I haven't felt gripped by series 5 until this penultimate episode from Sarah Dollard, which gave us big events and character-based shock-waves in preparation for the finale. I have some criticisms about how well Being Human's handling its supporting characters this year: like Mr Rook (Steven Robertson), who was suddenly given an adopted daughter called Natasha (Skins' Kathryn Prescott) after an opening flashback of him rescuing her from the aftermath of a vampire attack; and that same character's unconvincing alliance with Captain Hatch (Phil Davis). Was Natasha even mentioned before now, in any subtle way, perhaps during Mr Rook's interrupted suicide bid?
Otherwise, this was a very strong episode with lots to recommend. Tom (Michael Socha) is a character who works best when it's being revealed just how sweet and naïve he is (a stand-out episode from series 4 was when he fell in love with a geeky werewolf), so the storyline of him again falling in love with cute Natasha offered more of the same. It wasn't on par with last year's romance, but it was nevertheless very touching and enjoyable—with the dramatic twist that Natasha became Hal's (Damien Molony) dirty little secret, after she let him suckle blood from her thigh. Having Natasha manipulated by her adopted daddy Mr Rook, who in turn's being manipulated by Captain Hatch, just made the whole thing even more fun—and willing to overlook some of the short-cuts the series has taken in getting us to this place. The loss of two episodes from this final year's perhaps robbed Being Human of some nuance, so it feels a little rushed. Although it didn't help that precious time was wasted on the fruitless storyline for newbie vampire Crumb.
But it wasn't just the big moments where this episode worked some magic. I also really liked some of the details Dollard's script threw into the mix: like ghost Alex (Kate Bracken) telling Hal that she's doomed to spend eternity wearing a sexy but uncomfortable bra she only wore to impress him, before she died; or Hal becoming so overcome with blood lust that he tried to distract himself by organising dozens of coloured paper clips. And how can you forget the marvellous scene between Alex and Hal after she discovered he's drinking human blood again, when she made him realise he didn't ask for help from his friends because they would have given it? It was a superb moment, representative of the show at its finest. Even the moment when Hal and Alex finally kissed has a real charge to it, which the show's former pairing of Mitchell and Annie never had.
In the past, Being Human's often delivered penultimate episodes that are a great deal better than the ensuing conclusion. That might be the case again, as a great deal of excitement was created by how this hour ended. Natasha was brainwashed to slit her own throat by Hatch, in order for Tom to believe his best-friend killed his potential girlfriend; and Hatch himself fulfilled the "HE WILL RISE" prophecy by standing up from his wheelchair and immediately sending Alex through a mirror to be imprisoned inside her own grave ("I'm only the fucking Devil, sweetheart").
The three housemates are divided in more ways than one, and Satan himself has become mobile. Can Being Human bring everything together for a rousing finish? I certainly hope so, because the show deserves to go out strong.
written by Sarah Dollard / directed by Daniel O'Hara / 3 March 2013 / BBC Three