Warning: this review contains spoilers.
4.2 Being Human 1955
Origin stories are often a cause for celebration and, as predicted in my review last week, Being Human Redux has begun in earnest with last night’s episode. If last week was all about putting to rest old friends, this week was all about setting up the future.
And very well handled it was, too.
Remember everything you first fell in love with about Being Human? Remember how George and Annie used to make you laugh and how Aidan Turner’s acting powerhouse used to regularly excite and captivate? Well, the good old days are back, on the strength of Being Human 1955.
In fact, I can’t remember the last time I watched an episode that fizzed with quite as much energy as this one. This was partly down to the filling in of the full back story of Leo, Pearl and Hal, partly the superb interaction between all five key characters, and partly the wealth of good humour on show.
Whether it was Annie’s non-too-subtle ceremony to try to save Leo, Tom’s downbeat sarcasm, or a focus group with a sticky ending, the writing was full of charm and the result was a show that portrayed real delight in telling its tale. The focus group scene in particular was joyous. Cutler is shaping up to be a key character, his throwaway attitude towards humanity, vampires and life in general providing one of the episode’s standout moments. Asking a scattergun bunch of humans how the sight of werewolves makes them feel was inspired scriptwriting, and also allowed Andrew Gower to, if you’ll excuse the rather obvious pun, sink his considerable acting chops into the role. The payoff of that scene, too, was adroitly handled.
Perhaps the other most memorable moment was the pawn shop showdown, giving Tom and Hal an opportunity to forge the beginnings of what promises to be an uneasy alliance. Damien Molony wears the face of a man who has seen and done far too much. He also wears a waistcoat well and delivers every line with a gravitas that lights up any scene he’s part of. It made perfect sense, therefore, to give him the one big, lengthy speech of the episode, simultaneously scaring the wits out of said pawn shop owner, while saving the poor wretch’s life in the process. Expertly timed and beautifully acted, this is a set piece that stood up well as the moment we were properly introduced to the slightly shifty, all too serious vampire. And it was a pleasure.
Hal’s backstory was fleshed out further with important insights into how he resists his pulsating, dangerous urges; who knew dominoes could be such a calming force? Rounding the episode off with a view of what Hal’s world is like when that routine is taken from him was a nice touch too, giving Molony his first chance to go all action man (“Jesus Christ” “Not quite”).
Of course, the moment that brought out Hal’s pointy teeth was the departure of Leo and Pearl, two fine additions to the Being Human universe. Pearl in particular was a firecracker and provided a worthy counterbalance to the emotional whirlwind that is Annie Sawyer. I’m genuinely sad to see her go, although it had to happen to bring balance back to the supernatural force.
Leo, too, was far more than just another werewolf added to the mix. His finest moment was arguably his reading of the list on how to handle Hal – “Keep him away from people, and Kia-ora.” Why Kia-ora? “We don’t talk about it.” Isn’t it nice to know that Being Human still has a great sense of humour?
If last week’s starter was a bit of a damp, overcomplicated squib with more questions than answers, this was an indication that the Being Human of the future has taken a moment to remember the best bits of its past. In doing so, it brought about a fine introduction to our new threesome, and reintroduced some of the energy that I felt was sorely lacking last week.
Finally, some of the show’s more vocal doubters should be, if not silenced, certainly a little quieter.
You can read our review of the previous episode here.