What really happened at the end of the Being Human finale?

Feature Louisa Mellor 10 Mar 2013 - 23:00

We need to talk about what really went on in Being Human’s final moments. Spoilers and theories abound...

This feature contains massive spoilers for the Being Human series five finale. If you've yet to watch it, steer clear.

It was all going so well. The devil had been staked, the gang had become human, and Antiques Roadshow was just about to start on the telly. Then, in a moment of sheer wickedness, Toby Whithouse snatched it all away with a Dutch angle and some Japanese paper folding. After giving Being Human fans precisely the ending they’d asked for (sofa, teapot, humanity, antiques), Whithouse subverted the lot, showing us… well, what exactly did he show us?

Let’s return to the point when the diabolical Captain Hatch led Hal, Alex and Tom through the magical mystery tour of their non-cursed states. Back to full strength thanks to Tom waging bloody war on former best friend Hal, Hatch used his devilish magic to transport the trinity to a version of the world in which they were untroubled by their supernatural affliction. Pre-vamp Hal went back to sixteenth century Poland, not-dead Alex to a static caravan in Barry, and sans-wolf Tom to Honolulu Heights with his pregnant partner, Allison with two ls. “Is it a dream?” Tom asked, to which Hatch replied “Bit of a grey area that. Call it an alternative.”

Seemingly, the gang withstood temptation. Each in turn told the devil where he could stick his alternative, landing them back at the TV studio just in time for Rook and co. to sweep in and sweep up.

Two things require our attention at this point; the first, the origami wolf Hatch makes in Tom’s alternative, and the second, what Hal says to Hatch just before he beckons his vampire attacker.

We’ll start with the wolf. Blade Runner fans will note an homage in Whithouse’s use of an origami animal to pull the rug out from underneath his audience. A decade after the release of the 1982 noir sci-fi classic, Ridley Scott's Director's Cut included a final scene in which Deckard (Harrison Ford) discovers a paper unicorn in his apartment, a call-back to the animal that appeared in Deckard’s dream earlier in the film. The implication - anyone yet to see the film should look away now and get thee to a flipping Blockbusters before they all disappear - is that the unicorn-maker knew which animal Ford's character had dreamt of because Deckard was not human, but a Replicant with the concomitant implanted memories and dreams.

In Tom’s alternative world, Hatch leaves the folded paper wolf on the Honolulu Heights mantelpiece. Back in what we assume to be ‘reality’, after the chaos has died down and the trio are happy being, you know, human, what should be on the mantelpiece but that very wolf. The glimpse was a brief one, at the end of a shot that panned across a selection of objects each representing Honolulu Heights’ housemates (Mitchell’s fingerless gloves, George’s Star of David, Annie’s floral tea cup, Nina’s baby scan, Eve's bib, one of Hal’s dominos, the phone number Alex gave Hal in the café, Tom’s whittled bear and stake…).

Feeding the suggestion that all is not as it seems in the Being Human ending, is the camera tilt angle directors Philip John and Daniel O’Hara have established as one of Captain Hatch’s trademarks. We saw it when Hatch walked into Rook’s archive earlier in the episode, and we saw it again here. It was so brief that if you’d have got up to put the kettle on less than a minute from the finale’s end credits, you’d have tootled away whistling a happy tune, but there it very much was.

The wolf of course, is our Inception totem, the thing that tells us whether we’re in the real world, or a dream. What does it, and that camera tilt tell us? That the gang didn’t defeat the devil, that apocalypse reigns, and they’re living in a dream.

Whose dream is it? Tom’s would be the first thought, seeing as they’re still in twenty-first century Barry and specifically Honolulu Heights, but if that was the case, then where’s Allison? Here’s where the second thing we have to pay attention to comes into play: Hal’s words to Hatch before he chose to be cursed as a vampire.

In a move that would make even the shoddiest Bond villain put his head in his hands and sigh, just before Hal refused the devil’s offer, he uttered these words: “You know where you went wrong? You should have put us together. Everything is incomplete without them.”

You’d have thought Lord Harry would know enough about evil schemes to understand that telling your foe how to fulfil his diabolical plan isn’t the smartest of moves (though, to be fair, he was losing a good amount of blood at the time). By informing the devil he should have given them a shared fantasy, Hal may well have signed humanity’s death warrant. All signs point to the fact that the trio awakening at the television studio was a shared ‘alternative’ created by Hatch to occupy the Trinity while he got on with his one-man apocalypse.

The argument is strengthened by Hal and Alex’s exchange on the sofa, after she asks him what his Captain Hatch-directed dream was. “I told him he should have put us together, that it was incomplete without you two” says Hal, to which Alex replies, “Here we are”. Here they are indeed.

To sum up then, Whithouse went for double bubble with his finale. He gave Being Human fans the perfect happy ending we’d petitioned for, a suspiciously rose-tinted resolution, then revealed it was all a cynical lie. Probably. The devil was busy whispering in humanity’s ear while the gang watched telly in their shared dream. What was it Hatch said? “There’s no shame in living in a dream if it’s better than reality.” Let’s hope they never find out.

Read our review of the Being Human finale, The Last Broadcast, here.

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Perhaps it is reality (and Hatch had no chance but to accept his demise due to their refusal to consciously accept the deal), but Hatch put the origami figure there just to mess with them.

Killing the devil was far too easy, with the stake...

According to Toby Whitehouse's blog on the beeb, there was a deleted scene on what took place after the events of episode 6. It will be on the DVD so I guess that will explain what was that all about.

Noooooooooo!!!!!! Just for ONCE wouldn't it be nice for the devil NOT to win?! :-(

If you were to believe they are back in reality, then the Wolf is Tom's own creation. Tom was getting the Eliza Doolittle treatment from Hal and it's possibly he learnt origami and either (in cynical Being Human style) he felt incomplete without the wolf that had plagued his life so made it as a reminder of what he didn't have or he did it to remind him that he was the man who helped beat the Devil and was mocking Hatch's use of it (IMO to remind him of what he could finally get rid of if he picked the alternate reality). It could also possibly be a reminder of Hatch's words that we were his tribute act (spoken to humanity), our heroes often showed how much stronger they were than humans and how much more pure they were (Rooke especially). The wolf is a reminder that Being Human may not be all it's cracked up to be and the Devil's spirit may live on through humanity's flaws. 'I think I'm symbolic', could easily be a hint of what the Wolf is.
If however it is an alternative reality then it's possible that it isn't a shared one but purely Hal's. In otherwords, Hal is getting a human life while Alex and Tom are helpless to face the end of the world in a TV studio with their friend's body on the floor smiling thinking he's beaten their nemesis.
Personally I do subscribe to the it's all a dream and the Devil's won theory but equally I think it's open ended enough and not as case closed as it may seem. I believe it was Whithouse's intention for it to be taken as a dream but that's the beauty of open ended endings. They are open to intrepretation and like our heroes who could easily be intrepretated as monsters sometimes, that's why it was great.

Deviously crafted,incredibly satisfying resolution by the formidable Mr Whithouse.The ending really was what i wanted for the characters but the ambiguity will generate debate which will ensure Being Human is remembered as well as a convenient escape clause to continue,if there's any invitation or possibility.Loved the appearances from Gordon Kennedy and Louis Mahoney,I'm certainly going to be mourning this loss for a long time,congratulations and thanks to the cast and crew for the programme though.I definitely wish that i could spend more time with Alex,Tom and Hal.

Wasn't there also a baby scan picture on the mantlepiece?

How many TV shows have ended with the devil winning?

or make it even more confusing.

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I think the theory in this article is slightly wrong, I think they saved humanity but are sent to the same domain that the devil is now trapped in and now the devil has given them a fantasy together for a false sense of victory. he is going to play games with them and torment them (possibly butt rape them)

I think the theory in this article is slightly wrong, I think they saved humanity but are sent to the same domain that the devil is now trapped in and now the devil has given them a fantasy together for a false sense of victory. he is going to play games with them and torment them (possibly butt rape them)

Oops on previous post lol copy and paste is not a good idea without checking

Perhaps It could also be that Alex, Hal and Tom died during the ritual, and are in a shared afterlife, as well as the above conclusions. It's what made this show so intelligent and popular, and everyone is going to have their own opinion of it

The beauty of this ending is that it's completely open to interpretation. For the moment most people seem to be choosing either (1) The Devil is destroyed, all supernaturals are cured of their afflictions and Hal, Alex and Tom live happily ever after (perhaps Tom made the origami wolf himself to commemorate his past?), or (2) The final act of the episode was all still The Devil's fantasy world, and the real world is being ripped to pieces while Tom, Hal and Alex lay unconscious indefinitely.

However, I prefer the third option: That the ending happened for real, but the ritual actually did kill the three of them as was expected, and the final scenes are in their afterlives. Satan was defeated and our heroes are rewarded for their sacrifices in their own personal heaven, but supernaturals remain. Unless Toby Whithouse confirms otherwise, I think this is a neat compromise between the happiness of (1) and the hopelessness of (2).

Solar system has it right in my eyes lol they save the day and give up their souls to devil as the price. doesnt the devil say in the studio that they go back with him if the ritual is complete. Also he metions sunday school & god etc which could mean he will rise again in another 1000 years meaning he is not completely dead. so if he is sent to hell than hal, tom & alex r probably sent there too. which is the ultimate sacrifice for humans.

I'll subscribe to option 3. And it makes sense to me... Would the devil let the trio carry on happily? Doutful.

The trouble with this theory is, Hatch needed them to consent to their "alternative", he couldn't just zap them into another world and leave them there. He needed them to agree to stay there. They did not consciously choose the world we see in the end, so it is not the illusion.

Hal realised he was in a dream. So if tom sees the wolf he should remember? then wake up.

I loved the ending it leaves every idea open, yeah it's possible they beat the devil and without him their curses was removed and the world lives without the devil after all Hal, Tom and Alex do put out the fires. other fans get the idea the Devil won and cast them into a dream, and he continues his apocalypse, in truth I vouch for the devil death after all, why would the devil waste his time casting them into a dream when he could just kill them instead, regardless brilliant ending.

Is it possible that they have been "cured," but the wolf is a warning that the Devil may no longer have a human vessel, but he is still an active force in their world?

i love this last ever bit, it was complete inception & i did see most of it coming but the end loved. i only wish instead of her eating through half of barry she should have been in bed with Hal at least kissing him. (sigh) i would love to say it was reality but i too belive it was all a lie, no happy ending ever in Being Human loved every episode. i will miss it.

The stake was just the finishing touch, though. The hard bit was turning down everything the devil was offering and being prepared to sacrifice everything by going through with the ritual.

I was going full on for the Devils trick option at first, simply because the happy alternative (taking the origami wolf, say, as a nod to Hatch still being out in the ether somewhere, rather than *ahem* "proper dead") seemed just a bit too perfect and rosy. Thinking about it though, we were only seeing the first few days, and longer term how would Tom cope with a such a fundamental part of him being absent? Would Alex be able to tell her family she was back, but also leaving again voluntarily (and then there's all the other suddenly solid ghosts)? As for Hal, he's going to be in need of more therapy than anyone in the history of ever... So it's double edged either way, one option perfect but false, the other real but...troubled.

The last shot certainly seems to indicate something is up but I have a couple of problems with it all being a trick. The central theme of the episode seemed to be about resisting temptation and being prepared to sacrifice everything. It's a test all three of them passed. It seems dramatically unsatisfying for there not to be a payoff from that. There's also the question of if Hatch was able to trick them or overide them anyway then why bother with the whole temptation thing in the first place?
I was prepared for a dark ending but having the entire world destroyed while our heroes remain blissfully unaware seems a particularly bleak end especially in light of the show's theme that choosing to care matters. Kill them if you must but don't rob them of their choices.
In absence of any official explanation I think I'm going to choose to believe that they did succeed and I'll explain away the wolf by saying it was a parting shot from Hatch to plant a seed of doubt but without any real teeth,as it were.

The ritual didn't seem to work. Alex tried to drink the blood and it went on the carpet. Secondly, hatch said that if the ritual worked, they would all be die and be together into oblivion (hatch included). But that wasnt the case as they were all alive.

Origami apparently...

On the other hand that doesn't entirely explain the wolf and it's still a bit too neat so , after sleeping on it here's the revised version.

The trinity still have power to stop Hatch so he has to tempt them into giving in to him. When he fails to tempt them individually he tries a new plan. The return to the TV station is another of Hatch's alternatives; the temptation of victory without sacrifice.

He doesn't have the power just to trick them outright, he still has to get them to accept willingly but he doesn't exactly have to play fair either, which is why he shows up as rook to try to seal the deal.

The plan falls through when Hal realises Rook can see Alex and they enact the ritual anyway. Although it's not in "reality" the three are still prepared to sacrifice everything to destroy hatch so it still counts. He's defeated and the world is saved but our three don't return to it. They remain in Hatch's alternative world but his power over it is broken, they can start a new life here.
As endings go it's not the mega-happy version but it's not too shabby either.

That theory doesn't work though because the ritual was designed to destroy the devil, not to banish him somewhere.

It works if that's the afterlife, that the dream he showed them was in fact death - he had been tempting them with their own demise (which would be very much in character wouldn't you say?)

Most reality TV shows?

Alex said "here we are". Hal replied, "here you are"...... hmmmm

when Alex drank the blood,you saw the blood spill on the carpet,just like what always happens when she tries to drink stuff,it falls through her

For me,they are in alternate world,while the devil has his way with the real one

As well as Bladerunner i also saw Temple of doom(Alex on her hands and knees chasing after the blood,like Indy chasing after antidote,and Back to the Future when Alex's hand started to fade in front of her eyes)

can't believe this is the last series,it was a million times better than the last series(series 4 i mean)

Damn it - I had to stop reading as I have been lent the DVD of Blade Runner and have still not seen it. Will ahve to come back to this.

I think perhaps if it was your afterlife theory, where were the others? We could argue that none of those characters' ideas of a perfect afterlife would particularly include them, but I'd at least expect to see McNair popping up somewhere.

Or perhaps the significance of the mantelpiece items suggests that they are all still there, and they are all still in the world Hal, Alex and Tom are living in..whatever world that may be.

Agree with Paul Childs You are overthinking this far too much. That said.... It was a perfect ending because everyone gets the ending they wanted if they analyse it.

I like this theory but want to expand on it a little. Hatch only wins if they accept his terms and everything from the point at which they all return to the TV station is a construct. The wolf appeared in Tom's construct first and is a symbol of the fantasy world. If they'd beaten Hatch in their real world they'd be gone forever as that is an accepted part of the ritual. But they didn't beat Hatch in the real world, only in the construct which was all set up by Hatch - including his apparent death. If they had beaten him for "real" they would be gone and their fantasy world would also be gone because it is based and exists on a living world / reality. If that reality is gone then so must the fantasy.

So perhaps they are alive "somewhere" but their fantasy selves are still in the construct and given make believe rewards i.e they think they are now human / alive and continue to live together and are in fact happy in their fantasy world. Basically he's put them in limbo until they cotton on and zap themselves back to wherever it is they really are, while he gets on with his devilish business.

It is bleak but it does offer the prospect that they are still alive somewhere, though they probably aren't aware of their real selves (note they were all effectively in a coma before they were zapped back to the tv studio). What's happening to the real world is unknown. This is my preferred ending and I suppose it's fitting without being too sentimantal or brutal, but it's based on the fact I want another series and it would seamlessly have worked from that point and been within context.

Whithouse has also suggested that if we think he'd let the devil win after 5 series of suffering that we're mistaken and he's going to address it in the extra scene which I believe is set a few weeks after the final scene. This could mean that he has indeed let them win and that we're overcomplicating matters but it doesn't really make sense for a show that's been brave in the past to wimp out in the face of cuts. If you're going to go out then at least be true to the material and I hope he's done that.

Alex died due to vampires could it be that if they are now obliterated that she would in fact be alive again as the threat of that happening to her is over.

I think that was suppose to happen. Remember, Hal just dismissed it when Alex pointed out she couldn't drink. It went through a ghost, thats all that mattered.

Plus you had to get him out of a human form, then back in in his weakened state before the stake would have any effect. It's amazing how close defeating Saten is to turning him off and back on again.

Of course, he may not have played it entierly fair, being the devil and all. It's quite likely that when Hal told him he should have put the trio together, he simply replyed 'deal' and snapped his fingers off screen.

Just a further note.

I was bothered about the fact that they just seemed to be stuck in that fantasy house. In order for them to believe the fantasy it must be cerated to be consistent with what they thought was reality. They "think" they have defeated him and they discuss how Alex is going to handle the awkward discussion with her family (that she is not dead).

But she did die in real life and there is a coffin with her remains in it. That fact has to be a fact in the construct, because otherwise Alex would know it is different to how she remembered. So in her fantasy life she has to meet the family and together they have to go through the trauma that she is not dead etc *and whatever else the world / news make of it).

That in itself is not reasonable, since in reality no-one comes back from the dead, especially if their body is in a coffin and can be proven. I think this tells us that all 3 are being totally controlled by the construct / Hatch at this point in time, since they want to believe their final act was successful. Who would blame them?

can someone explain to me how Alex came back to life? she died from the result of vampires and became a ghost but does that mean all the ghosts have come back to life? Hal says that there curse were all from the devil but is being a ghost a curse by the devil?

And one further note :0)

Addressed to Chris and it relates to what can be considered trickery.

At the point where they initially confront Hatch at the TV station he is sufficiently rattled by them to take them away individually and offer them each a deal to get rid of the problem. If either accepts, it is binding. None accept, knowing deep down (at that point) that what they're seeing is make believe.

He doesn't have to offer them the same deal in the construct, since they don't know they're in it. That's either trickery or their own belief that deep down they want it to be true.

^This. The ritual was spiritual/symbolic, not biological. Alex didn't need to digest the blood and create a Devil-killing fart or anything; she just needed to show that she was united with the others and willing to sacrifice her existence. If it were biological, I'd expect Hal using another vampire's blood to work fine.

It's a moot point anyway. If the scene happened in reality, then we saw that the ritual worked. If it was only a fantasy, then they never really performed the ritual at all.

Hatch is The Prince of Darkness. I suspect he isn't above lying to people who are trying to kill him.

Well if it's a trick then just no, but if it's not, I guess it's less that she's come back to life but more that the form she has now human (so a step beyond Annie's series 2 solid period) her previous body would still exist, but it's an entirely seperate thing to her. As for ghosts being a curse from the Devil? I think that works; the whole "unfinished business" erm...business, and the men with sticks and rope (sad we didn't get to see more of them) do set ghosts apart as being tormented and cursed rather than just a natural part of death.

Well, if dead characters had turned up at the last minute that would have spoiled the ambiguity of the ending. Who's to say they didn't meet up off-screen?

Alternatively, what Tom, Alex and Hal arguably desired most was to live an ordinary (mortal) human life. The realisation that they had passed on (triggered by dead people arriving) might break this fantasy. This could be bad for Alex in particular, who would have to come to terms with the fact that she reconciled with elaborate puppets while her real family were still grieving.

I think the wolf on the mantle at the end is sufficiently different from the wolf that was folded by The Devil. This, to me, indicates, it was origami or some such.

I think I would agree with you if there was going to be another series. It would be a great cliff-hanger but I'm not sure it works as an ending. Yes, the series has never shied away from being dark but it's also been about the importance of choosing to care even when it would be so much easier not to.
Having them all die during the ritual would have been consistent with that theme but having them live on blissfully while the world is destroyed seems to say it was all for nothing. To have their will entirely over-ridden when they were prepared to sacrifice everything just seems like bad drama to me. It would be undercutting the entire series for the sake of a cheap twist and I find it hard to believe that's the intent.

I think it was a silly 'Blade Runner' type ending this sort of show did not need.

The whole point of this series from the start was 'trying' to be human. Not ACTUALLY being human. The whole idea that you cannot become human but wish to be so. Now they are all 'human' they do not need each other.

An odd ending for a show that went off the rails after the 2nd series.

P.S Why would Alex be alive now? Being a ghost is not a curse from the devil, she was killed. She should have just vanished or walked into her door or something.

A very rushed and pointless series. The only good thing about it was when Julian Barratt was in one episode. For once it went back to what it started as, fun!

I thought it was the angles that done nothing wrong and just happen to have a sob story or two tell the world about.

I believe it was Belarus, not Poland, where Hal was wounded?

I just thought the wolf on the mantel was the good old sign of like the villain saying "I'll be back!" but these theories are good! If they are in a dream in a way it leaves it open for the show to be revived perhaps in years time whether of not they'll use the [now] original trio, if they do stay with Hal, Tom and Alex then when they wake up from their dream they'll have to learn how to be human from scratch again

Anyone consider that maybe they did in fact die from the ritual, and that Hatch could be elsewhere in this limbo-type world? There was no strict rule that they all needed to be ever-present in the same spaces when the ritual was complete. I think that they are likely in limbo. The others (Mitchell, Annie, etc.) weren't there because they were not directly involved in the ritual. However, beloved momentums were still there because well, there's no real reason they shouldn't be. It could have simply been a way to give a touching goodbye to the series as a whole. Anyway, I loved the finale, am very sad to see the show end, and will happily continue believing they saved the world.

Or has anyone considered the fact that Tom wanted something of the wolf he'd lived with his entire life also of Mcnair and remembered the origami wolf Hatch made him? A trophy of some sorts as well as a reminder maybe?

Did not read your comment The PwnUltimate so now I feel a bit stupid but still that is how I feel.

I know - it's disappointing. I suppose this theory does fall in the middle of 3 possible outcomes. They either win and become human (or alive, which for me feels equally against what the show is about, or they lose and all die (they're already victims, so this also feels wrong), or they are in the construct but still alive in hte real world and still potentially in the fight. And I think I do prefer that because the fight should and probably will go on. We're not told anything about the real world while they're in the construct, so we don't know if Hatch is successful, just that there's been a problem and he's had to put them on lockdown if you like.

I have one problem and it's a minor gripe and pedantic, but I did groan at it. When Alex was zapped nside the coffin she was able to ghost through the wood and apprently upwards. So why did she have to resort to physically moving the soil and emerging zombie style? It's either a very bad mistake by the writers or a lack of budget for effects but it could have easily been edited to see her standing on the grave / walking away and would probably have been more effective.

I dont think its the same wolf at the end. The wolf that the devel set down looked like it was blank.

I thought Hatch had actually taken them to the real locations/time but that from this point on if they choose then things would be different. Remember Tom mentioning the vampires taking over the world. So I think that orgami has been their since that time in reality. They are now human again.

What you're all missing here is that the devil deceives. It's what he does. He tempted them all by offering them the chance to be human (again) and they all accepted his deal by choosing that reality. They chose to be human, they all told him that's what they were. The devils plan worked and he made them human. After all though does it really matter? Wherever they are lets just hope they're happy together. Gonna miss this show and it's fabulous characters.

remember, though, that in the first ritual of the Trinity, when Emil the ghost was drinking the vampire and werewolf blood, there was a shot of the blood dripping to the ground, just like when Alex did. this is some form of continuity and i've taken it to mean that somehow, the blood was meaningfully touched by the participating ghost.

Brilliant theories thank you.

I know that the ending was not the typical bleakness that characterized the show, BUT, my head, I see the wolf on the mantle to represent that Whitehouse KNEW he was mindfucking us all and had his fun...and I can live with that :)

Well constructed analysis. As an alternatvie to it though, the devil was properly killed as Hal said when they killed Rook when the devil came back to possess him. Remember 100 years ago, the didn't kill him, the ritual just sort of disabled him for 100 years and he escaped in Hatches body. Here, they killed him and its explained that all supernatural folks go back to being human now that the devil is truly dead.

The thing is that if you go with the biblical sense of the Devil is that the devil kinda represents free will. Therefore I don't believe that he would have hoodwinked them like I said in the biblical sense. Take for instance Adam and Eve the devil did not hoodwink Eve he just tempted her. I think that in this case the devil tried temtation and it failed so I think they really did save the world.

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