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, 7 February 2011

Being Human Series 3 Episode 3 - Type 4 - Review

What’s the Story?
Out on one of her ‘midnight rambles’ Annie is chased home by zombie Sasha and the gang have to work out what you do with a dead body that is still very much alive...and decomposing!  The Box Tunnel 20 continue to hang over Mitchell like a ticking time bomb and the appearance of his number one fan Graham doesn’t help.  Meanwhile, Nina has some big news for George and Annie and Mitchell? They kiss!
What’s the Verdict?
In a show with vampires, werewolves and ghosts it was perhaps only a matter of time before we were introduced to another ‘supernatural’ being and a zombie seems like an excellent choice! Being Human likes to put its own stamp on common themes and ideas and so gone are the stereotypical lumbering zombies, feeding on the flesh of others.  Instead we have Sasha; drunk, aggressive, loudmouthed and exactly the kind of person I would do my utmost to avoid in life! As with last week, we are introduced to a rather unlikeable character who is humanised and fleshed out (pun most definitely intended!) throughout the episode thanks to a brilliant performance from Alexandra Roach.  Sasha’s story takes up the bulk of the episode and I feel is the first to really make good use of our new B & B location.  It allows each character more time and space to interact and the idea of them running a ‘supernatural hostel’ is something I’d quite like to see!
Annie’s initial dislike of Sasha (competition for Mitchell!) gives way to a sympathy and a strong desire to help when they discover that the zombies have been created when Mitchell crossed into purgatory to save Annie, thereby rendering The Door ‘engaged’.  This was an interesting and unexpected development that explained why we hadn’t seen zombies before but it is one of those plot points that I suspect will lose credibilty and logic the more you think about it, so perhaps needed a little more explanation.  The idea of humans experimenting on the zombies was another interesting concept that was not really explored here, introduced purely to engender sympathy with Sasha and then dropped, perhaps rightly, when it no longer impacted upon her story. 
Meanwhile, as if the undead wasn’t enough to contend with, Mitchell encountered his Number 1 fan Graham in what initally appeared to be a fun, gentle mickey take of the fan phenomenon (lets face it, we’ve all tried to think of a cool screen name like Obsidian only for it invariably to end up being a bit rubbish haven’t we? Right?!) but quickly progressed into a more sinister scenario, threatening to expose Mitchell’s biggest secret and ultimately requiring Mitchell to murder another vampire for the safety of humans.  Being Human always does secondary characters so well and again here, Graham became a sympathetic and lonely figure as he died, just wanting to be liked and remembered. 
As if all that wasn’t enough, we also had Nina’s big news, she’s pregnant.  Discovered thanks to Nina doing what all TV characters do and leaving her pregnancy test in the bin for all to find! From the moment Nina was scratched in the Series 1 finale, speculation has been rife about whether we would hear the patter of tiny were-cub feet and to be honest, I thought it was just a fun red herring unlikely to actually be explored.  I’m slightly surprised they have gone down this route so soon (a baby would definitely change the dynamic of the series) but there is a long way to go and I suspect there may be a few more developments along the way.  Nina’s pregnancy led to her revelation that her Mother abused her as a child in what was a brilliant emotional performance from Sinead Keenan.  Amidst everything else going in this episode however I think this revelation was lost somewhat and I hope we get to explore more of Nina’s (and George’s) backstory in the future. 
Being Human usually balances separate plot threads very well and I must admit in this episode I didn’t think they were balanced as naturally as they usually are.  There were a couple of tonal shifts that I found a little jarring, for example the cut from Annie being upset and hugged by Mitchell to being massaged by Graham and most notably Nina’s distress (‘It’s not enough George’) to up tempo music playing with Annie in the kitchen. 
Ultimately though, by the end the three threads had come together very well,  pushing the story forward and leaving our characters in a very different place to the beginning of the episode.  Sasha’s death was the push Nina needed to embrace the idea of becoming a mother and her message to ‘seize the day’ leads to the kiss a lot of people have been waiting for between Mitchell and Annie.  Mitchell is still keeping secrets however and does not seem as eager for a relationship as Annie, we will wait and see how that turns out!
On reflection I am aware this review might come across as overly critical (I think when you love a show so much sometimes you can’t help but criticise certain elements), so I want to reiterate how much I did enjoy this story.  Sasha was a brilliant creation, her make up was disgustingly impressive and there were some wonderful comedic moments.  The reactions of our foursome to Sasha were perfect and Annie using Pollyfilla as make up was just genius.  The acting in this episode was first rate from everybody, Aidan Turner especially showcased a range of Mitchell’s emotions, and it has left all of our characters in an interesting position for the rest of the series. 
N.B.  Just as an aside, I noticed last week after the sports reporter had finished ranting at Mitchell, his next news story was about the tragic death of scrum half Gethin Watson’s girlfriend.  I noticed this because I expected it to be one of the Box Tunnel 20, instead it was an excellent piece of foreshadowing for this weeks episode.  Very clever Being Human team and it just proves the attention to detail in this series is very impressive!
Best Scene
A tough decision this week but I will give it to the final scene between Mitchell and Annie.  Although I am still not entirely sold on their relationship, the lead up to the kiss was beautifully written and acted and now we are clearly going down the relationship route, I don’t think they could have written their first kiss any better. 
Best Lines
I thought this was a less quotable episode this week, but still with plenty of gems!
Annie: ‘Not today, thank you’ – A typical Annie response to being chased by a zombie!
Mitchell: ‘Why didn’t you just Rentaghost home?’
Sasha: ‘Hi Mitchell, I’m Sasha.  Like the Beyonce album’.
Annie: She may well be dead, but that is pretty much all I have in common with that...that...chavalanche. – I’m pretty sure that’s what Annie said, she may have invented a brilliant new word.  Speaking of which.....
Annie: Don’t be so deadist
George: Excuse me
Annie: It’s like racist, but for dead people
George: Have you just spent the whole night making up words? – Deadist is another one!
Nina: Gotta keep an eye on Priscilla over there, I’m a designated ‘woman with a pulse!’
Nina: George, would you like to have a little hairy baby with me? – All together now, awwwww!
Questions –
Still no sign of Herrick but we did hear of Cara, who is rather brilliantly described as ‘digging up trouble somewhere’.  When will that trouble find it’s way to the B & B? Too many questions about George & Nina’s baby, how does that work exactly? And as Mitchell so delicately put it, erm, how would a relationship with a ghost work too?! With a baby now in the mix do we have another contender for the ‘wolf-shaped bullet’?  Will someone find Graham’s book & discover Mitchell’s secret?
Tune in Sunday nights, 9pm on BBC3 to find out, 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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