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Years and Years - Episode 6 - Review

It was coming. Even Russell T. Davies can't resist some kind of happy ending, which wraps up the first season of the most ambitious television show of the year in a triumphant, gut-wrenching style. Years and Years has always been a tough show to watch but seeing the curtain call on Vivienne Rook - the first PM to be arrested while in office, felt really earned and justified, even if the transition from family drama into espionage and spy thriller for the final few episodes did take a bit of getting used to. "I wonder what happens next," Jessica Hynes states in the middle of a crowded concentration camp shortly before collapsing on the verge of death, knowing that she's just started a revolution that could bring the whole system down.

If anything this drama felt too short, too rushed, as dark and depressing as it was I could have quite happily sat down and watched for longer. Everything became clear, the reasoning behind the introduction of transhumans, the revelation of the wider picture and although there are of course, a few unanswered questions, as there must always be in shows like this, I like to think that this drama ended on a high, starting where it began with the Lyons family. Keeping the action focused primarily on them no matter how sprawling the ensemble was, allowing us only sparse moments of screentime between the main cast and Rook herself (Russell Tovey's character Daniel never met her at all or at least never had room for a decent conversation, and it's amazing that Davies has been able to resist the temptation of giving someone as talented as Emma Thompson (who showed how versatile she can be in the recent workplace drama Late Night, still in UK cinemas and absolutely worth your time), more screentime. It was satisfying seeing an image of Judith's planned revenge for Rook, with it befitting of the character to see her sent down the rabbit hole that was almost like something out of Twin Peaks, if Twin Peaks had dared to mess with technology.

2031 brings with it a new kind of chaos, and things like they always do, must get worse before they get better. The wave of populist politics is the mainstream and Europe is brought to its knees, devastated by political infighting and climate change. People can become one with their phones and turn themselves into cameras, the next evolution in modern technology from the virtual reality system, but as predicted, the Government have been able to capitalise on this and gain access to people's very thoughts and minds. And in the eyes of Rook, it's the ultimate weapon. She's used her power grabs to shut down the BBC for good, meaning no more consistent, easily accessible news reporting but also no more Doctor Who. And in the shadows, the rumours of the erstwhile camps are becoming more and more frequent, prompting a serious conversation to be had with Stephen who finally admits the truth about his involvement in the situation in a devastating manner.

Rory Kinnear has been utterly brilliant at showing just how revenge can get to a person and has taken it out on Viktor Goraya, putting him in a camp with his influence. The blame is put on Stephen but at least he can have some sort of redemption arc, with Davies once again playing with our feelings in an emotional showdown between him and Celeste that leads to Stephen finally - finally caving in after brandishing a gun. From the moment the gun appeared you had a feeling it was going to go off, which was in part where I was so relieved when neither Stephen or Celeste bought it. Stephen's redemption has led to him teaching children in Spain after a short stint in prison, but his actions to help Celeste spread the news of the erstwhile camps globally, further kickstarting the resistance, earned him some goodwill.

It's not the end for Edith though, who despite collapsing in the start of the revolution, is on the verge of being brought back to life as a "transhuman", with one goal - to find out who was really responsible for putting Rook in charge and holding her responsible for actions that Edith believes she's gotten away with up until this point. But what life form this takes for Edith we just don't know yet, and most likely, unless Davies changes his mind, we never will know.

Talk about an open ending, which brings in a new dawn of optimism for the British people. But it will only be a calm before the storm, as it isn't long before we see signs that all of this could happen again, just as it has happened before. Those who have been around long enough will know, that even though the plot of Years and Years is over, there will still be that element of unpredictability that concerns the Lyons family.

"I wonder what happens next", indeed.


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