Welcome back to Years and Years, the continuing tale of political unrest engulfing the Lyons family from Manchester. Since we're late, let's just crack on, shall we?
We open with entrepreneur and rogue politician Vivienne Rook (Emma Thompson) on the telly again; this time talking about the failure of banks in Great Britain. She compares herself to the common folk and swears again, yet she's a multi-millionaire with business interests closely aligned with the government privatizing their services.
Privatization has always been at the expense of the poor.
Viv's not done, she's got a plan to fix things! She puts forth that everyone who votes in the next general election should have to have an IQ test first.
But. Surely the less intellectually acute also have the right to vote on things that affect them too, right?
The Lyons family is watching together via various electronic media; Daniel (Russell Tovey) videochatting with his lover Viktor Goraya (Maxim Baldry) who has been deported to the Ukraine, grandmother Muriel Deacon (Anne Reid!) and her recently-returned-to-the-nest son Stephen (Rory Kinnear) with his wife Celeste Bisme-Lyons (T'Nia Miller) and finally Viv supporter Rosie Lyons (Ruth Madeley).
Rosie is watching with prodigal yet radioactive daughter Edith (Jessica Hynes), Rosie loves the idea of the testing. In fact, Daniel says stuff like that all the time (someone else I know does too), I bet the world is full of people who have opinions on who should be "allowed" to vote. Usually we'd call those "dictators" but at home we call them Mum or Dad, don't we? Viv Rook thinks so.
Montage of moving forward! The overall credit rating for the UK has been reduced to A2, drugs are no longer available because of a massive drug company failure (sounds suspiciously like the diabetes drug issue with Brexit...) and Stephen is particularly concerned as his daughter Ruby (Jade Alleyne) has epilepsy.
His other daughter Bethany (Lydia West) is doing well, she's employed in defense of electronic data from the Russians and she's made a mad new friend Lizzie Mbeko (Shannon Hayes- who is in Vera?).
Ah the sheer joy of finding someone who shares your crackpot way of thinking. They both had phones implanted into their hands. Because that makes sense!
Daniel's having a bit of trouble reaching Viktor, this voice recognition-directed text was worth the whole bit.
Daniel finally establishes a link with Vitkor's computer, but there's no sign of him anywhere, just a lone police officer stalking about. Oh but then the policeman jumps on Skype to ask questions.
Daniel understands now that Viktor is in trouble; he's been outed as gay and that is illegal in the Ukraine. Daniel spends a few frantic moments searching the bureaucracy unsuccessfully and then receives a call from Viktor who ran to Odessa. The only chance is to sneak Viktor across the border, illegal.
Rosie thinks that's exciting because she's an idiot, Edith isn't really paying attention because she has a day planned with Rosie's son Lincoln (Aaron Ansari). It involves dressing Lincoln up as a girl and just as I'm about to blow a gasket over that, I realise this is a much more involved scenario.
She uses a false fingerprint to get access to WYTEL, where Lincoln/Susie is brought in for Bring Your Daughter to Work Day. Lincoln/Susie is taken to a playgroup by a woman with one arm (woot!) and Edith downloads data.
Stephen's no longer a financial adviser, he's now a bicycle courier for a (very) thinly veiled Amazon-type company. Some of the fun parts of his new job include not getting paid for deliveries that take over an hour and actually paying the company for insurance, daily.
Rosie's not having a better day at work, she's a catering manager and due to a new artificial method of food preparation that doesn't involve any actual food (salt-less salt! Tell me you didn't think of Good Omens!) called Goldilocks, she hasn't got a job any more.
It's Daniel's 37th birthday and he's throwing a huge party. Stephen's invited a bunch of people from work to listen to him fight carefully with his wife and Rosie's brought everyone from her job as her going away party. I *think* this is connected to helping Viktor and the party is a cover. Because why else would he be throwing himself a huge party when his boyfriend is on the run and in danger?
Storyteller Fran Baxter (Sharon Duncan-Brewster) is there, she's part of the plan to rescue Viktor. Also in attendance is Lizzie, she helped out Edith with some information on WYTEL, which has just run into some trouble as of this very morning. Seems they supported the creation of concentration camps in Syria.
Gran reminisces about the bombing of Hung Sha Dao all those years ago, they thought the world was ending.
Hahahahaha. Poor Celeste.
Celeste and her daughter Ruby stare at Bethany and Lizzie walking around, trying to figure out if they're a couple. Off to the side are Edith and Fran, they wonder the same thing. You know, you really can't tell! Friendship looks very much like romantic love from the outside, don't get me started on the drunken dance floor shenanigans at Fake Lesbian O'Clock.
Also looking very cozy are Stephen and his co-worker Elaine Parris (Rachel Logan), which Celeste spots with narrowing eyes.
Bethany and Lizzie are both transhuman, Lizzie asks how far would she go? She's got an appointment and Bethany has $10,000...
Fran sings, everyone dances and then it's time for Daniel to make a speech. It's not your usual birthday palaver, instead it's an account of Viktor's harrowing journey to safety in a Spanish jail.
*Why does everyone hate France? Apparently it's gone far right, but would that account for the booing?
Daniel heads to Spain for a conjugal visit with Vitkor, awwww so sweet.
*Viktor is always so quiet, I can never tell whether it's on purpose or not.
Ahhhhhh Stephen is sleeping with his coworker Elaine, who's already tired of listening to him bitch about work. She wants to know about his wife instead, and isn't even interested in voting.
Stephen gets a call from Leicester, I think his dad has died. He continues delivering parcels on his bike, stopping to call his siblings finally. Their dad has died, he was hit by a bicycle (Fleabag! Awful) but didn't die from rather immediately, rather from sepsis that developed after. None of the antibiotics work any more.
*We haven't met their mum, either, perhaps she'll die of another political hot button offscreen later as well. Something with bees, perhaps.
Rosie is still angry at their dad for cheating on their mother and marrying someone else, she hangs up on everyone but it's really only Stephen who's mourning the loss.
Except Edith gets home to find Rosie crying her eyes out, there's nothing like the loss of a possible resolution. Rosie thought their dad left because she was born with spina bifida, which is a great reminder of how breathtakingly self-centred children are.
It's Election Day 2026 and Viv Rook is appearing all day on her very own Channel, Channel 4 Star (hahahahahahahahahhaha).
*That's funny to me for two reasons: 1) Channel 4 and 2) the allusion to mainstream channels and their Fake News narratives.
She's not campaigning, she's hanging out drinking British wines and talking about tariffs on foreign wines, how could anyone think that was campaigning?
Viv dances to "Tragedy" as the polls open and the Lyons gang votes in very different ways.
Hahahaha they're not putting too fine a point on it, are they?
I'm surprised to see Daniel and Gran vote Conservative, Celeste even goes so far as to make sure that Stephen doesn't see her tick that box.
We're off to Leicester for the funeral! Bethany and Lizzie are heading to Liverpool to exchange their bodies for infinite awareness. Or somefing.
The funeral...Stephen's dad went and started a new family with a son he ALSO called Stephen? Hahahah okay, Steven (Craig Gazey) with a "v". TOTALLY different.
How do you dissolve someone?? That's how their dad is going to be laid to rest. He's rinsed, then somethingsomething then put in a tub and flushed down the drain.
Muriel has her own ceremony.
And so does Edith, who drinks down the little bit of liquid dad that Steven with a "v" brings over at the wake.
Oh. Their mum is also dead, they think about how she'd feel about them now. Stephen is sure she'd kill him for what he's up to and he's not wrong.
Bethany and Lizzie head to the ocean where they are taken to a ship. Bethany calls her mum crying, what happened? Celeste heads to Liverpool, there's a lovely moment when Celeste asks her mother-in-law to not call Stephen, Bethany called her.
Celeste gets to the room to find Lizzie with a blooded eye, but it's worse than that.
They took out her eye and put in a camera that she can't see through. The doctor at the Emergency Room explains the rest to us; the ship we saw was a floating hospital owned by Russians and performing illegal operations. They've been around for ages, transhumanism is only its latest cash cow.
Celeste calls Stephen and we get a flash of her using a fake fingerprint to confirm that he's cheating on her.
Viv Rook did very well in the election, as we expected. She has 15 crucial seats, as the Tories and Labour are equally matched. She fully intends to flex that power, she will be making no deals with either group. Instead, they can come to her.
Daniel asks if Rosie's happy now, she defensively says she is but Stephen is fixated on the bicycle courier next to the car. It's from the same company of the courier who killed their dad. He follows the cyclist to a delivery then very slowly drives over the bike as it stands alone.
*STEPHEN. It's not likely that was the person who killed your father and you know very well how hand-to-mouth that job is! I guess we know the cyclist is paying for insurance, I hope it covers that and I'm overthinking this, aren't I? It's a way to remember his father.
Rosie seems to understand the gesture, anyway, grimly nodding as Stephen drives back and forth across the defenseless bicycle. We're out.
I have to say, the writing is so complex and layered that I'm not able to capture it all without a straight repetitive recounting so I suggest you watch, if you haven't already. There are so many little things, like Daniel taking the day off to look for Viktor and work giving him grief, you know that will come up later, but when? Stephen lamenting the fact that his beautiful and classy wife doesn't complain, there's just so much. Watch it, you'll see!
Until next time, you lot, I'll see you then! Cheers