andrew gower, annie, bbc three, being human, cutler, damien molony, eve, frankenstein's wedding, ghost, hal, lenora crichlow, michael socha, review, series four, the old ones, toby whithouse, vampire, werewolf
The penultimate episode.
The beginning of the end.
Or the end of the beginning?
“I was a baby when Humanity fell.”
It seems pretty much accepted now that Future Woman in the frock is really the ghost of grown up Eve but I still have sneaking suspicions about her. Annie does too although she definitely warms to her – not through convincing argument and shared memories but when they butt heads in a way I suspect is hugely familiar from Eve’s future childhood. (I’m going to give up on trying to keep the tenses right!)
Sometimes I forget that Being Human is really a tiny show (albeit with a massively enthusiastic following) and has a budget to match and given the restrictions the future scenes were well done. We didn’t need to see the apocalyptic future and the vampire slaughter – the words, the washed out pictures and the sounds were enough. Eve’s delivery was flat as she told Annie of the horrors – and I truly felt her experiences had left her that way, scared to feel and just waiting for the next axe to fall. Scarred in more ways than one. It’s been said that the Nazi-styled imagery was lazy but I disagree. It could have been any dictatorship, 1984 style, and the banners and poster are shorthand, helping us to fill in all the details we need to imagine of where humanity ended up. The Dante quote over the camp gates was well done, not referenced by Eve or Annie, it was just there. (And let’s not forget it was the English who invented the concentration camp during the Boer war)
I’m still confused by the scrolls and prophesy (my brain just doesn’t work that way) but the idea of Eve as both nemesis and saviour was neat and I didn’t see that coming. I do accept that baby Eve dying is the answer to preventing the hell of Eve’s adult life but please don’t ask me to explain why!
Annie has hard times ahead and her parting with the daughter she never saw past 18 was bittersweet. It was the little details that made me believe it – the admonishment for swearing and Eve being so proud of her tea making. Eve says that Annie can let her die but is that any easier than killing her? Probably not and Annie’s face as she sang Que Sera Sera to baby Eve said it all.
“All I ask for in return is when they write the history of what’s about to happen they give me a mention. And a statue. And maybe Brazil.”
Now we know. Hal made Cutler back in the days when he was unremittingly evil and cold. I’m not sure that came as a massive surprise to anyone but as their relationship was fleshed out we learned more about them both and about their relationship and it’s all pretty fucked up.
Just what did Hal see in Cutler back in 1950? Just what did he do that brought him to his attention? He asked him how many people had told him he was destined for greatness and Cutler admitted there were a few and I think he was telling the truth. Maybe that’s what Hal saw – a rising star and Cutler was headed for some grand success before he met the mysterious Mr Yorke. I can see how that would have amused Hal, not just making him a vampire against his will but to trap him in that state of unfulfilled promise as well as destroying everything he held dear. Cutler didn’t look quite as comfortable in the 1950 scenes as Hal did; he has a particularly modern persona, a certain look – it could be seen as another thing that marked him out as a progressive talent. Trouble is, Hal really had no idea what he had taken on.
“You’re becoming the drunk that never buys a round”
The newly recruited Cutler is a vampire of a kind we haven’t seen before – he’s certainly addicted to blood, desperately, pathetically so at first but he finds the killing repugnant. He can’t do it. Hal treats him as a cross between a pet, a protégée and an annoying child, letting him bury the bodies, chiding him for not killing and telling him just how disappointed he is in him. Finally he orders him to kill his wife – a chilling scene contrasting with his (slightly creepy) charming of an initially suspicious Rachel Cutler. When he tricks Cutler into drinking Rachel’s blood before showing him her body I realised that Hal had no redeeming features at all, he was – or is – truly evil. It puts clean Hal’s obsessive routines and tics in perspective as now we know just how much darkness he is trying to suppress.
Cutler had five years from his recruitment before Hal abandoned him – he thought he was ‘proper dead’ – but if he was treated that way for those years what would that do to him? Hal was his creator and his supplier, his enabler, making sure he had the blood he craved without the killing. But he was also his tormentor and his torturer – the man who took away his life, his wife – his whole species. Where does that leave his head? Deep breath – I’ll have a go at that one as it relate to this episode but I suspect I’m coming back to Cutler to dig a little deeper. Once I have the couch prepared, a nice quiet room and maybe one of those long-sleeved jackets with the nice buckles… He’s an interesting prospect for analysis.
“Fifty-five years! Man, that’s a long time to be doing a Fossey”
Over the years Cutler has found a way to exist, he managed without Hal. He’s accepted by the vampires, perhaps because he’s useful, maybe because of who made him but he seems to have no particular friends there. He still doesn’t want to kill and I suspect he’s managed to control his addiction, keep it manageable. The occasional mouthful of blood keeps him ticking over – notice that when he makes Hal drink he never empties his own glass; he either leaves it alone or just takes a taste. That’s not to say he isn’t still tempted and now we have context for him killing the coroner, probably because her whining was getting on his nerves – it was certainly getting on mine! He let his control slip, just for a moment. He still hates the death – when he has to mutilate the corpse he planted he looked revolted and the thought of Tom’s werewolf killing all those trapped humans seems to genuinely turn his stomach but killing Golda – well that was different. She wasn’t human and she was in his way and though initially he looked horrified at what he’d done there was a sense of triumph – a totally insane triumph – about his face as he watched her disappear,
Cutler functions comfortably in the human world, unlike Hal. He’s not clean but he copes with his addiction and his Clark Kent is pretty convincing, more so than we have seen before. Is he mad? Maybe, maybe not. I think not, or not enough to count anyway. He’s ambitious and clever and different, and if he dies in episode eight I will stamp my feet and scream and scream until I’m sick! He’s too good a character to lose. I thought he might be less interesting, less ambiguous once we knew more about his history but it has made him even more intriguing, he’s something new and the writing and the performance are spot on.
His plans are falling apart though, and all because of Hal. His quick thinking to have Hal followed (did you spot the man watching Alex in the bar? The one who followed her out?) to revenge Rachel was clever but he recoiled from Hal kneeling for his forgiveness. Old Hal would have laughed. Probably. How will his love and hate for his maker work now that Hal has got in his way? Or has he? The film of Tom is out there even though no one died and Cutler still has Plan B. The War Child. Seeing him thinking through exactly what it meant that Eve was alive, standing outside Honolulu Heights makes me quite sure he already knows what his next move is. I don’t doubt he could have got away from the werewolf, that he had an escape route ready but would he try to help Hal? Now, that I can’t guess.
“Watching you negotiate grown-up emotions is like watching a gorilla perform keyhole surgery.”
Between visions of a bleak future and scenes of a brutal past it was telling that the one person I wanted to weep for was Tom. Everywhere he turned someone was putting him down; even Annie damned him with faint praise to Eve – a pet, a child. Despite the beginnings of a friendship Hal treated Tom badly, even before he had the excuse of blood. He was sarcastic and cruel, maybe preoccupied with Cutler and what that meant but he pushed Tom straight into Cutler’s welcoming arms.
Tom tried so hard to reason with Cutler – he prepared a speech but he’s no match for him. Cutler’s control slipped – just for a moment – and he showed his desperation to make his plan work but he soon regrouped and let Tom off the hook. Inviting him to dinner was an inspiration and the scene in the restaurant was beautifully done – Cuter asserting his dominance in every way. When he tied Tom’s tie he might as well have been tying a noose. He could have taken Tom anywhere but this was perfect to make him uncomfortable, to make him realise how little he fitted in and his face fell a little further every moment they were there. Cutler’s careful dissection of Tom’s suitability for Allison was a masterclass! What’s not to love…?
“How do I look? Splashed out, didn’t I? Went to the Cancer Research shop.”
Tom put his trust in Annie and she is too busy with Eve to help him. His trust in Hal – hard won, he’s been brought up to hate vampires is being thrown back in his face and the trust that Cutler gained on the back of the barriers broken down by Hal is being horribly, inevitably abused. Will Cutler convince Tom that the potential massacre was a mistake? I wouldn’t put it past him. He has Tom sussed – you’ll make your father proud is just what he needed to hear. Tom needs someone to believe in him, to help and guide him and the only person who could do that he sent away. Heartbreaking.
This is one of my favourite episodes – probably my favourite of series four – so far. The intercutting of Hal and Cutler’s past and present was amazing – so clever and so telling. The reversal of roles, turn and turn about, the pathetic, desperate need for blood from both men; the fate of Rachel and the mirrored fate of Alex – all horribly, dreadfully fascinating.
Alex of course is now a ghost and her interplay with Hal was nicely pitched – some classic comic relief. I hope she stays around but will she replace Annie at the end of the next episode? I’m not sure but it seems sadly inevitable.
And now the Old ones are here
“Well, then… Who’s hungry?”
Tom and his cue cards. Bless. “There’s you for example. Point. Oh!”
Vampires do have lovely glassware…
Laugh out loud moment (I don’t lol or rofl… it’s on my list) when Hal was telling Alex how to rent-a-ghost by closing her eyes and wishing she was somewhere different and she replied:
“Trust me I’ve been doing that since you arrived”
Cuter is also trying to rewrite history – just a coincidence of phrasing or does it somehow tie in to the prophecy?
FW/Eve/not Eve/whatever seems to be of normal height and has normal ears – as a mix of George and Nina’s genes that has to be applauded, if not wondered at slightly…
Very random observation – does Andrew Gower have particularly long arms? Please find Cutler some shirts and jackets with sleeves that are long enough!
Did it not occur to Hal to hit the fire alarm in the club? maybe clever Cutler isolated that when he locked the doors…
I wonder if the Old Ones always walk everywhere together in perfect formation?
Once more with feeling…
Something I’ve noticed that Toby Whithouse does is reprise lines – favourites maybe or just those that stick in the mind. This episode was a great spot the reference exercise and here are a few I heard – did I miss any?
“I’m not nice” Hal and Mitchell
“Someone’s been working out!” Cutler to Hal versus Annie to Mitchell “Have you been working out?”
“It’s a lot to take in” Annie to Eve and Nina to George
“I’m sure that sounded less creepy in your head” Alex to Hal versus Mitchell to George about Tully “I’m sure that sounded better in your head”
“End of the line” Eve and Lia
“We can raid the dressing up box, pretend to be human, but, ultimately what’s the point?” Hal to Tom versus Herrick to Mitchell “Raiding the dressing up box, pretending to be human. It’s a game!”
“Someone needs a tic-tac!” Alex to Hal and Nina to George
As I gave my special award this week (there isn’t actually an award) (maybe there should be) to Andrew Gower as Cutler here’s a glimpse of him in Frankenstein’s Wedding, the live event shown on BBC3 in 2011, singing Snow Patrol’s Make This go on Forever