Heck, this is frustrating. One week Annie is given a really juicy, absorbing plot, the next she’s handed a throwaway, self-contained storyline that has almost no bearing on the series whatsoever.
Following the, frankly, now pointless pub interview episode, she was this time left holding the baby. Literally. I understand that this was intended to show how much she has missed out on in life as she was taken from this earth so young and that here was an opportunity to feel human, to act human, again but, in truth, it made for several utterly forgettable scenes.
Some clever ideas aside (ghost babies need the room to be cold and not warm, scary ghost stories make them happy rather than fairy stories and nursery rhymes) lingering scenes of Annie shushing the little fella (very cute he was, by the way) and attempting to look after him were ultimately rather slight emotionally, leading to the conclusion that Annie’s distress by the episode’s end felt a bit disingenuous.
Perhaps it’s the nature of how the show has persistently short-changed the character, giving her several weekly, and weak, plotlines rather than a broader story arc ala George and Mitchell. The result has been many rushed plots, unbelievable consequences and a character that has frequently become little more than a comedy foil and a token female to the show.
I was concerned as to how the show’s writers would act now that Annie’s door was closed and on this evidence they don’t hold her in the same regard as the other two housemates. Shame.
George, too, has suffered from some uncharacteristic behaviour of late, not least his extremely rapid move from old love of his life, Nina, to the new love of his life, Sam, complete with rude daughter Molly in tow. This can be excused, though, as he’s been going through some issues of late, not least last week’s failed attempt to cage the beast inside.
Naturally, he’s lost his teaching job after the beating, but he hasn’t lost his desire to move on and live a normal, human life. Perhaps his tale of trying to be human is the most compelling of all this series as for the bulk of the month, he is just like us. So, he can go out and find a job, make new friends, start new relationships.
It’s all been handled well thus-far too, even though I do worry that at times his irrational behaviour does strike me as being very un-George like. This was evident in his decision to ditch Mitchell over his new woman, dismissing his friend’s concerns a little too easily for my liking, and while I understand that events like this are happening to move the story on at pace, I would have preferred a building sense of disquiet between the pair that could make me believe this split more. As it is, I didn’t really buy it.
Had it not been for the treatment of Mitchell in this episode, it would have been a bit of a stinker. As it happens, his story continues to be a gripping, superbly acted slice of television. If Aiden Turner doesn’t receive tons of acting offers after his performances so far in this series, there’s something very wrong with the world. He has that star quality look about him: his striking, troubling frame, those piercing eyes and a delivery that captivates.
Given more screen-time than at any other point in the series, thanks to several lengthy flashbacks detailing how, in the 60s, he spared a woman’s life while trying to kick the blood habit for the first time, he lifted the episode. Juxtaposed with his present day attempts to stay clean, much to the annoyance of Constable Wilson, this detailed exploration into Mitchell’s own internal demons has been on the cards for a while now.
Mitchell’s juggling an awful lot of balls in the air and they were bound to come crashing down at one point, which they did in spectacular fashion with the killing of Wilson following his demands that Mitchell off a paedophile to do the police a favour. Bloody and horrific, it nearly matched the glorious opening scenes of the results of Mitchell’s bloodlust in the 60s, played to a brilliant, cheery 60s soundtrack. It brought back memories of American Psycho for me and proved to be another master-stoke for this generally brilliant second series.
Mitchell also let the cat out of the bag to Professor Jaggat, aka Lucy, although I was surprised at his nonchalant acceptance of her admitting that she knew he was a vampire. Surely, he would have had a few questions to ask at that point himself?
The scene with the stake in the bedroom – very reminiscent of Basic Instinct – was quite ridiculous, too. Is Mitchell really that deep a sleeper? Would anyone really have just left the stake on the bed afterwards in case Mitchell woke up? This scene could have been handled far more subtly than it was and it ended up looking rather silly.
If I’m too critical of this episode, it’s only because we’ve been used to watching such high quality so far that any dips in form are all the more noticeable. This was only just above average on the whole, and that was thanks to Mitchell’s evolving story, plus the return of the brilliant Herrick, but the insistence to treat Annie so shabbily is starting to grate.
Here’s hoping this is rectified next week.
Check out our review of episode 4 here.