blame it on the origami…

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I’ve been musing – as has every other Being Human fan/obsessive/stalker about just where Alex, Hal and Tom ended up at the end of The Final Broadcast.  I briefly stated my view in the review I wrote but there is so much more to ponder…

were humanCaveat first – Tony Whithouse has promised a DVD extra set one week after the end of the episode starring the three leads that will resolve the issue properly.  That means everything I say here is likely to be irrelevant in April.  OK, I know. It’s all largely irrelevant now!

Although as Toby was a little confused – perhaps tired and emotional – in his quotes I’m not relying on anything yet.  On the BBC Being Human blog he said the DVD extra was planned, in SFX he’d forgotten about it.  He wants to leave the end open and up for discussion but he’ll resolve it.

OK Toby – ‘fess up.  Which writerer’s AU are YOU in right now?!

“Perhaps it is too soon.  Perhaps none of this can make sense yet”

So here goes.  My theory.

The Devil tries to tempt Alex, Hal and Tom with an alternative, a different life and he shows all three what could be.  They refuse and are returned to the TV studio where The Devil is whispering in the ears of the world.  (Why do I have a sudden mental image of a ginormous cotton bud?!)

But Hal inadvertently throws The Devil a bone before he’s pushed out of his snowy battlefield way back when and certainly before a close-ish shave and a trendy haircut – and probably before mid-twentieth centenary diction!

“You know where you went wrong. You should have put us together”

That definitely gave Old Scratch something to ponder…

origami werewolfBack in the studio they were back in the real world and Rook’s misguided attempt to destroy Old Nick were also real, as were the cover stories of poisoned gas and a demented but snappily dressed pensioner!  Covering up – that’s one of the many things that Rook’s department have always done so well – even if it took Alastair rather a long time to realise.  Reality trotted along quite nicely though the Rook/Devil synthesis – a quite logical escape route – and it continues until the Trinity attempt the ritual in Honolulu Heights.

The ritual drove The Devil out of Rook but he returned to the only human body available before the trinity died, back into Rook and that allowed the final part of the ritual – the part missed in 1918.  The human body holding The Devil was killed and his evil essence scattered – back into the hearts of men.  And women presumably.  (And cats)

But the Devil has one last revenge up his dapper sleeve and his last act before being scattered for centuries was to trap the three in a new AU.

They wake, they think they are human, but they are not.  It’s not real.  On the mantelpiece is the origami werewolf.  The Devil used it to bind the wolf in Tom’s AU and now it’s holding them in stasis.  They think they have a life but they will never be able to move on.  They are human in this tiny world but not mortal, Hal and Alex still won’t change but now neither will Tom.  How long before they go entirely mad?

Maybe one day they’ll destroy the souvenirs, The Devils’ trophies.  If they burn the paper wolf they’ll be released.  But to what?

Death?

Maybe…

Maybe not…

But the world – the real world, not their warm, cosy, slightly fuzzy AU world – will have moved on around them.end of s5 sofaIt’s probably worth saying that this is just my theory.  You’ll have your own.  None of them are right and none are wrong – unless you’re Toby Whithouse (and I claim my £5!)  And even then… let’s not go over the giant whiteboard list of inconsistencies again right now shall we?

Why am I so sure they can’t end the series as human?  So many reasons.  Not all rational.  Here are a few – in no particular order except the order in which they occurred to me…

Because the whole five series of Being Human – as wonderful and amazing as the ride has been – does not encourage thoughts of happy endings!  Especially for vampires – mass murdering devious vicious little treasures that they are…

(Except Herrick who is living (mostly) happily ever after in my airing cupboard, but that’s a whole different story! And don’t worry – I make him suffer…)

The idea that all supernatural curses come from the Devil is an interesting one.  I can go with that for vampires – although it needs an acceptance of basic theology that I don’t have – but I’m not convinced about werewolves and ghosts.  Especially ghosts.  Look at Annie and Alex – they did nothing wrong, they were killed and they have lingered in the world.  Isn’t that punishment enough?  Unseen and untouched until whatever needs to be resolved – love, forgiveness, saving the world, whatever – is sorted.  How in the name of any god you wish to invent can that be a curse from the Antichrist?

If the three are human because they defeated the devil then presumably so are all the others.  Think about that – all the vampires and all the werewolves and all the ghosts are now human.  Lady Mary is in Primark as we speak – or in a pub toilet.  Sykes is probably back in the Air Force.  Or has joined the Samaritans.  Basically the world is full of strangely dressed confused new people.  It’s going to get a bit crowded…

And what about the MWSaMWR?  They are going to be so pissed!!  Or did they scatter with The Devil?

The other option is that only these three supernaturals were reprieved from their supernatural state because they were the ones who completed the ritual.  That doesn’t work either.  If the curse come from the Devil then it has to mean ALL of them, not just three.

If – IF – the curse on all vampires is lifted then I bet those vampires that love what they are, the sharks, are furious!  I wouldn’t want to be in Hal’s slip-ons when they find out it was him.

What about doors?  If there are no more ghosts then surely there can be no doors. Do the dead just pass over straight away?  To what?  And what if they have things to do?  Even death changes if the trinity become human.

devil and origami werewolfAnd that defeating The Devil business?  Sorry, it just can’t be that easy.  After all, he’s the fucking devil sweetheart!  He may be scattered I don’t believe he’s destroyed.  A world without evil surely also means a world without good.  Now us humans may be a bit crap but in the world as posed in BH we need both good and evil.   Balance.  Hope.

If there are no more ghosts, who gets to save the world next time?  Because the one thing I can be pretty sure of is that there will be a next time…

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Whatever you believe about the ending it’s a clever one and the more I think about it the more I’m convinced it’s dark enough to suit my twisted bitter heart.  And of course I’m just as sure there are people equally adamant in an opposing view.

I hope that Toby doesn’t tie it up too neatly in the DVD extra.

I don’t really want to know for sure.

I want to be left with something to ponder!

What do you think?

_____________________________________________

The final words may go to the trinity…

alex tom hal flying pigs

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and then I woke up and it was all a dream… Being Human 5.06 “The Final Broadcast”

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“Oh, I’ve waited so long for this”

Last ever Being Human and I demanded WOW!

What I got was more of a WOAH!?!?

First off, it was good – but it begged the question of why the hell wasn’t the rest of the series up to this standard?  Had Toby become the Devil himself and wanted to keep all the best tunes?  It also wasn’t what most people would have expected.  Much of it had a deceptive calm that belied the apocalyptic themes and while it was epic in imagination it was less so in execution.

alex graveThere is a certain amount of housekeeping that is briskly disposed off, situations that I’d have guessed would have been more important.  Alex in her own coffin was a chilling image and her initial despair and determination showed off just what a find Kate Bracken is, probably one of the best young actors in any of the five series.  The resolution was a bit easy though.  Can I rentaghost? No. Can I pass through walls, coffin walls?  Yes.  OK then.  What did annoy me was that although she could pass through the coffin lid she couldn’t to the same with the earth?  Ghost out or dig out but not a bit of both, ending up with some partly disturbed grass and muddy clothes.  An anomaly in ghost canon methinks…

Back with BigBadHal at his lock in, his BigBadVampArmy are created in the time it takes him to tie up his white tie and then destroyed in not much longer than it takes Tom to brush down his tails.  Or tail.  Not sure quite what the point was unless it was to underline that Hal was BadHal and Tom was back to VampKiller Extraordinaire.  Anyway, we knew Hal was BadHal – he was even more pretentious in his declensions than SadHal – sorry, GoodHal.  (I’m confusing myself here)  Either way it lead into exactly what the Devil has been waiting for all along – a proper fight between Hal and Tom.  Slightly too late as The Devil had already donned his dapper blazer and dappered off to cause more mischief.

tom and hal fightThe fight itself was neatly choreographed although I was disappointed that it wasn’t done in real time, the speeding up of the film made it feel less real – especially compared to the classic BH fight in “The Pack” when McNair, Annie and Mitchell – well, just McNair really – laid waste to a whole cagefight audience.  That was full speed, full pelt and Just. Don’t. Breathe.  This was a little more west end wendy…

Alex – fresh from the grave – gets Hal off the hook, or the stake, again. Anyone would think she fancied him.  Saving the world from the wheelchair apocalypse is just a useful by product…

“Azazel, Old Nick, Old Scratch, Voland, The Stranger”

Not even fifteen minutes in and we’ve disposed of the action points and onto the main agenda.  The Trinity are working together – sort of – and The Devil’s plan is unfurling.  He’s gone through the hotel and the main roads like a dose of salts, corpse-whispering his way through the population and now he’s in the archives, tempting a confession out of Rook.  Lets just say that I assume he stood on a chair, otherwise I might be quite impressed!

“He can’t whisper to everybody in the whole world”

Well. Actually he can.

Hatch broadcastOnce he has the Emergency Broadcast Codes anyway.  He gives a pretty speech about the pitiful human race – how, without him we should have done better but actually we’re just crap.  He can do nothing worse to us than we already do to each other.  Cynical and bleak it maybe but I do rather think he has a point…  That speech is for me the absolute highlight of the episode, beautifully crafted and amazingly played by Phil Davis.  I’d throw flowers but we’ve already seen what The Devil does to flowers… After five series of talking supernatural curses, doors and afterlife without ever really touching on religion (apart from Kemp and Lucy and I’m not letting them spoil a good point!), now at the very, very end we get revelations.  Or actually Revelations.  Book of.

And then The Devil does what The Devil does best.  He tempts.  He gives the trinity a glimpse of what might have been or what could be.  What if.

All three were given a choice – for Hal and Alex it was the point of death.  Hal could choose to live out what remained of his life in sixteenth century squalor.  he seemed somewhat concerned about the squalor.  Leo popped up in his jimjams – symbolically – to remind Hal that by dying he’d save many lives.  That didn’t work did it?  Alex was back in the holiday caravan with her dad – a quietly nuanced performance by Gordon Kennedy.  She could miss her date with Hal.  Survive and have a life.

Tom’s situation was very different and of the three he had the hardest choice.  Hal and Alex – despite everything – had something to go back for.  Tom’s supernatural life, the only life he’s ever known had systematically taken everything away – his real family,  McNair, George and Nina, Annie and Eve.  Even Allison.  The Devil’s offer to Tom added a family.  I wouldn’t have blamed him for one moment if he’d chosen to open the box.

In the end they went back – having managed to completely miss The Antichrist under the noses for five weeks now they see right through him.  They go back but Hal sows an unfortunate seed.

“You know where you went wrong. You should have put us together”

And we’re back in the room.  Or the studio.

In the only frantic action section of the finale The Devil senses a threat and expels his essence like a swarm of gnats.  He then expels some French.  Presumably insane 1918 French.  Rook shoots him and it’s all over.

rook and gunDon’t be silly – no it isn’t.

Back at the house and the cover up story of poisoned gas and demented pensioners on the news and it’s time to stake Hal.  Again.  And again he’s off the hook, this time by a timely knock on the door – somewhat reminiscent of 1.05 when Herrick knocked on the door as George let out a little wee.  Hopefully no accidents this time although luckily Hal is wearing dark trousers…

At the door is Rook.  But Rook isn’t Rook, he’s The Devil and they have another go at the ritual and this time, finally, at long bloody last they manage to get something right.  Alex fades, the boys wriggle around on the floor and the gnats are back.  And back in Rook.  Who Hal stakes.

I hope you’re keeping up?

So The Devil is destroyed and the Trinity are dead.  Or not.

“We’re human”

I admit I was shouting at the TV for a while here.  Mostly “NOO!!!” and “I HATE YOU TOBY WHITHOUSE”

mantlepeiceLuckily the end twisted to suit my dark and bitter heart.  I didn’t want a happy ending.  No one else got one and Hal certainly didn’t deserve it.  I’m going to come back to the ending and what/who/how/when/why otherwise this review is going to be as long as one of Hatch’s speeches!  I will lodge a plea here though and say I believe that Alex, Hal and Tom are in an alternate reality, trapped by The Devil when it looked as though they were going to thwart him and survive the – still utterly unidentified – Trinity ritual.  The Devil still exists, just not in human form and this is his revenge.  It’s not the reality he showed Tom though, despite the origami werewolf.  That version had Allison in it and this one doesn’t.  In this one Tom is destined to be the perpetual gooseberry, his flower perennially unplucked as Alex and Hal continue in their never-ending spiral of approach and retreat.  The Devil is cruel and this is a cruel trap with no resolution or happy ending despite the cosy camera filters and warm lighting.

Why aren’t they human? Because they can’t be – there are too many reasons why not and that’s for the next post!

And finally – and it’s just a thought – about that mantelpiece of souvenirs and memories.  Maybe it wasn’t that at all.

Maybe they are The Devil’s hunting trophies…

origami werewolfrandom musings…

That was quite a generously sized coffin Alex had wasn’t it?

And if she was buried in Scotland near her family that’s a pretty decent rentaghost back to Barry!

“I’d do a trick for you.  I’d turn water into wine but it’s been copyrighted”

BadHal’s accent is somewhat of a moveable feast…

I can probably go with vampires and werewolves being curses from The Devil – if I must – but not ghosts.  Most go through their doors – even if not straight away.  Why is UFB suddenly The Devil’s work?

My favourite part of all the AU scenes?  The Devil, on the battlefield at Orsha, in a deckchair, with a thermos.  A Cluedo moment…

The Devil distracts us with shiny things?  Yes. Knew the bead and jewellery addiction wasn’t my fault!

What is it with Being Human and appalling dressing gowns?  It’s not quite mustard polyester paisley but maroon towelling wasn’t much better…

506 cardiffI’ve walked down that Cardiff street surrounded by sprawled bodies.  Less of an apocalypse than a hard night on the beer…

“Resurrecting the anti-Christ? All to safeguard your pension”

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If you’re familiar with the film Bladerunner you may – like me – have been shouting “Unicorn!  UNICORN!!” at the origami werewolf.

If you haven’t seen Bladerunner you’ll be scratching your head – and you have to go and see it without delay.  Now.  Go on…

For those of us nodding sagely here’s Ridley Scott explaining the unicorn and what it meant…

a right bloody mess… Being Human 5.05 “No care, all responsibility”

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“Some Type 2’s like to think their affliction can be controlled”

In one of my favourite Being Human traditions we begin with a flashback.  Fifteen years ago when Rook was, well, Rook.  Grey suited, composed, clinical but finally showing us a hint of the cracks in that businesslike facade that I wish we’d seen more of earlier. I expected him to be morally ambiguous and so far the anger at TPTB has covered that up but now we get just one tantalising little hint.  A touch of humanity from the human, a small girl finding what may be the only chink in his matte grey armour.  When he holds her I see a trace of regret for the life he willing gave up – family, companionship, love.  But it doesn’t last and he’s worryingly keen to use that grown up girl as bait having been goaded or persuaded by The Devil to ramp up the conflict between Hal and Tom.  Although why was Rook taken in by The Devil so easily?  It’s not as if this whole supernatural life is new to him…

rook and natashaThe other thing that this last but one Being Human (ever) (probably) brought me was a lovely gift – one of the things I’ve been wishing for this series.  A guest star who didn’t leave teeth marks on the scenery.

Kathryn Prescott did a great job with Natasha and she had quite a job to do.  It wasn’t difficult to make the connection between the young girl rescued by Rook and the young woman who stumbled into the Barry Grand and her impact on Tom was nicely done.  It may have been better to have edged her in over a couple of episodes but that isn’t the style for this series – she in and she’s up and running.

“I could have shaved his poodle for all you know”

Tom fell for her like a sack of spuds – she did have some great lines – and she appealed rather cleverly to his instincts to protect and nurture; he so wants his own pack.  Hal falls for her blood – which she offered very freely, too freely until you factor in what Rook had presumably instructed her to do.  Mind, the inner thigh?  It is – of course – the only place he could have used without the evidence showing.  Yeah, right.  Hal seemed to accept that she knew what he was and was prepared to let him feed with remarkably few questions.

Interesting that Tom took Natasha to the same restaurant where Cutler clinically dissected his entire relationship with Allison and trampled it neatly underfoot…  Doomed again then.

“It’s just that I’ve seen you like this before”

Hal on the blood got himself all arch seducer-ish again but at least he resisted the temptation to tell Alex he liked her neck this time.  He and Alex duly kissed.  Of course they did and just like Annie and Mitchell it seems that we are incapable of seeing an attractive man and woman becoming friends without a romantic or sexual involvement.  It does occasionally happen you know and I rather wish that Alex had got over Hal – especially after he got her killed.  Bit of a passion killer that one.

When Mitchell kisses Annie in series one – sort of accidentally – he said she was cold and tingly, she certainly wasn’t solid or even squishy at that point.  Alex has been a ghost for less time but her solidity didn’t seem at issue.  Or maybe Hal isn’t quite so fussy.  Or is terminally out of practice and can’t remember what it should feel like!

Alex was back to being bright and feisty this week thank goodness and she was onto Hal pretty sharpish.  And onto The Devil.  Why on earth Hal hadn’t got any kind of inkling about him is beyond me. The Old Ones really are a disappointingly ineffectual bunch aren’t they?!

Hal alex barry sea front“What a fucking hero”

The scene between Hal and Alex outside the hotel was one of the best of the series – Kate Bracken has been fabulous. Hal was frantically, desperately justifying but Alex is having none of it.  Finally she sees it.  He’s lied and lied and finally they are onto him.  Now that Natasha has shown Tom Hal’s fang marks – with a touch of embroidery on the explanation – there are no chances left.  Will they ever believe him again?  Right now it seems impossible that he’ll ever regain their trust but let’s face it, stranger things have happened…  *cough*Annie/Mitchell*cough*

Hal ended the episode in his local for a whole new kind of lock in and I was disappointed that the barman didn’t look up and go “The usual?”  What would be Hal’s usual anyway?  Mitchell was a proper badass (apparently, according to Herrick …) and he drank peach schnapps.  Perhaps it’s a Tequila Sunrise for Lord Harry?  With a nice paper umbrella.  Rather obviously the Box Tunnel massacre came to mind – a group of people, trapped, at the mercy of a pitiless vampire but I have to say the progress in from abstainer to this was less convincing for me with Hal.  Mitchell had had his illusions clinically stripped away and once he knew about Lucy retaliation was inevitable.  Hal had slipped off the wagon – mostly all by himself – and he could only be disappointed in himself, Alex and Tom had done nothing but try to help.  To very little thanks.  For me this proves again that there never has been a good Hal, a clean Hal, one with good intentions and any level of benevolence.  It’s a ruse, sustained by the saintly Pearl and Leo by locking him away.  This is Hal, Die Hard vest and all.  Liar.  Merciless killer.  Complete bastard.  All kinds of evil.  Looking at that list I wonder why I don’t like him more?!

“You’ll do”

Finally we start to see the promise that the casting of Phil Davis as The Devil has been dangling over us for what seems like an eternity.  He really hasn’t had much to do – although he’s done that little very well.  Now he’s rising. (I wish Alex hadn’t mentioned Viagra though! Brain bleach…)  Next time lets see some ambulant evil please – and that rather dapper outfit!

Something I’ve been pondering… The Devil needed conflict between a werewolf and a vampire to gain strength. (I’m not saying rising again. Eww) Did it have to be Tom and Hal?  Obviously there are other vampires and werewolves and it’s not unlikely that there is conflict.  I mean, cage fights?

If Hatch has been in the Barry not-so-Grand Hotel for so many years how did he get no hint of the conflict between Mitchell and George? Or Mitchell and McNair?  Or Mitchell and Nina?

If it HAS to be Hal and Tom – why?

“HE WILL RISE”

natasha deadPenultimate episodes of Being Human have garnered quite a reputation for nonstop, heart in mouth thrills and spills so this one – the very final penultimate one (if that’s not some sort of oxymoron) had its work cut out.

Does it make it?

Yes.

And no.

It’s not a patch on Though the Heavens Fall or Making History, it didn’t give us a guest with the emotional impact that Josie had or quite the shock that Mitchell’s darkest heart brought.  It’s by far the best in series five and the last 20 minutes ramp up the tension and promise a damn good finale.

Sadly some of the impact is diluted by a sense of déjà vu – inevitably perhaps in a fifth series on the same premise.  How can Alex, Tom and Hal avoid the same traps, the same mistakes and the same quandaries that befell Annie, George and Mitchell?  They can’t and comparisons can’t be avoided.

I’m starting to get a suspicion that some kind of resolution for Hal will be found and I won’t be happy.  I don’t care how many topless press ups he does or how much he does puppy dog eyes at Alex.  Or Tom. None of that gets over the fact that he’s an unapologetic mass murderer who will never stop.  Whatever he does – kill The Devil, shag Alex, buy Tom a shirt with sleeves – it’s too little too late and if he finds a happy ever after I’ll feel cheated.  Vampires don’t get that.

Tom, however, I’d like to see survive – and survive to follow McNair’s last wish for him to have a normal life.  After a series of being made to play dumb and dumber it’s the least he deserves.

Alex?  A door please.  And not for saving the world.  How about for killing Hal?  Cutler may have done the deed but Hal was the reason she was dead.

Although the shots of Alex sharing a cosy coffin with her own decaying corpse were clever and chilling I almost wished the episode had ended on those rather Michael Caine-esque words:

“I’m only the fucking devil, sweetheart”

Anyone thinking of blowing the fucking doors off?

alex in coffinrandom musings…

Amazing how the Barry Grand has a selection of staff uniforms in just the right sizes – they fitted out the tiny Natasha and the less tiny Bobby without so much as a tuck and a safety pin.

Hal sorting paper clips into order in a desperate attempt at control (didn’t work then!) was a good image but I couldn’t help thinking – why is there a tub of giant multicoloured paper clips in the hotel kitchen?!

Why didn’t Rook guess Alex was there in the archive? He knows HH has a ghost and Hal wasn’t exactly ignoring her.

Alex and her files reminded me of Annie and her BT20 investigations.

I wonder what Rook’s human blood donors thought they were donating for?  Did he get the idea for his controlled blood distribution scheme from the vampires?  The alley was just a forerunner of Herrick and his human pantry after all…

And – if he’s so sure that vampires cannot control or manage their condition why distribute blood at all?

Oh!  And what other vampires was he feeding??

“He will rise” from the mouth of a corpse was truly disturbing.

I’d like to see the scene where Alex steals porn for Tom and Hal has to answer his questions!

Who is going to find that knife in Honolulu Heights?

And finally… Will all the loose ends be tied up neatly (with a bow) in pink ribbon at the end of episode 6?  I hope not.  And I seriously doubt it.  Maybe this it the time to quote Hal (and Tom):

“You’re trying to make sense of something that just fundamentally doesn’t make sense”

“That’s what I said! Sort of”

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If you’re tied to a chair (hey – it’s your private life, who am I to comment!) and want to sing-along-a-Hal…

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grating crumbs… Being Human 5.04 “The Greater Good”

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Last time we had a six episode series was way back in series one and there are some parallels between the two episode fours.  Crumb is to Hal what both Bernie and Lauren were to Mitchell.  Not entirely of course, unless Hal’s been having rampant and bloody sex in a hotel bathroom with Crumb. (Unlikely) Or going bowling and eating enough junk food to be sick and then exchanging porn films. (Slightly more likely)

hal and crumbBernie and Crumb were both recruited by vampires who were sworn off blood in order to stop them dying – or to stop said vampire feeling guilty as them dying would be their fault.  If we believe Rook’s emails to the lovely Alistair (do we??) then Bernie went to the bad.  Despite the cutesy montage it doesn’t take long for Hal to realise Crumb is also doomed.  After all he isn’t ‘cured’, he never has been, so why does he really think any one else can?  It was interesting to hear him echo Carl’s words from 2.02 when he talked about killing Dan – how he wasn’t surprised but disappointed.  Carl was probably the most successful clean vampire we’ve seen – and it caught up with him in the end. Caught up with Dan at any rate.

It was Sylvie who was disappointed when Hal killed her.  She had kept Hal good around 200 years ago with the generous offer of her time and her body.  Bully for her.  I wonder if she knew he was popping off annually to visit the equally deluded Lady Mary whose time as the Keeper of Hal’s Clean crossed over with hers.  Did he have a whole tribe of these poor idiots thinking they were doing him good?  Were they doing him any good at all?  I suspect an element of stinging along here.  Hal seems to thrive on hero-worship and a few juicy lies help it along nicely.

I’m also doubting that Hal is anything other than the evil Hal we see in flashback – and never has been.  Yes he stayed off blood with Pearl and Leo (or so we believe) but they pretty much kept him prisoner.  He stayed (relatively) sane through the OCD-ish routines drilled into him by Leo and by being kept away from everything that might temp him.  Which is everything really…  After he moved into Honolulu Heights his routines didn’t help him.  Only being kept away from the world does that – and it’s hardly practical.

I’m not at all sure about the sudden introduction to canon of the spilt personality vampire.  It landed with a similar clunk to toxic werewolf blood and like TWWB it unsuspended my disbelief while I muttered WTF?  In the past it’s been quite accepted that Hal’s good and bad cycles were just that – cycles.  Good Hal is aware of his misdeeds or why would being good be a struggle?  Bad Hal knows about his good times – in 5.01 he says how terribly dull the good cycles are.  Is this dual personality something completely separate to good/bad Hal?  Does it all hark back to the Trinity and to containing the devil?  Or is it firmly in the TWWB camp…

rook and bobbyIn a series with only six episodes and one that was knowingly written as the last one I expected a roller coaster ride from beginning to end.  I didn’t expect filler and repetition.  Sadly we’re getting both.  After Larry the werewolf we have Bobby the werewolf.  Ostensibly they are very different – Larry newly scratched and knowing no others and Bobby a long-term wolf but locked away for all that time.  Larry gave Tom (another) lesson in trust – or more accurately in not trusting everyone.  Bobby gave him a chance to babysit (makes a change from Alex) and to feel he could teach someone something.  The one aspect of that grated on me was that Tom is still being portrayed as stupid – yes he’s naive but he’s not a fool.  Making Bobby such a hopeless case did Tom no favours – I’d have liked to have seen both characters more self-aware.

I didn’t really take to Larry’s character – not desperately subtle – and I think Bobby suffered as a result of that.  Two weeks of WW story made me think the ‘Lessons of the Week’ they brought could have been combined to no great loss.  Mind you I’d have been sad to have missed out on Ricky Grover as Bobby, he’s a massively underrated actor – he was fab in Getting On – and he brough to Bobby an endearing pathos that didn’t make me want to throw rocks at the screen.  Which I did with Larry.

And Crumb.

And Alan.

Oh, and Lady Mary at times.

And Patsy.

Stopping now…

Actually not stopping just for a moment.  I can’t bear to go into it in any depth at all (maybe later) but…

thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you

Crumb is dead.  I’m going to say that again.  CRUMB IS DEAD.

No I didn’t like him.  In case you couldn’t tell.

crumb dyingAnd finally!  Rook and Hatch meet.  (Or Hook ‘n’ Ratch as I keep calling them…)  Have they ever met before?  It seems odd that Rook is so free with his confidences to a man he’s only just met.  And why are they all so oblivious to his evilness?  Rook is an experienced supernatural finder/jailer/destroyer, Hal is an Old One and Tom has werewolf nose and senses.  Have none of them noticed a faint hint of oddity about the Captain?  Or maybe they put it down to BO and the less than alpine freshness of an overloaded colostomy bag.

Hatch pushes Rook into a somewhat desperate plan – let Bobby lose in the hotel during the convenient full moon resulting in mass maulings and lots of press.  Nope. Didn’t work last time either.

rook and hatchThey play cards while they play games.  I have to say I rather liked that until the utterly predictable conclusion – a timely trinity for Rook but one, two, three sixes for the Devil…  He wins.  He won Bobby – another well-timed whisper and all his plans of moving into HH fall to nothing.  Is it wrong to admire the rawl-plugs holding that light fitting in place?

Speaking of the capital T capital D The Devil…  When I first read that the series five big bad was the ultimate big bad I was intrigued – especially when TUBB (maybe that acronym is unfortunate) was to be played by the eminently wonderous Phil Davis.  I’m having second thoughts now.  The other BH villains – Herrick, Kemp, Cutler et al all had room for doubt, for shades of grey and levels of ambiguity – all the things that BH does so very, very well.  The Devil leaves no doubt.  He is evil.  There is no possibility of redemption.  He can’t be saved.  The only thing we can’t be sure of (yet) is if he can win.  If good and evil exist can you have a world without The Devil – even without the theological arguments. (Where is Kemp when you need him?!)  If evil is vanquished would the evil and potentially evil supernaturals also vanish?

Would it be the end of the vampires?

Now that is something to ponder…

random musings…

The dressing up box is back – third time and counting!  I think Herrick kept the fairy wings though…  And Wyndam had the wand up his sleeve.

glasses of bloodIf WW blood is toxic to vampires why couldn’t they smell which glass of blood was which?  Vampires can smell werewolves – or at least they can when it suits the plot.  Admittedly Crumb was a beginner (a stupid one) but Hal isn’t.  I suspect he knew damn well what he was about to drink.  It suited him rather well that Alex and Tom saw that Crumb ‘committed suicide’

Why didn’t Crumb get blood on his knickers?  The thought of him changing them after each victim is WAY too disturbing!  And why am I even thinking about this???? Pass the brain bleach!

Hatch can see Alex.  We can see that.  All except Alex, Hal and Tom.  All those finely tuned supernatural instincts…  Clearly The Devil has a scrambler. Maybe it’s the teeth?

I loved the way Tom had been shopping on THE eBay.

Cutler’s grand plan isn’t working any better for Rook.  In fact, you could say Cutler achieved more – Rook had to clear up after him, his own plan just misfired all on its own.

Was there any point to Alan?  No there wasn’t.

“He must be right, he drives a Lexus”  Right maybe. Imaginative and stylish? The jury’s out!

I’m sure the chef at the Barry Grand is well acquainted with lobster.  Yeah.  Right.

Hal drank the blood.  To quote sweetheart Hugh from the New Found Out:  “Well… we all saw that coming”

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“Hello Bobby-love. Hope you had a good day at school. There’s last night’s macaroni cheese for your tea so pop it in the oven. My shift finishes at 10, so get yourself to bed after Shoestring.  Love you monkey”

Awww… Bless…

Night night

truth & lies… Being Human 5.03 “Pie and Prejudice”

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single vampire in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a bite”*

* quotes this week courtesy of Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice. (That one is adapted slightly – in case you haven’t read the book! Don’t expect vampires…)

An episode that is running to stand still.  The main apocalyptic (presumably) series arc is filed away and the Devil takes a night off.  Hooves up, nice mug of hot brimstone, chance to catch up with Vogue and the Radio Times…  Very little of Mr Rook and no Crumb or fellow geek Alan so that plan is on hold too.

Instead we get a glimpse of the bonds (or not) between the house-mates, some interaction with their own species and a test of their togetherness – if they really can hold together and stay good.  Or keeping Hal good anyway…  That’s all very well and it’s done with some aplomb but this is series five! You’ve been banging on about this stuff for five series. We get it!  Really we do. In a series – a final series at that – of only six episodes it feels indulgent.

alex hal tom 503I do rather wonder if the chance of Julian Barrett as a guest came up and the storyline was fitted around him.  I suppose it also saves money not to have all your big names in one basket – sorry, episode  Not that saving money would be a consideration of course….

“Nothing is more deceitful than the appearance of humility”

If the devil gets all the best tunes then the vampires get all the best stories. There’s a serious tale to be told of a boy brought up as a wolf by a man who wasn’t his father but I doubt we’ll get to hear it.  And I suspect that Michael Socha will continue to be underused which is a shame.  Even in a theoretically WW centered episode he didn’t get much to do and Larry turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.  An interesting prospect but yet another character not fully fleshed out.

Speaking of which I’ve admired Steven Robertson as an actor for some years and am trying very hard to admire Mr Rook.  With his track record in playing some spine chillingly evil men I’m disappointed to see him turn into a cheap rate Basil Fawlty.  The radio destroying was yet another attempt to make a good character look a clown which is becoming a feature of this series.. Please stop.  It was funny in an obvious way but I just thought it was out of step with what we know of Rook.  His rage is violent yes but cold and rather calculated.  I don’t think he’s a man who likes to look anything other than in control.

rook on window sillAlthough control may have been at issue when he spewed out all his problems to a voice on the phone.  The Samaritans?  Vampire Killers Anonymous?  No.  A sex line.  When she finally got a word in edgewise and offered to tell him what she was wearing he stretched himself out quite comfortably on the window sill in anticipation.  There were a lot of windows out there.  Is our Dominic a bit of a show off on the quiet?

We didn’t find out much new about McNair and Tom, we already knew McNair was a surveyor (and had terrible taste in shoes) – even Herrick knew that.  We did find out that Tom was saving up for a headstone.  That’s slightly curious as he buried his Pop in the woods and a headstone may look a little random.  I can’t image he got planning permission…

“Our scars make us know that our past was for real”

There was one truly heartfelt moment.  Tom acknowledging that his father wanted to be proud of him and that he knew deep down that he wasn’t being the son he wanted.  McNair’s last wish – for Tom to put his old life behind him – was far from becoming a reality.  Could Hal ever help him with that?  No.  And after Hal?  Maybe…

Tom s5Larry managed the time-honoured role of pushing in between Hal and Tom admirably and his comment about Hal not wanting to help Tom did seem to hit home.  For a moment.  Hal did a decent job of trying to reconsider, trying to help Tom but does he really want to?  I think he quite likes to have someone to feel superior to.  It fits his pattern rather nicely – Cutler, Fergus, Lady Mary and now Tom.  That innate Vampire problem with self-esteem – nope, I’ve never seen it either!

“A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment”

Lady Mary was a decent BBC3 staple – bit of a chav, copious drinking, bit of fighting and sex in toilets.  Except she’s dressed like a cake decoration and she’s a ghost.  It’s all a bit like Sasha the zombie – she misbehaved, horrified the housemates and came to a reluctant understanding and friendship with Annie.  Lady Mary does much the same – ending with a companionship with Alex.  They even have a night out – although at least Sasha pulled. Sort of, anyway and it was so very sad compared to LM getting her ghostly rocks off in the loo.  Both Annie and Nina and now Alex were left with their Lesson of the Week but does Alex really take the fact that Hal can lie convincingly for 250 years seriously enough?  Like Larry, Lady Mary was all up front – pretty soon the courtly manners are dropped and she is exactly what you see.  Mad, crazed and out of control.  Sasha also seemed initially a stereotype – a right lovely rugby WAG, right down to her stripper heels but she had depths that Lady Mary sadly lacked.

alex and lady mary“Mary wished to say something very sensible, but knew not how”

And why was she so stupid?  Why are they all so bloody dumb this year?  Did she really believe she kept Hal clean when he popped up in a cravat once a year?  And how did that work exactly?  I can’t imagine him explaining that one to Leo and Pearl – they kept him pretty much locked up to avoid temptation.  They’d have also twigged pretty instantly that he was lying and I’m sure that wasn’t on his list.  In his Bad Hal times he wouldn’t – to paraphrase what LM herself might say – give a flying fuck about some ancient old bint in a frock.  It wouldn’t even have amused him to string her along given he had no idea why she was still lingering.  Plot holes and heffalump traps…

I know Larry was annoying, more than annoying but his comments to Mary were fairly mild and the explosion of violence and the rather nifty knife to testicles incident promised an darkness that was never really delivered.  Except perhaps to Larry’s underpants… Clean kecks for Mr Chrysler please!

The mind control stake fight gave Tom the chance for some neat physical comedy – very carefully one step short of walking into the wind or fighting an invisible box.  Why didn’t Mary just kill Hal though?  Does everyone have to monologue their plans nowadays? It’s like a virus – spreads like wildfire.  And why didn’t Hal just let her?  If we believe the words he recycles about being so sick of being a monster then why not just let go?  No, he’s a vampire and he knows by surviving he’ll kill.  I think he already accepts that without much struggle – after all, the table lamp’s still warm.

Lady Mary doesn’t  get her door so she’s still around. Somewhere.  Which is another point – why aren’t the MWSAMWR after her?  250 years?  They must have noticed.

Was there any reason at all for Hal to wear that monstrosity of a dressing gown?  Is there a worry that if deprived of the nipples the Hal fans may revolt without a bit of flesh?  Do knees count?  Cat sick mustard paisley is a friend to no one.  I could feel the static off that polyester through my TV!  I suspect it was a bet…

“Angry people are not always wise”

Hal’s speech in the woods to Tom was moving – trying to convince him that he could control the monster, fight it with him.  Tom didn’t believe it and he’s probably cannier than Hal thinks.  Popping off home to kill the man who made your mate cry probably isn’t the best way to show your humanity.

It does put Hal in Rook’s debt though – which is going to make things interesting.

hal and larryI’m not sure quite why this episode didn’t gel with me – it wasn’t a bad hour of television, it was decent enough fare but for me it wasn’t a good hour of Being Human and isn’t going to make the list of favourites.  I expect more.  I’m still finding the characters too one-dimensional and the humour too broad.  I’m hoping to be pulled back into it next week.

“I must learn to be content with being happier than I deserve”

It has given me a few thoughts about where we end up.  Alex’s unfinished business doesn’t seem to be resolving itself very quickly and I’m starting to go back to point A – Hal.  Ending Hal, revenging herself and the world on him for all his misdeeds is the UFB.  Here’s an off the wall theory – maybe the devil ends up trapped in Hal’s body by the trinity and Alex kills them both.  She passes over, Tom gets a happy(ish) ever after and the world is short one devil.  It’ll be all pink clouds and fluffy bunnies… or fluffy clouds and pink bunnies…

Kill me now.

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense”

Whose words could these be?  So many choices…

random musings…

What is it with werewolves and cross dressing?

How did Hal get Rook’s mobile number?  He only wrote the archive coordinates on the Barry Grand Hotel coaster.  I think Hal must be moonlighting on the sex line…

Why were people walking round Alex and Mary in the bar?  They’re ghosts, they should have passed through them.

barry grand talksCracking programme of talks at the Barry Grand… Unmissable.

I liked Hal’s blank jigsaw although the pieces were pretty big, almost toddler sized!  How on earth was he timing himself with a chess clock though? It doesn’t work like that.

Vicarious sex in a toilet cubicle with two strangers. Is that any odder than vicarious sex with the man you love and his casual pick up?

Was anyone kicking themselves that the toxic WW blood bombshell last year meant that Had couldn’t munch on Larry?

Lady Mary’s UNF was something about library books… The same library books Mitchell was so worried about?

Did anyone else notice that the dining room where Alex and Mary talked was the room that doubled as Paris 1933 in series three?  The most gorgeous room ever seen on Being Human when dressed in its art deco finery.  And Herrick.  Dressed in his art deco finery…

bloggersActually Tredegar House has proved to be eminently versatile.  So far it’s masqueraded as Paris 1933, Richmond 1845, Northern France 1918 and now the present stately home and gardens of Lady Mary, complete with horsey swings and a random installation of soggy blogger extras.

Knocking people over because their shoes are awful?  Doesn’t everyone do that?  No?  Just me then…

“It must be over fifty years since I last killed a human for blood.”  Interesting phrasing… and we have no idea at all how many he’s killed for other reasons, or how many werewolves or other non-humans.  Anyone got an abacus?

“You utter wanker.”

Yup. Can’t argue with that.

 

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The best things in life are free.  What?! Shoes are free…?

all the time in the world… Being Human 5.02 “Sticks and Rope”

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“We’ve got loads of time” “Promise?” “Cross my heart and hope to die”

Alex’s opening scene with her little brother is poignant – at first it could be ghost Alex until we see her eat – or try to eat – an ice cream but it transpires she’s ready for her ill-fated date with Hal.  Such anticipation, all trampled underfoot.

alex and oliverShe misses her brothers every day, she tells Oliver, the mysteriously appearing Victorian child ghost.  It’s clear he’s not really a substitute but off they go the fair to have the fun that she was stopped from having with her real family.  I thought on a first watch that Alex was too quick to volunteer to be taken through the door, to give it all up but she couldn’t help her brothers so why not try to save Oliver?  She’s only a three-month old ghost and the prospect of crossing over – even to whatever might have been in store – must have had its appeal instead of the yawning eternity she hasn’t yet managed to accept.

Oliver’s still a brat though!  (Yes I am the ChildCatcher.)

“You can’t dance. You can’t conjugate Latin verbs. And your madrigal singing is subpar at best”

I’m very conscious this year of the number of conversations Tom and Hal have with Alex in public places.  She’s invisible.  They must look insane – not that anyone actually notices.  And why not?  It hasn’t bothered me before, Annie was mostly in the house and her interactions with other supernatural beings (various) tended to be away from the great unwashed but Alex is in the bar of a hotel.  It’s a pretty crap hotel but it’s a public place.

alex piano“Still got it!” says Alex about her piano playing, just as Annie did about her picking up skills.  I’m not keen on how broad the humour is in this series and this seems a good example.  I can’t help thinking that in past series Alex would have turned out to be a talented musician which would have made a lovely contrast to her street smart spikiness but instead she’s the butt of the joke – and made to look stupid.

And not just her – Tom has always been naive and innocent which is a large part of his charm but now he’s being written as dumb.  I don’t like it that he only seems there so that Hal has someone to look down on.  Where’s the friendship gone?  Although to be fair Hal was pretty vile to Tom in series four too.

Last week’s assisted suicide of suggestible Sophie has pepped the Devil up no end.  His cup runneth over. As does his colostomy bag…  Good job they have such awful carpets at the Barry Grand, they hide the stains something lovely.

The Devil thrives on the conflict between vampires and werewolves and Hatch starts to ramp things up with Tom and Hal.  With Tom he’s very like Kirby, playing on his isolation, his sense of not being quite good enough, his growing realisation that he just doesn’t fit into the world after his somewhat unique upbringing.  With Hal Hatch takes a different tack and we see Hal’s arrogance bleeding through his deliberately controlled façade.  We’d already heard him tell Alex he’d never been anything but the best at everything and now Hatch is building that belief in his innate superiority further.  Vampires loath and are repulsed by wolves and they pity the ghosts.  Hal’s hidden it well but how much longer can he keep that instinct trapped?

MWSAMWRThere was no subtext to Hatch this week.  He could see the ghosts and had firm charge of ghost brat, ordering him to get Alex home and controlling the MWSAMWR (What? You expect me to type all that every time?)  Was he pulling their stings like a puppet or just echoing their words?  Either way he was determined and it rang a little false that Alex out manoeuvred him so easily.

I loved the use of the Escher print to turn Honolulu Heights into an endless maze, trapping Alex and Brat.  It makes me wonder how he’ll use The Gardens of Earthly Delights.  I’m less sure about the effects that accompanied the aforementioned MWSAMWR.  The white eyes were nice but all the acid flashback light effects were over the top.  I actually found Martin Hancock’s The Leader (TLotMWSAMWR) (OK getting silly now) much more chilling when the effects stopped.  Being Human makes the everyday supernatural and the ordinary terrifying.  Herrick’s fresh-faced policeman, the hospital porter who’s a wolf, the very fact that death is a door.  Whizzy computer programmes are no real substitute for character and excellent writing.

What is Rook’s plan? He gave Crumb’s family to him and – inevitably – he killed them.  On CCTV.  Rook then presented the film to the Home Secretary as proof he needs to rethink the closure of the department.  Surely in that vast archive he had similar evidence already that would have served the same purpose?  How did Crumb escape afterwards?  And how did he find Hal?  I sense Rook’s hand in it all and I’m pondering if Alan is all he seems.  Not that he seems much yet – set up, double agent or genuinely repulsed geek?  It’ll be interesting to find out.  The geeks will inherit the earth perhaps…

crumb and alan“You are nothing to me now. You are sediment, you are detritus, you are regret and disgust and nothing more”

Hal was pretty vile to Crumb.  He made him and wanted to keep him clean and now when he asks for help Hal turns him away.  And not gently.  He’s a nasty bastard isn’t he?  What if no one had ever helped him to stay clean?  If Pearl and Leo, Annie and Tom had abandoned him?  Oh, silly me I forgot. He’s good at everything – especially at fucking up and not taking the blame.  How long before he turns that dancers back on someone else?

Rook does seem to be inordinately fond of his pens…  He regretted the one he misplaced in an eye-socket last week and this week he bestows one on Crumb.  A very special honour…  Even though he’d rather have had a proper secret squirrel badge.

Hatch red eyesWill we get a monologue from the Devil as the ending every week?  I kind of hope so – this weeks’ was a cracker and I’ve got no apologies for posting a hefty chunk…

“I’m getting stronger every day. And when the time is right I will rise. And then I’m going to drain the world dry. I’m going to lap up every drop of hope and love and feel it run down my chin. I’m gonna turn men into beasts and ruin their women and spit poison into their children, I’m going to scorch the Earth with proper Old Testament despair and teach them that the Gods are there to be feared, and everything you love will die and everything you’re scared of will come true!”

This episode had yet more similarities to previous plots.  Hatch getting in between Tom and Hal and forcing them apart was very Kirby – although less subtle.  Evil brat set up to get Alex through her door – versus evil/deluded Saul set up to get Annie through her door.  And obviously Oliver in the house at all echoed Kirby – did he come back through someone else’s door too?

patsyI’m not sorry to see the back of Patsy. All she did was drool over Hal and that isn’t enough to make a rounded character.  I only wish she’d taken Crumb with her.  Maybe if he stops hamming he’ll be more appealing but I’m loosing hope that’ll happen.  Every time I see him I develop a sudden craving for a bacon sandwich.  Sadly the wonderful Steven Robertson’s Mr Rook suffers by being mostly paired with Crumb the clown.  He’s so much better without him.

Plaudits and bouquets to Kate Bracken as Alex though – she’s really going from strength to strength.  Stay strong girl, don’t let them make you all fluffy and lovelorn.

Random musings…

The Home Secretary doesn’t know vampires don’t show on film?  Doesn’t he watch television?

alex eyesDid I see Alex’s eyes go blue when she was with the MWSAMWR?  Potential power or potential visibility?  Or was it just a side effect of the lighting and left over special swirly effects?  What do you think?

Invisible dodgem drivers?  What happened when they went to collect the fare?

Suited and booted – last year Cutler’s shirts and jackets were all short in the arms, this year Alistair’s suits seem to be wearing him.  Maybe he needs a new tailor? Or the old one needs a new tape measure…

For all he was deeply irritating Oliver did have a nice line in Victorian insults – beef witted applejohn, dollymop and flapdragon.  (Hopefully not the modern meaning –  look it up but remember it’s NSFW!)

Toby Whithouse has previously said that he wouldn’t show the Men With Sticks and Men With Ropes as to actually see them would dilute their menace.  He also said he would never be in it…  What else has he said he’d never do?

I do not for a minute believe that Patsy hasn’t been trying to watch Hal on the CCTV for some time.  Has she never questioned why she can’t spot him?  And don’t cry Data Protection – it happens.

Interesting to see the flowers placed by Captain Hatch keeled over almost immediately.  Made me think of the bowl of fruit Nina took Herrick in the attic that rotted.  The corrupting power of evil.  Maybe that’s why my bananas are always soft…

rotten fruit and dead flowersWe know that Oliver hadn’t really been in Honolulu Heights all along, he was placed there by Hatch but why did Hal and Tom not question this?  “I was hiding” isn’t much of an explanation.

“He has all his own teeth”  And then some…

flaskSince last week’s episode I’ve been pondering on that flask of blood that Rook left with Hal.  Whose blood is it?  It’s way too simple that it came from some cooperative random human.  Will it affect him or even kill him if he drinks it?  Is it somehow commented with the trinity that was supposed to imprison the Devil – until someone read the recipe wrong?  Or am I over thinking and it’s just a snack?   Hmmm.

And yes, I don’t doubt he’s kept it – although it must be getting a bit congealed by now…

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Alex telling her brother they had loads of time made me think of this classic – and also gave me the post title.

we’re off to see the wizard… Being Human 5.01 “The Trinity”

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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.

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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!

on your marks…

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I’ve been neglecting this blog shamefully lately.  No excuses – we all know real life is a bitch sometimes!  Also with so many snippets and spoilers out there it was going to be tough to ponder on the new series without spoiling it for others.

(Polishes halo…)  (Actually, where IS my halo?)

But.

Series five starts tonight so normal review service will start again this week!  And hopefully there will much much more for me to muse upon.

By the way.  I’ve been all the way to Northern France this summer – and without even crossing the channel! To be fair though it is in a different country.  And it was WAY too wet and rainy to consider any rough and tumble.  Frankly I was quite happy to keep my vest on!

Back soon, and to quote a certain Mr Snow – be seeing you!

see the shark…

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I’ve been thinking about evil.

I know, no change there then…

In particular how in the Being Human world there a definite tendency for the dedicated watchers to try and find redemption for the big bad baddies.  Or make excuses for them.  What started this train of thought is the reaction to Cutler and how his character has been interpreted.

Let’s start with the basics – He Who Must Be Right (AKA Toby) said that the best way to tell if Cutler is lying is if his lips moved.  That once his wife was dead he had no humanity left in him.  So, he’s a monster right?  I’m not arguing with HWMBR, it actually is his toybox!

However, the prevailing view of Cutler seems to be more along the lines of “Oh bless him, poor CutlerNickCutler, Hal was really mean and nasty to him.  Poor boy had no choice.  He was MADE to be like that.  He had to do it.”

No.

Sorry, don’t buy it.

Cutler had fifty-five years without Hal and I doubt he spent them knitting and volunteering at the local cat and dog shelter.  He may have found the killing distasteful and messy but he drank blood.  He was happy to have others kill for him and when he did have to kill he got on with it – the coroner, Pete the journalist, Golda – and not a drop of blood spilled on the suit.  He had enough influence to walk into Stokers and push people around.  He was invited to the meetings – or he just expected to be there and no one turned him out.  Griffin listened to him, albeit reluctantly and not without a selection of snide comments.  (Did he ever get that fucking tea made?)  But seriously, Cutler was sarcastically, utterly, beautifully subversive.  A 60-year-old, practically a child, challenging an Old One and no one stopped him or ignored him.  That’s not a doubtful, still human vampire, that’s the real deal.

We know so little about Cutler, probably a lot less than we think we do which is testament to how well the character worked.  We know he was a solicitor who qualified in 1947, he was married and somehow he’d come to Hal’s attention.  He was recruited in 1950 but didn’t immediately take to killing, although he seemed to dig a good grave.  He refused to kill his wife even when Hal asked him so very nicely. to do so.

(A side note about what we know.  We don’t know how old Cutler was when he was recruited but qualifying in 1947, he had to be at least 25 in 1950.  That means he escaped conscription or national service.  I wonder how.  Flat feet?  Weak chest?  A note from his mum?  And yes, I know it’s not real but I’m just saying!)

We know nothing else about Cutler until we find him in the present day when he’s “a duty solicitor in bloody Trumpton.”  We see him in his office, at Stokers and that’s pretty much it.  He looks quite at home in the police station, certainly at home enough for plenty of that special brand of Cutler sarcasm anyway.  There’s no hint of any other life – although he seems to favour a decent restaurant.  (I’d have the Merlot.)  If – and it’s a big if – we count deleted scenes as canon then we could surmise that he’d been watching Honolulu Heights as he asks Fergus about the reports on Herrick’s epic munching of the local police force.  Or maybe he was just watching Herrick…

Beyond than that we’ve all had our crayons out to colour in the back story for ourselves.  One area where there’s been a lot of enthusiastic going over the lines is the marriage of Nick and Rachel Cutler.  The received wisdom seems to be that they were totally besotted, madly in love, perhaps even childhood sweethearts.  Now come on, we don’t actually know that.  If you ask me she sounded pretty stroppy in the few lines she had and he sounded henpecked!  Just look at his posture if you don’t believe me.  Fair enough he didn’t want to kill her but then he didn’t really want to kill anyone.

Maybe he loved her deeply and madly.  Maybe she was OK, kept his socks darned and his shirts ironed.  More likely it was somewhere between the two.  I don’t think we see enough to really guess and those two brief scenes when we see Rachel alive and dead can be interpreted so many ways.  And probably will be!

What intrigues me the most is what was it that made Hal notice Cutler in the first place?  Personally I wonder if he was already up to no good way back then – a useful trait for a potential vampire solicitor…

It’s interesting to compare Cutler with Herrick.  We know just as little about Herrick’s origins; born 1843, recruited by Hetty in 1890 when he was a somewhat corrupt legal clerk.  The difference between the two is that we glimpse Herrick across the years – 1917 when he recruited Mitchell, 1933 in Paris, 1969 in swinging London and a rather fine brocade waistcoat and 1992 or thereabout with McNair in the cage.  Those little snippets add to the character in that we see he was evil all the way through but he had a weakness.  Mitchell.

It’s very different to the more extended glance we saw of Cutler’s early vampire days but nothing between then and now, it showed his initial struggles and perhaps allowed that “poor boy” response come through.  It’s odd though – I don’t think anyone has ever said that Herrick’s evil was anyone else’s fault than his own.  If we’d seen Herrick’s family (if he had one) laid waste to by Hetty would we sympathise more with him?  I don’t think we would so what made Cutler different?  And please don’t say it was just because a proportion of the viewers fancied him – even I’m not (quite) that shallow!

I’m not making excuses for Cutler or Herrick.  I don’t want to.  I love them both to bits but they are not human, they are evil by our morals but not by those of their own species.  I don’t want them crying over the bodies and weeping and wailing and wanting forgiveness.  “You’re a shark – be a shark” puts it perfectly.

Am I alone in wanting the villain to be irredeemably, unforgivably evil and to enjoy every dark moment of it?  I know I’m not (you know who you are!) (Yes, you do there was a memo) but I think we’re in a minority.

Having said that all good villains need shades of grey (no, not THOSE sorts of shade of grey) and that’s where Cutler and Herrick were written and played so brilliantly.  Read it on the page and it’s utter bastard, put a beautifully nuanced performance on top and you have the depth that makes you doubt and then makes you wonder if they really are going to do something THAT awful?

And then they do.

And then they do some more.

And I thank them for it!

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The post title is from one of the many versions of Kurt Weill’s Mack the Knife which always strikes me as a very vampire song!  This is Nick Cave’s take…

See the shark with teeth like razors/And he wears them in his face

And Macheath has got a knife/But not in such an obvious place

Now see the shark, how red his fins are/As he slashes at his prey

Mack the Knife wears fancy gloves/Which gives a minimum away

the olympics of evil…

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For series five of Being Human we are promised a villain worse than any we have seen before.  That got me thinking about evil (for a change) and whether any of the BH baddies to date have been truly evil.  They all had their moments but just how would we decide who was the evil-est of all?  A magic mirror is of little use for most of this lot!

Having given this, oh, at least five minutes of deep and serious thought I think it’s high time we added a new Olympic event.  Stand by for the award of the inaugural awarding of the medals in the Being Human Ultimate Evil Stakes.  (Perhaps a slightly unfortunate choice of word there!)

If you’d like to gather round the podium, any time this week would be good.

It’s a lovely podium, rising out of the ashes of Stokers and there’s even bunting – although I’ve never seen bunting with nipple on it before.  We’re not able to televise the ceremony; we’re having problems getting the competitors in focus which is a shame.  They look very cute in their gym kit and plimsolls.

Anyway, here are the results in the oh-so-traditional reverse order.

In last place is the lovely Professor Lucy Jaggat who has an unusual emblem on the back of her running kit.  Looks just like a…  Ahem.  Anyway.  She warmed up well but she never really got off the starting blocks.  She couldn’t decide which way to go.

In lucky seventh place strolls Edgar Wyndam.  He never had the chance to get going but you’d think he’d have learned a trick or two by now.  I rather suspect he was saving his energies for the crucifixion repechage.

In a very creditable sixth place was Mr Snow, despite suggestions he may be better qualified for the veteran’s event.  Not sure what happened to the official that made that point, he hasn’t been seen for a while.  To be honest, Mr Snow didn’t compete himself but sent Milo to run for him.  Luckily the event wasn’t held on the full moon but in the event all that leather slowed him down.  Not to mention causing some dreadful chafing…  That’s what you get for forgetting your kit, next time he’ll have to run in his pants.

Coming in fifth and might have done better if he hadn’t kept changing direction (or stopping for a fag) is Mitchell, sadly not living up to his reputation.  There’s been a grand PR job by his management but the delivery when it comes to the crunch (or munch) doesn’t back it up.  Maybe the puppy dog eyes and the quivering lip are slowing him down?  Maybe he needs a hairgrip?  Mitchell qualified for the final on the benefit of the doubt system but frankly should have been disqualified for the state of his kit.

The cruellest place of all, just outside the medals, and Hal gets fourth.  Lots of promise here but as yet unproven and perhaps if he hadn’t stopped to line up the javelins and sort the sandpit into order of size of grain he might have won.  Maybe next time we’ll see what he’s really made of.  He does get the turn out prize for his impeccably ironed togs but he should leave the comedy moustache behind next time.  It did terrible things to his wind resistance… and stopping to give people phone numbers did slow him down.

It was unfortunate to see a certain amount of barging and jockeying for position among the third and fourth placed competitors but Cutler just eased ahead to claim the bronze medal, although I understand he’s having it melted down and made into a statuette.  Sometimes what counts is how much you want it and he had the determination and absolute lack of doubt that he was on the right track.  He was literally on fire over the last few meters…

In second place, silver medal winner and let’s have a warm hand for Herrick.  He so nearly ran away with it and if he hadn’t stopped to try and encourage Mitchell when he got distracted by a new toy he would have romped home.  Interesting choice of strip though – who’d have known that he could move so fast in those slippers?

The gold goes to an outsider, the odds were long and I hope you had a decent amount of money on this one!  The previously Reverend Kemp left all in his evil wake.  With a level of dedication to his cause that no one else could surpass he never wavered, never doubted and never stopped.  His training facility was unsurpassed and produced some quite explosive results.

As with so many other things it all comes down to timing and – let’s face it – Kemp always knew the end was nigh…