In the Flesh and physical interactions: Simon
I hate when people touch me but I’m very interested in human interactions and physical interactions. It says a lot about people, and as I was watching In the Flesh, I observed how the different characters were touching each other, how the writers made them interact.
Simon is my favourite character, probably because I see a lot of myself in him, so I wanted to see how he and the people around him were interacting.
After the Rising / Norfolk
Suffering. It was only suffering and betrayal. As we discover this part of his background quite late in the story, we can’t really understand Simon before that. The characters are slowly introduced to us except for him. So when we see what happened in Norfolk… I suppose we can understand why Simon is so into the Undead Prophet’s cause. There was nothing good in Norfolk, and the betrayal never stopped, from the experimentations to the fact they sent him home without “being fixed” as they promised.
The only physical interactions are awful, to be honest. Tied, being opened, his body considered as a thing and not a part of himself. He didn’t even have any right on it after accepting the testings. At best, John and Victor tried to be friendly, but it was probably worse.
Very brief, cold, distant. At the beginning, they’re like strangers. Simon is small in front of his father. He is lost and alone, and as he was the first to react to the neurotriptyline, he was alone with the scientists for a long time before anyone else could have been treated.
And even when he meets his dad again, it’s cold and without his mother. The only physical interaction is this handshake. Impersonnal, cold, awkward. And that’s all he’ll have before being thrown outside.
The ULA and the disciples
There, there’s human warmth, something he had not had for a long, long time, and we can imagine even before his death, human warmth must have been scarce. There, he found a new family, a home, and love. When the other disciples come to greet him, they touch him as a welcome gesture. And this hug from Julian… He didn’t expected it, he even lets a sound of surprise when Julian takes him in his arms. When was the last time someone gave him affection, pure and simple affection?
With Amy, he’s already not the same Simon anymore. He’s a disciple. He’s not lost anymore, he’s found his way. Amy is very friendly with him and I think she became closer to him while in Roarton, so we probably witnessed most of their major physical interactions: her giving him the neurotriptyline, the various hugs, moments of complicity, and this time when Amy reacts badly to her injection.
Yet, he never acts more than just a friend, or a brother, someone very close but not romantically. He cares about her, a lot, but we know it’s not love. And this reminds us that physical proofs of affection between a man and a woman are not a sign of romantical love.
Ah, with the followers, we see the religious man, a bit like a father. He guides, he shows the way, he leads. You don’t see him doubting, he’s not insecure or fragile anymore when he’s with the followers. He touches them in a fatherly way, comforting, reassuring and confident. He knows and share his knowledge. He’s a pilar.
Kieren… With Kieren, Simon is Simon, the real Simon. He’s desperate, affectionate, cautious, even a bit angry because he wants Kieren to agree with him, and he desperately needs to share his beliefs with this beautiful boy who took over his heart and what’s left of his soul. He initiates the first real physical interaction, the one that matters for the rest of their relationship. A simple touch of the hand full of meaning.
But he is Simon, and Simon is not the confident disciple. He likes Kieren, he likes this free boy, this free mind who only walks on the path he believes in, the path he chose to follow, a path he tries to make by himself. And I think for someone like Simon, it’s like discovering a new religion, a new light, a new path and new possibilities of redemption.
And then Kieren kisses him. Even the love of God himself never touched Simon this way. God is supposed to love everyone, so Simon knows he’s got this unconditionnal love from above. But Kieren? He chose to kiss him. Him. The junkie, the depressed, the matricide, the lost son, the one who believes in something Kieren doesn’t even agree with.
So everytime Kieren touches Simon, and it’s never the other way around (even in the bungalow’s kitchen, Simon doesn’t get what he wants…), it’s like a miracle, a spark of bliss. For the first time in a long time, someone reaches out for him, him, who he is deep inside, not his beliefs, not his state, not what he could do for a cause, just…him, in spite of everything else. Even Amy’s affection towards him is not that…unique and meaningful.
The scene in the graveyard after being shot at, the way he touches Kieren, the way he looks at him when they’re still lying on the ground. Simon’s found something more powerful than the Undead Prophet and his cause. And I am SO glad that Kieren is Kieren. What he tells to Simon at the GP surgery is the best I could ask.