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A quick skip along the yellow brick road through the highlights of series four (Toto. Don’t do that.) and we’re off.  You’ll be disappointed if I didn’t say Yay! Cutler!  There. I’ve said it. (Just nipping off for a quick weep. Poor old Crispy Nick..)

I’m back. Slightly damp. Where was I? Oh yes…

S5“No more supernatural nonsense”

There was a massive amount of plot slapped down on the table for us to digest – and for once it all seemed pretty straightforward. In an unstraightforward sort of way.  We have the devil – sorry The Devil – a new vampire, the Men in Grey and the Home Secretary closing them down.  Did anyone else think at the time that that scene – as played by Being Human creator Toby Whithouse – might be a little portentous?  She says. Portentously…

hettyOh yes and the final (probably) demise of the Old Ones. Except Hal. And any others not yet mentioned…  Using Hetty to get Rook to Hal was a nice touch and I can only assume that the MiG swept up in Stokers.  Somehow I doubt our favourite potty mouthed pre-teen ever got her flight to Bolivia.  Or her crayons.  They’ve been a bit of a damp squib the Old Ones.  Wyndam had such promise (and such lovely pineapples) and Mr Snow was deliciously decayed but overall they came, they saw, they conked out.

Now we’ve brushed the ash under the carpet we have the new big bad – and what bigger bad can you have than the Devil himself.  In a cardigan.  In Barry.

The 1918 flashback introduced the threat and allowed Hal to take his top off.  I’m guessing this will be required in each episode.  He’ll catch his death. Anyway – if you were still listening and not mopping up the drool the werewolves and vampires had been at war since 1911.  Really?  While not clunking into canon quite as heavily as toxic WW blood surely this might have been mentioned before?  Especially with Mitchell, Herrick and Seth rampaging cheerfully through the trenches.  Were they let off the VvWW war?  Flat feet? Note from their mums? Forgot their kit?

After some terribly arch flirting and some rather more arch stage combat we have a ceremony in which the Devil – the war’s all his fault you see – will be trapped in the body of a madman.  Right.  Absolutely nothing there that can go wrong.  Who wouldn’t have total faith in a dead wizard/necromancer/vintage porn aficionado?  I was hoping for a little dead as a ducat style humour but the ceremony was played far too straight considering it had such echoes of The Exorcist.  Lighten up you lot! I miss Regus in his bar towel.

hal catherine and emilIn the end it was all Hal’s fault that the Devil isn’t dead.  He didn’t use his own blood but some from another vampire which meant it wasn’t a proper trinity.  No, I have no idea why either.

Frankly he’s got a lot to answer for already and it’s only episode one!

Perhaps he’d better take his shirt off.  That’ll work.

“Is anyone else fast-fowarding to her ghost living in the house with us?”

Patsy, the hotel manager is clearly having some sort of hot flush.  And Hal hasn’t even taken his shirt off.  Yet.  It does seem rather overboard and if it’s meant as a gentle homage to the general reaction to Hal/Damien Molony – well, it’s not gentle.  I’d be about as flattered as Patsy is in that lovely set of machine washable work-wear.

“People on a ship that’s capsizing don’t use that many exclamation marks”

Really!!!??? Gosh!!!!!!

“Well, that’s a different kettle of ballgames”

To be honest I’m not stuck on Crumb.  Friendless geek from his parka to his comedy socks via his games review blog and his newts, it’s all a bit too obvious.  The comedy gurning made me think of Nina’s first appearance in S1 which I also though was over the top.  I hope he settles down in the same way that Nina did – and evil is good after all!  I’ll give him a chance, but please stop the silly faces.  What? That’s just your face?!

I was reminded of S1 again when Hal found Crumb dying.  Mitchell had the same dilemma when he found Becca but he let her die.  Maybe he did save her as George came to believe.  Which is the braver way?  I’m really not sure.  Both felt guilty, both tangentially caused their predicament.  I find it interesting that Hal who professes to hate everything he stands for, who detests the vampire and his own nature is prepared to create another one in his image.  The idea that they are mirrored, each others past and future was intriguing.  I hope that is revisited.

crumbIn BH canon it’s never been explicitly explained how a vampire recruits but I’m pretty sure it has to involve a certain amount of blood to mouth contact!  The ‘victim’ has to be at the point of death – in the pilot Mitchell thought he’d been too late with Lauren – and then they are given the blood of their recruiter.  Now you could argue that most of Crumb’s blood was already on the road so he didn’t need to drink. (Hal could have mopped it up tidily though. With his shirt. Which he’d taken off.)  Perhaps Hal spits not swallows but I’m not buying it.  I’ll concede he may have tasted rather than feasted but he had to have had some of it…

Mind you, Hal lied his way pretty smoothly through the whole episode.  For all he looks like dry, harmless, OCD hygiene freak Hal, his abilities at total deception makes me wonder.  To be honest I prefer him evil so if he can be given a quick push down the proverbial slippery slope I’d be happy.  He can even keep his shirt on. And his vest. Maybe even a balaclava.

He lied about Crumb in the cellar, he lied about his interview and he told Rook he’d been dry for over 60 years. Fib.  I know I’m pedantic (really?) but even discounting when he drank with Cutler (twice) and the slurping of Alex’s maggot spiced congealed blood it should only be at most 58 years and given that BH runs a year or two behind the actual date nearer 55.  We all know that men are prone to a little exaggeration, some stretching of the truth shall we say, but I wonder what else he’s embroidered.  Not literally.  Well, probably literally as well!

“We had a deal”

The first cracks are showing in Tom and Hal’s bromance.  Although Hal was pretty awful to Tom in the last series they found enough common ground.  Hal got away with a lot but recruiting after swearing on the sacred bib of Eve was too much.  And once that trust has gone can the werewolf brought up to kill vampires ever really find his friend again?

Sadly Micheal Socha’s Tom is as underused as ever in this episode.  He deserves better.

alex S5On the other hand Kate Bracken was fabulous as Alex.  Sparky, stroppy and touching by turns it was a marvellous performance and stood up well to the old hands of Steven Robertson and Phil Davis.  I’m hoping for great things but that hope is somewhat tempered by Being Human’s lamentable record on strong female characters.  Please give Alex something that Annie never had.  A plot.  A proper, independent, not reliant on a man, anti-fluffy proper plot.  It’s really not much to ask.  It could even be her unfinished business.

In perfect illustration of that Lady Catherine who was promisingly spiky only managed a quick flirt, some juicy sarcasm and then died.  Oh and look! Hal has his shirt off! Who’d’ve thunk it…

“I liked that pen”

Steven Robertson lived up to the promise shown when, as the dapper Mr Rook, he cleaned up after Cutler with a storming performance.  A firmly suppressed zealot, a quiet rage at his department being axed and a determined leader.  I’m not sure I’d want to be in the Home Secretary’s shiny brogues… It’s only when faced with Crumb’s hapless boss that we see he’s quite prepared to get his hands dirty.  Actually he doesn’t, not even a splash on the cuffs.

rook and pen“I haven’t felt this good in years”

I’m loving Captain Hatch already! (Well maybe not loving, given the teeth, the cardigan and the general air of fusty feet…)

The red eyes were a nice reflection back to succubus Yvonne – her father was a demon. Not Hatch though, he’s further up the food chain and anyway, Yvonne’s father was ‘beautiful and evil”.  Sounds just my type!

The idea you can make someone hurt themselves so badly, kill themselves even, by just whispering in their ear may be budget driven (as was death being a door) but it’s very clever as it’s so terribly normal.  And all the more chilling for it.

Random musings…

The pen really is mightier than the sword!

Yet again Hal gets his arse kicked by a woman.

What is it with eye torture this year?  We’ve all been warned, you could have someone’s eye out with that.  Next week – Mr Rook runs with scissors…

Is ‘Dicksplash’ a particularly vampiric endearment?  Fergus used it about Cutler and now we hear it from Fag Ash Hetty.  Have to say it isn’t one I hear often! Should use it more…

“And I’m sure that growing up in the paramilitary wing of the Amish had many plusses but I find it patronising.”

Alex found her file in the archives remarkably quickly.  I can’t find something I filed myself that fast!

Did Hal take his shirt off at all?  No one’s mentioned it…

escherI had that particular Escher on my wall for years. Does that make me part Satan? (Don’t answer that…)

Wonderful to hear Richard Wells’ music given due prominence again.  Only three other pieces used in this episode – Kate Nash’s Death Proof, Ca Plane Pour Moi and something played over Crumb looking at his hopeful five-a-side list that I can’t place (and wasn’t on the subtitles…)

What happened to the seven-year itch – sorry the seven year vamp/werewolf war?  Did it fizzle out rather like Emil?  Will we find out?

Now we know what actually happens when a ghost tries to eat.

“In exchange for a cessation of chaos and violence we will provide you with per diems, premises and the means to acquire blood consensually.”  It’s not such a bad deal that.

Is Alex really going to watch Rook die?  I like Rook so he is pretty much doomed…

‘Northern France’ is actually a lovely National Trust property just outside Newport called Tredegar House.  It also doubled for Paris 1933 in series three and may well pop up again…  It’s worth a visit!

toby HomeSecAnd finally…

On the BBC Being Human Blog in February 2011 Tony Whithouse answered questions – including this one…

Joooos wrote: Will you consider giving yourself a little cameo in series 4? Or are you already in series 3?

“Listen, I never shut up about being in the show. But Phil and Di Carling the casting director won’t let me. So then I tell them that I can do what I want because technically I outrank them. The ensuing laughter can last for quite some time. To be fair, there are a few reasons why I couldn’t and shouldn’t be in it. Firstly I’d be taking a job from an actor who needs it more than I do. Also it would distract you all from the story. Instead of marvelling at the majestic dialogue you’d suddenly shout at the TV “That’s Toby! … Or is it Chris de Burgh…?”

But mainly because the Being Human cast are so ridiculously good that I’d stick out like a sore thumb. And I’d probably look into the camera and wave or something.”

I for one am very glad he finally went for it.  And he hasn’t waved.  Yet.

________________________________________

Now this is a very Being Human music choice – the madness of plastique punk Plastic Betrand played over that ridiculous chase.

Actually, could some clever soul put the Benny Hill music over that sequence?  No rush.  Thanks!

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