Being Human series 4 episode 8 review: The War Child
Mark Gatiss soars in the Being Human series finale, and we'd expect nothing less. Read our review here...
This review contains major spoilers.
4.8 The War Child
Mark Gatiss, so brilliant in his brief appearance at the end of last week’s episode, was far and away the best thing in this series finale.
Mr Snow is one of the standout characters of the entire Being Human universe. Or rather he was, which made his exit all the more disappointing if I’m honest. It would have been great to see Gatiss play a larger role in the next series, which there is surely bound to be following events here.
Still, what a way to go. Many of you pondered about Annie’s future following the introduction of Alex and it turns out that you were right. Handed something of an epic departure, if not quite on the level of Mitchell’s last series, Lenora Critchlow handled things rather well.
I feel conflicted over her exit, truth be told. Having finally been handed something to do in this series, it’s a shame that we won’t get to see her develop any more. That said the spunky Alex stands out as a wonderful character in her own right, injecting some of the spice and humour that the very first series brought to the table. Great acting from Kate Bracken, too.
Annie’s closing moments gave Critchlow an opportunity to tug at the heartstrings, too. With just a simple look to her former colleagues on the other side of the door, and no emotional goodbye to her new ones, it was a truly touching moment. Annie never truly connected with Tom or Hal on an emotional level, so it would perhaps have been a stretch too far for tears all round. Instead, a muted exit (albeit one with a hell of a bang at the start) was just right.
With the biggest loose end tied up, what else did we learn from this final episode? Hal was all tied up in a Trainspotting-style bid to keep his urges at bay, Alex picked up Annie’s ghostly tricks very quickly, and Tom… well, we didn’t learn an awful lot more about Tom, actually. Michael Socha was given precious little to do, other than trade fisticuffs with a badass werewolf and demonstrate some rudimentary, but effective, bomb-making skills, which is a crying shame as he has demonstrated himself to be a fine actor throughout this series. Growing into a role that could easily be forgettable, he’s proven a worthy replacement for George.
Of course, the real purpose of this episode was ultimately to reset everything for series five, and it did that well enough. Now we have a new threesome to root for, plus a potential new threat in the form of the well-dressed document recorders and keepers. I hope that these aren’t dismissed with as easily as Edgar Windham was last time round.
Sad to see Cutler go, too, although he was given plenty of screentime and some truly disgusting make-up to boot. A tough cookie, is our Cutler, with an entrance to Honolulu Heights that will burn bright on memories of this series. Along with Gatiss, Andrew Gower’s performances and delivery throughout have persistently been a delight.
With the series now done and dusted, my overall reaction has been one of, well, relief, if I’m honest. Being Human rebooted could easily have died a swift, dull death, so credit to Toby Whithouse, then, for believing in his new vision for the show, despite fans’ and critics’ well-aired worries. Credit also to the casting bods for bringing Damien Molony to a wider audience. Molony has the screen presence to step up to leading man status, if the show decides to take that route and I have loved watching Hal evolve as the series has evolved with him.
It hasn’t all been positive, however, and series four has been a decidedly uneven affair. Self-contained comedic scripts have sat alongside exposition-heavy series story arcs and the results have been mixed. I also remain of the view that eight episodes is too much for the scripts to bear and that it would be interesting to see a tighter, six-episode approach.
These are minor grumbles in the grand scheme of things, though. I mentioned in an early review that the real triumph of this series has been to create a successful, highly-watchable bunch of episodes and characters from the fallout of three quarters of the main cast deciding to leave. That’s no mean feat and Whithouse’s efforts can’t be underestimated.
Being Human, for all its faults, remains one of the most creative, interesting, and downright watchable series on the BBC.
Quite why it’s still being shown on BBC Three is anyone’s guess.
Read our review of last week's episode, here.