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 March 2011

Being Human Series 3 Episode 8 - The Wolf-Shaped Bullet - Finale Review

What’s the Story?

Being Human Series 3 comes to its devastating conclusion and things will never be the same again.

What’s the Verdict?

It should go without saying but just in case, HERE LIE SPOILERS! BIG, MASSIVE, HUMUNGOUS SPOILERS!

Well, how emotionally drained are we all feeling after that? The third series of Being Human is brought to a shattering close in this episode, tying up not only the plot strands of this year but in many ways the past three years, with some lovely moments of continuity and an ending that really feels like the closing of a chapter.

Was it a satisfying conclusion? Yes, but I can’t pretend that it was perfect and so perhaps should get my quibbles out of the way now. The ending of last week’s episode was almost apocalyptic in its scope, it really felt like the world was on the brink. Yet Mitchell’s arrest was dealt with very quickly in the opening. That photo that was built up so much last week? Well Herrick just took the card from the camera. The fact that Being Human does not drag its feet is usually something I love, but here I have to admit it felt a bit rushed and a bit, well, easy. I am delighted to see Nina and their little hairy baby back to full health (something which I was not expecting at all), but although her speedy recovery was explained, I’m not convinced it was an entirely satisfying payoff to the truly excellent cliffhanger of last week. Annie’s whisper seemingly bringing Nina back was very interesting though and something I hope is explored more.

It wasn’t too much of a shock to learn that the wolf-shaped bullet prophecy was a figment of Lia’s imagination after all and this reveal does slightly trivialise all the tension that hs gone before.  However, the mocking version of Frere Jacques told by a zombified police officer was a genius touch, an innovative way of communicating the message that managed to be genuinely creepy. Although Lia was talked around rather quickly by Annie, it has hopefully allowed Annie to realise just how strong she can be, with or without supernatural powers, she is capable of great things just by being herself.

After Herrick triumphantly returned to his old self last week, we were treated to some more fantastic scenes with Jason Watkins, gleefully taunting both Mitchell and George, destroying their worlds with a smile. I have been trying to think of a better screen villain than Herrick and have ultimately decided that there isn’t one. Everything about Watkins’ performance is brilliant, managing to somehow be charismatic and funny whilst embodying a malevolence and danger that no one else on television can match. I was surprised to see such a relatively low-key ending for such a memorable character and can't shake the feeling that he perhaps deserved more, though it was a great scene and situating it in such a beautiful location was an inspired idea.

Amidst all of this we learned what McNair was writing last week and the montage and accompanying voiceover and Tom buried his surrogate father was very moving. Lets hope we see more of Michael Socha’s adorable Tom.

This episode belonged however to Aidan Turner’s Mitchell, his series-long downward spiral leading to an emotionally devastating conclusion. After a relatively George-lite episode last week, this episode brought the friendship of George and Mitchell back to the fore and suffice to say, no-one does heartbroken quite like Russell Tovey. In the cage and believing Nina to be dead, George attacked Mitchell with such intensity and rejected him with such contempt and yet you never for one second doubted the strength of their bond.

It is this bond, this genuine love for one another that leads George to fulfil Mitchell’s request, ramming a stake into his heart to protect Mitchell’s future, ‘inevitable’ victims and to save him, knowing his soul would be destroyed by being forced to act as an ‘attack dog’ for Old One, Edgar Wyndham. Mitchell’s death could not have been sign-posted more clearly all series, and yet it is somehow still a genuine shock when the moment comes. With hindsight, it always had to be George, who once depended upon Mitchell but has found his own family and his own way to live with his curse as Mitchell has struggled with his (Plus, let’s face it, George is the only character that will be unequivocally forgiven by the fanbase). Tovey and Turner gave such emotional, heartbreaking performances that there was not a dry eye in the house and this will surely go down as one of the most memorable scenes in Being Human history. In fact, I can’t think of another programme that can provide a scene that compares to this.

And so it transpires, that it was not a wolf-shaped bullet we should have been worried about, but rather a Hobbit-shaped bullet, as Aidan Turner departs for Hollywood. If you haven’t already done so, I urge you to read the letter from Toby Whithouse here, explaining the decision to kill off Mitchell. Personally, as devastating as it is, I think it was the right thing to do. Mitchell’s past indiscretions have been redeemed and his death was heroic and unforgettable. Having Mitchell disappear between series’ would have been the worst thing ever and having his spectre hanging over Series 4 would have hindered the other characters and meant we were all perennially disappointed, forever waiting for a moment that would never come. Of course, death is not always the end in these shows and there is always a chance, but we were told clearly that there is no coming back from being staked and this really does feel final.

Suffice to say, the show will never be the same again and there will be a lot of very upset fans out there. This series has however been consistently brilliant and there is nothing on television at the moment that quite matches it. For this reason, I am already looking forward to series 4 (which has just been officially confirmed) and I hope that people will continue to watch and support the show as it begins a new chapter. We still have three brilliant central characters and a new, intriguing villain in the shape of Edgar Wyndham. What with that and the fact it looks the writers really are going to answer the question of what happens when werewolves procreate (because I bet we all thought the baby would die & they would sidestep that issue didn’t we?!), we have plenty to look forward to in a new series.

All that is left to say is a huge thank you to everyone involved in the making of this series that have provided a fantastic eight hours of television that to me have seemed almost like a masterclass in storytelling. The writing, direction, score and of course the wonderful cast have created a truly unforgettable series that I believe has set a new standard in British television drama. I wish Aidan Turner the very best for his post-Being Human career, thanks for the fantastic memories you very talented man.

A massive thank you also to all of you who have come on the Being Human journey with me this year, coming back week in week out to read and comment. It really is appreciated and I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have. Being Human on this blog is not quite over yet however so I hope you keep reading and join me again for Series 4.

Best Scene

Despite many brilliant scenes in this episode, there is only one real candidate here. From the moment Mitchell made his gut-wrenching request, I was on the edge of my seat. I didn’t want to look and yet I could never dream of looking away. When Annie nodded to George through her tears, my tears started to spill over and all I could think was ‘Are we actually doing this? Is this actually happening?’. This scene had everything, including a beautiful moment where Annie and Mitchell declared their love and even Nina and Mitchell made their peace. As the score swelled the intensity grew, we thought it was the moment, it was going to happen and then ---- enter Edgar Wyndham. After last weeks similar double bluff with Nina & Herrick, I thought I was prepared for the same to happen again, I stayed on my guard but the scene went on for just the right amount of time to allow me to start to relax before delivering its final twist. And all for love *sniff*. RIP John Mitchell.

Best Lines

Herrick : ‘Rule One of Vampire Club. Do not get arrested. Even Seth knew that and he used to point at planes.’

Zombie Policeman : ‘What’s that barking? It’s all starting, like a row, of dominoes, can you stop them falling, someone’s due a mauling, here it comes, the wolf shaped gun. Annie listen, here’s your mission, Mitchell’s toast, if you’re a scaredy ghost, come to purgatory, stop shit getting gory, or a big bow-wow, ends his story now’. - A brilliantly original, creative and creepy nursery rhyme to the tune of Frere Jacques.

Mitchell: Killing those people on that train, do you think me, her and George are going to be eating a pizza in front of The Real Hustle now that’s out? - One final mention of The Real Hustle *sniff*

Herrick : You’ll be the villain now?
Mitchell: Christ, I always was.

Herrick: Sorry about these two, it’s clearly dress down Friday.

Herrick: Well thanks everyone for pissing on my parade. Come on, me and the boys wanted a fight! There’s popcorn! And at half time we were gonna have a Nespresso!

Annie: Gilbert! Somewhere here there’s a man called Gilbert. Find him. Tell him Annie sent you. He’s, he’s really nice. - More wonderful continuity from Series 1.

Nina: Vampires and their inscrutable bullshit! ¬- Nina, cutting through the bullshit once more.

George: What if you ran away to Scotland.
Mitchell: I’d kill people in Scotland.
George: What if we kept you in the attic?
Mitchell: Our success rate there is less than 100%. - Even despite everything, the show keeps its sense of humour.

Mitchell: You were the love of my long life.
Annie: And you were the love of mine.
Mitchell: Thank you, all of you. You made me human.

Edgar : You’re going to dance for me, you are going to kill and rampage. You are going to be my attack dog. And the day that you say no is the day that I crucify George and Nina. In Regents Park. – Much like last weeks ‘Not in Wales’ line this made me laugh? Am I missing something here?

George: I’m doing this because I love you.
Mitchell: I know. - Again, *sniff* .


As one chapter closes another opens. What is the Old Ones’ plan? Edgar doesn’t need to be invited inside, what other ‘tricks’ has he picked up? He says there will be a lot more ghosts, can we expect more friends for Annie in Series 4? What will happen with Nina & George’s little hairy baby? It looks like Nancy really is dead, or is she? Where did Tom go and will we see him again? Just how will George, Nina and Annie be able to take on an army of vampires? Can the show survive without Mitchell? (Personally I think it can, it will be very different, but it can). Can we have Series 4 as soon as possible please?

I am carrying out our very own fan awards for Being Human Series 3 - click here to have your say now!

1 comment:

  1. I thought it was a mistake of the writers, that edgar doesn´t need to be invited inside.
    Okay we haven´t learned much about the old ones, but it seemed always like they were only vampires who have a very high age and no special abilities.

    Please forgive my English.I´m from Germany.