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… 

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About Optimistindisguise

I blog therefore I am. I think.
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