Phew. Just as I was beginning to think my second prediction in a week was about to be proven wrong, good old Russell Tovey flashes his arse with ten minutes to go. A fantastic scene too, if utterly unnecessary, as George finally got his end away – complete with howls, growls and biting – with nurse Nina. Playing it for laughs worked well, although I would be quite happy if Tovey could keep his admittedly pert bottom under wraps from now on. I very much doubt he will.
Sex too for Mitchell in this episode, albeit of a far less humorous variety as young vampire Lauren wrestled with her newfound lust for fresh blood. Blood bags won’t work, we discovered, as the need for it to come fresh from a body was made clear. Good job really, as I’d been pondering that one since the first episode.
No sex for Annie, although she did meet up with a fellow ghost – courtesy of Mitchell – and discovered all about why she was a ghost in the first place. Unfortunately, the show once again displayed its tendency for stating the bleeding obvious as the big reveal told us that fiancé Owen pushed her down the stairs, the violent little wretch he is. But then we all knew that since we clocked him in episode one, all shifty eyes and silly indie hair.
Mitchell’s assertion from the series opener that Annie was here because of something being unresolved too clearly pointed to something darker than simply taking a tumble, so while the episode appeared to suggest this was a huge surprise, it really wasn’t. Shame.
Far more interesting was the week’s new character, 80s-obsessed Gilbert. Showing Annie how to begin enjoying herself again, introducing her to the joys of Joy Division and the genius of Morrissey – and eventually revealing his love for her provided the episode with some truly touching moments, not least his own resolution and subsequent departing from the Earth through a newly-appeared door.
This was handled really well, Gilbert smiling as he saw what was waiting for him, Annie turning away so as not to see what was in store for her. Creative moments such as this have played a large part in this series so far – although last week’s vampire porn remains the pinnacle in this respect – and they lift episodes above what can prove, at times, to be a little ordinary.
The acting helps as well, the performances of Lenora Critchlow and Aidan Turner once more providing captivating viewing. Tovey returned to squeaky, screechy type this week after last week’s superb turn, which was a shame as annoying doesn’t begin to cover it when he starts down that particular acting avenue.
Worse, however, was the turn of Annabel Scholey as Lauren, phoning in a performance that became frequently annoying this week. Her role doesn’t help and I was glad she went back to Herrick by the episode’s end, already bored with her back-and-forth struggle to come to terms with her condition. It was made clear two episodes ago – why still focus on that now?
A rather limp episode then this week but I will forgive it as it’s the halfway point and the brief glimpses of episode four suggest it’s all about to kick off with the neighbours, plus Annie’s going to show off her new poltergeist powers. That’ll do me nicely. Keep George’s squeaks to a minimum and I’m golden.
Check out our review of episode 2 here.