Big changes, I see, as we go into the fourth series of Being Human
, but the show still takes place in a bizarre alternate universe: One in which Michael Socha can drop numerous hints about wanting to move in, and yet isn't
immediately welcomed with open
arms. "Eve of the War" by Toby Whithouse, directed by Philip John.
- So, the departures first. You'd have thought after the whole debacle with the pilot they'd know a thing or two about locking actors into contracts but apparently not: Although it works on its own terms, I don't believe this was the intended follow-up to last year's final scene, and includes some heavy-handed retconning (werewolf blood poisons vampires? OK. I'm sure if we go back we'll never see, for instance, vampires beating werewolves to a pulp, or making them fight each other to the death while standing within splattering distance.) Even Lee Ingleby's Wyndam was killed off-screen, so I have to assume he was unavailable too, and Alex Jennings' Griffin to all intents and purposes replaced him. I don't see why else you would deliberately bring in a familiar actor as the big bad, make a big deal of the fact that the Old Ones are harder to kill than regular vampires, and then have him casually dispatched off-screen?
- The bigger off-screen death is of course Nina. Not a particular surprise since we knew not only that Sinead Keenan was leaving, but that she hadn't shot a single scene of Series 4. Was she really not available to do a single scene, a big pre-credits shock? Or did Toby Whithouse reckon that killing three leads in two episodes was bad enough, and seeing all three deaths might be a bit much?
- Which brings us on to George's death. Again, not a huge surprise. I'd been expecting it since the summer - long before it was officially announced he was leaving, surely anyone who follows Russell Tovey on Twitter noticed that throughout the Being Human
shoot he was off filming Grabbers
and a couple of other things? His death scene was very well done though; and I'm sure everyone reading this speaks fluent modern Greek, but in the unlikely event that you don't, that poster with the full moon on it said "Moonlight Sonata." Although I found his departure moving, oddly I don't think I'll miss Tovey on Being Human
, despite him being what made me watch the show in the first place. Possibly because his instincts were right and he'd done all he could do with the character, or because frankly I'd assumed an actor in that much demand would bail after Series 2, so the extra nine episodes were a bonus. Or maybe it's just 'cause I'm seeing him on stage again in a couple of weeks. Anyway it's been heavily hinted left right and centre that this isn't actually the last of George; Tovey did
go back to the set near the end of the summer so unless that was just reshoots we might be in for a ghostly reappearance.
- Maybe, of course, I don't mind so much 'cause even with Tovey gone we're not short of nice things to look at. Oh Tom, with your three-quarter length pants making me discover a calf fetish I didn't know I had. Also, ever since someone on the internet described Michael Socha as "baby Jake Gyllenhaal" I can't unsee it. At least that's one thing that couldn't have been done better last series if it had been planned, Tom's presence in several Series 3 episodes means he doesn't feel like a new leading man being parachuted in out of nowhere. And as I think I said a couple of weeks ago, the fact that he's a bit of a confused man-child makes for an interesting character to explore, as well as making total sense that someone with that dependence to the "father" he's now lost would want to settle in with the existing gang.
- Damien Molony's Hal is
, of course, being parachuted in as the lead, but at least that was eased in rather than being thrust upon us, and next week is when he and his friends actually get to meet the Honolulu Heights lot for the first time. So I won't pass judgement on that just yet. Besides, fortunately Molony isn't entirely new to me as I saw him on stage, and liked him
, a couple of weeks ago.
- I will
say though, I liked how Hal and Leo were introduced but questioning Superman's haircut habits does rather lead one to other supernatural creatures. Like, say, the one getting his hair cut in this scene. If vampires don't age or change, how come their hair grows?
- The future stuff, with the big future leader who may or may not be Eve (I don't think the twist at the end necessarily means she isn't
; although I hope she's not because that would mean we'd have the
classic time paradox on our hands) I'll also have to wait and see how that pans out. I'm most interested in the mystery voice that sings "New York, New York" in the teaser. It doesn't sound like Mark Gatiss so is the twist that it's Hal? We haven't seen this on the show yet but the publicity's been heavy on the idea that he goes through 50-year "good vampire/bad vampire" cycles, and from Leo's age the current "good" cycle has been going on for a while.
- Cutler's the other obvious candidate, with his mystery plan for enslaving humanity. Given his filming George and Tom's transformation, I take it what he means about a worse option for humanity is tricking the world by selling the idea that the werewolves are the bad guy, and vampires humanity's hope. Was his maker Mitchell? Or was it Hal, and the past tense because Hal's no longer on the side of the Old Ones?
- Hey, you know how if two werewolves transform together they'd kill each other? But George and Nina were fine because they just had sex instead. Well this week George and Tom transformed together, and they were both fine the next morning. I LEAVE YOU TO REACH YOUR OWN CONCLUSIONS.
- Despite all the death and darkness I still thought a lot of the humour from series 1 was back; in Cutler's sarky comments, Dewi the friendless vampire, "Stoker Import and Export," and in Tom's unsubtle attempts to get invited to live with Annie and George. And of course Mark Williams as the Vampire Recorder. Going ahead, it'll be interesting to see why he's not only OK with being wiped out by Eve, but geekily excited by it. But in the meantime there's his brilliant scene of trying to stall on killing the baby, with a tea towel on his head and chanting quotations. If you ever wondered why I can so clearly remember seeing Williams play Touchstone in As You Like It
over 20 years ago, this episode should explain it.
- And there was an Only Connect
shout-out, as is only right and proper.
What did you think of "Eve of the War"?
Future shock: A great new beginning
Culture shock: Not what I'm used to, but it'll do
Shock absorber: It does the job but nothing to get excited about
Electric shock: I don't want one of those