Wow. Just two episodes in and Being Human is already staking its claim as one of the series of 2010. If the first series was bold, it was still a little raw in terms of its production. It had that BBC Three feel: edgy, prepared to take risks.
For series 2, the risks are still being taken and this remains bold programming but it certainly doesn’t feel raw this time round. Hats off to the production team, then, as this second outing only furthered my opinion that this deserves to be aired on BBC Two rather than being hidden away on Three.
With the George situation out of the way last week, the bigger and, frankly, far more interesting plots surrounding our three main protagonists could now be explored and I was ecstatic about the way they have addressed the Annie situation. If last week’s episode saw her bumbling around the set doing her best Kate Hudson impression, this week’s gave Lenora Critchlow the dramatic storyline she so richly deserves.
Left in limbo at the end of series 1, the underworld wants her back – big time. Clearly pissed off that she has opted to maintain her contact with the human world, the attempt to bring her back to where she belongs was an ingenious, and at times hilarious, bit of work. Drafting in Sir Terry Wogan was a masterstoke, acting as conduit to Saul, not a nice man at all, as it turns out, who then attempted to shove Annie through the wrong door to the afterlife (mind you he was a bit pathetic at this so maybe the spirit world needs to pick its servants better next time round) after he had been convinced to take his own life by those ghostly television visions.
Bringing Annie back down to earth (as it were) with a bump and reversing her ability to interact with others was a move I think the show had to make to ensure she was more than just a comic and, at times, emotional foil for the others. I made no bones about how inept I felt the writers dealt with her in episode one. I’m happy to say that normal service now appears to be resumed.
Two other more interesting plots that episode 2 opened up were that of Professor Jaggat’s continuing monitoring of the house (without their knowledge, of course), leading to Nina’s brief encounter at the end of the episode (just when you thought she was out, they pulled her back in) and what is going to remain at the very heart of this series – the return of the vampires.
Mitchell’s world is beginning to get very complicated, indeed. Not only is he attempting to juggle his new-found lovelife while dealing with the trials and tribulations of his friends, he’s also now having frequent encounters with the likes of Ivan (superb in this episode, by the way) and getting knee-deep in the fallout of vampire attacks in Bristol.
Previously, this wasn’t so much of an issue as one of the coroners inside the hospital was helping to hide the lie, keeping the truth from a world that cannot know about the supernatural for its own sake. Now that coroner has listened to his conscience and there’s no escape anymore. Bit selfish of said coroner, if you ask me, but then he was a bit of an old fuddy-duddy with the most über-Scottish accent I believe I’ve heard on television for some time.
So, how to act when the lies are about to get exposed, particularly to the woman you’ve just started seeing? Fake a death and deport the killer to Brazil. Brilliant, and brilliantly executed, too. Aidan Turner really stood out in this episode as the marvellous actor he is, adding dramatic weight, a credible romantic interest and a smattering of leading man about him when necessary.
But what of George? After last week’s trip into the darker regions of his soul (and back again), how was he going to cope this week? Absolutely fine, as it happens, returning to the squeaky werewolf we’ve all come to love (or hate in many cases). No naked George in this episode, though, amazingly, so one presumes double the buttock exposure next week?
His role was that of comforter and shoulder to cry on this time round, supporting Annie in her battles and Mitchell in his cover-up attempts to save his killer friend. Russell Tovey was as solid as ever, neatly developing the real heart of George in sequences with Ivan and Mitchell along the way. How will he cope when he finds out what’s happened to Nina? We’ll see next week.
With intelligent, thoughtful plotting like this and all the high production values that accompany it, series two of Being Human could be a superb body of work. Hopefully, the standards set in this episode will continue.
Check out our review of the series opener here.