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Monday, 31 January 2011

Being Human Series 3 Episode 2 - Adam's Family - Review

What’s the Story?
In the second episode of the series we are introduced to teenage vampire Adam and themes that vary from unconditional love to sexual perversion! George and Nina take it upon themselves to act as surrogate parents to Adam, becoming embroiled in the vampire underworld once again.  Meanwhile, Annie becomes Mitchell’s self appointed guardian angel and helps him get a job, all the while unaware of Mitchell’s inner turmoil following last weeks prophecy. 
What’s the Verdict?
The series arc takes a back seat this week and instead we have our first stand-alone episode of the series.  After last weeks barnstorming opener I think this second episode was always going to feel calmer and while it’s true that the WOW factor wasn’t as present this week, it is only when sitting down to write this review that I realised just how much the episode managed to cram in. The first twenty minutes of this episode was almost purely played for laughs until of course, as is typical of Being Human, the emotional punch came.
The opening scene provided a surprise, showing as it did the lengths a parent would go for their child. Craig Roberts made a huge impression as vampire Adam, 46 years old but with the body, manners and sense of humour of a particularly puerile teenager.  I have to admit, I was finding Adam quite unlikeable and knowing he was the feature of web spin off ‘Becoming Human’ I was worried.  I should have had more faith of course, because the scene where Adam witnessed his father dying stripped back all of the characters bravado and I immediately began to empathise with him and how he had lost everyone in his life. 
The introduction of Adam allowed George and Nina more scene-stealing opportunities as they were introduced to vampire duo Richard and Emma Hargreaves and their somewhat unconventional methods of containing their blood lust.  I want to take this opportunity to say how refreshing it is to see a nurse on television who actually really cares about the welfare of her patients . Ok, so I know that this week she was running around corridors like it was an episode of Doctor Who and at one stage abandoned the hospital altogether, but ultimately Nina does seem like a consummate professional and her caring and protective nature is really coming to the fore this series.  I thought George and Nina’s reactions to Richard and Emma’s macabre world were perfect and it’s amazing how affronted racism makes me, even when it’s vampires against werewolves (getting them to sit on newspapers was cruel but I have to say it was a nice detail and further evidence of just how well thought out this world is).  It was touching that George and Nina were genuinely prepared to take on Adam as their surrogate son and the determination they showed in rescuing him. 
Meanwhile, Annie had appointed herself Mitchell’s guardian angel and decided her first task was to help him find a job.  Annie seems a little in denial about how much her time in purgatory has affected her, she is attempting to carry on as normal but seems more insecure and is clinging to Mitchell, who is himself trying to deny his feelings for Annie.  Some of the dialogue between these two this week was wonderfully sparky and creative, the interview and reference scenes were hilarious and it was nice to see our brooding vamp get to flex his comedy muscles a bit more.  
 After I posted last weeks review I remembered lots of things I hadn’t written about, the biggest of course being Mitchell and Annie as a couple.  At first I wondered how on earth I could have forgotten about that, but on reflection I think it may have subconsciously been because I hadn’t quite made my mind up about them yet.  After this week I have to admit I am still sitting firmly on the fence with this one.  I love Annie, I love Mitchell and I do like the idea of them being together, I do recognise that they have great chemistry and that there has always been something between them.  They clearly have feelings for each other and possibly even love each other,  they bring out the best in each other and as this weeks sweet scene by the beach showed, they in many ways need each other.  However, this show started out as a flatsharing comedy drama between three friends, my concern is for the direction of the show if it becomes about two couples.  We all know that this is a drama and couples can rarely remain happy for long, otherwise it just isn’t as interesting any more.  We have witnessed George and Nina meet, fall for each other and go through just about the biggest trauma a couple could endure together but now, though I’m sure they’ll still have plenty of trials and tribulations, they feel like a solid partnership.  With Mitchell and Annie, however good I think they could be together, I can never shake the feeling of impending doom.  You just know that Mitchell can never be truly happy and I’m not sure I can handle the relationship angst and the heartbreak along the way! If anyone can make this relationship work though it is Toby Whithouse and the Being Human crew and I do look forward to seeing how the relationship progresses whilst hoping that Annies heart can remain unbroken!  
To summarise then, this was a solid (if a little strange!) stand-alone episode of Being Human packed full of comedy, quips and craziness whilst managing to balance a story of unconditional love, loss and family at its heart.  George and Nina continue to be a revelation with question marks still hanging over the relationship of Mitchell and Annie, much as it pains me to say it. 
As the series progresses I hope we shall see a bit more of the awesome foursome interacting together and coping with the mundanities of life.  As entertaining as it was to see George and Nina take on a horde of kinky vampires, it wasn’t exactly a representation of everyday human existence!  With George and Nina forming such a formidable double act, the friendship of George and Mitchell hasn’t had much airtime yet.  These are not necessarily criticisms, more observations on the series so far and things I hope will be explored more in future episodes.
Best scene
A very tough one this week, Mitchell’s interview was wonderfully scripted, acted and was laugh out loud funny but I think I have to give it to George and Nina’s rescue of Adam.  I do love a bit of continuity and this was a lovely bit of continuity here, with George bursting to the rescue, being simulatenously heroic and ridiculous but with a plant instead of a chair this time.  George bless him still doesn’t seem to have gotten rid of the whole ‘gay ninja’ vibe but put it this way, I really don’t think I’d want to mess with Nina, especially not when there’s blunt household implements lying around!
Best Lines
Annie : That reminds me I have to iron your free paper.
Mitchell: Why?
Annie: I’m not quite sure but I saw it on House of Eliot.  – For anyone that has seen House of Eliot!
Mitchell: I saw that Jeff Goldblum film ‘The Fly’ last night, left me completely paranoid.  It’s all in the delivery!
Mitchell: Oh God
Annie: Don’t say god she might be religious!
Mitchell: SHIT
Annie: God was better.
Richard Hargreaves:  ’So this is what all the fuss is about.  I expected some demon and what do I find? The last Russell Brand in the shop.’ 
Annie : I do not like a bit of fang! Not his fang...or anyone elses.  You know I'm not ruling it out, if the right fang came along but I haven’t even thought about all....for ages. 
Nina : ‘’re chitchatting...with a gimp.’
George: WHO WANTS SOME OF MY PLANT’ – A wonderful callback to Series 1! 
Richard: I bet you didnt even wipe your feet!
George: No, but we’ll wipe them on the way out’
Nina:  If I wasn’t holding this I would totally high five you’ – Nina really was on brilliant form this episode!
Emma Hargreaves: Adam for gods sake drink the man’s  blood and have sex with me on the  billiard table, you’re embarrassing us!

Questions:  Richard dropped a little hint to George and Nina about Mitchell’s massacre, when will they find out and what will happen when they do?  Will we see Richard again or was his parting shot just an empty threat? Mitchell has started hearing voices through the TV like Saul, is it really happening or is it a vision in his head? Whose bloody hand appeared in the final shot?  When will we see McNair and Tom again? Oh and when will we see the return of Herrick, resurrected at the end of Series 2?

Leave a comment below withn your thoughts on the episode and tune in Sunday nights, 9pm on BBC3, check out the Being Human blog for chat and behind the scenes videos and follow @bbcbeinghuman @russelltovey and @sineadkeenan on Twitter!

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