Annie: “Hal isn’t a living thing.”
It’s official: Being Human
has been renewed for a fifth season. Despite a slight dip in ratings
(compared with season three), fans appear to have taken to the new
line-up like a duck to l'orange. Season five will be a shorter season –
six episodes instead of eight – but that may not be such a handicap.
In the past, extra minutes have translated into filler. Thankfully,
tonight's episode was mostly useful, and saw the departure of Annie,
our last surviving original character. Can a show survive with none of its original cast members? If this season's proved anything (apart from disco's not dead), the answer is probably yes.
Annie’s departure was timely and generally rewarding. To be fair, Annie’s character ran out of steam two seasons ago; so it was satisfying to see her go out with an actual bang. As far a storylines go, dying to save the world is as good as it gets. If I do have one small
complaint, it's that Annie didn’t turn out to be quite as ‘special’ as
I'd hoped. After the way she iced Kirby back in ‘A Spectre Calls’, I
was expecting some kind of super-powered showdown between Annie and the
Old Ones. All she did was push over a few lesser vamps (which even
newly minted spook Alex seemed able to manage), swear magnificently,
and then blow everyone apart with what looked like a Scalextric
controller. Damn the BBC and its meagre SFX budget!
last minute introduction of McNair’s maxim for life (“Always be kind
and polite -- and have the materials to build a bomb”) also felt a bit
naff. It was like something out of the Russell T. Davies Bumper Book of
Plot Devices: say “swimming pool” a few times throughout the season,
and then have an explanation turn up in the finale which solves everything.
I was also a little disappointed that killing an Old One would turn
out to be so easy. Not that I expected Mr Snow to be immune to
exploding, but surely Milo could have briefed him on Tom’s plan to blow
them all to Kingdom Come? Have these people never heard of posting
guards? How Mr Snow has managed to live so long with such terrible
security, I'll never know. Unless Milo's plan all along was to see Mr
But these are all small gripes in what was an otherwise excellent and moving finale. I thought Mark Gatiss was stellar
as Mr Snow. A couple of times the mask slipped, revealing the shadow
of a gurning Mycroft, but, by and large, Gatiss turned in a terrific
performance. His veined face, calm demeanour, and dismissive attitude
towards humankind, all added to that air of detached menace. His
character had more depth after just one episode than Cutler, Tom
and Alex combined; a testament to Toby Whithouse’s superior writing
skills. What a pity he won’t be returning. I'd love to see a revenge
obsessed Snow stalking the streets of Wales again. Mind you, if Herrick
can return after being virtually compost, who knows what may happen?
Annie’s death pretty much hit the mark. Her parting words to Eve were
both moving and heartfelt, although, unlike Mitchell and George before
her, sadly, she didn't get a chance to say goodbye to her house-mates.
Having to choose between the whole world and baby Eve felt impossibly
awful, and its consequence -- Eve winking out of existence -- though
inevitable, was oddly affecting. (Especially since Eve's been the least
developed of all this season's characters.) Eve was Annie's last
remaining link to George and Nina -- her familiars and her friends.
Without them, Annie would have ceased to exist long ago. I liked the
idea of Annie being reunited with Mitchell, George and Nina. Shame we
didn't get to see it, but we did get to see Annie's face, and her reward looked good. She wasn't greeted by men holding sticks and ropes anyway.
confess, I was moderately disappointed when Cutler’s plan turned out
to be something of a wet squib. His quest for infamy ended up costing
him everything. After his plan to team up with the Old Ones and
subjugate humanity faltered, he even turned on his own people -- which,
again, failed; all because he hadn't accounted for the variables. A
force of unknown origin and strength was conspiring against him.
Regardless, it was Cutler’s failure before Snow that was his downfall.
If he'd only checked to make sure the werewolf footage had leaked online
first. Why go to the trouble of rigging up a television set if
you're not sure there'll be anything to see? Likewise, his tantrum
before Mr Snow seemed senselessly risky. Snow could have torn him apart.
Unless, of course, that's what he wanted. A swift end to his
For me, Hal's been the best part of season
four. From the start, he's been a mess of strengths and weaknesses.
Without Tom and Annie, Hal would have become the Nazi-esque leader of
Eve's future. Yet something about humanity, and his fellow
supernaturals' attitudes towards it, keeps him from reverting to type.
If Tom's willing to die for them, then maybe they're worth preserving.
Tom and Hal's burgeoning friendship has actually made for pretty
compelling viewing. Something about Tom's naivety and bravery brings
out Hal's humanity. Perhaps, as well as needing to be saved, he needs
to save, too. Hal doesn't want to destroy the world, nor see its
inhabitants exsanguinated. Earth belongs to the humans. He just wants
to earn back the privilege of being its watcher. This is a story I'm
still very interested in seeing... and hopefully one they'll pursue in season five.
Bits and Pieces:
Presumably, Snow's careful re-enactment of Da Vinci's "The Last Supper"
was the continuation of his people's 'tableau from history' tradition.
I'm still unsure about Alex's inclusion in the show. She wasn't
specifically confirmed as a returning character in the press release,
but I'm guessing she'll be there. She definitely needs more
-- Mr Rook looks vaguely intriguing.
Presumably, the "domestic staff of the world" will feature heavily in
next season's story arc. Good!
-- Having all the action happen off-screen wasn't the best way of resolving the cliffhanger.
-- So Eve didn't have any magical powers at all? Bummer!
-- I loved Tom in his duffle coat. Worst vampire busting clothes ever!
-- I thought Hal admitting to Tom that his blood drinking hadn't been entirely strategic was a wonderful character moment. Like Leo before him, Tom has become Hal's confidant and confessor.
Annie: “She took me into her corridor.”
Alex: *snicker* “Took me into her corridor. Sorry... misjudged the mood.”
Tom: "I didn’t think you liked shaking hands."
Hal: "Today’s a day of firsts. And lasts."
Mr Snow: "Oh Hal, you weren’t hiding. I was just giving you the afternoon off."
Hal: "Tangentially. I was involved tangentially.
Alex: "You weren’t drinking my blood tangentially."
Mr Snow: "Surely the point of temptation is to prompt a decision that has not yet been made."
Annie: “Eve, you’re fading.”
Eve: “I never happened now. I never grew up. I never saw the things I saw. That’s the only me now.”
Tom: “What you doing hangin’ around with a load of vampires?”
Milo: “Because there’s nothing noble about being on the side that loses.”
Tom: “I bet you support Manchester United as well, don’t ya?”
Milo: “You know, they’re an incredibly skilful team.”