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…

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About Optimistindisguise

I blog therefore I am. I think.
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