Monday, 25 February 2013

BEING HUMAN, 5.4 – 'The Greater Good'

Monday, 25 February 2013

One thing that's becoming clear about Being Human is that I'm completely bored of the central theme of monsters feeling guilty about their true natures, and whether or not they can live as "humans" in polite society. After five series the idea feels completely exhausted, so for that reason alone I'm glad the show is drawing to a close. It hasn't helped that we have three new characters in Hal (Damien Molony), Tom (Michael Socha) and Alex (Kate Bracken), because their general concerns and issues are largely the same as Mitchell, George and Annie's were. What's left to really say about three creatures of the night sharing a house together?

"The Greater Good" consequently bored me when it was once again pushing the familiar buttons of the series, but nevertheless managed to entertain thanks to a likable guest star in large-but-lovably werewolf Bobby (the excellent Ricky Grover)—the show's version of Michael Clarke Duncan's "gentle giant" from The Green Mile, in a sense. His presence also meant Tom got to play an "older brother" with more intelligence and life experience, which made for a refreshing change. I actually found myself investing a fair amount in Bobby's apprenticeship as a trainee waiter, with Tom as his affable mentor.

Elsewhere, the intensely annoying Crumb (Colin Hoult) was also rehabilitated slightly as he tried to wean himself off blood and carnage with the help of Hal and Alex. I was very disappointed that Crumb and nerdy amigo Alan's (Hamza Jeetoa) plans for world domination amounted to very little, and that they both didn't even make it beyond this episode. I sometimes forget that Being Human's a short series (with two episodes less than usual this year too), but it nevertheless felt odd to bring Crumb's story to a close in the fourth episode. Still, the Russian Roulette with human blood and werewolf blood delivered two tense sequences for the episode.

I'm less interested in redundant vampire "fixer" Rook (Steven Robertson) at the moment, although it was fun to realise he knows Captain Hatch (Phil Davis) but isn't aware he's the Devil incarnate. I'm guessing Rook will be used as an important chess piece in Hatch's wily machinations, which rather befits his name. The series is also pushing the idea of Hal going back to his old ways with increasing strength, following an episode where he killed annoying weatherman Larry Chrysler. He's now gulping down a hip flask of human blood, right at the moment when the potential for a relationship with Alex gets closer to reality. But again, haven't we sort of been here with Mitchell and Annie in more ways than one? Alex and Hal have better chemistry together but that's about the only improvement.

Overall, "The Greater Good" provided further evidence for why Being Human didn't deserve to return next year. And as much as I dislike Crumb (or Hoult's broad performance), dispatching him relatively early felt like a mistake. He didn't even appear last week, so his impact on the series boils down to three spotty episodes? It felt like a waste of time even bothering to include him, and yet we're still spinning our wheels about the fact Satan a hotel guest and shunting Davis into peripheral scenes? Being Human really needs to kick into top gear for the remaining two episodes if it's going to turn things around and end on a high.

written by John Jackson / directed by Daniel O'Hara / 24 February 2013 / BBC Three