Everything you need to know about Utopia so far
The brilliant Utopia returns to Channel 4 tonight for a double-bill opener to the second series.
Written by Dennis Kelly – whose diverse CV includes acclaimed sitcom Pulling and smash hit musical Matilda – this conspiracy series was one of the most striking, thrilling and violent things on TV in 2013.
But if you foolishly missed the first six episodes, here’s a handy refresher course on the world of Mr Rabbit, The Network and Jessica Hyde.
Who’s on top?
Members of an online comic book forum get hold of an unpublished manuscript about a Faustian pact and find themselves tracked by assassins, framed for horrific crimes and unravelling a plot involving population control and a man-made virus.
By the explosive series conclusion, our heroes seem to have triumphed, with a racially-targeted, ethically-monstrous vaccine destroyed, the mysterious Mr Rabbit presumed dead and the manuscript in the hands of MI5.
But everything’s not as rosy as it seems.
Girl on the run
PhD student Becky had become obsessed with the Utopia manuscript as she believed it explained the origin of the congenital disease that killed her father.
The unravelling web of secrets and lies reveals the truth is much greater, but potentially saving millions might not prevent Becky from falling victim to the same nervous system collapse as her dad.
Feeling the symptoms growing, she flees in episode six, leaving on-off lover Ian and council estate kid Grant stranded and confused.
The group has fractured after the loveable Wilson Wilson defected.
Initially a flag-bearer for anonymity and anarchy, and the victim of some horrendously graphic torture in episode one, Wilson switches teams in the series one finale. He’s stabbed by Jessica but appears in the series two trailer, so definitely survived.
And if a man of Wilson’s talents is supporting the Network’s genocidal cause even after they removed his eye with a spoon and killed his father, the balance of power may have tilted away from our unlikely heroes.
The bad guys
The villains were strong enough as it is. With powerful connections in government, police, pharmaceuticals and food production and dead-eyed hitmen like Neil Maskell’s Arby in their employ, The Network are scarier than meeting a knife-wielding leprechaun down a dark alley on Halloween.
And there’s more of them than we thought – quiffed operative Lee looks to have survived being shot by Wilson in the pilot, while the finale revealed MI5 agent Milner had been working for The Network all along.
Jessica’s future in the balance
‘Where is Jessica Hyde?’ became a series catchphrase, with Arby relentlessly pursuing the enigma who’d been on the run since the age of four, saw her uncle brutally murdered, walks away from explosions without breaking sweat and is, according to Becky, ‘a skinny bitch’.
But as the series’ final scene revealed, Jessica is so much more than that. She’s her father’s ‘greatest achievement’ and the secret to the virus that could decide the future of mankind is inside her.
Don't forget it's a double bill -- Episode 1 tonight, Episode 2 tomorrow.