“I’ve Got You Under Your Skin” S2 / E8
- C+ Community Grade
Tonight's episode begins with Aidan on the soundtrack, intoning, “Even in the most hopeless battle, there is a moment when the tide can turn.” If the current season of Being Human could have a moment like that, it would probably be the moment near the end of last week's episode when Aidan took out Connor the weredouche. Tonight, those of us who watch this show settled in front of our sets knowing that, whatever else we'd be asked to put up with—the return of Zoe the goddamn maternity ward ghost whisperer, a flashback in which Aidan delivers a field report to Napoleon at Waterloo, maybe the commencement of a new subplot in which Aidan and Sally, in imitation of their counterparts on the U. K. version of the show, become lovers (no! I'm telling you just this once, no! I don't care if this show stays on the air for 35 years and you exhaust every other possible, don't you even think about going there!!)—we at least had the comfort of being 95 percent sure that Connor, the closest thing to Eurotrash ever featured on a Montreal-based TV series that's supposed to be set in Boston, would not be seen tonight. It's amazing how, after a few joyless weeks, a little thing like that can really give you hope.
Sadly, Nora was also not to be seen, presumably because she's out in the woods somewhere with Brynne, chopping down trees and building a boat so that they can give our boy a proper Viking funeral. I know that last week I was all like, oh, after this, her character has gone so far over to the dark side that she cannot be redeemed, it can never be made right, this relationship cannot be saved, rakka-rakka-rakka. I probably thought that I meant it at the time. I may have even thought I meant it back in college, when I said pretty much the same thing to my roommate after she taped over my VHS copy of The Friends Of Eddie Coyle. But I miss Nora, and I think I could have found a way to rationalize it if she had walked back into the house and thrown her arms around Josh's neck and said something to the effect that she's so glad she woke up and discovered that the events of last week were all a horrible, horrible dream, except that Connor's still dead. This did not happen. Josh did do a lot of sensitive moping around, but then, sensitive moping would probably be Josh's reaction to winning the lottery. I'm starting to think that I'm more invested in this relationship than either of the two fictional characters through whom I'm supposed to be living vicariously.
The show itself does assume that Josh is in the throes of post-breakup grief, so to help pull him out of it, it brings back his sister Ellen, who marches into his bedroom and immediately starts tending to his bruised feelings as only a sister can. (“God, it actually smells like a doghouse in here.”) Ellen drags him down to a local watering hole for what turns out to be a fix-up with his ex-fiancee, the impossibly hot Dr. Julia. These scenes had a secondhand feel to me, but that probably has something to do with the fact that I'd just watched the latest episode of The Good Wife, in which Will Gardner, holed up in his apartment licking his wounds after a professional humiliation, was laid siege to by his sisters, played by Merrit Wever and Nadia Dajani. I don't mean to blame Being Human too much for this. It was just a fluke. The fact is, there are only so many possible story devices in the world, and when you watch too much TV, to the degree that I do, these things are bound to happen once in a while. But the fact remains that, while I have nothing against Ellen and Julia, Merrit Wever and Nadia Dajani they are not.
It turns out that Julia's arrival in Boston was not the utter coincidence that it seemed to be at the time. She and Ellen bonded after Josh disappeared from their lives on the eve of his wedding, and after Ellen notified her of his whereabouts, she went to some trouble to get a job at the hospital where he works, just so they could “run into” each other, nudge-nudge, wink-wink. As she confesses this to him, she whimpers, “I know I must sound like some kind of crazy stalker, but I am beyond caring.” Normally, any man hearing a woman this hot make this kind of confession to him would have to fight the impulse to drop to his knees and scream, “Thank you, God! You held up your end of the bargain, and I promise to get right on that promise to distribute all my worldly possessions to the poor first thing in the morning!”
In this case, I was waiting for Josh to ask the question that seemed to be just hanging there, which would go something like: “So, when you got here and immediately hooked up with my smoking hot vampire roommate, was that a complete coincidence, motivated by your feeling that you could best go about re-igniting our romance if you had the confidence booster you could only get from sleeping with a male model you barely know, or did your research include the discovery that he was my roommate, and you sought him out and banged him so that you could get inside the house, which might be a little too crazy-stalker for my taste?” Instead, Josh, his eyes wide and moist and the veins in his forehead doing the macarena, makes one of those speeches of his about how something happened just before they were to be married that made him realize that he was a monster! and he had to drop out of her life before she caught glimpse of the monster! he is now, because he couldn't live with himself if he ever hurt her, which he would surely do if they stayed together, what with him being a monster! and all. By the time the two of them are done trading their terrible confessions, it's anyone's call whether they're both appalled or turned on or a little from column A and a little from column B. I can hardly wait for next week's episode, just to see if it begins with them in bed together, or with one of them seeing the other from down the hall and ducking behind a soda machine.
That concludes the Eros portion of our program. Thanatos was more thoroughly represented. For instance, there's the Reaper, the ghostly figure who “shreds” ghosts who are messing with the laws of super-nature or something, and who continues to stalk around dressed in black, croaking ominous sentiments in a voice so deep that you keep expecting him to start singing “Bela Lugosi's Dead.” Having dispelled Sally's murderous ex-boyfriend and spared her while vaguely acknowledging that she is somehow “special,” he now pops back in with a proposition. He'd like her to replace him as Reaper-in-chief, offering her “an afterlife of constant travel and excitement, meeting new ghosts.” (It's like that old anti-war slogan: “Join the military, see the world, meet interesting people, and kill them.”)
Sally is reluctant and seeks out her old school pal, Suicide Stevie, for tips on how to kill the Reaper. She gives it her best try, and even seems to succeed in wasting the booger, but it turns out that he's just messing with her head, and knows that she sought out Stevie's advice, and now is intent on destroying Stevie himself. Sally is shocked that he knows all this, and I, in turn, was pretty shocked that she was shocked. How far ahead do you have to read to guess that a character who kills ghosts for a living, dematerializing and reappearing anywhere he wants at will, and who speaks in prophetic hint is probably omniscient, or at the very least, is very well-informed on plots against his life?
He also educates Sally on the importance of his work. “Just think,” he says, “how crowded and stinking the Earth would be if nobody died.” Seriously, girl, didn't you watch that Torchwood miniseries last year? Things got so bad that they had to draft Eckley from CSI to burn people alive, which if I understood the concept, meant that they then had piles and piles of sentient ashes on their hands, and poor Bill Pullman couldn't get himself executed for love or money! The Reaper explains that somebody has to weed out the ghosts who don't move on to the next stage because otherwise the afterlife, too, would become an overcrowded hot mess, an idea that I'm having trouble wrapping my mind around. The rules about being dead on Being Human seem to be awfully complicated, and every time they firmly establish something, you never know when they're going to retract it. (Sally spent what felt like half the first season learning to focus her will strongly enough to move physical objects, but now, people keep dying and then being able to fling objects and knock on doors almost immediately.) At least in Beetlejuice, dying came with a manual.
This is probably a case of me burying the lead, but the vampire storyline finally gets moving again with Suren's decision to wipe out Bishop's “orphans.” For reasons that I'll bet even the gang in the writers' room would have a tough time explaining without giggling, Aidan's major concern is the continued existence of his once-treacherous and always boring spawn, Henry. Henry and the other orphans are holed up in a house belonging to a fellow played by some guy who, in a bold but very misguided decision, attempts the only Boston accent I remember anyone ever trying for on this show. It isn't pretty. Aidan pulls Henry out of the place just before Suren seals a deal with the owner to buy the house at the stroke of midnight, at which point we learn that if you buy a house full of vampires, the invitation the previous owner had extended to them to enter the premises is automatically rescinded, which causes the occupants to sizzle and burst into flames, and then when the guy who sold the house comes back, he discovers that he should have put his priceless collection of classic jazz 78s in storage. Suren agrees to take Henry back into the fold, so long as, to help her get a handle on her own issues, he consents to be skinned alive. (He's a vampire. It'll hurt, but then he'll get better.) So everybody's happy. I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm happy, but at least this episode cleared enough of a path through the dead wood that I can believe that the last three episodes of the season might lead someplace. Just come back, Nora. We need you. We're all just so broken up over losing Stevie.