This review contains spoilers.
3.8 The Wolf-Shaped Bullet
Take a bow, Toby Whithouse. If the last 20 minutes of this final episode in the current run of Being Human doesn’t win the man an award or two, then the series will surely never gain the widespread recognition it so thoroughly deserves. Truly, I cannot remember being so engaged in a show as I was during this series’ climax. Edge of seat worn down and fingernails chewed to the bone, all my mouth could manage was a simple uttering of ‘Brilliant!’
A fair summation of the season finale, but one that hardly does it justice.
Following last week’s multiple cliffhangers, this final episode, as with most season endings, had a fine line to tread between tying up all the loose ends while also leading the viewer into a possible next series. It’s something Being Human has always achieved well in my eyes, but I’m not exaggerating when I say that this was, hands down, the best closing moments of television I’ve seen in a long time, certainly the best of the year so far. I’m slightly biased, of course, as I’m a huge Being Human fan, but to pull off a trick this confidentially, this successfully, deserves the highest praise.
Without going into it here through fear of dropping the biggest spoiler of them all, the genuinely jaw-dropping final scene was the masterstroke of the series. Did anyone see it coming? I certainly didn’t, despite the rumours doing the rounds on the web in recent months. A brave move too, and one that raises all sorts of questions as to how a fourth series would be handled, were it to go ahead. And on the evidence of how last night’s episode panned out, it certainly appears that Whithouse sees plenty of life in his creation.
On the blinding creative reach of this series, however, who knows what directions Being Human could take going forward. Think back to the pilot all those years ago, and how George’s story was the main focus. The series has come so far since then, with the expansion of the supernatural universe, the introduction of Nina, the ever-interesting vampire clans and the ‘old ones’, and Annie’s as-yet undiscovered powers. The material is so rich, and it has seemingly expanded throughout this series.
The latest development, which threatens to be the main focus of a fourth series, is the introduction of ‘old one’ Edgar Windham. With a look coming right out of the Godfather trilogy, and a delivery suiting the long tradition of the British villain, his entrance marked the beginning of the epic final third of the show. Tears a-plenty, high drama and a few shocks, Windham’s introduction took the show to a whole new level.
What makes this achievement all the more impressive is that the 40 minutes previous to this hadn’t been too shabby either. Taking full advantage of Herrick’s return to the bad old days, actor Jason Watkins chewed up the scenery. Whether saving Mitchell from the clink, antagonising him behind a locked cage, or sharing a quality moment in front of a sunset, Herrick’s presence brought an edge to the episode that few other characters outside of the core trio have managed over its three-series run. As for that sunset scene, was it just me or did it also bring back further memories of the Godfather films?
Herrick’s loyalty to Mitchell, and his to Herrick, nicely juxtaposed Annie’s blind love for Mitchell. Annie’s character has come under criticism from me at various points throughout this series, and her romance with the vampire with the greasiest hair in town has been a tough one to swallow at times.
How pleased I was, then, to finally witness a believable storyline for Annie that I could buy into. Yes, her undying love for Mitchell has led to all the chaos in this series, and had she been logical rather than follow her heart, there would be no threat of the world finding out about vampires, ghosts and werewolves.
But then love is a powerful emotion and it makes us all act in ways that surprise us. For Annie, that meant popping back over to purgatory to visit Lia, bringing the series round full circle. One great self-prophesising reveal from Lia later, Annie finally found out just how powerful a person she can be, turning Lia’s dark side around while finding her own backbone.
It sounds like there is more to come from Annie, if the BBC backs it, with Windham’s assertion that “There are going to be a lot more ghosts coming soon”. There was also talk, once more, about Annie not realising how powerful she was. If a fourth series is on the way, it seems that, at last, our Annie will receive the treatment she so truly deserves.
The final cliff-hanger from episode 7, Nina’s hospitalisation, was the only point of the episode that felt a bit rushed, a bit too neat. Still, it would have been harsh to end things any other way, I guess. As for the tale of McNair, I was delighted that son Tom was given once last chance to show what a badass he is – an entrance I’ll never forget.
So, for all this and the many more memorable moments I haven’t even mentioned yet – the highest quality writing (Lia’s rhymes in particular, plus another mention of The Real Hustle), Herrick’s unbridled anger at Mitchell from behind a cage, McNair’s letter – a round of applause for Toby Whithouse. Somehow, you not only bettered last week’s outstanding outing, but you absolutely smashed it out of the park.
Moreover, this third series has been, despite the odd misstep, a triumph. Taking the action to new heights, delivering some of the finest acting on British television, and generally creating a fascinating, diverse and witty supernatural universe that has held on to what has gone before, and yet also managed to offer lots of new and interesting directions to move into, it’s exceeded all my expectations.