Monstrously Good

9 Mar

I was worried that series 2 of Being Human had taken it to a place so dark, it would stub its toe and fall over trying to get back out. That worry has been simultaneously destroyed and replaced, and explaining why will mean this post contains spoilers for the most recent episodes of series 3.

Mostly it was all Mitchell’s fault. It wasn’t inconceivable that he’d go off the rails (hyuck hyuck) at some point, but the sheer extremity of his breakdown – brutally murdering twenty randomers, then leaving more than a couple of the bodies in outright humiliating positions – put me in a difficult place as far as enjoying his presence was concerned. The best part of Being Human has always been the casual manner in which jokes are mixed in with the constant sense of impending death/kidnapping and torture at the hands of a retired Vince Cable lookalike, but as I’m sure we’ve all had firsthand experience of, it’s hard to laugh when there’s a remorseless serial killer in the room. Happily, though, remorseful to the point of spending every episode thus far barely concealing his terror at the prospect of retribution. Neither flippant enough to be unlikable nor guilt-wracked enough to lose the kind of simmering menace that Aiden Turner exudes so well, Mitchell has successfully walked the line this series, so I’m glad to have him back. While he lasts, anyway – I don’t believe he’ll come out of this Sunday’s finale still breathing, but I’ll get to that later.

Annie, meanwhile, is still a joy to watch. She hasn’t had the chance to partake in anything as simply brilliant as the chair fight/telekinesis scenes from the back end of series 1, but she seems a bit more proactive in general, and that’s always good for a major character. I still don’t entirely buy her piss-easy rescue from purgatory, if only because what we saw of it in the first episode (a hallway with an unsecured white room at the end, where people in the same boat as Annie can evidently come and go as they please) doesn’t match up with the miserable Hell Lite we glimpsed in the pre-series buildup shorts. Still, she’s delightful, and I love how even with her bizarre Mass Effect-esque inter-species romance with Mitchell she gave him the hard time he clearly deserves when he got caught.

George and Nina haven’t changed: still funny, pregnancy a concern but I’m too convinced the baby is doomed to figure how it might affect the future. What, then, of Herrick? For the most part he’s been truly pathetic – if it does turn out he was feigning ignorance all along (so a popular forum theory goes), I’ll be as surprised as Nina would be. Whether that’s down to Herrick’s performance skills or those of Jason Watkins, I’m not sure. His composed, almost understated (except for the pile of bodies) return to vampiric form isn’t unexpected – nor is the death of the barely-developed detective at his hands – but very, very welcome. Kemp couldn’t compare to Herrick in the villain stakes – not in abilities, not in power, not even in creepy facial expressions – and with just one episode left and without any prior knowledge of his greater plans, he’s all the more threatening.

In many ways, series 3 has been the best yet. Which is why I’m genuinely scared that this is the last we’ll see of Being Human. Mitchell has to die – it’s the only decent tradeoff for all he’s done – and while I like the guy enough to tolerate a cheap bring-them-back plot device (I call this kind of futile hopefulness for a character revival ‘Wash Syndrome’) it’s doubtful they’d basically do the same to Mitchell what they did to Herrick at the end of series 2 and Annie at the start of series 3. Besides, Turner is off playing a dwarf in The Hobbit. As far as I know nothing’s been decided with the Beeb, and Toby Whithouse could still surprise me, but I’m not quite ready to let go just yet.

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