“This isn’t possible. This can’t be possible, but it’s him…”
No flashback this week – Toby Whithouse told SFX Magazine that it was impossible to do without giving too much away. Instead we are plunged straight in and… Heeeere’s Herrick! Terrified, filthy, locked in the acute ward, he’s not showing on the security cameras but is clearly visible to a horrified George. George is catatonic with shock so he does what comes naturally – he phones Nina. It’s not the good news that Nina has (she’s still pregnant) but at least it gets her out of playing pissing Jenga with Annie!
Nina’s solution to the problem? Simple. Take Herrick – Uncle Billy – home with them! And how come she knows Herrick’s first name? I had to think about it and I’m sure he’s not regular conversation fodder at Honolulu Heights.
Herrick has total amnesia, doesn’t even know he’s a vampire and to prove it is terrified by his own lack of reflection. Or is he…? The strength of the writing and the fabulous performance by Jason Watkins leave us guessing throughout. Such genuine terror in the bathroom – but such a knowing smile after he’s been cruel to Annie. He calls her peripheral – that’s exactly what Owen said to her in series one, and look where that ended. Why so cruel to Annie? She thinks he’s slipped up, she thinks she’s got his number. He acknowledged her and then hid that he could see her in front of Wendy – why hide what he saw unless he knew that he shouldn’t be able to see a ghost?
“You think he’s all cured? You think he’s all better now?”
Herrick’s terror of Mitchell may be overdone but is not misplaced – he does try to kill him after all – and it is a useful way of getting George and Nina on-side. He appeals to Nina’s protective instincts, the way she guards her nest and by playing soft and gentle and slightly misunderstood he gets to George too. George is at first keen to see Herrick staked (even if he can’t do it) but retracts his consent to murder when he sees Nina’s revulsion. Mitchell can’t be persuaded that Herrick is truly harmless but George stands firm and his speech to Mitchell about their friendship and how it would end is very moving. He thinks he’s protecting his family but it is a bit devil/deep blue sea; murderous Mitchell, murdering Herrick – what to choose?
Cara turning up at the door was trailed last week which was a shame but Wendy answering the door was a classic. Of course she had to be invited in and Wendy did so with great pleasure at such old-fashioned courtesy! Quite a contrast with Cara’s dishevelled state, equally so to when we last saw her looking rather glamorous while bleeding over Herrick’s grave. Clearly digging up your dead lover, trying to deal with his amnesia and then tracking him to Barry plays havoc with your personal grooming! Herrick saves his most vitriolic cruelty for Cara – she has served her purpose, he has no more use for her and letting her loose would give Mitchell a chance to find out the secret of resurrection. That’s one secret that Herrick needs to keep to himself – it’s power. I’ve always had a soft spot for mad Cara and seeing her despair is awful, her whole life destroyed. Her suicide, staking herself with a knitting needle, was both shocking and entirely unexpected. Poor Cara.
“I’m actually on the toilet. Having an actual wee…”
Community Psychiatric Nurse Wendy – an inspired creation and beautifully played by Nicola Walker. I will now always be expecting Ruth in Spooks to have a sarnie stuck in her laptop! She could have been a cliché but carefully skirts the obvious and there are some wonderful comedy moments, in particular when she thinks she is alone, pretend surfing in front of the HH murial… She really is trying to help, despite being overworked and harassed by an unreasonable boss. Her exhaustion dulls her perception although she knows deep down something is odd. But what should she do? They are convincing enough to leave Uncle Billy with them and – frankly – Nina gets scary…
Nina is always portrayed as the most human of the four, having only become a werewolf at the end of series one which could be as little as five or six months ago and alone of the four she hasn’t killed (that we know of). Nina is keen to maintain the moral high ground – she blamed Mitchell for her transformation by encouraging her and George, conveniently forgetting that George tried to dump her before he fought Herrick, she should never have been there. She walked out on George only to fall into Kemp’s clutches after he helped Mitchell get Carl to safety and then morally blackmailed George into the facility – she saw it their duty to try the cure. It’s all very well but Nina’s morals bring grave danger to the household. Herrick is now in residence in the attic and has set in motion what promises to be a massive climax. It’s down to him that she has shopped Mitchell for the Box Tunnel killings. Her horror is understandable but surely she knows what Mitchell is, that he has killed before?
As well as imposing her morals, her right course, she can be harsh. All of the household react in horror to Herrick but she is determined to keep him safe despite their fears. She’s cruel to Wendy – playing on her insecurities – and the scene of Wendy weeping in her car is harrowing.
“Have I done something to you?”
Herrick seems quite content in the attic, playing with the train set, reading The Victor. There was a tunnel on the track before he showed Nina the book – now it’s just the engine running around, no carriages and no obstructions – nothing in his way. He can take his time and derail our foursome one at a time.
There is a lingering shot of the bowl of fruit delivered by Nina to Herrick which has decayed almost instantly. Is Herrick sucking the energy from the house to get his strength back or is the evil he has brought with him caused everything to corrupt. Or is the attic just an extraordinarily unhealthy place to be…
A quick aside – when Mitchell hides Graham’s scrapbook he also put scissors in with it. Is Mitchell adding to the story? Or has he just taken up a new hobby although I can’t really see Mitchell in Hobbycraft picking up scrapbooking trimmings…
This is a claustrophobic, almost theatrical episode, set almost entirely inside the shadows of the house and probably one of the best so far. It was completely owned by Jason Watkins with Nicola Walker in a photo finish for second place even among some very strong acting from the regulars. I still don’t know which way to jump with Herrick although I’m coming around to the idea that he knows exactly what he is doing and like Lia, his is the long game. Maybe when first resurrected he was confused but I think Cara was a means to an end and he had always suspected that this was the course he would take and preparations and cunning plans had been made…
I have many theories about this series and the threat from within, the wolf shaped bullet, the long game and they are getting wilder and weirder! I doubt any of this is true but this is what could be happening (in my head, anyway!) The attic is the gateway to hell – nothing there is real. In fact the whole world our people have been living in since Annie and Mitchell returned from purgatory is an illusion – it’s been created by Lia to get them to the point where all will be resolved. Lia’s world is busy picking Mitchell apart – stitch by stitch by stitch. Herrick is part of that game – Lia needs all the pieces in place, Mitchell needs to thinks he can save himself but what will he give Herrick for that knowledge – more temptation, more death… I did warn you it was mad!
And finally… So Nina rang an anonymous hotline did she? Listen again to that telephone message, that introductory voice. Sound familiar?
If you enjoyed this you’d like my book about series one and two – Being Human – unofficial and unauthorised