Hal: 'What have you done? You've broken Mary!'
I confess, I wasn't anticipating any
stand-alones this season. With the end in sight, and a reduced episode
run, I was expecting a mainly story driven final four. So, although
initially miffed by the appearance of the seemingly obligatory comedy
episode, this actually turned out to be a fascinating character piece.
To say Hal killing Larry has thrown a spanner in the works seems like
something of an understatement. After over 200 years of lying to Lady
Mary, Hal looks set to continue the tradition with his house-mates. This
isn't going to end well, is it?
searching for direction in his life, his dread of letting McNair down,
and his adoption of the somewhat useless Larry as a father figure, all
worked well. The appearance of Larry Chrysler—played to perfection by
Julian Barrett—gave Tom some real hope of making NcNair proud.
Sadly, rather than overcoming adversity, Larry had become a victim,
living off past glories. He was a sad man, with no home, no money, no
life, and an ugly grudge against his ex-wife. Blaming his poor fortune
on being a werewolf was simply an excuse. It was clear from the cold
open that Larry has always possessed something of a vindictive
personality. Being a werewolf just intensified it.
Which probably explains why Tom is always so down on himself. Perhaps being a werewolf amplifies his
innate feelings of doubt and inadequacy. There must be some reason why
he's been behaving so unpredictably of late. The speed at which he
turned on Hal, and the swiftness with which Larry was able to remake Tom
in his own image, seemed unnaturally sudden. I know Captain Hatch began
sowing the seeds of discord last week, but Tom's distrust of Hal, and
this sudden need to make something of himself, felt oddly accelerated.
Is this all the Devil's doing? Or does the pacing simply feel rushed because of the shortened season?
I was pleased to see Mr Rook back in the game. He wasn't coping well with being out of work. His job was
his life, so it made absolute sense that forced unemployment would
translate into feelings of utter hopelessness. I'm not sure how
effective sex-chat girls are as counsellors, however—obviously, not
very, as Rook was about two seconds away from blowing his own head off.
Luckily, Hal's impromptu strangling of Larry saved him. He needs a clean-up man, and cleaning up men is what Mr Rook does best. What killing
Larry has done to Hal, is perhaps harder to assess. It's all looking a
bit grim, to be honest.
Lady Mary was a real delight.
Rather than Alex being the corrupting influence, Lady Mary turned out to
be a hundred times worse. Time has changed her—and not for the
better. Sadly, both her and Hal were locked in a loop of mutual deceit.
Their motives were good—they thought they were saving each other.
Which is why Hal kept up the façade of a reformed vampire, and Mary kept
her Metallica loving, cage fight watching, shoplifting, face and shoe
hating personality under wraps. Amanda Hale was the perfect choice to
play Mary. After all her other period roles, how liberating it must have felt to let rip with the bad language.
Lady Mary's life was empty. For the privilege of seeing Hal just once a
year, she was forced to dress like a cake decoration, turn down
multiple opportunities to move on, and get her sexual kicks from riding
the thoughts and emotions of copulating piss-heads. No wonder Alex was
worried. Is this what awaits her? Luckily, her fear turned into the
catalyst which reunited the gang. Like Annie before her, Alex recognised
that there's an almost symbiotic bond between her and her house-mates.
If one member leaves, the whole group is weakened. Each functions as
each other's deterrent against succumbing to their base instincts.
so the theory goes. Hal killing Larry, although for the greater good of
Tom—and, let's face it, Larry as a permanent fixture at Honolulu
Heights just wouldn't have worked—felt distinctly un-Hallian.
Clearly, throwing a half-full cup in the sink without washing it first
is enough to make anyone crack, but strangling him with a lamp
flex? Despite Hal's talk about fighting the inner monster, the old Hal
seemed to get the better of him tonight. He didn't even bother to drink
Larry's blood, instead seeming to take umbrage at Larry's lack of
respect for him and his friends. It's easy to forget sometimes just how
far Hal's fallen. Once Lord Hal, an Old One, he now lives in a poorly
decorated ex-bed and breakfast with a ghost and a werewolf, cleans cash
registers with cotton buds, and wears Marigolds to do the washing. It's a
far cry from being up to your armpits in blood-drenched wenches and
Hal's speech to Tom was perfectly timed. Tom's
clearly feeling lost without McNair. Hal's up-building talk, although in
hindsight somewhat tarnished by him offing fifty percent of The Mighty Boosh,
was exactly what Tom needed to hear. Success shouldn't be judged in
terms of career or possessions, not when the real achievement is in
staving off the monster within and nurturing your humanity. It would be
so much easier to be like Lady Mary, Crumb and Chrysler: slaves to their
instincts, unhappy, embittered and resentful. But Tom, although
occasionally teetering on the brink, never gives up. He may not be the
sharpest tool in the shed, but out of the three of them (as Alex
observed), he's the strongest. McNair would have been proud.
I'm worried about. Is this season going to be a story of redemption for
Hal, or a slowly descending spiral, ending in his eventual destruction?
Final seasons can be brutal, paying little heed to fan favourites, and
having no qualms about leaving us feeling miserable and depressed. Hal
did an admirable job tonight of reassuring both Tom and Alex that they
were better than those around them. Maybe it's time someone did the same
thing for him; assuming it's not already too late.
—Three weeks, three sets of Marigolds. This must surely be a record?
—McNair was a surveyor before he got bitten.
—A decent effort by writer Jamie Mathieson, although the dialogue didn't
seem to sparkle as much as it usually does. There were no real
laugh-out-loud moments for me, despite this being an episode mostly
played for laughs.
—What on earth was Hal doing assembling a jigsaw puzzle to a chess timer?
—Evidently Patsy's swim in the sea did end in her death. Bummer!
Larry: 'Testes, one two. Testes, one two.'
Alex: 'You think I'd corrupt her?'
Hal: 'I think you'd corrupt Keith Richards.'
Lady Mary: 'I am curious. Lord Harry... has he...?'
Alex: 'Oh, yeah, yeah. He's gone.'
Mary: 'Oh, thank fuck for that. God, it's just such hard work keeping
it up, you know? All that thee and thou bollocks. It gets on my tits.'
Alex: 'So you put it all on just for Hal?'
Lady Mary: 'It wasn't all an act. When he first started visiting me I was that curtsying fuckwit.'
Tom: 'Your mate's a nutter.'
Alex: 'Yeah, well yours is an arsehole, and a lech, and a bullshitter.'
Lady Mary: 'I suppose this must all be a bit of a head fuck?'
Hal: 'That's certainly one way of putting it.'
Alex: 'Not going to lie, that could have gone better.'
Hal: 'Two hundred and fifty years I've been visiting her. Five minutes with
you and she's threatening to castrate people and accusing me of
Tom: 'You can just run off, you know.'