What, you thought this was just going to be one series? Come on! Utopia creator Dennis Kelly obviously has much more in store for the odd gang as the first part of their story comes to an end.
And what a powerful end it was too. With Janus about to be inflicted upon the UK, and about to sterilise most of the population, our heroes spring into action – though a number of twists along the way prevent everything from going smoothly.
The twists come thick and fast, and first up is a doozy when we discover that Michael Dugdale’s Russian pregnant prostitute is, in fact, an agent. And a British one at that. Despite the violence of the scene, there’s a return to the more humorous nature of the show as she’s accidentally killed during the prolonged astonishment of her Scottish “lover”.
Dugdale’s role is revealed in the proceedings and it’s an interesting comment on how influence works these days – even the most powerful men and corporations or governments still need the little man, the civil servant, to sign off on their deeds. Furthering his character is the tying up, as it were, of his parental woes with his wife (they can’t have kids and it turned out the Russian pregnant prostitute was none of those things) as he takes care of young girl Alice, now without a mother, much to the chagrin of Grant.
The young boy spent most of the episode banged up forced to remember numbers from the manuscript whilst his mother was monitored with the potential threat of a torturing should he fail. It’s grim stuff for the lad and though he manages to kill his captor, who turns out to be the elusive Mr Rabbit (played by James Fox), we can’t help but wonder why there was no camera on Grant whilst in the room alone.
Of course, as we find out later, James Fox is not Mr Rabbit at all, and here’s another twist. Turns out to be the sometimes good, then sometimes bad, then good again, Milner (Geraldine James). Oh, and she’s definitely bad (for this series anyway). It’s a cracking moment when she and Jessica Hyde finally meet, one full of the tension we’ve come to expect throughout the series but one that features another twist.
Turns out Mr Rabbit was in control all along and the Utopia manuscripts were, by and large, meaningless – Jessica contained the answers all this time. And this is the moment when we realised all was not over for the show.
Elsewhere, during the final moments, the love story between Ian and Becky seemed to be going smoothly till illness forces her into making a heartbreaking decision. It was reminiscent of Blade Runner in some ways, lovers heading off into the sunshine, not knowing their future but the Deel’s sufferer had other plans – she didn’t want to be seen dying. A very strong beat indeed as she made her move away from Ian and Grant, palpably painful.
For those craving answers, you got them. And some more questions. Utopia series one goes out on a high sustaining the admirable quality from the cast, writing, the superb direction, and exquisite soundtrack. Full marks to Channel Four and Dennis Kelly for a real breath of fresh air into the television schedules, a real creative and beautiful breath. The next series can’t come soon enough.
Aired at 10pm on Tuesday 19 February 2013 on Channel 4.
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