Four people are in a candle-lit laboratory; two of them are the Shelleys (Richard Clements and Anna Maxwell Martin), one of them is Sir William Chester (Samuel West), the last one is James Hogg (Hugh O’Connor). Nervously drawing straws, the party toast to “the unflinching eye of the intellectual soul” as they are “about to tale a step that will alter the course of natural philosophy forever”. If you watched last week, you will remember that James Hogg had died previously, and that his grieving mother had burnt all papers regarding his nocturnal scientific adventures, so the results are fairly stacking against him in this flashback.
This week, the Flatliners-inspired scenes shows us how willingly Hogg went to his own wine-poisoned death. If he was properly from the 19th century, one might fancy that he would have filled his pockets with stones and walked into the lake, or died from some exotic disease like consumption or gout, but then we wouldn’t have witnessed the spectacular, lightning-filled attempts at defibrillation, sorry, galvanic resurrection — an attempt that fails, leaving Mary with a permanent personality adjustment, and Sir William fruitlessly flapping through his PhD thesis for answers. “He’s not alive!” somebody should’ve shouted in this clever twist on the clichéd Frankenstein resurrection myth.
After last week’s action packed adventure into the filthy underground passages and shifty marginalized community dwellings of London, this week the episode strays above the surface and into the comparatively clean world of the upper classes; unless by “clean” we’re talking about morality and politics, in which case we’re still in the same shit heap we’ve always been in. Welcome back! …
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