Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Being Human: Where the Wild Things Are


Annie: “Owen's won. I can't touch him. He just keeps killing me.”

Disillusioned with mankind, Mitchell almost went over to the dark side tonight. Convinced that Herrick's plan of voluntary recruitment could work, he returned to the fold -- only to find he didn't belong there any more. Despite past indiscretions, Mitchell's no monster. Unlike Herrick. His secret stash of humans was the final straw for Mitchell. The façade finally crumbled. Just in time for the cavalry of gay ninjas to arrive.

What a rescue it was. Annie throwing the phone at Seth was a piece of perfectly crafted comedy. The cord stopped the phone just inches from his face. Shame that. I'd love to have seen Seth cop one in the mush. George holding that chair above his head and shouting 'Who wants some of my chair' was, likewise, laugh-out-loud funny. Toby Whithouse has a real gift for humour. This episode contained some of my favourite moments of the whole season -- particularly as it introduced us to the gang's love of The Real Hustle (a subject revisited in season two to great comedic effect.)

Inept, or not, somehow George and Annie managed to get Mitchell out, though it was Lauren who really saved them. But, their rescue came at a price. Terrified at seeing her humanity slowly draining away, Lauren sought to end it all. Like Mitchell, Lauren is ashamed of what she's become. She feels remorseful over the suffering she's caused, and of the joy she's taken in inflicting it. Tonight she asked Mitchell to kill her -- while there was still something recognisable left inside to kill.

I found Lauren's last words quite moving. Vampires are traditionally viewed as irredeemable creatures, undeserving of any kind of favourable eternal reward. But Lauren whispering 'Oh my' as she slipped away seemed to hint at something wonderful. Maybe there is some kind of redemption for penitent vampires. Lauren was never cut out for that sort of life. The sheer brutality of it left a mark on her soul. In the end she wanted release, and since it was Mitchell who sired her, it felt only right that he should be the one to set her free.

Mitchell staking Lauren felt like the final nail in the coffin for Herrick's Final Solution. Conversion en masse just wasn't the answer. Not everyone is suited to that kind of lifestyle: Lauren struggled with it, and Josie rejected it on the basis of it being counter-evolutionary (promoting stasis rather than growth.) Even Mitchell hates what he's become. Unlike other vampires, he doesn't revel in past glories. He doesn't want to inspire people, spurring them on to even greater atrocities. He'd sooner die forgotten.

Typically, Herrick's plan of voluntary recruitment was just half the story. With no humans left, there'd be nobody to kill or feed on. Yet, Herrick wanted both. Voluntary recruitment was never intended to be a peaceful solution -- it was meant to swell the numbers of Herrick's army, whilst keeping a portion of humanity perpetually unchanged, to be used as fodder for Herrick's followers. With the public face of Herrick's plan shattered, Mitchell saw it for what it was, an abomination, and rejected it wholesale. He became one of the good guys again.

Even in his darkest hour, it was plain to see that Mitchell still cares for humans. Him asking Herrick to recruit Josie was a request born out of love -- a typically human emotion. He even tried to negotiate the safety of George and Annie. Unfortunately, the best Herrick could offer was a dignified death. Despite protests to the contrary, Mitchell's more human than he lets on. He remembers the beauty of mortality, and a person's right to choose it.

Likewise, Annie's desire for revenge and justice was a recognisable human trait. Unfortunately, despite some genuinely funny moments, her attempted haunting of Janey was almost her undoing. Owen completely destroyed her. Not content with killing her once, his words continued to break her down even in death. His confessions of infidelity were designed to demean and degrade, and that's exactly what they did. Annie's ghostly presence was meant to terrify Owen into confessing to her murder, but it was Annie who became the victim. Even dead, Owen still had power over her. You've got to hand it to Gregg Chillin -- in a show full of monsters, he made Owen seem like the worst of them all. What a bastard!

Thankfully, Annie had the last laugh. Throwing aside the premeditated speeches, with George and Mitchell at her side, she launched into an impromptu condemnation of Owen. This time there was no stilted dialogue or clichéd ghostly waffle; just the truth and a secret so terrible it eventually drove Owen mad. Perhaps Annie didn't frighten him, but there were things out there that would. That should. She introduced Owen to a whole world of terror he never knew existed, and fearing for his own life, Owen turned himself in. Finally, Annie got her justice. Whether Owen's safer behind bars or not is another matter entirely.

And so it was almost a happy ending, with Mitchell safely back in the fold, George alive (albeit with a bruised hand bone), and Annie avenged. Yet, the last five minutes threw everything into chaos again. Annie's door to the afterlife finally appeared. Unfortunately, so did Herrick, who proceeded to stake Mitchell through the chest, leaving Annie with the agonising choice of whether to move on, or save Mitchell.

Will Annie stay or go? Will Mitchell ever get to see The Real Hustle again? All will be revealed in next week's season finale.

Bits and Pieces:

-- Richard Turner was the first vampire to live a double life in England. He arrived in Bristol in 1630. I wonder whether he's still alive? ( In the show, not in real life.)

-- No One Gets Left Behind? Which came first? The motto, or the song by Five Fingered Death Punch?

-- I loved George crying when Annie had to leave. Despite a rocky start, they've become surprisingly good friends. He even helped her work on her haunting skills. Not that it did much good. She was still terrible.

-- Best moment of the episode: George wetting himself when Herrick knocked at the door. Five stars!

-- Presumably Annie's purpose was to bring Owen to justice. I'm assuming the door appeared because her purpose was fulfilled.

Quotes:

George: “Our lovers linger inside us like ghosts... haunting the corridors and deserted rooms. Sometimes whispering. Sometimes screaming. Invisible, but... always there. Waiting.”

Owen: “I should have known not even death would be enough for one of your sulks.”

Mitchell: “What's everyone doing?”
Herrick: “Well, Sorenson has just farted and all the men are high-fiving each another.”

Herrick: “Come the revolution, we'll all need to know how to dance.”

Janey: “Never a birth, Never a death. That's not evolution, that's a full stop.”

Annie: “If I'd wanted to keep you here I would have chopped your feet off.”
Janey: “Oh no!”
Annie: “Look, I'm not going to chop your feet off.”

Janey: “It's like what happened to my aunty Linda. She kept seeing the Bronte sisters in her en-suite.”

Nina: “The results are in and it turns out that you have a smashing arse.”

Josie: “I thought perhaps you were a wizard, or something?”
George: “A wizard? Oh God. That's ridiculous.”
Josie: “Trust me, once you've dated a vampire you tend to have a different criteria for what's ridiculous.”

George: “They're based at an undertakers. Stereotypes clearly hold no fear for these people.”

George: “”That was pathetic. We were like the world's gayest ninjas.”

Mitchell: “But you saved us.”
Lauren: “So save me.”

Annie: “When it comes to pure, naked evil, you're an amateur. I want you to know you've wandered off the path. This is where the wild things are and we've got your scent now.”

George: “I actually let out a little bit of wee there.”

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