This review contains spoilers.
3.5 The Longest Day
John Mitchell is, surely, one of television’s finest supernatural creations. Grubby, domineering and never less than mesmerising, he and his kind elevate Being Human to the giddy heights it is capable of reaching, tonight’s episode being a prime example.
We all knew Herrick was making a comeback, but who knew it would be treated in such a unique way as this? You could argue that it’s a bit of a cop out to have Herrick losing his mind, but then there’s plenty of ambiguity in ‘Uncle Billy’, leading viewers to wonder just how much he’s letting on.
One thing’s for sure: the Box Tunnel massacre is up from the floorboards and out of the bag.
There are two schools of thought on Herrick’s uncovering of the mass of newspaper clippings that a tortured Mitchell has been collecting. On the one hand, it’s an honest, genuinely frightening discovery that just happens to have led, next week, to the police coming to visit the little town of Barry. On the other, Herrick knows exactly what he’s doing, realising that the best way to destroy someone like Mitchell is to take away everything he holds most dear, to destroy all that makes him human.
Without his friends, Mitchell would be nothing, and this was most apparent in the unexpected smackdown between him and George. Perhaps more unexpected was that George has a heck of a right hook on him, even without a full moon backing him up.
The tender moments that followed, with George pledging his allegiance to his family-to-be, but making it clear just how much his relationship with Mitchell meant to him, were nicely played. A lovely scene, and one that presented a welcome break from the doom and gloom surrounding the episode.
Most of that was down to Mitchell’s anguished soul. Seemingly hell-bent on breaking up his relationship with Annie, George and Nina all at once, he was aggressive towards Nina, cruel towards ‘dog’ George and downright awful towards poor, good-natured Annie. Obviously, we all know the reason behind his mood swings. By the show’s end, so did Nina.
Was Mitchell wise to keep his clippings under a loose floorboard? Probably not, to be honest. A safe? Sure. In an old sock down the back of his wardrobe? Perhaps. But under a squeaky, easy to lift floorboard? These vampires could do with more smarts, really.
I’m delighted that the writers have brought this into play now, though. With three episodes to go, it seems that an awful lot of plot points are about to collide, as Mitchell’s dirty little secret is sure to find its way to Annie and George, while the potential for Barry’s residents discovering that there’s nothing natural about any of them is always there.
As for George and Nina’s baby, all seems well, thank goodness. How will Nina cope with this new found knowledge, though? Will she tell Mitchell she knows? How will he react? All questions that deserve answers, and I’m sure we’ll get some.
I’m also hopeful that we’ll get another face-off between the two, as the one in tonight’s outing was pure drama, the two actors showcasing how strong the show’s acting is, generally.
Herrick’s future seems uncertain. Having convinced, intentionally or otherwise, Nina to call the police, he also tried to unsettle Annie, unsuccessfully, as it happens, as a new, tougher ghost emerged throughout the episode, helped along the way by Mitchell’s earlier chastising.
It does seem that he wants to get under the house’s skin, though, and there are other questions raised by his reappearance. How did he end up in Barry? How come he turned from a fruitcake into a wily so-and-so, without anyone realising?
More importantly, how did he survive George’s head ripping? Viewers know the basics, of course, but Mitchell wants all the details, his own imminent ending preying heavily on the mind.
The episode largely hung on the strength of social worker Wendy’s visit, which played out rather well. Actress Nicola Walker played it for laughs just as much as the rest of the cast, and fitted in rather well as a result. And while there were some moments requiring the suspension of disbelief, Nina’s takedown of her was pure TV gold, although the show’s increasing reliance on overacting the comedy still grates from time to time. Speaking of which, didn’t George have a particularly squeaky outing?
In the end, The Longest Day set things up very nicely for what is shaping up to be a fast-paced, multi-faceted finish to the series. Roll on next week…
Read our review of episode 4, The Pack, here.
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