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Being Human: Being Human 1955

Pearl: “Over fifty five years and I’ve never had to change my line-up.”

If last week’s episode felt like a season finale, then "Being Human 1955" felt like a season première. It introduced us to Leo, Pearl and Hal; established a strong group dynamic; explained interpersonal dependencies -- then sent two of them packing to the afterlife. Despite Leo and Pearl being relative newcomers, their deaths were surprisingly affecting; as was Hal’s almost defection to the dark side. I guess his self control isn’t as strong as we thought. With Leo and Pearl gone, will Hal be able to put the mask back on? Or does Honolulu Heights have a new loose cannon on its hands?

I knew Pearl’s first grievance would be the décor. Honolulu Heights is a retro shit hole. Sadly, Pearl didn’t get much of a chance to leave her mark on the place; she was gone before you could say "where's my paint brush?" Fifty five years ago Leo and Pearl would have been roughly the same age. How lovely that she never stopped loving him, despite him ageing and her staying perpetually young. It’s a shame she wasn't able to stick around. I enjoyed her playful banter with Annie. Maybe Pearl did do a better job of keeping her boys safe. Or maybe Southend-on-Sea isn't the hotbed of vampire activity Bristol and Barry Island seem to be.

Losing both Pearl and Leo in the same week left me feeling a little cheated. Although we barely knew them, I felt strangely attached to the SoS gang. Maybe it's because they were living the life Annie, George and Mitchell were supposed to lead. For fifty five years they lived the dream. They were supernaturals living alongside humans. Granted, Hal seems to possess a tad more self restraint than Mitchell -- but their living conditions felt uncomfortably familiar. I wonder how Mitchell would have fared had he met Leo instead of George? Would he be around today? Or would he still have turned into a dwarf and ran away to New Zealand to be in The Hobbit?

Evidently, it’s not just ghosts who suffer when their roots are torn up. Leo and Pearl have been Hal’s sole reason not to kill for fifty five years. With them gone, his reason for abstinence just evaporated. The falling dominoes were the perfect metaphor for Hal’s crumbing self control. I was a little surprised that Hal capitulated so quickly. I get that losing Leo and Pearl was a significant event in his life. I guess I just liked the idea of a vampire being in control for once. It turns out, despite his impeccable diction and snazzy threads, he's as tortured, brooding, and teetering on the brink of violence, as any vampire. Oh, those wacky, miserably murderous vampires. How we love their impossible to reason with, kill you in the blink of an eye, ways.

I always seem to be complaining about the way Annie’s portrayed in the show; which is annoying because I think she’s a great character. I just don’t like the things they (sometimes) do to her. Tonight’s religious ritual was right up there with season two’s barmaid shtick in terms of naffness. Similar OTT humour, showcasing a side of Annie’s character I really wish they’d rein in. For a season they keep heralding as darker and more epic, so far, I'm not convinced. Granted, we’ve had two deaths. But Annie’s ridiculously faux messianic waffle, after Mark Williams’ cringe inducing performance last week, felt like they were trying too hard to make us laugh. The dialogue's witty enough without having to resort to farce.

I guessed early on that the lights exploding was down to Pearl's emotional state rather than baby Eve’s developing mojo. Presumably, the voice coming from Leo’s stereo system was "the woman" trying to lead them to Eve. So what's gone wrong? If Eve was supposed to bring about the end of all vampires, how is killing her going to help? Unless her very existence is what's caused the vampire apocalypse, and the only way it can be stopped is by killing her. Although it was implied last week that "the woman" is Eve, I'm starting to think that might be a red herring. She's not likely to kill herself is she? Either way, Eve's in for a rough few weeks. Just about everyone wants her dead. Even Hal.

The Southend-on-Sea gang were head and shoulders the best part of tonight's episode. Their story reminded me of what I love most about this show; small, intimate stories, stretched across a supernatural landscape. With Leo and Pearl gone, will our reformed trinity be strong enough to carry the show? I'm reasonably confident about Hal and Tom. I thought they had some great bonding moments tonight. Michael Socha and Damien Molony are bedding in nicely. The weak link, for me, is still Annie. If her taking a leading role in the series is going to mean more "comedy scenes", I'm officially worried.

Bits and Pieces:

-- Stopping on the left hand side of the road is unlucky. I'm glad it's not just me. (*Touches wood*)

-- What happens when Hal drinks Kia-Ora? There's a whole episode in itself.

-- Swaddling! Of course! Makes absolute sense. Non-supernaturals (AKA humans) can't see Annie's clothes, so why should they be able to see what's underneath?

-- Get rid of the retro tree picture in Honolulu Heights? Sacrilege! I'm glad Pearl passed over. That, and slagging off Annie's tea making abilities, was a step too far.

-- The Southend-on-Sea gang had a plethora of great memories. Seeing the Beatles and catching Ringo's drum stick? All our lot had is terms of bonding moments was a glut of violent deaths, and reruns of The Real Hustle.

-- Presumably Cutler's planning on revealing the existence of werewolves to the world?

-- A swimming pool in the back garden? On Barry Island? It's too cold, mate. Nobody will ever use it.

-- I laughed out loud at Tom getting owned by the dreaded Hindlich (sic) Nelson. All that experience killing vampires, and he can't take out an old man? Still, it set the scene for a great bonding moment between himself and Hal.

-- Tom's still collecting vampire teeth.


Tom: “I ain’t done nowt.”
Annie: “You haven’t done anything.”

Pearl: “Is he a werewolf?”
Annie: “A very naughty werewolf.”

Annie: “You can’t go back to Southend without Leo. It would just be so empty, and quiet and different.”

Annie: “Thomas. Bring forth the chosen one.”

Hal: “You do know that it’s human skin?”
Annie: “No... not, no, that one’s not actually. It’s just prosthetics.”
Hal: “Would it make it easier for you to believe that?”
Annie: “Yes!”
Hal: “Then that’s what it is.”
Annie: “Thank you.”

Tom: “Right, we’re going to do this thing to channel Eve’s energy... because she’s God, and that. And hopefully, that might help you not die, or whatever.”
Hal: “Are there subtitles for this conversation?”

Tom: "Ow, he's got me in a Hindlich...Nelson. I've never come across it"

Annie: “We could go to Timbuktu and the Mayor would be a vampire.”

Fergus: “Okay, what about you... giving it all Peter Mendelson?”
Cutler: “Okay, Fergus either you mean Peter Mandelson, or you’re comparing me to a German composer.”

Annie: “What I’m saying is... move in here!”
Hal: “Are you somehow drunk?”

Annie: “There is nothing wrong with my tea.”

Annie: “Do they even still make Kia-Ora?”
Pearl: “Oh, they’re making it all right... they’re making it.”

Leo: “It’s all moving so fast. It’s only been 55 years.”

Leo: “You were the best friend I ever had.”
Hal: “You too. Leo, I’ll never forget you.”
Also posted at The Time Meddler.

1 comment:

  1. Like you, most of Annie's behaviour for the first 40 or so minutes just annoyed me: it was embarrassing and completely out of kilter with what the programme is supposed to be. Then I was caught by surprise with Annie's line about how it was all because she was grief-stricken: she was pretending Eve was a god because she needed a god to get her through this. Wow. That got me. If Annie's character makes a turn after this, I'll applaud the farce for being properly character-building. The way Annie defused the Mexican stand-off in the pawn shop gives me hope.

    I like Hal a lot already, I see a lot of potential there and the line about Kia-Ora is exactly the sort of humour Being Human does so well and can continue to do even if this series goes to a dark place. His relationship/antagonism with Tom was cool too.

    Credit to the writers as well for giving Leo and Pearl a good send-off. They needed to do it to create the new trio but it didn't seem forced or cheap: they got a resolution worthy of a relationship that's supposedly 50-odd years old.

    If they get rid of the farce, they've got something very good on their hands. Fingers crossed for Sunday.


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