Monday, 18 February 2013

BEING HUMAN, 5.3 – 'Pie & Prejudice'

Monday, 18 February 2013

The midway point of series 5 arrived with a largely non-mytharc storyline from Jamie Mathieson, which felt more like your typical episode of Being Human. There wasn't much that felt particularly new here, but it was efficiently put together and ended on an effective oh-shit moment for the character of Hal (Damien Molony)—but even its predicament of a vampire having a relapse has been done before, to far grander effect with Mitchell back in series 2. Still, thanks to total absence of Crumb and a limited storyline for Mr Rook (Steven Robertson), together with more of a focus on telling a strange supernatural yarn, "Pie & Prejudice" went down quite nicely...

This week, Tom (Michael Socha) made the acquaintance of a Z-list local celebrity weatherman called Larry Chrysler (Julian Barratt), who was bitten by a werewolf nine months ago and doesn't realise they're kindred spirits. A weird friendship blossomed, with Tom inspired by Larry's shtick to better himself and Larry using Tom's hero worship in order to take vengeance on his ex-wife. Meanwhile, Alex (Kate Bracken) also made a friend in Regency-era ghost Lady Mary (Amanda Hale), whose grace and pose has kept Hal abstemious for 250-years. However, it soon became clear that Lady Mary's been presenting a false image of herself to keep Hal from killing, and is actually a wild child with modern views and the ability to cause mischief through telekinesis and mind-reading.

I liked the twists on a theme in "Pie & Prejudice". Tom spent the episode denying who is, in the name of self-improvement; while Lady Mary's spent decades doing the same, but to help maintain the stability of someone else. We've had many episodes featuring oddball werewolves and ghosts encountering the main characters, and this certainly wasn't amongst the best, but it wasn't a total waste of time. I actually grew to enjoy Lady Mary's irresponsible personality and seeing her use her ghostly skills for her own pleasures (like going clubbing to have vicarious orgasms with couples shagging in a toilet cubicle, thanks to her mind-reading talent). Ripper Street's Amanda Hale did good work.

Unfortunately, I wasn't very impressed with The Mighty Boosh's Julian Barratt in his role. Larry wasn't particularly funny, and it became very obvious how limited Barratt's acting is in fairly straight roles like this. His reactions to being confronted by a snarling werewolf in a car park, or having a knife pressed to his throat, were wholly unconvincing because of his limited range as a performer. It didn't help that Larry felt like a very unconvincing character all round, either—something of a Being Human take on Alan Partridge, but you couldn't really buy into his status as a local celebrity.

This was more of a standalone episode, but it did continue the storyline of Mr Rook feeling useless now his department's been dissolved—contemplating suicide until Hal called to give him one final job. And that job (disposing of Larry's dead body, after Hal was goaded into killing him) should stir some drama into the remainder of the episodes for Hal. There was nothing here about the devilish Captain Hatch or insane nerd Crumb, but in the latter's case that was for the best. It might have been nice to get a few scenes with Phil Davis as this year's big villain, though.

Overall, "Pie & Prejudice" was a decent episode that kept me entertained throughout, but in essence wasn't doing anything very new or imaginative. There were a few great moments and interesting character beats, together with a very good conclusion, which was enough to raise this episode up in my estimation.

written by Jamie Mathieson / directed by Philip John / 17 February 2013 / BBC Three