Itâs the one where:
â¢ Neil goes rogue and spits a lot when he shouts.
â¢ Paulâs family are taken hostage.
â¢ Someone takes a bullet to the head.
â¢ Paul tries to re-open ascension.
â¢ Paul and John finally arrive at their prophesised ash-sodden show-down.
All the cannibalism, all the death, all the blood and all of the unintentionally sprouting of wings when spaffing has been building up to this. The Fades has a lot to get through in its final episode and it delivers in spades (a small but weak funeral-based pun for you there). Itâs breathless and packed full of gore, witty one-liners, sci-fi references, tragedy and just a little bit of nudity courtesy of Sarah. Basically itâs an all out geekgasm. And I loved it.
There are several impressive set pieces in this episode, the starkest of which is the murder of Jay in front of Paulâs eyes by a now desperately unhinged Neil. In the backdrop of what is now essentially an eerie ghost town (which I guess has always literally been the case) her execution with a bullet to the head really is quite affecting. Paulâs outpouring of grief as he cradles his girlfriendâs body in his arms and Neilâs gun-toting manic-ness makes for very tense viewing. Obviously Paul has the power to eviscerate Neil if he wants to but he doesnât, instead blaming himself and marking the moment his character evolves from hapless teen with powers, to selfless hero.
The three-way confrontation between Paul, Neil and John, while containing some impressive taunts and jibes from the latter, does seem long-winded in what is otherwise a fast-paced finale and itâs a rare lull in what should have been an electrifying stand-off. The scene seemingly exists only to reinforce the intentions and motives of the characters. However, the final battle between Paul and John at the shopping centre more than makes up for it, as itâs as bloody and brutal as Paulâs dream forewarned it would be. You genuinely cheer for him as he realises the full potential of his powers, opening up ascension and finally utilising his orgasm (technically angel) wings and given the obvious constraints of the BBCâs FX budget, itâs pretty impressive stuff.
Touching moments come from Anna and Mac as they face up to their imminent death whilst imprisoned in a shipping container, with a cavalcade of Fades ready to break in and get themselves some tasty human snacks. Anna softens from being a hard-nosed selfish bitch to a being less of a hard-nosed selfish bitch and Macâs vulnerability when it comes to his love for her but bravery when confronted by danger cements his position as the heart of the show. Sarahâs storyline also reaches a fitting end, as after struggling with the raw flesh lust that her rebirth has burdened her with, she sacrifices her own happiness by leaving Mark (who is by all accounts a bit of a bastard, as he leaves town with the shag from the first episode whose name I still canât remember) and redeems herself by saving Paul from the shard of glass-wielding hands of John.
The show closes with a battered, bloodied and inconsolable Paul and an apocalyptically ominous looking sky. As Neil says in the final moments: âI told you. You donât fuck with ascension.â?
A few questions still remain: Did Jayâs Fade ascend? Will Anna and Mac become an odd-couple? Does the difference in Johnâs ascension mean he might return? What does the weird cloudy brown-yellow sky indicate?
Second series? Yes please.