Not exactly an ideal couple’s retreat, both Tom (Guy Burnet) and Kate (Nina Toussaint-White) find themselves on gurneys. Tom’s retrieving mundles from poor dead Sara whose Feed turns out to belong to a mysterious Frenchman. Kate’s attempting to have the Feed surgically removed. Once Tom makes it to Kate’s location, he’s quick to shut the removal down. The Feed’s too ingrained, and Kate could suffer brain damage if removed.
But that’s not even the worst part. When little Beau’s examined, the doctor can’t find a transmitter for the Feed. Again, that new parental terror is evoked by subtle lines like, “When’s the last time you connected to your baby?”
The highlight of episode 5 is a family dinner where things come to light. Tom and Kate confront Lawrence (David Thewlis) about their baby’s privacy. To their horror, he explains that the Feed wasn’t installed, it was inherited. Using “polymeric conductors,” Lawrence made the Feed genetic, part of human DNA from conception. In his defense, he exclaims, “She’s not a science experiment, she’s progress!”
Ben (Jeremy Neumark Jones) is forever jealous of Tom rather than concerned about his niece. “Why you” Why not me?” he asks, and he has a point — Ben would’ve offered us his own seed without question. But the answer to his question is a big one, as we learn that Tom is the only biological son of Lawrence, therefore Ben can’t inherit those genes and Feeds he wants so bad. Even if Lawrence actually liked him.
The effects of Ben’s upbringing manifest as he ensures that Gil goes to prison by “sharing” his illegal app to the man’s Feed (sans notification). Miyu (Jing Lusi) begins to mistrust her lover after Ben informs her of this perversity. The two almost hookup until Ben gets rough, saying “Increase compliance,” reverting to his digital relationship behavior. Meanwhile, he’s letting his digital version of Miyu hang around. She glitches more over time, half her face skeletal as she flirts. But she’s just as damaged as him, so he looks past it.
As Lawrence puts it, “the thing about respect is that if you have to ask for it, you’ve already lost it.” Unlike Ben, Tom isn’t swallowing Lawrence’s explanations (he would be “wrong not to” give Beau the Feed), and witnesses an amazing monologue from the man himself. Then he blasts it (to the Feed). Choice cuts: “Thousands carry the gene,” “Choice is immaterial,” and “people are unruly.”
Lawrence’s reaction to the leak is a quiet expletive. Thewlis kills this role, deletes it, shreds it. His delivery of the monologue isn’t villainous or loud, but rather a simple explanation, logic from the mind of a man who’s gone way too far. When he’s caught, his expression proves that he never thought this day would come. Then he mopes around in a hoodie like he’s done nothing wrong.
But Lawrence’s struggles are nothing compared to Evelyn’s (Clare-Hope Ashitey), whose love Max (Osy Ikhile) struggles to move on from his possession. Their recovery time comes to a halt when “Eric Bell” takes them hostage demands a drive to the Feed hub. Bell has agendas that appear to be assassination-centric. He turns out to be a “Taker,” which is someone’s live consciousness inhabiting the dead’s. Or so it seems?
This mystery isn’t cleared up by Episode 7, but the Takers are many. We see “possession” videos from all over, and one attacks Miyu during her doctor duties, but she fights him off. After Lawrence is replaced by Sue Cole, she detains a massive number of the possessed, including children. Before we can judge her actions, The Feed lets us in on a secret: even the children are dangerous. No one is safe.
The antagonists come out on top. The biggest surprise is Lawrence’s death, murdered by Max (who’s been dead since the farm visit; “D” has inhabited his body ever since). When Bell fails to take down the father figure, Max goes to work with a knife. All that’s left of Lawrence are his mundles, but not all of them, as we learn. The big L went to his grave hiding secrets. The show’s going to miss him, even if its characters will not.
In the aftermath, Kate suits up with Resister Tia to expose the salaries of Feed investors, but this hack is perverted by the Takers. Instead of a simple info leak, London loses power and the imprisoned Takers run wild and free, killing whoever’s nearby. The little girl we saw early on stabs her way to Max’s cell, where he’s been held since the assassination. They seem to know each other, and it’s quite creepy.
On the outside of all this, Danny’s (Shaquille Ali-Yebuah) love interest refuses him after being “sprayed” by Danny’s so-called mates. Also, Tom’s leaving for the US. There’s so much loss here. During the blackout, Danny and his mates watch as one of their own goes into seizure, back arched. They don’t know it, but she’s dying in front of them, being overtaken by a new consciousness.
The Feed really impresses with these episodes, a definite recommend at this point. The reveal of Feed-to-DNA, the chaos Tom and Evie surviving during the blackout, and the depressing saga of young Danny are all reason enough to watch. But the show doesn’t stop there. Ben’s inability to mean anything to Lawrence is heartbreaking, even though this viewer wanted to see him suffer. After all, he’s degraded Miyu’s memory and opened the family to harm by using the ghost app (it’s providing info to the hackers). Gil might be dead in prison following an attack by another inmate. Yet, the surrounding characters — their attempts to help and/or destroy — helps us understand where Ben’s coming from. It makes sense for him to behave this way.
More sympathetic, Evie deals with the loss of Max by facing down “D,” to show she’s going to make his “life” Hell. It’s both therapeutic and gratifying — we understand why she’d use the ghost app (she’s investigating it for Tom) to touch Max’s face again. Simply put, UK TV knows how to build complex characters, and we love to see them succeed, or fail.
Oh, and Lawrence’s last words: “Hawking. Seven.” What does that tell you?