by Paul Kelly
A solid opener to what promises to be Being Human's biggest season yet. Thanks to the rickety economy, we're down to six episodes instead of eight, but this doesn't seem to have diluted Toby Whithouse's ambition. The villains have been getting bigger each season, so it should come as no surprise that this year's big bad is none other than Beelzebub himself. And with Phil Davis on board as Captain Hatch, how can this not be awesome? Well, quite easily, really – but at least we're off to a good start.
As with last season, Hal continues to be the glue which holds Being Human together. He has the coolest back-story, the most interesting present-day story, and his obsession with cleaning and recycling makes him head and shoulders the funniest member of the group. (If only he had an obsession with clean, dandruff free hair, then that last sentence would have been vaguely amusing.) The opening exchange between him, Alex and Tom was up there with the best the show's produced. Ditto the 'bumming' dialogue. Even Hal's self loathing was oddly endearing. I liked how tonight's episode pretty much followed on from last season's finale. Alex's death was a big deal, so it feels right that a least part of the episode should be dedicated to chronicling the emotional fallout.
Alex, understandably, is a tad miffed about being dead, but the shock of everyone moving on while she's still stuck in limbo, resulted in an almost catastrophic lapse in judgement. Unable to watch Crumb suffer, she opted to set him free. Big mistake! Crumb -- perhaps a little too instantly -- crumbled (bad-dum-tish!), metamorphosed from the bullied into the bully, and was minutes away from eating his co-workers. Talk about almost blowing it. Alex seems set to follow the traditional path to ghost-dom. The thought of never being able to love again, of not being able to change your clothes, and the horror of never again tasting chocolate, are clearly traumatic concepts with which all new ghosts must grapple. Hopefully Whithouse will do a better job of developing Alex's character than he did with Annie's.
At least Alex can leave the house, so immediately she's more useful than Annie. And she's more than capable of helping the boys -- which is going to come in handy as they desperately need it. Tom's still as naïve as they come, and Hal's guilt has already caused him to make a series of unfortunate missteps. He risked his life to save Crumb, sired a killer, and told Alex is was okay to tell her father the truth about her death. Not that the truth's much of an improvement over Rook's concocted lie, although I suppose falling into a canal isn't quite as gruesome as exsanguination. Had she taken him up on his offer, I dare say Mr Rook would have had plenty to say on the matter; especially with no infrastructure in place for damage limitation. But Hal's gesture served to illustrate both his remorse and his absolute lack of interest in the consequences of being outed.
Crumb, admittedly, had a terrible day. He lost his job, his family, was run over, didn't get bummed, became a vampire, and ended up a murderer. Obviously, killing dreary Gavin wasn't much of a loss, but I liked how Crumb went from being mildly annoying, to a sympathetic character, to an utter git, all in the space of 60 minutes. I'm just not sure I want him around all season. I'd much rather see more of foul mouthed Hetty, shit-talking Mr Rook. Kids who swear and show absolutely zero regard for authority are always a joy – providing they're fictional. We all love Bart Simpson, but nobody wants him as a son. Not even Homer. Mr Rook I'm far happier with. Ostensibly, he's looks to be an ally, although it's hard to shake the feeling that he'd do just about anything to get Hal to bend to his will.
Usually, I feel quite ambivalent about Being Human's flash-backs, but I enjoyed tonight's. Emil was a crotch rubbing, perverted joy, and I was saddened by the untimely demise of Lady Catherine. You know the writer's doing something right when you throw a strop at the death of a character who's had less screen-time than Hal's nipples. I could quite happily have watched a full season of Hal and Catherine bonking their way across post-war France. Sadly, it was not be be. Those crazy kids had chemistry, too. But it was nice to see Hal in full-on flirt mode again. We see so little of it in the present, and that doesn't look set to change. Patsy's clumsy advances barely raised a smile. Alex's death seems to have temporarily knocked the wind out of his romantic sails.
Emil was right. Lady Catherine's theory that the devil was feeding off werewolf/vampires energy didn't make much sense, but it was a convenient way of introducing Phil Davis' character. And at least Catherine's death – whilst being unpalatable – gives the show good reason to occasionally visit 20th century France again. Here's hoping Hal hooks up with some turn-of-the-twentieth-century raunch-pot soon. His present existence is pretty grim. As much as I enjoy the comedy his OCD behaviour affords, I like to see him smiling too. As long as it's not one of those blood-drunk, demented smiles... with eviscerated corpses strewn all around.
Bits and Pieces:
-- Vampires were born out of a pact with the devil. He gets their souls, and steals their reflection to remind them of the deal.
-- I'm not sure I was particularly convinced by Hal's reason for turning Crumb, nor Alex's reason for setting him free. There was a logic to their decision making processes, it just felt a little too story convenient for my liking.
-- I'm pleased that Alex and Tom have come to an understanding over his sometimes patronising ideas about women. He adheres to McNair's old fashioned values because it helps keep his memory alive. Awww!
-- That was some top quality drooling from Hal. Very moist. Not quite a dangling stringer, but getting there.
-- I enjoyed Toby Whithouse's home secretary cameo. Some nice political commentary, too, on spending cuts and such.
-- A nice verbal tip of the hat to the now legendary Mitchell Marigolds scene.
Hal: “Ten minutes is all I ask... supervised, of course. Just so I can do a quick run round with the Hoover and sort out the recycling. Please! This is torture.”
Hetty: “Make sure they've got some crayons, in case I want to draw some ponies and shit.”
Hal: “This is my home. I brought you here last night.”
Crumb: “Oh god! Have you bummed me?”
Hal: “I haven't bummed you.”
Crumb: “You're going to bum me now!”
Hal: “Ian! I have no intention of bumming you.”
Hal: “Kill them. Metaphorically.”
Alex: “I'm not letting a good man die of grief just to protect the fucking Twilight franchise.”
Hal: “People on-board a ship that's capsizing don't use that many exclamation marks.”
Alex: “I'm going to check out the competition... and draw some cocks on the applications.”
Hal: “Trust me, you don't want to see a world where I'm leading the vampires.”
Four moor peaces eye rote, sea hear.