“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.
I 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.
Although 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…
Larry 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.
“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.
I’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…
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.
Cracking 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…
Actually 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.
The best things in life are free. What?! Shoes are free…?