Thursday, 16 February 2012
Being Human - Series 4 Episode 2 - Being Human 1955 - Review
What’s the Story?
In the second episode of the series, Hal, Leo and Pearl journey to Honolulu Heights in the hope that baby Eve will be able to ‘save’ Leo. Tom and Annie immediately clash with the newcomers but Leo’s dying wishes enable them to put their differences aside.
What’s the Verdict?
To echo the final words of last weeks dark and dramatic opening to Series 4, ‘This is where it starts’. As one chapter of Being Human closed last week, this second episode felt like the true beginning of the next chapter, as we ended the episode with our new ‘supernatural Trinity’ firmly established. Significantly lighter in tone than ‘Eve of the War’, this episode was set primarily in Honolulu Heights, utilising the great amount of rooms afforded by the set and also harking back to the domesticity of early Being Human. The episode plays largely for laughs (with seemingly a few references to Monty Python thrown in there (’He‘s not the Messiah, he‘s a very naughty boy!)), allowing us a bit of a breather after possibly the darkest episode in Being Human history last week. However, the typical balance between humour and drama was still there, with a great mixture of laugh out loud comedy, tension and heartstring-tugging sentimentality.
After last weeks relatively brief introduction, this week we really got to know newcomers Hal, Leo and Pearl. Opening with an amusing scene about a spider that subverted all of our expectations, there was something immediately likeable about them, to the extent that it feels a shame that two had to depart so soon. Leo’s age serves as a constant reminder of just how long the trio have been together for and we can use our knowledge of our own past heroes to realise how close they have surely become and how devastating it must be for Hal and Pearl to see Leo’s age catching up with him in a way that it never can to them. You can’t help but wonder how it could have been for Mitchell, George, Nina and Annie and feeling sad for the time they never got to have together.
Louis Mahoney and Tamla Kari give excellent performances as Leo and Pearl and personally I genuinely believed in their love for one another. I was hoping that after last weeks flood I would be able to hold off the tears for at least one episode, but their passing over got to me once again!
This was also Damien Molony’s chance to show that he belonged in the Being Human universe and he grasped this, making a large impression as a very different style of vampire to Mitchell. He has a gravitas in his speech and performance that makes the fact Hal is old, and I mean really old, very believable. I must confess that although I found his superstitions interesting, at first I struggled to imagine him killing and causing havoc, finding his old fashioned speech and manner charming and amusing but never scary. However his intense monologue to shopkeeper Dessie about murder changed all that and suddenly you could see the darkness within him and how dangerous he could potentially be. Again, later in the episode as he slowly walked towards Eve, you could sense the tension and danger and the unsettling feeling that ultimately he could lose control at any moment. I don’t think the spectre of Mitchell has quite disappeared yet, however I am excited to see more of Hal and think that he could be a very compelling addition to the cast.
Meanwhile Michael Socha continues to impress as Tom, carrying off both the antagonistic, brave and confrontational parts of Tom’s nature as well as the soft-hearted, caring protectiveness he displays to both Annie and particularly baby Eve.
This episode however, belonged primarily to Lenora Crichlow as Annie. Lenora can always be counted upon to deliver in the comedic moments, her rivalry with Pearl was befitting of the character and Crichlow’s expressions and delivery were perfect throughout. It could be argued that the ‘ceremonial’ scene was a bit too similar to last week with Vampire Recorder Regus and of course we have heard Annie borrow speech from pop songs before. I still can’t help but laugh, but I do also recognise that there is a danger of over-using the joke and taking it too far. In fact, this has been a problem with the character of Annie for some time. With Crichlow so adept at the comedy she is often used as the ‘light-relief’ but I am still hoping that in Series 4 we will see her recover the strength we know she has inside her.
Being Human 1955 was in some ways almost like a second pilot, with the re-establishment of the Honolulu Heights location and a reintroduction to all of the characters, their main character traits and they way they interact. Tom’s reaction to Hal at the moment is very true to his character, his suspicion and antagonism towards him is clear and understandable, but I am looking forward to seeing how their relationship develops over the next few episodes.
In summary, though this second episode lacked the relentless action of episode one, by slowing the pace slightly it allowed us to learn more about our core characters and truly set up the rest of the series. The episode did not have quite so many stand-out moments and due to it’s general lower-key nature, I expect it will not be as well remembered as others by the end of the series, however I feel both the characters and us as the audience needed this episode to allow ourselves to regroup and prepare for what is to come now. Now with all the pieces in place, I look forward to where the next six episodes take us!
I’m tempted to pick Cutler’s ingenious focus group at Stoker Import & Export, Leo and Pearl crossing over, or Annie and Pearl’s attempts at one-upmanship; but ultimately I have to go with what will henceforth be known as ‘The Kia Ora Moment’. I truly burst out laughing at this in a way I haven’t laughed at a drama for a long time! Louis Mahoney completely made this scene for me, I don’t know what I expected him to say, but it certainly wasn’t that! Coupled with Pearl’s obvious horror and the deadpan way in which Leo said ‘We don’t talk about that Annie’ it made for a very memorable moment and was perfectly delivered. This scene was a typical example of the offbeat sense of humour Being Human has demonstrated over the years, made all the better for using elements of our own everyday lives. I mean, we’ve all had Kia Ora at some point right? I was still chuckling to myself about this the next day and despite all of the things that happened in this episode, it is this moment that I think I will most remember!
Tom - *reciting Annie’s Commandments* ‘No smoking; no dialling 0800 numbers; all dishes must be washed, dried not left to drip; no bringing girls home; never put a cup down without a coaster and if I’m gonna be late, two rings.’
Annie - ‘Did you hide that in my hanging basket? That is it, I’m going to have to add another commandment. Thou shalt not hide stakes in my shrubbery’.
Pearl - ‘Over 55 years and I’ve never had to change my line up’
Tom - ‘Right, we’re gonna do this thing to channel Eve’s energy because she’s God and that. Erm, and hopefully that might help you, er, not die or whatever’
Hal -‘Are there subtitles for this conversation?’
Fergus - Those guys out there, they’re dedicated, they’re disciplined - Cutler - - They’re eating my focus group.
Annie - ‘What I’m saying is, move in here!’
Hal - ‘Are you somehow drunk?’
Tom - ‘I’m going to the shop do you want to come?’
Hal - ‘I’d love to but I’ve made plans to sit in and self harm’
Pearl - ‘That will have to go for a start’.
Annie - ‘That, well no that is not going anywhere.’
Pearl - ‘It’s an eyesore’
Annie - ‘It’s retro. You know, like cool in an ironic kind of way. I thought you’d have an appreciation for that considering how you’re dressed’
Pearl - ‘Oh is this the lady in the long johns attacking my dress sense?’
Annie - ‘I’m not attacking - sorry I beg you’re pardon -
Pearl - ‘-Carpets need a good clean-’Annie - ‘-These are not long johns, they’re leggings-’Pearl - ‘-And a bar in the living room, what message does that send out?-’
Annie - ‘And actually I died in 2007 and I do still see people wearing them today, so actually I was quite fashion forward with these leggings-’
Pearl - ‘And we’ll have to start using a new brand of tea, that stuff you make always looks very anaemic.’
Annie - ‘There is nothing wrong with my tea’.
Leo - ‘First off, try to keep him away from people’
Annie - ‘What kind of people’
Leo - ‘Oh general people’
Pearl - ‘And dogs, mainly the small ones‘
Leo - ;And budgies’
Pearl - ‘That only happened the once, and he sent a letter of apology to the miniature circus!’
Leo - ‘This is an important one Annie, never under any circumstances ever allow him to drink Kia-Ora.’
Annie -‘Kia Ora, the squash?’
Pearl - ‘He should stay clear of all diluted drinks and cordials really, but Kia Ora, that’s the one to look out for’
Annie - ‘Why what happens when he drinks Kia Ora?’
Leo - ‘We don’t talk about it Annie’.
Dessie - ’The way I see it, there’s only two ways you could know those things. Either you’re a man of God or you’re speaking from experience.
Hal - ‘I’m not a man of God’.
Leo - ‘It’s all moving so fast, it’s only been 55 years’.
Dessie - ‘Jesus Christ!’
Hal - ‘Not quite’.
Annie - ‘I went for a herbal, kiwi and strawberry, it’s been that sort of day’
Who is the mysterious woman? Future Eve? Or is this a red herring? Hal’s reputation obviously precedes him, what has he done in his past and what will happen if/when Fergus finds him? Who will win the battle for leadership between Fergus and Cutler? (my money’s on Cutler!) Is Eve really ‘The War Child’ and is Regus right about the prophecy? How will Annie, Tom and Hal cope living together?! I also couldn’t help wondering about poor George Sands Snr and how he and his wife are reacting to George’s death. Do they even know? Do they know about Eve?
Tune in Sunday nights, 9pm on BBC3 to find out, check out the Being Human blog at
www.bbc.co.uk/beinghuman for chat, behind the scenes videos and some excellent exclusive web content. Follow @bbcbeinghuman on Twitter and myself @LikeTheMonth_ and as always comments and thoughts are welcome below!