Being Human series 5 episode 4 review: The Greater Good

Review Caroline Preece 24 Feb 2013 - 23:00

Tom has a protegee in this week's Being Human, but it doesn't end well. Here's Caroline's review of The Greater Good...

This review contains spoilers.

5.4 The Greater Good

Being Human has always been about wanting and working to achieve redemption for our core cast of characters, but this week we got to see what that fight would look like on people who hadn’t been lucky enough to find their equals in a moment of crisis. After Hal and Tom dealt with the mirror images of their dark sides in last week’s episode, The Greater Good shows them, and us, how quickly their normal lives could be snatched away from them should their own weaknesses take over.

The two new guests at Honolulu Heights come courtesy of Rook, as he tasks Tom with babysitting a previously contained werewolf while he goes to negotiate funding with the Chinese government. Bobby is even more clueless and naive than Tom was when he first lost McNair, and it’s hilarious to see Michael Socha's character look down his nose at someone such a hair’s breadth away from his own experience. Soon, he takes Bobby under his wing and trains him up in the art of hotel management, before all hell breaks loose courtesy of Captain Hatch’s covert manoeuvring of the various pieces on the board.

Hal’s charge for the hour is Crumb, who has been on a nasty killing spree with rogue Men in Grey-employee, Alan. Alan is annoying, so I was pleased to see him killed off within the first twenty minutes of the episode. Ordered to deal with the situation as repayment for Rook’s favour last week, Hal decides that he’d rather try to rehabilitate Crumb than kill him outright. This is despite the fact that he’s let him go twice to disastrous and bloody consequences, but I guess third time really can be the charm. Crumb actually wants to get clean, and refuses blood even when it’s laid out in front of him.

The game of chance with Tom’s deadly werewolf blood and the human blood that would slowly decay his soul was a brilliant idea for the episode, and was used to great effect throughout. Firstly, we got to see that Crumb’s will to live a normal life was stronger than his desire for blood, and then both he and Hal’s despair at the inevitability of chaos meant that the game was played anyway. Although I’m not entirely sure what more the writers could have done with the character, I thought it was a bit of a shame to kill him off half-way into the series given how much potential he was introduced with.

But now we can really get stuck into Hal’s darkness, witnessing the real vampire within him for the first time. Although he’s had his various slip-ups since meeting Tom and Annie, we haven’t really seen what he’s capable of when in full vamp mode, and I bet that the next few weeks will be boat loads of fun in that respect. It’s a shame if we end on a sad note like with series three – as seeing a vampire who can truly overcome his instincts would be a nice switch-up – but Being Human wouldn’t be the show we know and love without some real, dark, gritty moral dilemmas.

I’m not so sure how I feel about the split personality Hal seems to possess, as it would have been more interesting had his descent been more gradual. The episode did a great job of lifting us up before crushing ours, and the characters', expectations of salvation, so the lack of subtlety with Hal’s final shift felt a little clumsy. It seems that an ending that includes Hal and Alex rekindling their romance is becoming more and more likely and, with Hal and Tom’s bromance being an undisputed highlight of the last couple of series, my guess is that they’re dimming the lights just early enough to resolve with a happy-ish ending for our trio.

And we could be dealing with Rook as Hatch’s accomplice, so desperate is he to prove how important his department is to the world. It was inevitable that Bobby would be a casualty in the devil’s little chess game of supernatural creatures, and it will be Tom who feels this loss the most. With Crumb and Bobby both meeting sticky ends before they could begin assimilating into the real world, Rook’s suspicions have been proven correct and the ‘being human’ experiment deemed a total failure. This is a bleak message for the episode to leave us with, especially with Hal giving in to his darkest urges, but it’s surely setting us up for an explosive finale. 

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, Pie and Prejudice, here.

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I completely agree that Crumb's demise was totally unsatisfying. BH has been guilty on many occasions of creating excellent characters, and then offing them prematurely when the writers can't figure out what to do with them?

I think when you haven't had any, a drop from a flask is enough to set you off.

Shame. Crumb was the only real reason to watch this serious. Now he's gone and we're left with petulant and whiny Tom; morose and boring Hal, and blackboard-fingernail Alex. Sigh. They could have done _great_ things with Crumb.

Surely the point of building up and killing off characters is to show how brutal and swift their world is? All these great characters are built and die (or leave) to show how exceptional the trinity really are. Although I could be wrong.

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