This review contains spoilers.
5.3 Pie and Prejudice
With only a few more episodes to go until the grand finale of Being Human, new information of the show’s cancellation will almost certainly affect viewers’ opinion of the remaining hours. This week, we solidify the relationship between Hal, Tom and Alex even more, with the trio justifying their co-habitation in a way that’s been missing somewhat. They don’t have to stay together just because that’s what worked for Mitchell, George and Annie, but Alex convinces her housemates to hang about and be part of something for her sake.
It’s one of those Being Human episodes that has the individual cast members spend time with their own species, with Hal introducing Alex to a ghost friend he’s been visiting for over two centuries, and Tom meeting a fellow werewolf at work. Tom’s storylines have always been about his insecurities and the people that prey on them, and this time it’s no different. Larry (played by The Mighty Boosh’s Julian Barratt) sees Tom’s innocence and eagerness to succeed coming a mile off, and takes the opportunity with both hands.
It kicks off when we find out Hal has been given the manager’s position at the hotel, and it’s causing a bit of a power-struggle between the boys. Tom wants to be a success so that McNair could be proud of him, but Hal is just naturally better at most things. Larry, told about Tom’s sweet set-up in a home where his condition is accepted, tries to muscle in on his living arrangement, his job, and his good will, and it’s sad to see yet another character come in and take advantage of him. We saw it last year and the outcome was largely the same – he knows that Hal and Alex are there for him, but his inferiority complex can sometimes take over.
Alex, on the other hand, is excited to hear that Hal knows another female ghost that she can hang out with. Initially appearing like the prim and proper lady she died as, we soon discover that two centuries of trashy magazines, telly-watching and the guests passing through her museum have made her into a thoroughly modern woman. With Hal worried that Alex would corrupt his friend, she informs him that it could well be the other way around. The lies have been spreading on both sides for centuries, however, as Mary is convinced that she was Hal’s last victim, and is turning down doors so as to keep him clean forever.
When these secrets are finally revealed, things come to a head, and Mary’s not-unreasonable reaction to stake her former confidante is barely avoided. The point of this episode was presumably to demonstrate how essential the three housemates are to each other their survival but, with the message having been sent loud and clear over the last five years, it’s seems a little redundant. The fact that they need each other to stay human is taken for granted at this point, so there’s no real peril to Tom briefly taking up residence in the woods. For fans of the character, it’s a heartbreaking side-note, but he doesn’t really seem to have grown from the experience.
For example, now it’s Hal who is taking advantage of his friends’ naivety, and he lies to save his own skin all over again. Knowing that his violence towards Larry was a result of seeing his friend so hurt almost justifies his actions for the audience, but I doubt Tom and Alex will feel the same way. It does give Rook something to do next week, at least, as Hal calls him up for a bit of freelance supernatural cleaning. I don’t doubt that Rook and his fellow cleaners will be joining the main crew for whatever showdown lies at the end of the road, so his suicide attempt being interrupted wasn’t a huge shock.
There was no Hatch in this episode, but the group are both coming together and splitting apart. It might be a little predictable for Hal to be the one falling off the rails (wouldn’t it have been more interesting if the events of this episode did the same for Tom?), but I’m sure the writers have something special in store for what will be (sob) Being Human’s final series. I’ll see you next week as the countdown continues.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, Sticks and Rope, here.
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