Being Human Finale: ‘The War Child’ or Humanity 1, Vampires 0 (S4, ep.8)

So ladies and gentlemen, once again, humanity was saved from those pesky vampires trying to muscle in on the action and steal the planet from our grubby little mittens in this week’s series finale. With more ins and outs than a rendition of the hokey cokey at a 5 year old’s birthday bash, ‘The War Child’ was rather compelling television, so without further ado let’s get stuck in…

Probably the oldest vampire to still walk the Earth, Mr Snow was also a distant relative of the Weasleys

What happened…
In this week’s opening scene we were propelled forward to 2022 and the chaffeur-driven Mr Snow being taken to one portakabin outpost of his Nazi-esque empire somewhere in the war torn country. There he encounters and interrogates Isaac Daniels, one of the remaining humans who claims to be taking his daughter ‘Zoe’ to see her Grandfather one last time in the ‘resettlement camps’ before he dies. Seemingly happy with his papers, the leader of the ‘Old Ones’ throws a spanner in the works when he asks Daniels to tell him what colour his daughter’s eyes are. Unable to answer, Mr Snow let’s the cat out of the bag that he knows he’s an agent who’s harbouring ‘The War Child’. Immediately on the offensive the human in his ‘Brave New World’-style green tracksuit produces a crucifix and declares that the vampires would never kill all of humanity, to which the unaffected leader snappily replies, “I wouldn’t want to. You’re delicious.” Oh snap! Before Daniels is unceremoniously disembowelled he manages to shout to an 11 year old Eve, who’s been sleeping in the back of his car just outside the office, to run away. She does so with Mr Snow’s blessing and help, ordering his henchmen to see to it that his ‘precious cargo’ reaches her rendezvous, unsurprisingly after we learnt last week that her survival was the key to that of the rise of the vampires: “Be seeing you Eve.” He sure will.

"Hold me!"

Meanwhile back in the present day Hal, Alex and Tom have made it somewhere in the Welsh hills after the vampire (somehow?) lured his lupine friend into the back of the Police van Cutler took him to the club in the night before. Settling on the need to sort out Alex’s ‘unfinished business’ they decide it’s probably right to find her killer, Cutler, but not before Tom thanks Hal for stopping him killing the people there, and therefore presumably preventing him becoming the ‘cold man’ Eve knew in her future. In the meantime Snow is having a Last Supper style meeting in the warehouse when the wanted man himself turns up and is promptly reprimanded for not being there to greet the ‘Old Ones’ on their arrival bearing gifts. Blaming it on a ‘werewolf infestation’, Cutler goes on to offer up the World as his offering by means of his anti-werewolf propaganda to his rather unimpressed leader and a similarly disinterested werewolf henchman, Milo. Whilst Cutler tries to get his television working (how many other people had a flashback to their teacher trying to get the telly to work at school?) Tom, Hal and Alex have all sneaked into the warehouse and are observing what’s going on, until they make a noise and are forced to flee with Hal incredibly concerned that Snow being here “changes everything” and that should he be asked to join the cause he wouldn’t be able to say no because “he’s in our DNA”. Back at the warehouse Cutler has finally got the TV set up declaring, “Welcome to Britain Mr Snow. The revolution is being televised!” Unfortunately for him there’s no sign of the werewolf footage that he saw people recording on their phones. Tiring with him, Snow confronts the solicitor and tells him that a tribute to the Old Ones still needs to be paid, to which he panickedly replies that he knows where the ‘War Child’ is. In response the Vampire Leader informs his underling that he already has the last piece of the human skin prophecy, which foretells, “Death of a Godhead. Humanity lives. To save humanity she must be killed, and therefore she must live.” Having no use for Cutler, Snow (rather brilliantly) tells him, “These eyes have looked upon Pharaohs and the Son of the Carpenter. And now they must look at you proudly showing your idea like a child with a handful of its own excrement.” Going on to further humiliate the relative whipper-snapper who’s obsessed with ‘making history’ he tells him that he’s already forgotten and ushers for his minions to take Cutler away as he screams, “I’ll make sure you remember my name!” (Bless you Andrew Gower for making your character so pathetically adorable.)

Annie, blue-eyed and badass, with Alex in tow

Arriving back at the house, Hal and the others are greeted by a rather tentative looking Annie, who after being told about the arrival of the ‘Old Ones’, tells them about her trip to Purgatory and the future, elaborating on their fates in grown-up Eve’s present and about what she has to do to stop that from happening: “I had to see how terrible the future is because what I have to do to stop it is really, really hard. Eve must die…” When asked the ghost is adamant she wouldn’t hurt the baby, but when asked if she’d let anybody else harm her she can’t answer. Having a rare brainwave (bless him) Tom decides it would be a great idea to remove Eve from the equation and blow the vampires up. Heading off to Tom’s ‘explosives workshop’/the café, Hal and him decide to leave a reluctant Alex with Annie to stop her from harming the baby. Once there they pick up supplies and the werewolf divulges that he never had any intention of building a swimming pool, but had been stockpiling what he needed for just such an eventuality having picked up the skills from McNair who’d told him, “Always be kind and polite and have the materials to build a bomb.” One skill that he didn’t acquire from his father however was the ability to make remote detonators and so for this ‘mission’ to work it would require him to strap the bomb to himself, which doesn’t phase him and inspires admiration and a willingness to do the same from his vampiric partner in crime. Back at Honolulu Heights Alex and Annie are having a much more awkward bonding session. After make-up and shoes, the conversation soon turns to the “men with sticks and ropes/evil morris dancers” Alex saw just after she died which her new ghostly acquaintance tells her were just Basic Agents of the Afterlife and reassures her, “Stay frosty and you’ll be fine.” Turning to their ‘Unfinished Business’, whilst Annie feels that that ship has sailed for her, Alex is determined to find her body and give her family some sort of closure which she’s convinced will result in her ‘door’ appearing. Just in case that doesn’t happy the more experienced ghost decides to teach her some tricks of the trade.

Still tweaking his bomb equipment at the café on his own, Tom is confronted by fellow werewolf Milo, who wants to know Baby Eve’s whereabouts and is determined to coax this particular guardian into handing her over to the vampires because everyone with human sympathies “will fall on her like the plague” once they realise the key to humanity’s survival is her death. Unable to comprehend why Milo would work with the vampires Tom questions why he’s loyal to them, to be told by the mercenary, “You find the biggest kid in the playground and you stand next to him.” Disgusted by his cowardice the young man calls him out on it, only to be threatened and have the message reiterated that, “Everyone in the World wants that baby dead, except the vampires.” Meanwhile just as Annie is teaching Alex to summon a tin of beans and informing that you can’t ‘rent-a-ghost’ with a “living thing”, a knock at the door interrupts their fun. When they don’t answer Cutler kicks the door down and implores Alex to invite him in. When she doesn’t he faces the consequences of being cooked alive, crawling across the floor and eventually making his way to Baby Eve’s Moses basket with a knife in his hand, as ‘Future Eve’ appears on the TV screen and implores Annie to let him do it. Making the fatal mistake of taking the time to make a speech about what he’s going to do rather than getting on with the job in hand, Annie decides she can’t watch him murder her adoptive daughter and telepathically skewers Cutler with one of Tom’s stakes that happened to be lying around: “I’d rather let the world burn than hurt her.”

Spurned on by Annie’s suggestion that she better pass over sooner rather than later, Alex waits at the café for Hal to turn up and after they establish that, as a ghost, she’s stuck in the same clothes forever, they head to the scene of her murder only to find that someone appears to have covered it up; the cordoning off of the club being put down to a bomb scare. After yet another argument about Hal drinking her blood they manage to smuggle themselves in the building via the back entrance she was taken in before her murder. With her body still in the same state it was before Alex asks her sort of boyfriend to adjust it for the sake of her family. As they plan to alert the Police, the pair hear footsteps and turn off the lights/manage to hide just as a well-dressed group of men enter the basement room to ‘tidy’ away the body, their leader setting them a seemingly ambitious time limit of 45 seconds to do their job. In the meantime he looks around the room and seems to sense Alex just as his team have completed the task. After they’ve gone Hal urges the ghost to follow them, only to fall to his knees and start to consume the maggoty blood as soon as she’s teleported away. Returning much sooner than he anticipated Alex dryly observes, “Your café is cleaner than most operating theatres and here you are licking congealed blood off a floor. Is that the hold it has over you?” Conceding that it does, she reveals the men took her body round the back to a van and drove away.

Alex tentatively avoiding the ridiculously creepy Mr Rook

Having made his way back to the café Hal is greeted by his Lord and Master, who wants him to run Britain for him. Putting up a feeble show of defiance Snow asks his future poster boy, “If you admired humans so much, why did you keep inflicting your failures upon them?” Going on to say that he was never comfortable with an ‘Old One being on the outside he admits he always knew where he was merely affording Hal “the afternoon off”. As Snow exits the eatery Moloney’s character asks his leader why he hasn’t explicitly asked him to join him, to which he simply replies, “Because I have you already. Heart and mind.” Meanwhile Tom seems to have taken what Milo said to heart, and takes Baby Eve from the house over to the warehouse where the other ‘Old Ones’ appear to be standing in a Tron-meets-Subbuteo style grid, as their ‘end of level boss’ sits gleefully in his throne. Before he’ll hand over the baby the young werewolf insists that he stays with Eve to see that no harm comes to her and Snow agrees on the condition that he do ‘chores’. Finally handing the little girl over the vampire cuddles her and then lifts her above his head as his loyal subjects repeatedly shout “Hail!” Cue the cavalry in the form of Hal with the bomb strapped to his body threatening to blow everything and everybody up. Seemingly not too phased by developments, Snow approaches his former underling and informs him this outburst is “Just the death rattle of your humanity. Mercy’s last hurrah. Let it fade and decay Hal.” Blatantly back under his spell Hal lets him remove the bomb from his body and  mindlessly steps back into his place in the fold. But never fear Annie is here! Bursting into the vampires’ lair, with Alex in tow, she demands they “Give me back my fucking baby!” Snapping Hal out of his daze, the duo of ghosts send vampires flying left, right and centre as a mass brawl ensues that also involves Tom being taken out of the building by Milo. It’s eventually broken up by Snow who is left admitting that Annie would be “a worthy guardian for this precious cargo” instead of letting her live out her ‘natural life’ with all the luxuries that the vampires could lavish on her. Baffled by the Saviour’s inability to save humanity by staying alive Annie asks the Leader of the ‘Old Ones’ why and is offered the following answer: “Perhaps the humans wait so long for her to save them that they never build a cohesive defence… That’s the funny thing about Saviours. They can make one a little dependent.” With the weight of what’s about to happen to all of humanity upon her shoulders, Annie reaches down to the detonator for the bomb that’s been left on the floor, turns to Alex and encourages her to teleport Hal (as a non-living thing) out of the building before she looks down at Eve in her arms and tells the baby that she loves her, before kaboom!  Having obliterated the ‘Old Ones’, in a sea of flames Annie’s ‘door’ finally appears and when she walks through on the other side are both the infant and grown-up versions of Eve, the latter of which stating “That was your ‘unfinished business’. All you had to do was save the World.” Now unable to go back, another door appears and the young woman urges her ‘Mother’ to go and meet all the friends she’s recently lost, unable to meet them herself because “I never happened now. I never grew up. I never saw the things I saw. That’s the only me now.” Apologising to her ‘daughter’ Eve quickly dismisses it and tells her “You saved us all,” before fading away as Annie stepped through the door into the light with a beaming smile of recognition on her face.

Meanwhile the blonde, well-dressed gentleman who Alex and Hal encountered in the basement of the club has also been busy. Sitting in the bedroom of one of the girls who was present at the nightclub and filmed Tom post-transformation. Likening what she saw to Dorothy catching a glimpse of the Wizard behind the curtain, he explains that she either she keeps quiet or she’ll “disappear in a puff of smoke”, elaborating that “For as long as there have been creatures like that there have been men like me. Silent, modest men whose job it is to keep the secret things secret. Think of us as the domestic servants of the World.” Heading to an underground bunker where he’s greeted by the archivist there as ‘Mr Book’, the man walks past rows and rows of what we can presume is evidence of supernatural activity before finally filing away the camera phone he’d retrieved from the young woman he’d just visited, on his way out informing the elderly man who’d addressed him, “I’ve got a 5’o’clock with the Secretary of State. You know what they say. No rest for the wicked.” Ding! Ding! Ding! I do believe we have next series’ villain! In the interim back at Honolulu Heights Tom has tethered Hal to a chair, no not for some perverted sex game, but so he can go cold turkey in a safe environment. Lamely insisting that he needs to defrost the freezer and that this can wait until tomorrow, his friend is having none of it and continues to secure the chair to the floor as he and Alex are subjected to some pretty flagrant abuse which finally results in him asking Tom why he’s doing this to which he honestly and rather sweetly replies, “Because you’re my best mate.” As the camera pans out on the last shot of the series Hal looks from Tom to Alex repeatedly as if he can’t quite believe he’s managed to secure two such loyal friends. D’awwwww!

The Verdict…

It almost goes without saying that series 4 has been a bit of a mixed bag especially at the start, but they really did pull it back at the business end of proceedings, even if the writers do have a tendency to make the penultimate episode noticeably stronger in terms of narrative and dialogue almost every year. That said I’m about 95% happy with ‘The War Child’ and whilst I was incredibly sad to see the departure of yet another original character, I do happen to agree with the show’s creator that Annie’s denouement was both fitting and timely. ‘Unfinished business’ really doesn’t get much better than saving the world does it?Also Crichlow’s final scene was beautifully and movingly realised, so much kudos to her and the crew for that alone. Once again I feel the need to comment that Mark Gatiss really was the perfect choice to play Mr Snow. His description of his last visit to Britain where they used the bodies of adults in the village to make a tableau of vampire history and then the children were made to sing before their blood made into wine was chilling, and yet he remained a charming, if morally bankrupt, villain. After seeing him in quirky roles in both Ashes to Ashes and Luther Steven Robertson was also an interesting choice to play the mysterious Mr Rook, a character which I’m very curious to see how they utilise next year, and if we’re ultimately going to see humanity realising en masse that their world is shared by supernaturals. Finally, in the last scene we have our new core cast members Moloney, Socha and Bracken who do bring a rather interesting dynamic to what is now a very different show, but still with the original question that has always driven the narrative,- ‘what does it mean to be human?’ Hopefully we’ll get some more answers in Series 5.

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Human: ‘Making History’ or Oh my Lord Hal! (S4, ep.7)

Goodness me! I’m not quite sure I know where to start, but this penultimate episode of Being Human’s fourth series sure was action-packed. Finally Hal and Cutler’s paths crossed, and boy did they cross, now and in the past. As did those of Eve and Annie. Meanwhile poor Tom’s good nature was taken advantage of for deadly purposes to seemingly devastating effect. All edge of your seat stuff so let’s get stuck into the details…

Cutler doing his best 'angry geography teacher'

What happened…

In this second to last episode the first scene finally saw Hal and Cutler meet. In a police cell in 1950! With his opening gambit the vampire informed the bumbling solicitor who’s meant to be defending his new client who’s up on illegal gambling charges (in reality for being responsible for ‘dog fights’). “It’s not dissatisfaction. It’s a feeling more akin to having been born in captivity. A seeping realisation that your dreams and ambition are just too big, too rich for this domestic world”; a rather beautiful piece of dialogue that precludes the ‘Old One’s’ rather brutally recruiting the young man “who’s destined to become a history maker” after he’s cruelly locked in the cell with the vampire. Flash forward to the present day and just as Cutler is giving his henchmen a pep talk, who should pop up but his ‘Maker’ incredulously exclaiming, “It’s you!” Evidently ecstatic to see the vampire that ‘made’ him, the solicitor/spin doctor can’t resist giving a rather disturbed Hal a hug and hilariously drawing attention to the fact that he’s been working out. More interested in where the body of the coroner was buried, the much older neck-biter presses Cutler who admits he’d disposed of her body in their old dumping ground at the reservoir, but is more interested in decanting some blood into a wine glass and offering it to the man who’s responsible for his present state. Having been on the wagon for so long Hal’s understandable response is to run away.

Meanwhile in the rather non-descript corridors of Purgatory Annie is having a rather odd reunion of her own after stepping through the door with ‘Future Eve’ last week. Having met Mitchell there, the time travelling ghost explains she knows all about Annie’s past and her purpose is to show her ‘adoptive’ parent “My present, your future.” Taking her to a desolate wasteland near the docks she explains that this is ‘The Future’ and that people don’t have ‘jetpacks’, instead “Mostly everybody’s dead.” Apparently after the vampires killed the Prime Minister on national television the country stayed under human control for a while, but eventually there were so many refugees wanting to seek asylum that the government was forced to negotiate with their fanged counterparts and then it fell too. Whilst all of this was going on Tom and Annie took Baby Eve to the docks where they boarded a boat with a mass exodus of others, but were subjected to a guerilla attack and watched hundreds massacred, only just managing to flee themselves. Rather gobsmacked Annie asks her ‘daughter’ why if she was the ‘Saviour’ didn’t she then stop everything from happening, to which Eve replies it was all because of her.

Future Eve and Annie both rocking the 'loose garment' vibe.

Regarding the third member of the household Tom leaves Hal holding the baby, whilst he goes to meet Cutler at his office, and in the mean time we’re party to a flashback where the solicitor is digging a grave for his own ‘kill’ as his maker nonchalantly smokes a cigarette and lingers by his car telling him “All we require is everything.” Similarly Cutler has high expectations of the young werewolf who he wants to transform during the Full Moon and supposedly tear the ‘Old Ones’ to shreds, but the newly intellectual young man doesn’t want to be a “weapon” and has brought cue cards to help him back up his point. On the verge of losing his temper as Tom is about to scupper his plans, Cutler offers to buy Tom dinner later so they can talk further. In the interim between their meal, Hal nervously re-enters the warehouse and is greeted by his creation who is rather hacked off that he’d been “marooned… in a different world” when he disappeared. Once again offering the older vampire a glass of blood he informs Hal that, with his help, he could go back to “the top of the pile,” in return all he’d want is a “mention in the history books”, “a statue” and “Brazil”. Nice of him, eh? Cue another mirroring flashback where this time Cutler, in the garage of his home, is reaching for a glass of blood, but is prevented by his maker who wants him to kill his wife. When he refuses to Hal disappointedly cracks, “I had such high hopes for you” before allowing him to drink the glass of blood, just as the present day Hal drinks the blood Cutler has offered him. Drunk on what he’s just imbibed he arrives at the bar he’s arranged to meet Alex at after the awkward voicemail message last week. Initially more concerned with her brother’s unfortunate tattoo at the hands of a dyslexic tattooist Hal’s date soon gets creeped out by his behaviour and leaves, only to be followed by a man who’s been watching them. Uh oh!

Cutler and Hal looking suspiciously like the Krays

Back with Eve and Annie’s magical mystery tour of the future they go to what is effectively a concentration camp for both humans and werewolves, complete with ominous inscription above the gates: ‘Through me you pass into eternal pain.’ In the camp the dog fights were brought back and the humans and werewolves were branded with ‘H’s’ and ‘W’s’ respectively. There, before an outbreak of cholera which wiped everyone out, Tom had lived and died. Eve hadn’t known him very well, but described him as a “cold man” who allegedly never got over accidently killing some humans, and therefore held back in his last dog fight rather than kill again. Annie also met her end there too after burying so many of her friends, losing ‘tangibility’ and “drifted away on the breeze.”

Over at the house Tom is getting ready for his own ‘date’ with Cutler, just as Hal arrives back from his disastrous one still rather worse for wear. Insisting that he has to go out the werewolf leaves his housemate in charge of Baby Eve as they still wonder why Annie is MIA. Not necessarily the best idea in the world as when he hears the baby cry Hal’s eyes automatically transform and he sinisterly makes his way to the nursery and picks up the crying infant. All the while Tom is being played by Cutler at the posh restaurant he’s been taken to where he sticks out like a sore thumb, unable to tie his own tie and absorbing the solicitor’s little snide digs about his wish to better himself and meet up with Allison again as her equal, even believing it’s possible to reason with the ‘Old Ones’. All of which his ‘friend’ dismisses. Simultaneously Eve has led Annie into a grand hall where huge Nazi-esque banners adorn the walls either side of another which bears Hal’s image and the slogan ‘Show No Mercy’. According to Eve in the future ‘Lord Hal’ is “one of their most ruthless commanders”, the creator of the camps and “violent, sadistic and quite literally their poster boy.” This, coupled with the other atrocities, is why Eve’s been trying to ‘rewrite history’ by sending the likes of Kirby and Hal to kill her younger self. Having gained the third part of the ‘Human Skin Scripture’ she realised that it dictated the only way the vampires could be defeated is if ‘The War Child’ were sacrificed. Even the mystery of the ‘burnt arm’ can be explained away by the ‘H’ branded on the young woman’s arm, which as she explains to her former guardian makes her both “Saviour and Nemesis”. The thing is in order to sacrifice herself she needs Annie to do the unthinkable and help her kill her present self, reassuring her, “I’m the killer. I orchestrated this. You’re just the knife.” Before sending her ‘Mother’ back through the door to the present day with the awful prospect of having to kill her ‘daughter’, ‘Future Eve’ admits that she always felt loved, but that “A moment will come when you’ll have to choose between letting me live and letting me die. If you want to stop this happening you have to let me die.”

Luckily for Tom when he arrives back from his meal with Cutler, the closest thing to Hal doing anything truly sinister to Baby Eve is that he’d fallen asleep whilst feeding her. Realising that his vampire friend has fallen off the wagon, Tom argues with him only to be teased about Annie and Allison leaving and is informed “Sooner or later we all go back to being the monsters we truly are.” Taking this to heart, the werewolf waits until Hal has stumbled off to bed and rings Cutler to say he’ll go ahead with whatever plans he has in mind. The following morning Hal wakes up with the shakes and heads over to meet Cutler at a club to get another fix. At this point there’s a fantastic splicing of the present where the solicitor/spin doctor takes blood from his 1950’s ‘Maker’ and Hal takes blood from his present day ‘creation’ after listening to to his plans to get the humans to come over to the vampires way of thinking without unnecessary force: “Softly, softly massacre monkey.” Elaborating on his plans to fill the club with people and let a werewolf loose on them, this will build upon his wish to make the vampires seem positively friendly in comparison with those of the lupine persuasion. Then in both time frames, as both men are led to other rooms, we realise that the blood Cutler and Hal drank belonged to his wife and Alex respectively, both murdered in order for them be “set free” and their ties to the human world to be cut. Unfortunately for Cutler, Hal is repulsed by what he’s done and instead of embracing the “New World” on the horizon, the much older vampire physically gets down on his knees and begs for him not to do what he’s about to; “I will kill you if I have to, but I will not let you take their world. We don’t deserve it.” Seeing that he won’t play ball Cutler locks Hal in the room with Alex’s body and within a few moments her ghost appears and they have a bizarre argument over who’s fault it all is, which eventually culminates in him asking her to focus her energy on trying to ‘rent-a-ghost’ out of the room so she can unlock the door. Meanwhile, with Annie’s reappearance, Tom leaves Eve with her and heads to the club with Cutler who locks him in a back room to await his transformation, whilst the club slowly fills with people. Sensing that they aren’t the vampires he was expecting, the werewolf bangs on the door to be let out, but it’s already too late. Just as things are about to kick off when Cutler asks one of his henchman to open the room out and let the newly transformed Tom out, Alex manages to teleport outside the room and open the door for Hal, who vows to to deal with/avenge her death as soon as he’s dealt with what’s going on upstairs. Confronted by loads of people, who conveniently for Cutler have camera phones and access to social media, instead of attacking them the werewolf just stands there as they film him and then Hal attempts to evacuate the club with Alex continuing her new role as spectral door opener and unlocking the fire exits, allowing the screaming hoards to run to freedom. Not quite as fortunate is Hal, who in the last shot we see of him in this episode is lunged at by his hirsuite friend. Eeeep! The last two scenes of ‘Making History’ depict Annie ominously singing ‘Que Sera Sera’ to Baby Eve, whilst the ‘Old Ones’ finally arrive at a warehouse near the docks, headed up by the interestingly ginger Mycroft, sorry, Mr Snow (Mark Gatiss). Duh! Duh! Duh!

The Verdict…

I’m not prone to hyperbole, but I have to say I thought ‘Making History’ was utterly brilliant and for me it’s definitely up there with my favourite ever episodes of Being Human. Each of the plot threads dovetailed rather beautifully and no detail was thrown in just for the hell of it. Some of the dialogue was absolutely stellar too, but especially some of Hal’s lines, which with Damian Moloney’s delivery, came across as practically poetic. It was also great to finally have Hal and Cutler cross paths and to see the sort of complicated chemistry that was reminiscent of that between Mitchell and Herrick; adoration mixed in with undertones of sheer loathing. All of the cast were pretty solid here, but in my opinion this was Moloney and Gower’s showcase of their talent. It really says something if the writing and acting can be brought together to make you feel for two characters who have it in them to be completely heartless, ruthless b*stards. If I had to moan about anything I guess it’s maybe that the whole idea of Eve having to be sacrificed may simply be resolved by the fact that she’s already killed herself, orchestrated events that brought Hal to the house and warned Annie, and therefore has already changed the future. I’m not sure. Maybe this is too obvious and hopefully there’s another twist or two on the way in the series finale. Either way I’m looking forward to seeing Mark Gatiss as Mr Snow and where he fits in next week’s episode. I mean, seriously, who else could have played the leader of the ‘Old Ones’? So many questions still to be answered and only one hour left to do it in. BRING IT ON WHITHOUSE!

Alex genuinely did have the worst holiday ever

Next Week…

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Human: ‘Puppy Love’ or The one where they all sort of get love interests (S4, ep.6)

Already we appear to be creeping towards the business end of Series 4. Where exactly did the time go, eh?! But anyway this week saw accidental murder, less accidental murder, the introduction of a plethora of variably suitable love interests for our 3 supernatural housemates and a damn good spooking. What more could we ask for?!…

Allison and Tom contemplate busking

What happened…

This week’s opener gave us a juxtaposition of Tom and who we soon find out to be Allison’s (Ellie Kendrick) morning rituals. The former sharpening his stake and tearfully re-reading the letter McNair left him before his death, whilst the latter sharpened her pencils and wrote a leaving letter to her Mum and Dad, setting the tone for a collision course between brains versus brawn, one of the main themes of ‘Puppy Love’. Over at the café where Tom and Hal remain dutiful employees, the vampire is putting the eggs in order of size and sorting the sugar and artificial sweeteners in an attempt to “Keep busy, keep sane” and stop himself from falling off the wagon. Feeling he needs someone in his life to pick up where his now deceased friend Leo left off, Hal asks his new werewolf housemate/co-worker if he can help him to stay on the straight and narrow. Just as Tom happily accepts, they realise they’re being watched from across the road by the curly-haired, bespectacled werewolf we’d been introduced to in the previous scene. Giving chase they catch up with her, and after being nearly deafened by her rape alarm, they take her back to Honolulu Heights where she informs them she’s been searching for Tom, who’d she’d seen the upload of his transformation of on the internet. Trying to figure out who’s responsible for the recent spate of anti-werewolf propaganda, Allison attempts to enlist the help of Hal who she envisages will go undercover for her, but not taken with the idea of being amongst his fellow bloodsuckers once more he runs back to the café to “polish the teaspoons” leaving her and Tom responsible for finding out who’s behind it all.

Just for the record this is Emrys' 'I'm not amused with this death malarky' face. He was in fact very much amused.

Meanwhile back at the disused warehouse ‘Spinmeister’ Cutler is clapping his hands and feet over the buzz he’s created by uploading the video, until vampire Events Manager Golda (Amanda Abbington) turns up with her mute and action film loving sidekicks and informs him she’ll be taking over things in relation to the imminent arrival of ‘The Old Ones’. Informing her that he’s befriended a werewolf she seems to think that a dog fight would be the perfect gift for their visit envisaging “Cage. Human. Prosecco” and orders the solicitor/vampire to get to work luring Tom, whilst she gets busy booking suitable accommodation and transport for the vampire royalty. At Honolulu Heights things aren’t exactly going swimmingly for Annie either. When somebody bangs on the door she believes it could yet again be Social Services or even somebody who’s there to harm Baby Eve, and so when she opens the door she gets her poltergeist on and blows the man all the way over the hedge. That’s when she finds out he was actually an elderly neighbour called Emrys who she’s accidentally murdered, and who as a ghost now needs her help to solve his ‘unfinished business’. Having made their way up to the docks, after debating the merits of verbal reasoning and brute strength, Tom and Allison attempt to confront one of Golda’s henchmen there and when her ‘debating’ tactics don’t work and she’s attacked by the vampire, Tom is forced to do what he does best and stake him to save her life, much to Allison’s disdain. Not knowing what to do for the best they both go to see Cutler at his office where he informs them about Golda and hints she might be behind the recent influx of propaganda. Being his usual idealistic self Tom turns to Allison and informs her, “We’re all soldiers. We’ve got to pick a side”, to which she rather surprisingly replies that she’d like to learn how to stake a vampire. Cue a rather sweet montage of shots with ‘Puppy Love’ playing in the background, where he teaches her how to stick it to a vampire and she broaches several textbooks and the advantages of reasoned debate with him, that ends with her asking “If we lived on the Moon do you think we could be werewolves all the time?” Awwwwwww!

Meanwhile back at the café Hal has a rather awkward meeting with Alex (Kate Bracken), a young woman who pops in for coffee, but who fancies her chances with a particularly flustered recovering blood addict. After batting off her advances, which include trying to explain the offside rule with the condiments and the classic asking him to pull her finger, Hal fears he’s blown it until she turns back up at the greasy spoon and Tom invites her out on a double date with him and Allison, whilst he cowers under the counter. What ensues is yet more awkwardness, but at a natural history museum this time where, after the two werewolf lovebirds are called away, Hal and Alex are given “Private time” under the woolly mammoth. As she closes her eyes and waits for him to kiss her all he can concentrate on is the blood pumping through her veins, and so runs away leaving the young woman understandably baffled. Also having man trouble is Annie, as aside from perving on Allison in the shower, Emrys has decided that his ‘unfinished business’ must be that he’s never been kissed, and as she’s about to do the honours she notices the wedding ring on his finger. As it turns out his ex-wife cheated on him with the piano teacher and Annie believes his issue might be that he has to forgive her, so they rent-a-ghost their way to her bungalow, he tells her he still loves her and absolves her wrong-doing and consesequently Annie points him in the direction of his door. Job done… or not. The door in the hallway wasn’t actually ‘his’ door to Purgatory, but a door to a cupboard. Back to the drawing board!

Alex using the fail-safe 'Pull my finger' chat up line on Hal.

Back in loved up puppy land, revelling in the fact she’s just despatched Golda’s other henchman, Allison thinks it’s time to get hot and heavy with Tom when they get back home, but Tom really isn’t happy thinking she’s changed and not for the better: “You’re not a soldier.” As she heads off in a huff to the warehouse to confront Golda about the recent bad publicity for her species, Tom finds out that her parents have put a notice in the paper asking for her safe return and goes after her, getting there just in the nick of time as she’s about to make her second killing of the day. Talking Allison down by telling her she only ‘really’ changes once a month (yes the possibility for period jokes is wide and vast), the lady werewolf turns her back on Golda who goes to attack her with the disregarded stake, but is apprehended by Cutler who happily plugs her in the heart, removing yet another one of his enemies. This guy isn’t afraid of getting his hands dirty is he?

Back at the house, in the relative calm after the storm, Hal asks Allison and Tom if they know anything about Jenny Wilson’s (the pathologist from a couple of week’s ago) body being found, as reported in the paper. They both mistakenly reassure him that now Golda is gone there’ll be no more worrying stories in the paper that hint at the existence of the  supernatural, little do they know that their ‘friend’ Cutler is actually the master puppeteer. Seemingly pacifying him, they go on to convince Hal to leave a voicemail message on Alex’s phone and truly get back in the saddle once and for all. On the other hand Tom decides that Allison shouldn’t see him again because he’s frightened he’ll turn her into something she’s not, and after a kiss and a shedding of tears the Norwegian-speaking werewolf toodles off out of a heartbroken Tom’s life. That just leaves the whole ‘Unfinished Business’ business with Emrys needing to be tied up. Deciding that what he has to do might not necessarily be a ‘good’ thing, they go back his ex wife’s house and decide to give her and her    and her piano playing lover a damn good spooking, ruining their music session by hammering down on the piano keys and throwing books across the room sending the pair running and screaming out of the house that his money had paid for after the divorce. It’s only then that Emrys’ actual door appears and he walks through it, but not before telling Annie, “When your time comes, remember it might not have to be a good thing you do.” (Foreshadowing, much?) About to return home ‘Future Eve’ steps through the door and tells her Annie that she has to go with her. Understandably after her last trip to Purgatory the ghost isn’t exactly keen, but the other woman tells her “There’s never been anything more important”, and goes on to inform her of something we’ve suspected all along; “I am the baby… I’m Eve.” Duh! Duh! Duh!

The Verdict…

I have to say I really enjoyed ‘Puppy Love’. There was an astute balance between plot, character development and the dark humour we’ve grown to love over the past four years. There were also some really nice little touches such as the unforced exposition in the scene where Tom and Allison go to see Cutler in his office and the first shot was a close-up of his certificate from The Law Associated awarded in 1947. No clumsy piece of dialogue that gives away the era he probably became a vampire, just a rather clever clue. I’m equally enjoying Hal’s weekly domestic karaoke. Whoever’s behind it, keep it up! There’s nothing quite so attractive as a man who can sing AND who can give your floor a damn good mopping. It’s also great to see the burgeoning bromance between Hal and Tom, and I can’t help but feel this will feature prominently over the last two episodes. I’ll be the first to admit I wasn’t sure the writers/casting directors could match Mitchell and George’s/Turner and Tovey’s on-screen chemistry, but after a slightly faltering start Moloney and Socha seem to be doing almost too a good job proving me wrong. As I’ve said before it’s great to see Annie front and centre and driving proceedings after years of more or less reacting to one crisis or another. Finally in the driving seat now, it’s looking like the fate of humanity will ultimately rest in her seemingly pretty powerful, ghostly hands. So bring on the apocalypse, the ‘Old Ones’ and more of Hal singing. Topless. If you must.

Hal looking terrified of Tom's backside. Too much broccoli?

Next Week…

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Human: ‘Hold the Front Page’ or Yvonne’s a demon in the bedroom (S4, ep.5)

After last week’s foray into Scooby Doo territory with Kirby, I was a little worried that we’d be getting more of the same. Fortunately the return of the 40-something, baby-faced vampire and his school mistress lover sparked a number of interesting developments and introduced Being Human fans to ‘Type 5’: the succubus.

Adam and his Mum, sorry, lover Yvonne.

What happened… 

This week’s opener sees us thrown back 6 months earlier to St Hilda’s School for Girls, where a bespectacled, teenage girl is wandering round the rather plush grounds apparently looking for someone. That someone just happens to be Adam (Craig Roberts), the ‘young’ vampire who we last saw walking away in series 3, hopefully to live a life of sobriety. Unfortunately things don’t seem to be going to plan and just as he’s about to sink his teeth into his young victim with the “spectacular jubblies”, he’s caught literally by the ear by one of the schoolmistresses: “Well hello!”

Meanwhile back at Honolulu HQ Hal is sporting a pair of Marigolds and getting stuck into washing up, whilst giving an excellent rendition of The Four Tops’ ‘Reach Out’, when there’s a knock at the door. Realising who it is Annie lets Adam in only to find he’s brought with him the new love of his life, Yvonne Bradshaw, the teacher who collared him about to fang the schoolgirl. The trouble is she ‘looks’ significantly older than him and the Press aren’t too, well, impressed. It has to be said though, there are a number of interesting things going on with Ms Bradshaw aside from her penchant for unhealthily pale, young looking men. First of all she can see Annie (supernatural alert!), secondly she often veers towards verbal admonishments that factor high on the S&M scale, and finally there appear to have been an inordinate number of men interested in her, including Brad Pitt who has a “nice trailer” and “surprisingly small hands”. In fact as soon as Tom shakes hands with her he too seems to be under her spell. Anyway back to the more imminent danger, the Press have followed Adam and Yvonne to Barry and want to take his picture. For obvious reasons this can’t happen, but the former teacher is unaware that her boy wonder is in fact a 47 year old of the vampiric persuasion, and so when they sit her down in the kitchen and explain who they all really are she’s convinced they are all suffering from some sort of delusion. Equally naive is her lover Adam, who thinks he can sneak out for a cigarette and not get caught by the tabloids, but of course one jobbing photographer sneaks a photo, leaving Annie and Tom to deal with the already suspicious journalist rather inexpertly.

Hal: Oh sh*t Annie! The cameraman appears to be drunk.

Back in ‘Spin City’ Cutler is suspiciously dragging a dead body into the woods and marking it with what JML would market as a ‘Multi-Slicer’, in order to make it look like yet another werewolf attack, as his anti-lupine PR war against the likes of Tom rages on. With Yvonne in the house, tensions between the men also take a sinister and violent turn as her charms appear to be catching, leaving both Tom and Hal having semi-erotic, semi-plain-disturbing dreams about her where she dresses as a barrister and Kate Bush(?!) respectively, and where she preys on their weaknesses in an attempt to seduce them. As a result they spend a lot of the episode arguing with Adam over his girlfriend, and it all culminates in a scene where Hal decides to make the moves on Yvonne by quoting Keats and promising to “destroy all those who get in my way. The streets will run with blood.” When Tom refuses to step aside a fight ensues during which ‘The Old One’ stakes his friend and makes Adam run away as fast as his little legs will carry him. Now the victor about to claim his prize, Yvonne whispers into his ear, “Kill the baby then bleed me dry. You have been unleashed.” What? Another death of a main character and another vampire falling off the wagon? Of course not! It was all yet another dream that spurs Hal on to believe that something’s not quite right with the newest lady at Honolulu Heights. No kidding! Consequently Annie confronts Yvonne who reveals to her that the two men who who were in her life previously both died when they were having sex with her, and that her mother always said she had a “beautiful and cruel” father. “A demon.” Yes indeedy ladies and gentleman, we have ourselves a succubus in the house! Realising she’s been kidding herself that he’s really in love with her, she asks Annie to take Adam out of the house to find out what he really feels about her. Leaving Tom and Hal locked in their rooms, they ‘swaddle’ their way to the café, unseen by the mob of Press still gathering outside the house, where he admits that whilst being with Yvonne stopped the bloodlust he was likely just under her spell and he wanders off into the night to think.

That pesky photographer has also been a busy bunny and approaches Cutler, who he’s found out defended Tom after the invisible vampire CCTV incident from last week. Airing his suspicions that vampires have been responsible for all sorts of things that went bump in the night, the solicitor/PR guru/vampire convinces him he shares his worries and that it would be a good idea if they pool evidence, so they organise a meeting later in his hotel room. When later comes the journalist shows Cutler all the evidence he has which he dismisses as circumstantial and just “pictures of empty rooms”. Explaining that when he was 12 his mother was murdered by her boyfriend and his vampire friends who “couldn’t stop laughing as they did it”, the journalist realises that Cutler had to be invited into the room and so a confrontation ensues. Armed with his mobile phone and a rudimentary cross he’s drawn on the door, and having rung the police and other journalists, the photographer seems to have the upper hand. However by the time Annie and Hal have made it to his room to ‘silence him’ so he doesn’t out Adam as a vampire, Cutler appears to have already done their dirty work for them.

Back at the ranch, after Annie told Yvonne that Adam needed to time to get his head together she marched outside to tell the reporters “I’m a monster and you all deserve my contempt and my wrath,” before embracing her inner demon and attempting to seduce/murder Tom in his room. Having seen her on the television in a pub he’d followed a possible victim into, Adam hurries back to the house just in time before the werewolf has the life sucked out of him (literally or metaphorically, I’m not quite sure how this Succubus thing works.)  Talking to her through the front door Adam explains to his girlfriend, “You’re not a monster. You’re just lonely”, and when she refuses to let him in he goes on to explain their both “trapped” by their conditions and that they should be “trapped together”, admitting he does love her even without the spell. The following morning, just after they’ve wended their merry way away in the car waved off by Hal and Annie, as Tom looks on from his bedroom window for his own safety, (Yvonne’s spell not being broken until she goes away and him not having the same self-control as Hal), Annie tells her vampire housemate that “Ever since I killed Kirby I wanted to do it again” finally realising how addictive murdering someone can be after years of living around essentially lethal weapons with a hair trigger. Hal on the other hand has finally come to the conclusion that he “really can control himself.” So it’s smiles all round, but probably not for long. In the final scene Cutler can be seen gleefully uploading footage of Tom transforming into a werewolf onto the internet. Oh dear!

The Verdict…

I have to say that ‘Hold the Front Page’ was light years better than last week’s offering. It really was a joy to see Craig Roberts’ Adam once again, who can readily mix pretty base humour with some hefty pathos even in the same scene. Yvonne (Selina Griffiths) was also a suitably quirky addition to Toby Whithouse’s supernatural family as a ‘Type 5’. After rumours that the new addition to the Being Human family roll call of freaks and monsters might be a robot, I’m really pleased they plumped for something altogether more traditional and that they managed to dovetail the plight of a half-demon rather well with that of the fresh faced vampire. Excellent once again was Damian Moloney, who as Hal is managing extremely well in filling Mitchell’s boots, but also setting him up as a different entity. My favourite quirk of the week has to be a toss up between singing Motown whilst doing the washing up and reading poetry to Baby Eve. Tom has become pretty adorable too with his childish plea to Yvonne that she should dump Adam because he’s been smoking, and his obsession with building a swimming pool in the back garden. With regards to Annie it’s becoming increasingly clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to protect her friends and Baby Eve so there’s a good chance we’ll see less tea making and more badass moves before the end of series 4, and I’m all for that. My only real beef with the episode was the whole explanation of Hal not being affected by crosses as an ‘Old One’, and how Cutler protected himself from it by using the journalist as a human shield to get out of the hotel room. It appeared a little too convenient and is probably on a par with Annie’s newfound ‘swaddling’ skills as a rather lazy plot device. All in all though a much more solid instalment, and I’m looking forward to the business end of the series.

The next Doctor?

Next week…

Posted in TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Human: ‘A Spectre Calls’ or Never trust a ghost in a tank top (S4,ep.4)

To be quite honest with you folks I’m not entirely sure what to make of this latest instalment of Being Human. Hopefully by the end of this week’s ramble through the events of the episode I’ll have cobbled my thoughts together, and made some sort of sense of how I feel about it…

Should've gone to Spectresavers

What happened… 

Before the titles we were introduced to the ‘Supernatural of the Week’, Kirby, walking along the street and jovially chatting with a young boy and clearly, by the cut of his tank top, we’d been thrown back into the 70’s or were watching a duo on their way to a Blue Peter convention. Just as he was about to retrieve the ball from the middle of the road for his young ‘friend’ a car drives along and he bounces off the windscreen. Oh dear! Meanwhile, back at the house in her attempt to form a ‘Ring of Steel’ around Baby Eve, Annie has formulated a rota for herself, Tom and Hal, much to the chagrin of her housemates. However their semi-perfect domestic bliss is soon jeopardised by a spectral Kirby turning up on their doorstep, apparently having been sent by Nina from The Other Side to help them look after her daughter, randomly mentioning GQ magazine as proof that he has indeed been sent on a mission by her. Realising what he means Annie allows him in.

What ensues is essentially that the bespectacled ghost learns the housemates weaknesses and drives a wedge between them all. In Tom’s case that’s his need to feel grown up and part of a family, which is exemplified by the cut-outs of ‘Things I want to do’ on his bedroom wall, including being in a relationship, having a kids and more imminently wanting to celebrate his 21st birthday the following day with a party complete with cake after all of his years on the road with McNair settling for “a crucifix and a banana muffin.” Being the master manipulator that he is, the newest ghostly addition infers that Annie and Hal don’t take him seriously and that he’s incapable of playing his part in taking care of the baby by first encouraging Annie to criticize his decision to furnish Eve’s nursery with furniture from a skip, and then convincing the young werewolf that they’ve planned a surprise party for him. When the celebration fails to materialise and he continues to be ignored on his ‘special day’ as Kirby continues to pour the poison in, ( “[Hal] wants you in your kennel. Just like your Dad”) a fight breaks out between Hal and Tom that ends with the latter running away, going on a bender and getting arrested for beating up a vampire, but more on that later.

He's behind you! Kirby makes the moves on Annie

With regards to the much wiser Hal, who seems a lot more wary of his intentions, the task of getting him on side is a lot harder for Kirby and requires him so flex his advanced manipulation skills. After the vampire and his werewolf friend are forced to pretend to be a couple, complete with matching vest tops so that Baby Eve can see the doctor about her ear infection, Hal becomes suspicious when the GP dies of a heart attack right outside their house. And to be fair he has every right to be. Perching himself behind the unsuspecting doctor in the back seat, the ghastly ghoul telepathically causes the man’s heart to stop, telling him, “In the old days I would have used a knife.” (Oh boy! We have a serial killer in our midst!) Letting it be known that he’s aware Kirby isn’t all he seems to be, Hal forces him to drop the act, but is blackmailed into keeping quiet and reminded of all the women he’s killed in the past by the ghost who just so happens to have met a few of them in Purgatory. Having been reduced to tears, yes tears, Hal decides to go and see Annie in the nursery and tell all about his former misdemeanors. Understandably the lady ghost is reticent about hearing another vampire’s gory past after what happened with Mitchell, instead wanting “something uncomplicated”, but leaving Hal in an incredibly awkward position. To distract himself he investigates why new information leaked to the press has come to the fore now, concerning Jason Healey’s body having contained human flesh, when the man in question was clearly scapegoated on Daisy and Mitchell’s behalf. Approaching Dr Wilson, the coroner who released the information, he finds out that she’s been intimidated by another vampire who appears to be spreading pro-vampire propaganda. With things coming to a head on many fronts and Kirby deciding to upset the perfect order in his room, Hal also loses it and is tricked into transforming in the nursery as that pesky ghost cowers in the corner holding the baby, right on cue as Annie enters the room. Seeing him as a threat to her ward she feels she has no option but to kick her friend out of the house, and so leaves herself alone with a serial killer, for whom, even death can’t stop him.

Meanwhile back at the police station where Tom has been taken, none other than Cutler turns up claiming to be his solicitor and managing to free him on the basis that CCTV footage appears to show him beating up the invisible man. Never before has vampire invisibility on film been so useful. Handing Tom his card Cutler tells him “I’m a friend when you need one.” Really young/(old) neck nibbler? I think not!

Back at Honolulu Heights Annie explains to Kirby, “I thought we could just slot together. And everything could be like how it was before”; and now in her distraught state he finally allows the mask to slip, taunting her that she was responsible for Mitchell’s death and revealing that she’d let a man who used to befriend children and their mothers and then kill them into her home. By the sheer force of his meanness, and because she has no grounding there with the others gone, Kirby manages to make her go up in a puff off smoke, thus leaving him free to kill Baby Eve which was his intention all along. Of course though, not before some ill-advised dancing and a conversation with ‘Future Eve’ through the television, who was the real person who sent him. Procrastination isn’t his friend though, and Hal and Tom return just in time to chase him round the house and stand there helplessly as Kirby looms over the baby with a knife in his hand. Just in the nick of time, sensing their return and Eve being in danger, Annie re-materialises as a smurfed up version of herself, grabs hold of his head (forcing him to look even more like Deirdre from Coronation Street) and enacts her revenge by making him go up in a puff of smoke. Job done. And yes Annie you do “have the worst taste in men ever.”

At the end of the episode a couple of loose ends are tied up. Well ‘ish’. Cutler has once again cornered Dr Wilson, but unimpressed that she’s mentioned him to Hal he sees her as a liability and decides to do what vampires do best and off her in the usual manner. At the same time, with peace seemingly restored in the house, the friends decide to give an ecstatic Tom his first proper birthday party ever, and congratulate themselves on ridding themselves of another threat to baby Eve, even if he wasn’t the dreaded ‘man with the burnt arm’. Smiling along Hal slowly skulks upstairs only to reveal that his arm was burnt by Tom’s toxic werewolf blood when they fought. Oh very dear!

The Verdict…

I think the best way to describe ‘A Spectre Calls’ is as ‘filler’. That’s not to say that there weren’t many things of merit in it, but for me there was absolutely no mystery over whether or not Kirby was friend or foe from about 10 seconds into the first scene. I’m afraid to say that James Lance’s character was a little OTT for my taste, and I wasn’t sure if the ghost he was playing would have been more at home in either Psychoville or Scooby Doo. That said, however, I did like the interaction between the 3 housemates as a result of his antics, and the more we learn about Hal, the more interesting he gets. Now more than ever I’m certain that we’re heading for a big showdown between him and Cutler. Tom has become like an adorable, but angry little puppy and it was great to see Annie go all Earth Mother on Kirby’s ass, even if the scene itself was teeny, weeny bit unintentionally funny. On a pretty shallow note it’s not gone unnoticed that the male contingent on the show aren’t afraid of toplessness, and for that I shall be eternally grateful. Also on a 100% more intellectual note the inclusion of Hal reading Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov was a really nice touch and perhaps an indication of where this is all heading, being a novel that explores morality, Free Will and murder. I’m duly impressed and intrigued. So now we’ve broken Series 4’s back let’s see where all of this is heading. Bring it on chaps!

Seeing blue: Annie unleashes her inner smurf

Next week…

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Human: ‘The Graveyard Shift’ or Praise Baby Eve we’re back on form! (S4, ep.3)

With deaths, death threats, ‘high speed chases’, poetry that ‘nearly rhymes’ and a new comedy duo to rival Morcambe & Wise, it’s safe to say that Being Human is well and truly back on form. So now that the formality of introducing new characters is over and done with, and old ones are re-finding their footing, let the games begin…

Today's special - Stake and chips: Hal and Tom go head-to-head in the Masterchef quarter-finals.

What happened…

The opener for ‘The Graveyard Shift’ was one of those flashbacks I’ve grown to love over the years. We find ourselves thrown back to 1855 and are greeted by a blood-splattered Fergus in full soldier regalia home on leave, I would guess from the Crimean War, pontificating to an unfortunate maid who’s been tied up and made to listen to him as the rest of the household they’ve infiltrated is systematically murdered by a band of blood-thirsty vampire/soldiers. Explaining that he won’t touch her he begins to talk about his superior for whom “Pretty girls bring out the beast in him”, but refuses to show any deference and insists that he’s not afraid of him despite having reason to be: “Sometimes I think the only Demon worse than him must be the one he’s fleeing from.” Right on cue a topless (yay!) Hal walks up the stairs, complete with period moustache and a blood-smeared face and chest, and after momentarily toying with the young woman proceeds to transform and kill her. The guy clearly has one hell of a chequered past and more than his fair share of skeletons in the closet.

Meanwhile back in the present day Tom and Annie have to see to the practicalities of looking after Baby Eve on a low budget, and cook up a plan to steal of few extras from the supermarket which employs Annie’s invisibility to mere mortals and Tom’s pilfering skills that he learnt during all those years with McNair. Even though they get away with it they are spotted by the self-professed ‘Vampire Recorder’, Regus, last seen in the series opener and now appearing to be mainly hanging around the bakeware section in local stores. Incensed that she’s been forced into an afterlife of crime, Annie and Tom both coax a reluctant Hal into taking on a job with his werewolf housemate at the café with what I have to admit are pretty funny results, but more on that later.  As the men of the house go out to work, Regus finds his way to Honolulu Heights to warn Annie that even though he’d told everyone he’d killed Eve there’s still someone after. Refusing to believe him, Annie slams the door in his face and dismisses his plea for her to leave. That is until Fergus spots Annie in the park with the baby and reveals his plans to present her as a gift to ‘The Old Ones’ just as Griffin intended to, seeing ‘The War Child’ as an opportunity and playing on the ghost’s uncertainty over whether or not her ward is just ‘a normal baby’. Realising that she is in danger she decides to arrange a meeting with Regus, who tries to convince her he knows what he’s doing by telling he’s been collecting artefacts pertaining to vampire mythology for 400 years, but that he’ll only share his expertise if she’s willing to give him something in return- “a second-hand shag”. Agreeing to his demands she lets him delve into her memories and relive her ‘first-time’ only for him to realise a little too late that he’ll be reliving the experience through her eyes. Ouch!

Back at greasy spoon central Fergus seems to be proving our worst fears that Police officers don’t do anything other than hang round food outlets, and confronts Hal asking him to come back into the fold and take his rightful place on a ‘throne’ that befits who he is. Although he insists that that’s not who he is any more Hal does look a little conflicted, especially when the policeman/vampire informs him he’ll be back tomorrow for Tom who has a “target” on his head and who he’d previously found out had hidden stakes around the café for his benefit in case he ‘slipped’ back into his neck nibbling ways of yesteryear. What ensues is an epic bonding session where the two ‘friends’ discover a discarded ‘Nuts’ magazine on one of the tables and after deciding to throw it away because it’s ‘demeaning to women’, reveal how rusty and naive they are respectively with regards to matters of the opposite sex and ‘courting’. Wanting to prove their irresistibility to women they embark on a bet to see who can get the number of the next girl who walks in, cautiously agreeing “But we’re not going to ring it… We’ll burn it.” Unfortunately for them it’s Michaela the quintessential, but endlessly annoying Goth who’d been in previously and already inflicted upon them her deep and dark poetry. Unimpressed with Hal practically begging her and Tom’s love of her bee-like tights the young woman makes it clear she’s not interested, so they head home where the matriarch of the house has decided their best bet to save Baby Eve is to up sticks and live in a barn much to Hal’s chagrin: “I cannot sleep in a barn… Or anywhere without central heating, carpets or Radio 4.”

Regus impresses Annie with his 'ironic t-shirt'.

Having convinced her to stay put for the time being the boys head back for another day at the grindstone, only to be greeted yet again by Michaela who wishes to pay for her cheeseburger with one of her literary creations, only to be declined and asked to pay in the usual manner. As she takes coppers from her purse and hurls them on the counter Hal starts to lose the plot and babbles about how he used to have a horse and “a shield. A red one.” Sensing that he’s on the precipice of leaping over the counter and tearing her throat out, Tom pulls him into the back room and calms him down. In recompense the vampire suggests they should lock up early and go for a pint, thus avoiding Fergus and his merry band of lupine botherers, and it nearly works. Nearly. Getting their customers out of the way by telling them they “found a dead dog in the oven”, they manage to get everybody out and kill the lights just in time. That is until Michaela makes another untimely appearance and blows their cover, leaving all 3 of them with no choice but run round downtown Barry like, well, 3 ‘people’ being chased by vampires. Demanding to know what’s going on Hal informs Michaela of their supernatural identity and instead of running away into the night screaming, she’s more interested if he’s seeing anyone.

Finally managing to get back home they discover that Annie is planning to leave with Regus, and whilst the housemates call a house meeting Michaela and the ‘vampire recorder’ bond in the kitchen over his ‘ironic’ Team Edward t-shirt, only to be interrupted by Fergus et al who stab him in the leg and drag her into the front room with a knife to her neck to use as a bargaining tool to get Hal back to the Dark Side. Initially it seems to work as Hal agrees that the people he’s currently residing with are beneath him, but as Fergus slits Michaela’s throat and steps forward to welcome his former comrade back into the fold, he’s unwittingly staked in the heart by the one he was about to embrace. Thus ensues a fight to the death that involves the obligatory jumping over the bar, passing each other stakes and, more surprisingly, Annie telepathically flinging knives across the room. The following morning, after Regus has taken care to hoover up any lingering vampire remains and ‘revived’ Michaela, the trio resolve to stay put as they wave off the new love-birds. And so peace is restored… Or is it? In the final scene an old lady dies whilst watching The Antiques Roadshow (let’s face it, young or old, we’re all frightened of that happening), and just as she’s entered Purgatory a foot prevents the door from closing, opening up to reveal someone who looks suspiciously like every 70’s gameshow host ever. From the cut of his tank top alone I can tell this guy is not to be trusted…

The Verdict…

First and foremost this episode was funny. Really, really funny and it’s great to see Damian Moloney and Michael Socha playing off each other in the same way that Russell Tovey and Aiden Turner used to. I think the scenes in the café, both comic and dramatic, finally allowed me to lay my concerns to rest that Socha wouldn’t be able to stand up to the other cast members in terms of gravitas, as he continues to flesh out the naive, idealistic, but likeable young werewolf. Again Moloney was consistently great, likewise Crichlow, for whom it now seems they are finally providing material for her to sink her teeth into. The callbacks to Daisy and Ivan and Annie’s view on prophecies were also nice touches. Especially the latter where she tells Regus, “They only get dangerous when you actually start believing them.” For me this was one of my major issues with the premiere and them setting the wheels in motion regarding Eve fulfilling some sort of destiny, when the series 3 had been all about Mitchell falling prey to a self-fulfilling prophecy with ‘The Wolf-shaped bullet’. At the very least they are acknowledging that there is an anomaly.

So, what of the future? I think at this point, with Fergus out of the way, it looks like Hal and Cutler are on a collision course to meet, which could indeed be very interesting to watch. Also according to Regus Eve has a nemesis with a burnt arm. My nemesis is the frying pan so it could be me. Who knows?! Watch this space…

Michaela: The quintessential goth.

Next week… 

Posted in TV, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Being Human: ‘Being Human 1955’ or Back to the Future (S4, ep2)

I’ll be the first to admit after the series 4 opener that I was a little dubious about where they appeared to be going with this outing of Being Human, especially with the cast changes and the way last week’s episode attempted to address, resolve and introduce way too many plot threads within the space of an hour for it to be a wholly enjoyable experience. Fortunately ‘Being Human 1955’ pared things back, injected a shot of humour interspersed with some astute character study and felt like an old school instalment of the show I fell in love with. So there’s hope yet….

Pearl and Leo

What happened…

It has to be said this week’s offering opened with one of the funniest scenes I’ve watched in some time. Playing on the fact that a number of ghosts, ghoulies and humans have been despatched over the years in Being Human, Hal, Pearl and Leo discussing how to get rid of the ‘The Visitor’ upstairs, only for it to turn out to be a spider was pretty much perfect. Especially as it led into the much more serious matter in hand of Leo hearing the message from ‘Future Eve’ (at least we can assume it’s her at this point), and being spurned on to meet ‘The Chosen One’ in the East, believing that she can give him a little more time to prepare Hal and Pearl for his absence: “She will save you Leo. She will save us all.”

Meanwhile back at the house Tom’s taken over Mitchell’s old room, but after years of living pretty much feral in the back of a camper van with his Dad, he’s having trouble adjusting to Annie’s house rules or ‘Commandments’ which she’s made him learn by heart; including no smoking, no dialling 0800 number and remembering to give her two rings if he’s going to be late. The one Tom seems to have trouble remembering is that whilst he’s under her roof he’s not allowed to kill vampires, and within a matter of a couple of hours he’s threatening Hal with a stake hidden in Annie’s hanging basket (not a euphemism), who turns up on their doorstep with his friends like one third of a homage to the Three Wise Men, hoping that Baby Eve can help Leo. To the newly resident werewolf the whole thing seems ludicrous and he’s convinced that George and Nina’s little girl is just a normal baby, whilst Annie takes her guardianship of ‘The Saviour of the World’ all too seriously and decides to hold a ‘ceremony’ to aid the ailing, elderly werewolf, involving awkward hand holding, all too convenient electrical interference and much borrowing from Westlife lyrics and Star Wars. Despite Annie’s enthusiasm it doesn’t seem to work and Leo’s health worsens, forcing him to be put to bed in the ‘Guestroom of Doom’ where all supernaturals come to die at Honolulu Heights and where, after Annie asks Hal and Pearl to move in, he proceeds to fill her in on all of his friend’s proclivities including the fact that Hal and Kia Ora just don’t mix.

In the meantime bad boy vampire Cutler has amassed a homeless focus group at the warehouse and clearly yet more evidence of werewolf nastiness, in an attempt to gain hearts and minds rather than trying to bring mankind over to the Dark Side by sheer force; only for Fergus to let his ‘War Council’ accidently eat them. With the power vacuum created by Wyndham and Griffin’s deaths it looks like in the weeks to come these two are going to go head to head, and I have to say my money is on brains rather than brawn. In the interim let’s hope that Cutler keeps on throwing out gems such as, “Either you mean Peter Mandelson or you’re comparing me to a German composer.”

By far the most important scenes in the episode took place in the pawn shop that Leo had sent Tom and Hal to retrieve the ring in the advertisement he’d hung onto for years. After a spot of ‘flirting’ and then bonding when Tom explains his father was killed by vampires, it’s the young werewolf’s disgust at a mounted wolf’s head displayed in the shop and his refusal to leave until the owner takes it down that distracts them from their mission. Escalating to the point where he has a shotgun thrust in his face after a scuffle with the man, it’s Hal that manages to talk the shopkeeper down in a speech that leaves us with no doubt that he’s lived one Hell of a life in every sense: “Killing is the most difficult thing in the world, which is why when you actually do it there is nothing more exhilarating… That feeling doesn’t last… You end his life and he’ll haunt yours.”

Retrieving the ring for his friend, Hal also manages to see to both Leo and Pearl’s ‘unfinished business’, as it spurns them both to admit their feelings to each other, having danced around the fact they’d been in love for decades and opening their doors to the other side quite literally. Finally on his own in unfamiliar territory and haunted by the possibility he’s in the same house as the infant that may one day be responsible for the mass genocide of the vampire race, he snaps and visits Baby Eve in the attic room/nursery and almost loses all control as “Future Eve” eggs him on to take the baby’s life through the television screen. In the nick of time Tom bursts in and lets the the newest member of the house know in no uncertain terms that had Annie not banned him from killing vampires under her roof he’d already be dead. Cue even more panic and a further trip to the pawn shop where, about to take out his frustrations on the admittedly annoying shopkeeper, Annie attempts to talk him out of it, whilst Tom is prepared to do much more. Facing each other off, Hal with a shotgun aimed at the werewolf’s heart and Tom with a stake pointed at the vampire’s, Annie explains that by killing each other they’ll move further away from their humanity: “If you kill each other you’ll be taking one step further away from who your Father and your friend wanted you to be.” With this statement, baby in arms, Annie manages to bring them and us back to the point of the show, – being human.

In the final scenes, as the newly amassed household settles down to the obligatory cup of tea on the sofa, the pawn shop owner heads to tell the Police about his traumatic encounter with a werewolf and a vampire, only to later be mauled to death by Fergus who he’d reported the crime to. Unlucky.

Annie doing a rousing rendition of 'YMCA' as Leo and Hal consider joining her Village People tribute band.

The Verdict…

There was a lot to like in this episode. A lot. The humour fizzed in nearly every scene and unlike last week the drama sprang from understated, but undeniably astute character study that gave us important insight into new and old characters. With Hal the dominoes were a really nice touch and built on the idea that he has obsessive compulsive tendencies in order to control his environment that was planted last week. They were also a clue as to how important Leo was in building boundaries and creating distractions for his friend. I do get the impression that Hal is potentially much more of a loose canon than Mitchell ever was, which leaves the door wide open for ‘drama’ in the weeks to come. I also warmed a bit more to Michael Socha’s character too. Both the actor and the character seemed to blend a little more into their surroundings and I’m intrigued by his refusal to accept that Eve is anything more than a normal baby, whilst at the same time being incredibly idealistic. As with his ‘search for the pack’ last series, Tom pinning the advert for the ring onto his bedroom wall demonstrates that his idealism, in this case romantic, hasn’t lessened at all. Also Annie finally asserted her authority as head of the household with her speech to Tom and Hal in the pawn shop, and cemented her identity as the glue that keeps their ‘family’ together. My only real beef with ‘Being Human 1955’ was the rather contrived ‘swaddelling’ plot device that now allows Annie to take Eve out without it looking like she’s floating in mid-air. I guess it’s necessary, but still. Hmmmm. I can even deal with “Future Eve” appearing on the telly in Baby Eve’s room, despite the fact I’m pretty much scratching my head over why she’d have a TV in her room anyway when she’s only a few weeks old. Kids these days! Anyway onwards and upwards! 

Time for Tea: Tom, Annie and new housemate Hal


Next Week…

Posted in TV | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment