Views from the Stalls and Views from the Sofa - My reviews and thoughts on all things theatre and television. Follow me on Twitter @LikeTheMonth_

Monday, 14 February 2011

Being Human Series 3 Episode 4 - The Pack - Review

What’s the Story?
George and Nina seek out fellow werewolves McNair and Tom, hoping to find out whether their baby will survive Nina’s impending transformation.  Mitchell’s paranoia about Lia’s ‘wolf shaped bullet’ prophecy causes him to take drastic measures to try to rid himself of vampire hating McNair, while he and Annie discover the difficulties of a relationship with a ghost.
What’s the Verdict?
Well, frankly, I’m not quite sure where to start. Being Human, I love you. ‘The Pack’ expertly wove plot threads from the previous three episodes, creating a potent mixture of love, laughs and lycanthropes that amounted to the strongest episode of the series so far and one of the best hours of television I have seen for some time.  It was funny, heartwarming, touching, dramatic, mysterious and genuinely horrifying, with an epic final ten minutes that felt more akin to a series finale. 
An opening flashback to a long haired McNair and young Tom implied that Tom had indeed been born a werewolf but of course nothing is ever as it seems.  Robson Green gave a brilliant performance as the tough, brittle yet bizarrely (and quite charmingly) chivalric McNair, who had told the young and naive Tom that he was born a wolf, his mother was killed by vampires, there is a werewolf pack and a story about three little wolves and a big bad pig (just genius).  Upon seeing scars on Tom’s back, Nina became suspicious and ultimately unearthed the truth, that McNair had killed Tom’s real parents, scratched him as a baby and brought him up as his own.  Nina has such a strong moral compass, things are right or wrong in her world and she didn’t hesitate in telling Tom the truth.  I get the feeling the writers are reminding us of this trait to Nina’s personality to foreshadow her reaction when she discovers Mitchell’s big secret. 
Speaking of which, Lia’s ‘wolf-shaped bullet’ prophecy continued to haunt Mitchell, and despite his bravado he was clearly unsettled by McNair.  Unsettled enough to return to the home of Richard and Emma Hargreaves, last seen in Episode 2 issuing a threat against George and Nina.  As vile as they are, the Hargeaves’ are brilliant creations I was pleased to see return. 
Meanwhile, Mitchell and Annie experimented with how to have a physical relationship, leading to Annie’s production of a ‘sex list’, which was both cringeworthy and hilarious.  Annie encouraging Mitchell to pick up another woman, Sadie, in a club, so she could feel him through her, led to one of those scenes you can’t imagine in any show but Being Human, managing to be funny, scary and just downright weird all at the same time.  I have written my reservations about Mitchell and Annie as a couple in previous reviews, but the scene on the staircase was so sweet and touching.  If I had one minor criticism it is that we know Mitchell has had loving relationships before and some of what he said here didn’t quite tally, but Crichlow and Turner were so good that it was the first time I really believed in the relationship and I am now rooting for them to stay together. 
Then came the final ten minutes.  From the moment the vampires started circling George, Nina and Tom in the woods, the tension ramped up to almost unbearable levels and I can’t remember the last time I saw a more dramatic and heartstopping ten minutes of television.  The return to the cage was horrifying, the terror was written all over the faces of our heroes and I was genuinely on edge of my seat. 
This episode was so wonderfully written, it took all the seeds that had been planted throughout the series and went in a direction I absolutely was not expecting.  I suspect most of us thought we would see the cage again, but personally I thought it would be the series finale and in very different circumstances.  Just when you think you know where this show is going, the writers throw such a massive curveball that it is dizzying and really quite thrilling for the viewer.  This did seem like the closing of this chapter of the series, but Green and Michael Socha have more than made their mark in a small period of time and I would love to see them return.   
And as one chapter closes, another opens.  Just as we thought we could pause for breath, the final scene re-introduced the man we have been all been waiting for.  It’s Herrick! And not the Herrick we know. 
After such a barnstorming episode a week seems far too long to wait for the next installment and if the rest of the series matches the quality of ‘The Pack’ we are all certainly in for a treat.
Best Scene
Tom breaking into Honolulu Heights and his ensuing fight with Mitchell was brilliantly done, the hand held camera gave the scene a frantic, desperate feel fully capturing the emotion of the characters.  However, just when I thought that couldn’t be topped, we returned to the cage.
The idea of having the four werewolves transform together was great in itself but factor in the tension and terror of the cagefighting scenario and you had the most gripping scene of the series so far. Tom’s noble and brave suggestion that Nina could kill him to ensure she survived was a touching moment amidst the chaos and it was wonderful to see McNair, Mitchell and even Annie throwing everything at the vampires to save their friends.  The wolf effects seem even better than ever and this was an instance where the performances, writing, direction, music and effects all came together to create a truly stunning piece of television.  Bravo everyone!  
Best Lines
George: What you doing?
Annie: Ventriloquism!  - Worst attempt at a cover up ever?
George : I’m gonna have to teach them how to play football.  I’m gonna have to learn how to play football.    George on being a father.
Richard : You’re mongrels took away our boy, they humiliated us in our own home.
Emma : Dinner party ruined. – I know they are vile, sadistic racists but Richard and Emma do make me laugh.
Annie : Look, my first boyfriend took naked pictures of me while I was asleep and put them on the internet.  My second boyfriend got drunk and asked my Mum for a threesome.  My third boyfriend pushed me down the stairs and killed me! So I think a vampire’s pretty much marriage material given my track record.
George:  What about Gina? It’s a combination of George and Nina.
Nina: Well, it’s better than Norge   - I love Nina and her deadpan sense of humour.
Mitchell: I’ve got your back Digby  - Mitchell saving McNair!
Annie :  Will you stop being so bloody Cranford about everything, I’m dead already!
Annie: Lovely bra!
Annie: He’s quite intense!  -  Annie was on fantastic form this episode!  
Is Nina still pregnant? Now we know Tom wasn’t born a werewolf what does it mean for their little hairy baby? Will we see McNair and Tom again? Just who/what is the wolf-shaped bullet? Richard says the Old Ones are unhappy with Mitchell and retribution is coming from overseas.  What did he mean? How much longer can Mitchell keep his big secret? Just what is wrong with Herrick? I know I absolutely can’t wait to find out!
Tune in Sunday nights, 9pm on BBC3 to find out, check out the Being Human blog at  for chat and and behind the scenes videos and follow @bbcbeinghuman @russelltovey and @sineadkeenan on Twitter!

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