Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Being Human: Daddy Ghoul

George Senior: “I came back from the dead for you, Ruth. How many men can manage that?"

Tonight's episode saw George and Nina take a break from the increasingly bizarre goings on at Honolulu Heights, and take a road trip back home. This was essentially George's "coming out" episode. Not that anyone noticed. After meeting George's parents, it's easy to see why he is the way he is -- yet, his family's prosaism is what makes them so special. It also probably explains why he left.

James Fleet was a joy to watch as the passive George Senior. George and his father had made similar choices in life. Both had dealt with personal trauma by running away. With George Senior, it was a decision born of impotency and frustration -- with George, it was more the result of necessity. He'd become a ticking time bomb. How do you tell your parents you're a werewolf? Evidently, by coming right out with it. George's "I'm a werewolf" revelation barely caused a ripple, it simply reinforced Ruth and George Senior's preconceived notion that he'd had some kind of a mental breakdown. In hindsight, maybe faking amnesia would have been the better option.

Despite enjoying Fleet's performance, I was a little underwhelmed by George's reunion with his mother. True, it introduced us to the irritating Marcus -- which, in turn, spawned some hilarious dialogue -- but it just didn't resonate on an emotional level. George reuniting with his family should have been a big deal -- instead, it felt superfluous. The meat of tonight's episode was the appearance of DC Reid and Herrick's growing self-awareness. Alongside this, the Sands' soap-opera seemed kind of tame. Maybe it should have been part of an earlier episode.

Back in Barry, the bafflingly inappropriate DC Reid is now aware of Mitchell's secret scrapbook, which thankfully isn't enough to incriminate him, but it's enough to point the finger of suspicion firmly in his direction. Herrick may not remember who he is, but he's doing a fine job of manipulating everyone. The question is: will Nancy live long enough to catch her man? Now Herrick's got her scent, I wouldn't bet on it.

In fact, she was lucky to leave Honolulu Heights alive. Herrick almost exsanguinated her. Mitchell, likewise, looked ready to do her harm, maybe not there on the doorstep, but I can't shake the feeling that, given the right motivation, Mitchell could easily murder again. Aidan Turner has a killer frown. (Pun unintended.) You could see Nancy visibly wilt under the intensity of his gaze. How much is Nancy willing to risk to solve the case? Tonight she almost lost everything. Let's just hope her ambition isn't undone by a lack of common sense.

The episode started with a brief flashback to Paris, 1933, which introduced us to the concept of vampires choosing a protégé. How it's done, we're still none the wiser. That's something Mitchell still has to coax out of Herrick -- but what we do know is that by choosing an heir, a vampire can come back from the dead. I'm not sure whether the “and so much more” part was to open up future storylines, or will prove crucial come the season finale -- either way, Mitchell now has hope. Perhaps he can't prevent his own death, but maybe he can influence what happens next.

But, if Mitchell's known all along that naming a protégé would save him from death, then why did he try to kill Herrick back in episode four? Does he truly not believe in destiny? Perhaps it took time to digest the significance of Herrick's return. Either way, Mitchell now needs Herrick alive -- which I'm totally on board with. Firstly, because it means we'll be seeing more of the magnificent Jason Watkins; secondly, because with Herrick alive, even if Mitchell is killed, there's at least a way back. With The Hobbit currently in production (and Aidan playing Kili the dwarf), this may well be Aidan's last season. Let's hope Mitchell finds a way to beat death. Being Human without Mitchell would be unthinkable.

Mitchell's really in an impossible situation. He can either kill Herrick, and risk dying himself -- or opt to let Herrick live and hope that, in time, he'll give up the secret of his resurrection. Either option has potential pitfalls. If Herrick survives, it seems unlikely that he'll forgive George for eating him, and killing George would likely set off a chain reaction of revenge and recriminations, resulting in losses all round. Mitchell's strong, but is he strong enough to take out a vampire at the peak of his powers? Realistically, he should kill Herrick now -- but his promise to George won't allow it.

Yet with each passing day, Herrick's regaining his memory. Even his aversion to drinking blood is waning as his natural impulses grow stronger. Those scenes of Nancy in the bathroom with Herrick had me on the edge of my seat. Watkins' facial expressions are worth a thousand words. Luckily for Nancy, Herrick's humanity is still warring with his dark side, and in this instance, won over. But now the munchies have started, it must only be a matter of time before Herrick starts killing again.

Annie, had another mixed week. Her character vacillates from warm and lovely to ditzy and shallow with worrying regularity. Just when I find myself liking her, she has a week like this, and I go off in a huff again. Her attempts at helping Mitchell are causing him all manner of trouble. It would be better for both of them if he just came clean. Annie's a bit dim, but she must be aware that Mitchell's holding something back. You don't need to be a psychologist to read his body language. It's screaming out "guilty!"

Bits and Pieces:

-- Is Titanic seriously something everyone needs to watch before dying? I think I may be in Hell. Save me Jack!

-- Who'd have thought eating a bag of crisps could ever be so revealing? James Fleet's dance moves haven't improved much since Four Wedding and a Funeral. He still has two left feet.

-- Hannigan Spiteri? A mix of Alyson and Sharleen, perhaps? I'm guessing not Lisa.

-- Herrick sucking on Nancy's bloody tissues was disgusting.

-- I loved George Senior laying out Marcus. Danny Webb excels at playing characters you just love to hate. I laughed out loud at Nina hissing "Of rounders!" at him.

-- Why didn't Mitchell just burn that damn scrapbook!

-- W.H. Auden' "Stop All the Clocks" and Cheryl Cole's "Fight For This Love"? Now there's a Glee mash-up I don't ever want to hear. I'm guessing the inclusion of the Auden's poem was a second tip of the hat to Four Weddings and a Funeral.

-- I thought George was Jewish? George Senior's funeral seemed pretty Christian to me. Maybe he's Jewish on his mum's side.

-- Where do George's parents live? It didn't take Nina long to get there. Surely they don't live in Wales?

-- I liked that, despite George's father being woefully ordinary, George eventually came to realise how wonderful he was.

-- The cult of Earth, Wind and Fire? Where do I sign up?


Nina: “No, no... you're a bit rapey now.”

George Senior: “This is my house, that is my wife. And you, Sir... are nothing but a prick.”
Nina: "Ohh, get in!"

Nancy: “This place will be the death of me.”

Marcus: "Isn't that the plot of Shawshank Redemption?"
Nina: "Well, that's where we got the, frankly ludicrous, idea from."

George Senior: "I'm going to fly, Jack. I'm going to fly!"

Nina: “Did your dad just misquote Titanic?”
George: “Yeah, just don’t ask.”

Marcus: "If you don't get the basics right, well, they are going to be screwed up, aren't they?"
Nina: "You sound like an expert, Marcus."
Marcus: "I'm a teacher."
Nina: "Of rounders!"

George: "Oh, my God! You're not dead."
George Senior: "I can explain."

Marcus: “You're a bunch of weirdos. The lot of you!”
George: “Ha-ha-ha... you don't know the half of it.”

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