fast food restaurant is abused by the same customer. The man gives him his uniform hat, before proceeding to the locker room where he changes and he takes out his pre-packed bag
posted by Gyan (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
So Carvel is Anton. Hum. So I think its a bit odd to have a prequel episode to set up back stories when you know that you are going to explicitly exclude information, namely that Carvel was apparently a romani survivor. Also, I think, as with the real life politicians, this isn't a very classy choice. You'll notice that the writers didn't make him Jewish, and make Jewish people the survivors, because they want to avoid that controversy, but still want to trade on the whole "ironically a survivor of the holocaust is happy to cause another one" thing.

Also by making Mr Rabbit super evil they somewhat simplify the moral dilemma. Now its not: stop the plane to stop sterilisation, its stop the plane to save millions of lives.

Eh. I'm still enjoying this series, but by unveiling the conspiracy and showing us both sides we've lost the mystery and sense of urgency the previous series had.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 10:44 AM on August 7, 2014

I really enjoyed this episode. Wilson swooping in as the dark trench-coat baddie was interesting, as was the subsequent reversal, then reversal-reversal. I felt like a bunch of people got shot in this episode and it's all starting to fall apart.

Cannon Fodder: "Eh. I'm still enjoying this series, but by unveiling the conspiracy and showing us both sides we've lost the mystery and sense of urgency the previous series had."

Sort of - but mystery burger man is now off the leash, brainwashed and impossible to call back. That's got to set up an interesting series of events for the next episode.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:05 PM on August 7, 2014

Also, I think it's interesting that our gang have become Mr Rabbit now that Milner is dead.

I almost hope that the series ends with a small tribe of Roma wandering around a deserted landscape, but they've been pulling away from the more extreme misanthropy, sadly.

That said, I did feel sorry for Pietre. I must be going soft.
posted by Grangousier at 3:18 PM on August 7, 2014

Here's where I put my great powers of rationalization to work again: it can make sense that Carvel is a survivor to explain him in the intro: his particular brand of pessimism/fatalism, his interest in genetics, sense and reaction to persecution and loss, adopting the role of abuser, etc.

The Romani were persecuted as well, and frankly, I enjoyed that bit just for the "racist" humor in the other episode.

I forget who or what prompted me to get this show, but I never seemed to be in the right mood for it, only knowing of its bright wacky first few minutes. Seeing it as a topic got me to watch what was wholly unexpected, which is always a personal delight.

With the music, hyper saturation, etc. I never expected it to cling to "reality" per se, but I didn't expected Janus to ever work the way they thought it would. If anything, I didn't expect them to use "race" in the racist sense and the "adjustment" was going to kill off the human race. When he actually started talking about specific peoples, I got excited for a second, picking through East Asians, except it was clear that wasn't it.

I can even logic out why he doesn't care for his son but loves his daughter in the many somewhat recent studies of men becoming more interested in human welfare after having daughters, certain father-daughter relationships, and how I put a through line in a summary of conclusions.

And that's all for "Today's Telly Rationalizations," brought to you by Being on Hold with Not Enough Coffee.
posted by provoliminal at 4:41 PM on August 7, 2014

The thing with selecting the Romani people is that they are a group of populations, not a single group. Which they probably were only around 1000 AD when they migrated out of India. So unless he meant to choose only his Romani clan, Janus will end up protecting Indians as well.
posted by Gyan at 4:58 AM on August 8, 2014

I think you have to not look to hard at the Network's plan really.

The problem:

Peak oil means that, shy of some miraculous discovery, food supplies are suddenly going to become extremely scarce. This will lead to the death of millions, possibly billions, and a break down of society.

The solution:

Sterilise all but a small percentage of people. Hopefully peak oil will happen after the next generation, and society won't collectively panic when they realise that most of the population has become sterile. The smaller population will form a nucleus of a new society which will live within its means.

Hmm. I guess you are missing out on the whole starving to death bit, but otherwise you are still getting societal collapse. I mean, the future in Children of Men didn't look super jolly. Also, this assumes any change made will be irreversable, which is quite a high bar to jump really. I imagine a lot of effort would go into fixing this.

Oh, and that fails to mention that realistically, vaccinating the whole planet is effectively impossible, and if even a small percentage remains unaffected, they'll just out breed everyone and the whole problem will begin anew.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 5:50 AM on August 8, 2014

Of course, as far as I can tell, everyone involved with the Janus project was completely insane before they even started planning it.

I don't rationalise anything, I just go with it. Also works with real life, if you have a high stupidity threshold.
posted by Grangousier at 10:54 AM on August 8, 2014

Nice to see Steven Robertson pop up as Burger King Sleeper Agent. Given Robertson's genre chops, I suspect we'll see more of him next episode. He was very good in the last season of Being Human (doing that same sinister, repressed, man-on-a-mission thing) and is also apparently in the second season of In The Flesh, not that I've seen it yet.

Things don't look good for Arby, but I really do hope he survives. I've grown very fond of him. (And I'll never turn down an extra helping of Neil Maskell.)
posted by EXISTENZ IS PAUSED at 7:19 PM on August 11, 2014

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