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Watching the second half of Being Human series 1, I have to admit, I steeled myself for disappointment. There are too many shows out there that started well and went nowhere. It seemed hard to believe that the show could finish the first series as strongly as it started.

You know what? It got even better.

I think what I liked most was the way the last three episodes managed to use the buildup of the first three, but then take things in slightly unexpected directions that were still true to the original characters. A few comments on the individual episodes may help me explain this. (Obviously, they contain spoilers for the episodes.)


1x04

This episode made me really appreciate something interesting about this show: there’s a lot going on in every episode. The main plot here, where Mitchell befriends a lonely boy and ends up getting the whole household ostracized as pedophiles, was a very thinly veiled metaphor for rampaging townfolk out to terrorize the perceived monsters. Actually, it wasn’t veiled at all, since they show (I think) the mob the from Frankenstein movie on the TV. The idea behind all this – that humanity can be just as bad, if not worse, than the supernatural monsters – is very interesting, but as a plot it seemed a little overdone. It also made me wonder if Mitchell was really that dumb about people, which at least turns out to be a consistent character point given what happens in the next episode.

However, the other storylines in this episode really made up for my issues with the main plot. In particular, I really, really liked how the relationship between George and Nina played out. Originally, I had gotten Nina and Annie’s names (but not characters) mixed up (in my head they sound a bit alike, two syllables with N sounds), but after this episode: no way. I really like Sinead Keenan as Nina, and her character is really well written here, somehow avoiding the pitfalls of being too sympathetic or too unsympathetic, able to be strong about her choices, but also realistic when it seems like there’s no way to make it work. Her line to George on the doorstep, that if he keeps going he’ll have pushed everyone away, but she would have listened, is fantastic.


1x05

Every now and then, I see or read something, get to the end, and find myself just sitting there thinking about how good it was. This episode definitely fell into that category. All three of the main characters got such great definitive moments that showed how far they’ve come – even if it took a little help from the others, for them to realize it.

I was a bit frustrated with Annie until this episode, but her story here was well done. There was a certain irony to her having to try to warn Owen’s new girlfriend, even though she really despised her. Coming through for Mitchell, even at her lowest moment, with a little help from George? I started liking her character. Staring at the her own personal doorway to the afterlife, torn between staying with her friends and moving on? Even better.

At first I thought Mitchell was rejoining Herrick and the Evil Overly Dramatic vampires as some sort of undercover plan to find out what their big plan was, but after this episode, I have to think that he really was naïve enough to believe Herrick and was in over his head. His former girlfriend Josie was wonderful, though, and had some great lines, especially the one where she was hoping George had a useful power. “I though perhaps you were a wizard or something.”

Speaking of George: he was wonderful in the scene where he persuaded Annie to go help Mitchell, leading directly to perhaps the funniest thing I have seen in a long time: where George and Annie mount the most pathetic rescue attempt ever. Gay ninjas, indeed.

The ending cliffhanger was so well done. I was in complete suspense about whether Mitchell would survive and if Annie would choose to cross over. Since there was one more episode, I was pretty sure I knew, but with British TV, you never really know, right?

Overall, I think this episode just had it all. It used the buildup to take the characters new places, then used those events to build up for something even more to come. The comedy was really funny, the drama was really, er, dramatic, and the big emotional notes felt earned. Bravo, show.

1x06

Great finale to a great season!

I loved that all the characters finished the season in completely different places from where they’d started. It’s hard to imagine that they each came so far in just six episodes.

Annie rescuing the vampires’ captive blood donors was a really strong moment – meant to emphasize, I think her growth from abuse victim to rescuer of the abused.

Just when I thought they wouldn’t be able to top George’s big moment from last week, George’s secret plan was revealed. The final confrontation didn’t play out exactly as expected (I’m still confused why Herrick decided he had to die even after George flat out told him that killing Herrick would only make George more human), but I liked that it hit the same emotional beats that had been built all season, while not being completely predictable. At least to me.

The other thing that stood out was the way two guest characters, Mitchell’s mortal ex (Josie?) and the sarcastic hospital chaplain who spoke with George, helped nudge the main characters along toward their big moments. I think they were also a much needed reminder of the humanity that Mitchell and George were looking for inside themselves – and a strong counterpoint to Owen, who got darker and darker.


Overall, I liked the writing, acting, and development throughout the series. I think it really lived up to its premise, which can’t be said of very many shows, as an exploration of what it means to be human, even if supernaturally so.
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July 2012

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