“I’ve said goodbye to so many people, I can’t even process it”
You can’t say he didn’t warn us.
Way back, not long after series three ended Toby Whithouse was talking about series four being a reinvention of Being Human, that it would be a different beast. Inevitably perhaps, after the staking of morose and moribund Mitchell, but even more urgently when Russell Tovey jumped ship. Sinead Keenan is also out, Herrick is dead, McNair is dead, Nancy is dead (or possibly undead).
Put yourself in his brogues – what would you have done?
What Toby did next was – frankly – rather magnificent. He could have played safe, gone the familiar route but instead we got brave, ambitious writing and a roller coaster of an episode that felt miles away from a series opener. OK, it isn’t perfect. Bits clunked. Loudly. Bits were unsatisfactory. Things happened off-screen that we would have liked to see. But overall it was a cracking hour of telly, dense with plot, new characters, visual jokes and humour; it needs a second and third watch to get it all.
It felt like a hearty “Up yours!” to all those who shouted from the rooftops that Being Human was dead and buried – and I applaud him for it!!
Wherever you thought series four would start it probably wasn’t in 2037! But before long we’re back in more domestic settings – a cafe where an apron clad Tom is serving a rather voluble vampire.
Tom – promoted to a lead character – is a revelation. He acquits himself in the action sequences as well as we would expect him to but also shows a wonderful line in comedy. His not-so-gentle hinting about all the empty rooms, that huge house, all that space is perfectly timed and he can also turn on the pathos. Seeing him frantically wiping his eyes at George’s departure, not wanting to admit for a moment he might be crying was lovely.
“I need to be with my Nina”
Oh yes. George. Let’s deal with that – and that’s probably what Toby thought. George’s death was expected but maybe not so soon although it does clear the decks for the new characters and allows viewers to concentrate without waiting on tenterhooks for him to kick the bucket in a future episode.
He was a dead man walking from first sight, unable to get over Nina, unable to bond with their unnamed daughter, desperate to kill the vampires responsible. His half transformation, forced in order to save his nameless baby was perhaps a mutation too far for me, not convinced that a painted moon and The Moonlight Sonata in Greek would do the trick. It was, however, barely a day since the full moon so I can probably go with an element of cell memory and willpower. If I must.
Tears all round at the final scenes as he changed back – why? – and then expired in Annie’s ghostly arms, first making her promise to mind the baby. Tom was instructed to look after them both leaving us perfectly set up in HH for the rest of the series. All we need now is a vampire…
I can just imagine Nina’s face when he finally arrives wherever WWs end up! “You did what with our baby?!”
“Before you reach the first major city they’ll have raised an army. On Twitter.”
He’s unimpressed with Old One Griffin’s plans to conquer humanity, criticises the medieval vibe, the Vampire Recorder, the obsession with history in a way that makes us realise he is someone who gets listened to. Looking forward to seeing where he goes…
By the way – check out @Lycurious on Twitter. Could it be Cutler? I think so…
“You, her, this place, together they have been my cage”
Another home with a vampire and a werewolf and a ghost, and I’m starting to think it may be more common than previously thought. After all vampires and werewolves have always been close, despite their mutual hatred, and mavericks on both sides will drift together. Add a ghost, desperate to be with people who can see them and it all sounds very practical. It’s also a fine way to muddy the waters of a prophecy of a supernatural trinity.
This household predates the pink house by some time and Leo is aging, the next transformation might kill him. A lovely turn by Louis Mahoney who puts real sadness into Leo’s eyes, knowing his death is almost here. It’s Hal that draws the eye though – although appearing young he has an air of age about him, a gravitas that belies his face and although we only get a fleeting introduction to him here he’s clearly one to watch. And hope he’ll swap that nice warm vest for a decent shirt.
The relationship of comfort and care between the threesome is made clear without words and the tragedy of their conditions and having to watch Leo suffer and fade leaves us hoping that they will find their miracle.
“We’re going to swallow the world up in one quick gulp”
So what else? Griffin, Old One, policeman, didn’t go the distance – killed by George in revenge for killing Nina who was killed in revenge for killing Wyndam who George killed in revenge for… yeah, whatever! Clears the way for Cutler though…
The vampire mythology, well, I’m useless at detecting, even if the butler did it I’d never work it out so I’ll just go along for the ride. Mind, I can’t help wondering if Leo had a child in that other supernatural flat share. And it’s way too obvious that future woman is Eve…
Regus, the Vampire Recorder, but for me the jury’s out. Could go one way or another – very funny or very annoying. This week I shall mostly be wearing a tea towel…
Bite sized treats…
Dead as a ducat intoned in unadulterated Brummie.
Stoker Import and Export – hoping this means a bit of fun will be made of classic vampire tales and glory. I think Cutler’s made a good start on that already.
Catch of the day – the sign on the cage in the vampire HQ.
Baby in cat basket – love it!!
The bone table and although I have no idea what it’s for it’s a nice centrepiece. Wonder who their interior designer is?
What do you make out of a skinned werewolf? Gloves? Slippers? A nice rug?
“Who’d though the Old Ones would be so difficult to shop for?!”
Clunkers and niggles…
Off screen deaths often lack punch and emotion but are a necessary evil at times. Sometimes it works – McNair with Daisy’s fangs, talking about how she fought, seemed a fitting tribute. Nina and Wyndam’s absences had to be dealt with but Nina’s horrible, tragic end from a pack of baseball bat wielding vampires had no real drama or pathos. Yes it was revenge on George for killing Mitchell and Wyndam but it lacked any real feeling. Likewise the throwaway manner when we’re told that George killed Wyndam. How did he kill him? When? Where? Did he stake him or tear him apart as he did Herrick? I would have liked to have seen Wyndam’s future left undetermined, Lee Ingleby made a huge impact in just two scenes and maybe, one day, he might have returned…
So what actually happened when George and Tom transformed together in the unlocked warehouse – apart from Cutler adding to his YT videos. We’ve been lead to believe that werewolves would tear each other apart and surely these two would be fighting for dominance. Tom and McNair were OK together, they had a pack relationship even though not by blood and George and Nina made furry love not war. Tom and George were angry, on a mission and trapped together and I don’t see what would have stopped them fighting. Oh. I really hope Tom isn’t pregnant!
It was dropped in with a dull, heavy thud but apparently werewolf blood is toxic to vampires. Really?! At first I thought this was a slightly annoying revelation with a limited purpose but having put more thought into it I have a theory which I’ll post in a couple of days. Let’s just say for now that maybe it’s been a closely guarded secret and without Griffin goading him, George – and most werewolves – would have no reason to know.
When George locked his wolf in his handy bedroom sized cage he was safe for the night. Vampires have been putting werewolves in cages to fight for years – they don’t get out either, or in, as we saw when Mitchell huddled in the cage with Annie. I’m not impressed with the vampire’s kennel arrangements if an only part transformed George could get out that easily.
What about Lisa, the now ghostly social worker? There was no door to be seen and she certainly looked as though she needed to resolve Fergus’s casual throat slitting! Will we see her again?
As I’ve already said the episode isn’t perfect, putting in George’s exit story on top of the new introductions might have been an element too far. I certainly needed to watch it more than once to really ‘get’ it.
I’m still to be convinced about the future segments although the idea of a vampire ruled world is intriguing. And just who was that voice on the radio? Cutler? Hal? It reminds me of hearing Lia’s voice on the Box Tunnel Hotline. I’ll see how it goes though, I’m certainly intrigued enough about the future woman who may or may not be Eve and just how she finds the past via her door.
All in all though there is more than enough to keep me hooked, I may be Being Human obsessed but I’m not prone to hasty decisions, each episode has to prove its worth. This one did. Not the best ever, probably not in the top five, but a damn good start.
The final words should go to Annie…
“So, this is how it starts”
“Yeah, but I bet the Magna Carta doesn’t have nipple on it”
The title of this post is from a John Cooper Clarke poem – “you never see a nipple in the daily express” which has been running through my head since Sunday night! If you’ve never seen him before here’s a taster…