Sunday, 19 February 2012

Review: Being Human 4.3: The Graveyard Shift

Hal and Tom fight alongside one another.
(And Michaela.)
It feels like Being Human has reverted to some form of embryonic stage in its development. The chemistry between the three main leads is getting there, but it still fails to acheive the same manner of comic timing and charm that the original trio got back in the third episode. There's also a sense that the series has stalled rather dramatically. Time will tell whether it's the fault of the driver or whether it's just out of gas. The episode started to get interesting by the end, but it was too little too late.
     Despite his fear that he would be unable to control himself, Annie and Tom forced Hal to get a job in the local greasy spoon where Tom works. They banter, and form a trusting friendship. Vampire honcho Fergus in in awe of Hal's return, and inadvertantly tells him about a raid on the greasy spoon the next day. He tells Hal to step aside and let them kill Tom. Hal, becoming friends with Tom over a strange emo girl called Micheala, instead protects him and they escape with Michaela back to the House.
     Meanwhile, Annie's lack of ability to trust her boys (who she sees as lodgers) saw her visit vampire-recorder Regus (Mark Williams, being a bit more sad and desperate), who had previously arrived at their door concerned to discover that the War Child was still in Barry. He makes Annie share her sexual experiences from memory in exchange for vital information, which didn't really sit right. He informs her of someone coming to take the Child, and says they have to escape. She ignores his request at first, and then invites him back to the House to start packing. When the boys return home, Hal is offered the leadership of the Barry Vampire coven by Fergus, but Hal just stakes him. After a battle, Michaela is resurrected as a vampire and goes off to be Regus' girlfriend, while Annie finally accepts her boys as part of a familial unit.
Oh wow, I hate you. So much.
     Usually I love character work, but this was just boring for the first 45 minutes. The character of Michaela could have been a fun subversion of several stereotypes associated with the genre. Instead, she's an irritating caricature who only serves to make the episode's more boring sequences nigh-unbearable. I think that her jokingly-managed transformation into a vampire took away from the series greatly; in Series One these issues were incredibly severe and treated as the height of drama. Here we get to see an incredibly annoying woman get to live forever.
     This ties into something that's distressing me about Series Four of being human. You can forgive it for not having the same chemistry as before, or the same temperment, but it doesn't know what it's doing. There's no point to anything, it's all just loose scraps picked up off the cutting room floor. The end of the episode saw the arrival of a campy ghost from the Afterlife. The one thing this series does not need right now is more characters. 
     The Graveyeard shift had a few moments of promise, and it seemed wary of its characters issues. But it didn't exercise their gradual reconciliation in an interesting way, and in the end it fell into farce. Being Human better book up its ideas if it hopes to reach the potential promised by the premiere, and it needs to do that before the series collapses under the weight of its own expectations.


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