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Being Human: Bad Moon Rising

George: “You shouldn't have gone for Mitchell. It got my -- attention.”

Everyone came of age tonight. Mitchell took responsibility for his past sins and agreed to a fight he could never win; Annie turned down death and developed some gnarly new powers; and George fooled us into thinking he was running away -- only to confront Herrick alone, and save Mitchell and Annie. Like we ever believed he'd desert them.

Josie's sacrifice was surprisingly touching. Could Mitchell have saved her? The old woman at the funeral parlour, despite being a vampire, still suffered from dementia, so I'm guessing vampirism doesn't necessarily heal pre-existing mental conditions or reverse the effects of old age. Which is probably why Josie said no to Mitchell's offer. She didn't want to be frozen in an aged, disease ravaged body -- she wanted to die with dignity. Plus, Mitchell needed blood. Without it he wouldn't never have been strong enough to fight Herrick. So Josie agreed to trade her blood for a quick death. Poor Mitchell. Taking the life of someone you love must be soul destroying. No wonder he didn't flinch at the thought of his own death. At least it would put an end to his suffering.

I've always found Lenora Crichlow's portrayal of Annie a little lightweight. Andrea Riseborough's Annie always seemed more complex, more acerbic. (And -- dare I say it? -- less Hollyoaks.) But I found Annie's angst and frustration bang on the money tonight. We're just not used to seeing her so emotionally charged. When she screamed and smashed the dishes I came out in goosebumps. Last week, Owen accused Annie of living life on the periphery, of never participating, but tonight, Annie wanted to be a part of things. She wanted to fight, but George's new found sense of self-preservation wouldn't allow it, so she was again relegated to the sidelines. Annie's always been a good communicator -- but tonight she could make neither George or Mitchell see sense. Her feelings changed nothing. She had no say. She became a ghost.

I loved the kitchen table scene. The house is a symbol of the gang's normality. It's where they make tea, discuss the day's events and watch The Real Hustle. In short: it's where they play at being human. But tonight the concerns of the outside world penetrated their pink haven. (Not a euphemism.) Tonight the conversation revolved around matters of life and death: more specifically, Mitchell's death, and Annie seemed to be the only one willing to fight for him.

Mitchell seemed resigned to his fate. The chances of him beating Herrick in a fight were virtually nil, but he'd at least be buying Annie and George time to escape. He was tired of the weight of his own conscience. Abstaining from blood meant the partaking of guilt: he remembered the cry of every slaughtered human, of every soul who'd ever fought back. The only way to forget was to succumb to the blood-lust -- a sort of bloody alcoholism. But even that wasn't the perfect solution. Killing humans distanced him from his humanity. It made him a monster. It was better to die instead.

Even George seemed resigned to letting Mitchell go. In truth, he was scared. Unlike Mitchell and Annie, George is mortal. He's easy to kill. He also has Nina to think of now. At least running away gave them a chance. Maybe he could get Annie and Nina to safety -- except, of course, George had no intentions of running anywhere. His tête-à-tête with the Vicar made him realise that it was time to man up. So, instead of giving Herrick directions to Mitchell's rooftop rendezvous, he instead led him to the hospital basement, and into a trap. Kudos to Russell Tovey for selling us the dummy so convincingly. I totally bought George's fear, not to mention his anguish and tears.

It was purely by chance that Annie discovered the switch. Maybe if she hadn't uncovered George's ruse Nina would've been spared. That way George could have still killed Herrick without Nina getting caught in the crossfire. At least now Nina knows why George has been behaving so strangely. The question is, what will it mean for their relationship? And what will happen to Nina? Has George infected her? The smart money's on yes. I do love Nina. Even if she's not infected, I hope the writers find a way of keeping her in the show. A human in the gang would fit perfectly.

And, finally, George accepted the wolf within. Up until now he's treated his lycanthropy as something akin to possession. Tonight he used his curse to his advantage. Instead of trying to run from it, he embraced it. Herrick thought that George killing him would turn him into a monster, but sometimes killing is inevitable, and when done for others, can even be noble. It didn't take away from George's humanity. It confirmed it. Killing Herrick was an act of love. It made him absolutely human.

Herrick always imagined he'd be the one to lead his people into the new era. In the end he turned out to be expendable. Perhaps he was at the forefront of something new -- but someone else would lead. Herrick downplayed his personal ambition, blaming evolution. He'd become weak. Natural selection had deemed him unfit for survival. In a sense I was glad. Herrick was an evil character -- but Jason Watkins is such a great actor, I'll miss not having him around. Hopefully Herrick can make a comeback -- once George has shat him out.

And so our heroes got through unscathed. The main story wrapped up nicely -- although they did leave us something to chew on. Who is the old guy in the suit asking after George, Annie and Mitchell? And who is Professor Jaggat?

Bits and Pieces:

-- It was great to see George's first meeting with Mitchell. Two years ago Mitchell saved George from certain death. Tonight George repaid that debt.

-- How sweet of George to keep the existence of monsters a secret from the Vicar. The poor guy wasn't ready for that kind of news.

-- Herrick wanted Mitchell dead because he symbolised another way for vampires. A more peaceful way. Herrick didn't want anyone following his example.

-- What a contrast between Mitchell and Herrick preparing for to battle. Mitchell walked in alone; Herrick, with the cheers of the crowd ringing in his ears.

-- I loved George facing off against Herrick in the canteen. George was at the end of his tether. He's not afraid any more. He's come a long way since Mitchell saved him two years ago. He knows who he is now.

Quotes:

Annie: “I guess I've missed my flight.”

Annie: “So, what do I do now? Apart from stand here and talk to myself like a mental?”

Vicar: “Jewish people pray. I've seen Yentl.”
George: “You're very sarcastic for a Vicar.”
Vicar: “Yeah, so people tell me. And I feel really bad about it. But then, you know, I forgive myself.”

Mitchell: “You saved me once already. So let me save you too.”
Josie: “Death isn't always the unwelcome guest you think it is. Besides, there comes a time when you can feel the party winding down around you.”

Herrick: “How do you think this ends?”
George: “I don't know. We kiss?”

Herrick: “I will chase you all to the end of the world and pick the meat off your bones myself.”

George: “Someone actually recruited an old woman?”
Herrick: “Well, you know what it's like. You're out and about, you get the munchies, you'll eat anything.”

Annie: “Well, congratulations on mastering the whole 'speaking like a twat' thing.”
---
Also posted at The Time Meddler.

4 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful episode, a terrific season finale. I loved what Josie did for Mitchell, and it was totally in character. I loved what George did for Mitchell, too, and again, taking that leap, so to speak, was also in character. And I love Nina, too. I want her in the series. And you have a good point, Paul, that this episode is when the character of Annie really takes off.

    This show is so good. I'm sort of dreading the U.S. version, which starts in two days.

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  2. I cried my eyes out when George broke down. Russell Tovey is such an expressive actor. I know Mitchell's generally everyone's favourite, but i fancy the heck out of George.

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  3. Karen, I'm with you, I much prefer George to Mitchell - I can't be doing with mysterious and pent-up emotions, whereas George wears his heart on his sleeve. I had tears in my eyes when he spoke to Herrick about his sacrifice proving his humanity.

    I liked every single thing about this episode. Josie was wonderful and you can really see how/why she set Mitchell on the path to redemption, the stuff with vicar and putting away childish things was powerful.

    I guess in a way, this episode was about all the characters putting away their childish things: George and Annie realising their power, Mitchell realising he doesn't have to do it alone, Herrick realising he isn't a Big Bad, but a bully who picked on the wrong person (the look of terror on his face when it really hits home that he's about to die is brilliantly done).

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  4. Agree completely about Crichlow's Annie. Until tonight I much preferred the Annie from the pilot. I do prefer the new Mitchell however :)

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