The Netflix show, not the anti-reproductive-freedom Sex Pistols song. (How did John Lydon end up a fascist? Real head-scratcher!)
Anyway, Bodies actually concerns one body that is found in four different time periods and investigated by four different detectives. The performances are top notch, the script is smart and convoluted and features a number of those WTF twists we expect in a time-travel show. (Yes, Futurama fans, a character in this show does in fact do the nasty in the pasty and thereby become their own ancestor, just like Fred Ward in Timerider: The Adventure of Lyle Swann).
But what I’d really like to talk about is the moral courage this show displays. This is gonna involve some spoilers, so…
The show has zero interest in debating whether the society Elias creates is worthwhile. It never gives any airtime at all to the idea that Elias’s actions might be justified. Killing half a million people is simply an evil act that must be stopped no matter what happened afterward.
Sad but true: an 8-part series on Netflix displays more moral courage than the entire American educational system. You may recall that in 1945, the United States of America incinerated two cities in Japan, killing an estimated quarter of a million people. When I was in school, we would have “debates” in history class where one side would argue that the mass slaughter of civilians was a good thing. They would usually win the debates because if you don’t accept the premise that killing lots of people is an evil act, you can justify pretty much anything.
There’s a great moment in one of the later episodes where a character is leaving on a mission to poison an 11-year-old child, and she says, “you told me it was just like a soldier firing a shot.” This is supposed to justify the murder to the murderer, but of course it indicts war to the viewer. Because he’s not wrong. Poison a kid or drop a bomb on their house—they’re just as dead either way, and any moral gymnastics you engage in to convince yourself that one is better than the other are bullshit.
Anyway, it’s a good show. I recommend it.