Utopia (2020) season 1, episode 5 recap – securing the vaccine

By Daniel Hart
Published: September 25, 2020 (Last updated: 2 weeks ago)
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Amazon original series Utopia season 1, episode 5


Episode 5 puts Michael more on the map as he navigates a world that is fuelled with corruption and the only saving grace is that he has a conspiracist-type mind.

This recap of Amazon original series Utopia season 1, episode 5 contains significant spoilers.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

In the media, they are calling the virus the deadliest flu strain in history. Michael Stearns agrees to test his vaccine on a young girl for one of the fathers who is desperate. The survival rate is 0% so far for this strain of flu. It turns out to be a set-up. The girl isn’t really sick. Another girl (presumably a twin sister of the original girl) shows up and Kevin Christie has to choose for the next phase. He gives one of the girls the flu strain. We are really starting to see Kevin’s motives go full strength.

Where is the other half?

Grant tells Jessica that the other half of Utopia is with a friend. Suddenly, Becky has a fit and Ian has to help her breathe. He takes her into a bathtub and helps her relax. Afterward, Becky tells Ian that there is no cure — Ian reassures her, stating they will figure it out.

We’ve all seen this storyline before; someone who is in love promising them they will find a way — it usually doesn’t end well.

It’s for a purpose

Michael Stearns returns and gives the sick girl in the hot zone his vaccine. He claims that it will take 12 hours to have any impact if it does work. The father seems crushed that the girl could die. We then learn he isn’t really her father but he did choose her for a higher purpose. The girl dies and she’s taken straight to the incinerator. The “father” who we learn is called Dale feels guilty, however, for the next part, the other girl gets into the same bed and they all pretend the vaccine has worked. Michael Stearns enters and he is excitable, believing his vaccine has worked — he sees that her blood is completely clear and celebrates. Dale leaves the tent and announces to everyone that there is a cure — he goes in front of the media with his “Daughter” and makes it into a national announcement.

Now we see what Kevin was trying to do — this is highly manipulative and puts Michael in a terrible position because he believes in it.

Luring them out

On the news, they are reporting a mass killer and they have accused Grant as the culprit. Jessica tells the group it is getting serious and that Grant is getting framed. Ian then finds out his family is in critical condition. Wilson then learns that all his family is dead and gets highly emotional. The group all start fretting. Wilson gets angry because nothing has happened on Becky’s side. Jessica calms them all down and explains they are trying to lure them out to get Utopia. 

Episode 5 shows the group’s inexperience which is understandable, however, Jessica has to constantly remind them how dangerous their lives are — the tension is initiated in such a way that you feel a character could be killed at any moment.

The vaccine is 100% safe

The FDA turns up to speak to Michael Stearns to talk about procedures. An FDA agent announces to the crowd that the vaccine needs to go through trials. Michael grabs the microphone and states his vaccine is 100% safe and the crowd chant “Save our kids”. Kevin and his son Thomas watch the news and say “It’s time”.

Kevin then comes outside and tells the crowd that they have the vaccine and all they need is FDA approval. The crowd chant “Free the vaccine”.

It’s obvious but Kevin has spun this like a dream — he’s using emotional tactics to put the pressure on the FDA.

The other half of Utopia

Grant and Jessica head to the subway trying to remain unseen as Grant is all over the news. Meanwhile, Alice and her mother talk to the cops about Grant but then Arby comes in and kills the cops; he then asks Alice and the mother the same questions; where is the boy, where is Jessica and where is Utopia. Alice gets the other half of Utopia and then Arby kills the mother. As Alice sobs, Arby asks her to be quiet — he doesn’t seem to want to kill her.

Episode 5 offers a slither of Arby’s mind — despite his ruthlessness, there’s a sense that he isn’t as committed to Kevin’s cause as first realized.

The ending

Jessica and Grant enter Alice’s house. Immediately, Arby and Jessica are fighting. The fighting stops as Arby states he doesn’t want to do this and then he claims it’s a bad idea for Jessica to look at the other half of Utopia. This was a strange U-turn by Arby as he leaves the house.

Utopia season 1, episode 5 puts Michael more on the map as he navigates a world that is fuelled with corruption and the only saving grace is that he has a conspiracist-type mind. As the series moves forward to the finale, it’s unclear how this will conclude but the sense of high-drama is on the horizon.

Additional points
  • Kevin Christie is feeling some guilt for the people who have been killed because of him.

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