This review contains spoilers.
4.4 A Spectre Calls
Well, that wasn’t very good now, was it?
It’s a truth every Being Human fan knows only too well: throughout each and every series to date, there have been at least one or two genuine clunkers to offset the largely outstanding stuff. It was with something of a heavy heart, then, when the credits rolled on A Spectre Calls, that I realised Whithouse and Co. had failed to buck the trend this time round.
The first three episodes had delivered two pearls and one average-but-necessary series opener so perhaps I should have seen it coming.
Really, though, this has to be the worst episode since the horrors of series three’s Type 4. Where that outing was plain pointless, this was both pointless, and extremely boring to boot. Beyond delivering Annie’s big power reveal, can anyone honestly give a satisfactory reason for much of what happened here? I mean, if you’re going to send someone from beyond the grave to do the dirty deed on the war child, you could at least send someone credible, no?
Credibility is a sometimes questionable concept when it comes to fantasy, I understand that. But within the universe and rules that the show has built up to date, I simply refuse to believe that any of our beloved characters, particularly Annie, would have been taken in by Kirby’s creepy-but-nice shtick. Annie is naïve and a bit of a drip, we all know that, but she’s not a complete mug. While she’s had a tough time of it of late (is that a bit of an understatement?) it was simply a stretch too far for me to believe that she would have been taken in by Kirby. Without that credibility, of course, the entire premise of the episode falls down.
Kirby was, quite simply, a creep. I like James Lance, having admired his work in I’m Alan Partridge, but his portrayal here was too much of a cartoon villain to be believable as a shoulder for Annie to cry on. The voice, the smarmy smile; the undercurrent of a complete and utter bastard was laid bare for all to see. Apart from Annie, Tom and Hal, it would seem.
His manipulation of all three also lacked credibility. Tom is a young lad without a father figure, I get that, but I you’re looking to provide him with such, surely that figure has to be just a little bit likeable, rather than planting obvious seeds of doubt that anyone would spot a mile away. Hal had his number, and Kirby’s threats to shake him off the scent did at least make some sort of sense here.
Hal needs his routine, once more hammered home throughout the episode (it would be nice if future episodes weren’t quite so blatant about this, to be honest) and Kirby’s threat to his safe little world was troubling. However, I’m just not sure that it would have gone as far as that in the first place, as I can’t believe that Kirby would have been allowed to stay in the house for as long as he did.
But Nina sent him, right? Well, even if Annie had believed that to be true, she would surely be able to use her instincts a little better and not be quite so swift to tell her friends to bugger off at his behest?
Bringing back the Box Tunnel Massacre seemed a misstep, too. If we’re going to embrace this new version of the Being Human universe, which I’m all too happy to do, can’t we just put that to bed?
As far Annie’s big reveal, that really was something, wasn’t it? We’ve all predicted that she was going to break out the big guns at some point in this series, and it was worth waiting for. It’s just such a shame that it took a whole episode of guff to bring it to the boil.
I have little doubt that when we all look back on this series, this is the episode that, Annie’s freak-out aside, few of us will care to remember. The humour was there, the scares were there. Heck, even Damien Molony’s sweaty pecs were there. But the credibility most definitely was not.