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Saturday, August 3, 2019

Years and Years 1.6 (Finale): Power



Years and Years had an especially powerful finale last Sunday.  In part because it was, in effect, a two-part finale.  In part because each part was so strong.

The first had to do with a happy ending to the dystopian near future which was the political part of the narrative.  This near future Britain was worse and better than our Trumpian America.   Worse in that the BBC was forced to close down, and undesirables were not only rounded up but killed.  Events as massive as the atomic attack on the Chinese island were taken by an increasing number of the public as fake news.

But, in the end, the power of the people rose up and swept Vivian Rook and her totalitarian system from office.   Which is not to say that a new demagogue might not ever arise - Trumps and Rooks are always never far from center stage - but at least, for the time being, freedom and truth won the day.

The second had to with a happy ending to the science fiction in the story.   Uploading yourself to a computer as a way of cheating death and achieving immortality has long been a trope of a science fiction (see my review of Charles Platt's Silicon Man from 1991, eight years before The Matrix).

On Years and Years, the personality and memories are downloaded (to water) rather than uploaded.  But Edith, who absorbed a slowly lethal dose of radiation in that atomic blast, is able to survive, sans flesh, in that aquatic digital fluid.   As neat and satisfying a science fictional solution (sorry, I can never resist a pun) as has come along on television in a while.

A great ending to a great success of a little series that couldn't be more relevant to our dangerous world.

See also Years and Years 1.1-1.4: "Democracy ... Worn Out" ... Years and Years 1.5: The Disappeared


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