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, 27 February 2012

Being Human - Series 4 Episode 4 - A Spectre Calls - Review

What’s the Story?

James Lance guest stars as seventies ghost Alfie Kirby, who turns up at Honolulu Heights claiming to have been sent by Nina to help look after Eve. Lest we forget the esteemed words of ‘The Real Hustle’ however, ‘if it seems too good to be true, it probably is!’.

What’s the Verdict?

The ingeniously titled ‘A Spectre Calls’ saw the return of Cutler and The Woman but was largely centred around Kirby, a ghost that obviously had malevolent intentions from the start. He began to stir up trouble for our trio within five minutes and thus with the audience knowing he was up to no good, it allowed the tension and sense of impending doom to rise. Michael Socha took Tom to new heights on his very own ‘Adorable Scale’ with his boyish excitement over a birthday party that heartbreakingly we knew wasn’t going to happen and the look of sheer disappointment when he too realised this.

The writing wasn’t particularly subtle from an audience perspective with Kirby's motivations relatively clear, but Lance did a good job of showing the different approaches Kirby took to manipulate Annie, Hal and Tom. He was quietly sinister and creepy throughout, and I actually thought the show was heading down an even darker path as it hinted at his crimes. Even the darkest episodes have light moments however and you know you are watching a very unique show when you see a character essentially murder a much loved lead and are then encouraged to find him likeable again by inserting a dance routine straight after! I couldn’t help but smile at this as I wondered how on earth they managed to film something like that without laughing! The problem for me however, lay with just how easily Kirby manipulated them all. By playing on Annie’s desire to be loved, Hal’s shame about his past and Tom’s wish for a family he honed in on their weaknesses and it is true that none of the developments were out of character as such. However despite this, I couldn’t shake the feeling of sadness that after last weeks episode ‘The Graveyard Shift’ truly established the new ‘family’ and strengthened the bonds of our new trio, we were immediately shown how fragile they were after all. Of course, by the end they trust each other just that little bit more, so hopefully they will not be so easily manipulated again.

Finally we saw the full manifestation of Annie’s ‘supercharged’ abilities and it was brilliant to see her put these to use. A nitpick though; I did feel a bit disappointed that she was so easily taken in by Kirby in the first place. True, it is part of her personality to be welcoming and sweet and I don’t want her to lose those elements that define her, but at the same time I don’t want her to become too naïve. It is a difficult balance and I think it remains to be seen whether Series 4 gets the balance right. I feel like every week I talk about Annie being so close yet so far to achieving her potential and I hope that this time she has finally harnessed those abilities. But then, I hoped so last week after her telekinetic knife-throwing and yet by the beginning of this episode it felt we were almost back to square one. After the end of ‘A Spectre Calls‘, I have hope for her however, and the final scenes showed perfectly why I love her. Fiercely protective, loyal, caring, funny and yes, nice, which is not the bad thing that Kirby portrayed it as. Lenora Crichlow continues to be brilliant at capturing the multiple shades of Annie‘s character, her look of disappointment and betrayal as she asked Hal to leave illustrated this.

Hal and Tom meanwhile continue to be excellent, both individually and as a partnership, (yes, in more ways than one!). Hal showed his menacing side again, as he violently questioned the coroner lying on behalf of the vampires, showing some Sherlock-like observational skills in the process. With Cutler revealed to be behind this, we can assume that he is planning on ‘setting up’ a werewolf as the murderer of the Box Tunnel 20.

The Woman also made a reappearance and with her knowledge of Annie and Nina’s relationship and her apparent sadness at Annie’s death; surely she has to be Eve. I still feel that it might be a red herring but then I remember last year, when ultimately Lia was the Liar her name suggested and George was the ‘wolf-shaped bullet’ when the prophecy became self-fulfilling. Plus, after she uttered the words ‘Kill the baby’, the very next line featured Kirby calling The Woman ‘baby’, coincidence? At this point, I do believe The Woman is Adult Eve from The Future, but I do not believe that Hal is Eve’s nemesis despite his new burn and if he ever did do something to hurt her, again, like with George and Mitchell, it would be because he thought he was doing the right thing.

‘A Spectre Calls’ was another good, entertaining episode with a memorable guest star performance and an interesting reveal at the end, Tom’s blood burned Hal on his arm in their fight. Previous series were similiarly structured, introducing a story arc, then featuring lighter standalone episodes before building to its, usually shattering, conclusion. At the moment Series 4 seems to be heading the same way, but I can’t help but feel that it hasn’t really ‘wowed’ me yet. By this point last year, we had just watched ‘The Pack’, my gushing review then shows how much that episode blew me away in a way that Series 4 is yet to do. That’s not because I’m not enjoying it and don’t get me wrong. Being Human continues to be better than 99% of everything else on television. I am enjoying this series and loving Hal and Tom to the extent that I surprisingly don’t miss George, Mitchell and Nina. But I can’t shake the feeling that at the moment it is good rather than great. I expect things will hot up dramatically in the latter half of the series but at the moment Series 4 has been entertaining, funny and enjoyably different, without being as gripping as Series 3.

Best Scene

This week there can only be one winner for me, the Two Dads, Hal and Tom. As soon as Hal walked in in his vest it was obvious where they were going with this scene and you just knew it was going to be brilliant. They continue to be so mismatched and yet so utterly perfect for each other! Hal’s deadpan delivery of some hilarious (and quite unexpected!) one-liners and Tom floundering in his attempts to say the right thing, summed up both characters and made for a very memorable and amusing scene. 
Best Lines

Hal - ‘On my rota it says twelve-o-clock press ups, then You and Yours on Radio 4'

 Hal - ‘Annie’s getting hysterical downstairs and I’m not enjoying it’.

Doctor- ‘You’re feeding her cheese?’
Tom - ‘Only Mini Babybels.’ 

 Tom - So where were you when the nice doctor man came?
Hal - I was having a shit.
Tom - Nice. 

 Tom- ‘Oh great , persecute the queens. Well I’ll tell you summat mate. I’m gay and I’m stray. No, that’s not it is it? I’m here and I’m queer!’ 

 Kirby - ‘Evil is like travelling first class. Try it once, and you can never go back’ 

 Kirby - ‘Damn it, I’m so good I’m Starsky AND Hutch’ 

 Kirby - ‘There’d be theories, copycats…TERRIBLE FILMS’ 

 Annie - ‘Is it me or do I have the worst taste in men, ever?’ 

QuestionsSo, is Hal the nemesis? The most logical thing to do would be to tell Annie & Tom about the burn straightaway, but this is TV, plus Annie said ‘she’d rather not know’ certain things… Is The Woman Eve or someone else entirely? What game is Cutler playing and when is he going to make his next move? Cutler giving Tom his business card is worrying, I can see Tom ringing him for help. Is Annie finally harnessing her powers? Though they are linked to her emotions, will she develop the ability to control them? Was Kirby telling the truth that werewolves can never cross over as ghosts or was this a lie? 

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 and myself @LikeTheMonth on Twitter. Comments and Rts always welcome and appreciated.  


  1. I agree that this series hasnt been as gripping as the last one. So much so that I didnt watch the last episode when it aired but last night. Unheard of for me, and in S3 after every episode I was dying to see the next one as it had ended on a cliffhanger. James Lance was brilliant. Annie for me doesnt seem to question her abilities as much as she used to. I wasnt expecting Tom to be so trusting of Kirby. And when Hal confronted the coroner he was at his best. The best bit by far was Kirbys dance. I am also wondering how long it will be till the Originals arrive, thats one long boat journey and surely they must be running out of crew members by now?

    1. Glad you agree Kate, but I can still see why some people would prefer the slightly lighter tone this year. It does feel a bit more like Series 1 and I suppose in some senses it is with the new characters, but I enjoyed where the show progressed to last year and so far it hasn't gripped me in the same way. Still enjoying the episodes but just not on the edge of my seat as I was last year. My guess would be that the Old Ones arrive in the last ten minutes or so of the penultimate episode, just to set things up nicely for the finale, though personally I'd like them to arrive a bit earlier I think!