We’ve had frantic, we’ve had touching and this week it’s all about the funny. Probably the best collection of quotable lines in one episode!
A flashback to 1855 (lots of 5s in this series) and some rather clever location scouting – a staircase, some pictures, two and a half costumes and it all looks quite convincing. Oh and some SERIOUSLY dodgy fake hair… History tells us Fergus and Hal were at war, the Crimean War presumably and home on leave. (Please don’t tell me Florence Nightingale is a vampire…) Fergus thinks ‘they’ are scared of Hal – he lists Wyndam, Ivan and Hetty, names we know and then Jacob who we don’t. Mr Snow, of course, would not be scared… You can guess who Mr Snow is. Really, you can! He seems most surprised about Hetty – it strikes me she’s scared of very little.
“And if you do start eating people, we’ll just have to try something else”
In contrast to bloodied Hal, we have harpsichord Hal, rigidly keeping to his list, not caring much that Annie and Tom have resorted to ghostly shoplifting to keep Eve in Huggies. But it’s OK, McNair said it doesn’t count if it’s a big shop. Right. I presume he means a large organisation and not a long list.
Putting Tom and Hal in the cafe together was inspired, Hal’s deadpan despair and the perfectly squared cloth action for cleaning tables were totally in character and Tom’s well meant help and suggestions came across as genuine (except for the spare stake of course!) I could rhapsodise about the nuanced comedy, the lovely lines, the little glances, the picking up of Nuts with a glove… but I hardly need to as you’ve watched it yourself. Haven’t you? Then you’ll know how funny it was and I can move on!
It was cute to see Hal and Tom slowly beginning to bond, have they realised yet that maybe they aren’t so different? Tom is naive and young in many ways but in others he’s old before his time. Hal is certainly old but having been sequestered away for 50 years he’s out of time too. Tom’s old-fashioned courtesy and Hal’s olde worlde manners (which presumably slip somewhat when hunting!) put them both out of step with modern life. Both spent so much time in isolation – albeit with people who loved them – maybe they can find the right way to exist in the now together. (And can that existence exclude that frankly indigestible looking cheeseburger…)
It’s worth remembering that when we saw George and Mitchell in the pilot they already had an established friendship and so short cuts and assumptions could be made. We accepted they were best friends because Toby told us they were. Here we are seeing Hal and Tom find their friendship – they are forging those bonds in front of us and it’s very convincing. The camaraderie – still a little wary – was unspoken but right there by the time the Antiques Roadshow came on. (BTW – what was that vase worth??!) When they naturally included Annie in their deliberations the pleasure in her face was clear – she’s the bond, the glue, both to the past and the future as well as the link between the boys and that they want her there means a lot. Annie’s fear of being alone has receded again. But for how long?
“Are you taking the piss?” “Well, they started it”
I wasn’t sure about Regus on first look but he played a blinder in this one and let’s face it, you have to love a vampire in a Team Edward T-shirt! Regus is a vamp-geek, a vamp-nerd or maybe just a bit of a sad-vamp. He has vampire asthma, reads mildewed scrolls in basements, puts pin-up posters on his bedsit wall, has a largely imaginary sex life, a varied collection of T-shirts for all occasions and – worse of all – his lunch fights back. I want to feel sorry for him, really I did, but I’m doing about as well as Annie did in trying to keep a straight face after their in-tents experience. (I’m sorry. I’ll get my coat…)
Regus seems to have warmed to Annie, despite her love of a good doorstep row – and he’s willing to trade. Let’s not revisit the weirdest sex scene I’ve seen for a while except to say that if that’s Annie’s first BF he must be the one who posted nude pictures of her on the internet. Well… lets kind of hope they were of her and not of Regus – actually let’s not hope or even think about this at all!!
Once he’d tucked his vulnerability back in his trousers Regus did ‘fess up to what he’d found. A nemesis. Well, of course – you have to have a nemesis. With a burnt arm – if you interpret literally, which would be too easy. Could be a fire arm, a weapon, could be a bit of a suntan – which may rule out a vampire unless they hit the FakeBake. And just what is Tom cooking up with the used chip fat? Fire? Flames?
Before he headed off with his home-made girlfriend in a haze of hopeful anticipation we did get a (slightly spurious) reason why Regus would want to save the child he thinks will destroy his race. He doesn’t want to see 400 years of work wasted and it’s two fingers up to the cooler vampires who never really took him seriously. Do you think he may have had his head flushed at some point back in Stoker Exports?
“You’re not very good at being a vampire, are you?”
Michaela – goth girl, emo chick, would be poet, generally all round irritating ‘look at me – gosh I’m soooo weird’ type. Caricature? Yes. Cliché? Yes. Funny? Undoubtedly – although she trod a very fine line. A glove on one hand might – might? – be a pretension but could it be covering something? A burnt arm maybe?
She may be a parody but haven’t we all met a Michaela? Somehow she and Regus gel and the passing remark from Hal, asking Annie if she ever met Ivan and Daisy may bode well for them. Or may not. I really have no idea!
Fergus gets a chance to show off this week – firstly in the flashback with echoes of the genial evil that Herrick did so well and then just plain scary when he find Annie and Eve in the park. A busy day for him, in no time at all he tracks down Hal by the bins. His reaction to Hal is interesting – he kneels to him, calls him Lord. In jest? In homage? Could be either – he’s certainly very keen to get Hal back on side and he offers him power. For Fergus having Hal in charge is the obvious solution, he seems to have no claim to take that place for himself. It’s hard to say if Hal is truly tempted – Fergus has no doubt that he’s back on his side but Hal double crosses him and stakes him. Damn. I was starting to rather like Fergus, now he’s in the Hoover. I suppose at least you’d always know where he was… (I’m trying very hard to avoid doing the “stake ‘n’ vac” here.)
What was interesting is that it was never clear which side Hal was on until the crunch. Now that’s worrying. Tom and Annie seem convinced he’s with them but can they really be sure. That tiny slip about the Old Ones, Hal says he needs to be there to greet them, hastily corrected to being there to face them, makes me wonder. Hal is 500 years old, unimaginably old. Is it all about him? Are the other lives just a detail, something in the way of him either saving or killing Eve to save or end the vampires.
Hal killed Fergus – ostensibly to protect Eve after being utterly convincing that he was back in black, as Herrick would put it. But why? Was it really to protect Eve or to protect himself? Fergus knows him, and knows him well – they go way, way back. What might Fergus have known that Hal wants kept secret – maybe he just doesn’t want to relive those blood soaked days but is there more to it than that?
The acting honours this week were fairly evenly shared but the award (there isn’t an award) goes to Damien Molony and Michael Socha for their budding bromance. Completely convincing and rather sweet in how they protected and stood up for each other – while still competing! Lenora Crichlow was great – her reactions to Regus were spot on throughout and her not watching the tent experience (just like she didn’t watch Lauren’s vamp snuff film) and her efforts to keep a straight face were impossible not to like. I’ve noticed that Lenora always raises her game when working with, shall we say, a more established actor. With Mark Williams she matched him look for look and line for line – just as she did when working with Bryan Dick as Sykes and in her rare scenes with Jason Watkins. I’d love to see her really stretched, her scenes with the younger cast are still perfectly competent but more relaxed, although that may be deliberate.
So we end with Tom and Hal, the start of a friendship, the start of trust between them. Annie trusts them and between them she thinks they can keep Eve safe. Find a life together – the four of them.
So not going to happen…
That’s not bloody Aldi – that’s Waitrose…
Fergus joked about how scared the other vampires are of the War Child, he didn’t get it and he had a knife pointed at her. Maybe she got her revenge? Maybe it was Eve who deflected the knife not Annie…
£1.50 for a cheeseburger? OK it looks pretty awful but damn, that’s cheap!
A very neat switch over from The Real Hustle to the boy’s new show of choice.
Somewhere between episode one and three the demise of vampires switched from cracking into smoke to dropping into dust. Curious. New type of vampire or new type of special effects budget?
Where was DickSplash, sorry, Cutler? Missing the sarcasm…
Does anyone REALLY think Tom is building a swimming pool?
I’m still laughing at “And I had a shield. A red one”
Let’s go shopping!