Hello. Is it my reviews you’re looking for?
Well, as you’ve no doubt noticed, we’re back for a third week of Being Human UK coverage. Thanks so much for showing that the show has enough support to make regular review coverage worthwhile. It’s much appreciated and I’m very happy that I get to review the show. Keep it up, folks!
Last week, a commenter complained that they’d read my last two reviews of the show’s third seasons and didn’t like the fact that, while I kept mentioning that I had expectations—zooks!—that were not being met, I never explicitly explained what those expectations were and how they were not being met. Well, by way of an indirect answer, along comes “Type 4,” which has most everything I expect, want and enjoy most about the show.
“Type 4” is an episode whose criss-crossing subplots all in some way foreground the characters’ relationships. The events of “Type 4” brings together two several narrative strands--the appearance of a drunk, undead nightclubber on the group’s doorstep, the equally sudden arrival of a deranged super-fan for Mitchell, the evolution of Mitchell and Annie’s relationship and the discovery of Nina’s pregnancy—and consequently enriches the show’s four protagonists’ respective characters. At the same time, the season’s plot is dutifully developed in ways that have been a sight more satisfying than the last two episodes, which, for all their merits, mainly served to set-up future events. The hook behind Being Human UK has always been its ability to take self-contained stories and used them to provide the backbone of the season’s greater overplot. In that sense, I feel that season three has finally hit its stride. It’s not without its problems but for the most part, I’d say if nothing else, it’s a very good example of what I want from Toby Whitehouse’s show.
So, as George indelicately summarizes to Nina after she’s rudely awoken from her sleep by an overwhelming putrid stench, the episode begins shortly after a, “Dead woman…with a body…followed Annie home.” The initial shock of this discovery is very funny, as in the scene where Mitchell, Annie and George are all crowded one on top of the other around the door bickering about what they should do next. Combined with the scenes where Annie pleads with Mitchell and George to let her stay, that prolonged introduction to Sasha (Alexandra Roach), the dead lush in question, automatically made me want to rally around “Type 4.”
Filled with the kind of breezy banter and effortless chemistry that I’ve come to associate with Being Human UK, I couldn’t help but be totally charmed by the way that Annie reflexively jabs Sasha’s hair after she tells Mitchell in her best sultry voice, “You can call me anything you like.” I’m also very fond of the way Roach, another top notch character actor in the show’s never-ending series of top-notch character actors, crinkled her nose and gasped, “Aren’t you short?” upon first noticing Nina’s presence in the room. Admittedly, Sasha’s story doesn’t end on a strong grace note thanks to the patently unnecessary way that she urges Annie to “Live…seize the day!” But seeing how effective her story was at bolstering Annie’s story arc right up until that point, especially Roach’s line-reading of, “I just wished I loved him more, and kissed him more and held him more,” that’s really a negligible offense.
The other disposable plotline du jour in Being Human UK was equally satisfying, even if almost none of its humor came off as well as the jokes in Sasha’s story. Graham (Tony Maudsley) is a vampire that starts to stalk Mitchell, telling him how much he admires Mitchell’s work when he cut loose and killed the Box Tunnel 20. The way Graham keeps popping up over the course of the episode is supposed to get a bit irritating after a while, so it’s a mixed blessing that none of his encounters with Mitchell are memorable until the last two. But those last two run-ins really do give the preceding two or three encounters that much more weight: they made me nervous both for and about a character I just met. Which is also something I look forward to when I watch Being Human UK.
Most importantly, I greatly admire the way that episode writer Jamie Mathieson developed George and Nina’s storyline and even brought it together with Mitchell and Annie’s at one during the scene where Sasha, Annie and Nina are out at a club while George and Mitchell mope at home. The juxtaposition of the Hot Chip remix at the nightclub with the Radiohead track at our monsters’ place—especially the thoughtful choice of “No Alarms, No Surprises”—made the crossover between all three of the episodes’ storylines especially effective. Normally, that kind of shorthand use of music would bug me but the way that the two songs worked in relation to each other, combined with the way those two scenes spoke to Annie and Mitchell’s respective fears of being rejected—it really just came together in a great way.
The one complaint I have with tonight’s episode surprisingly has to deal with Nina and George’s story arc. George accidentally finds a pregnancy test Nina casually threw out in the house’s communal toilet. While I might normally balk at the way carelessly sped up Nina and George’s were-baby plot, I didn’t really mind considering the frank and well-scripted dialogue that that discovery engendered. Russell Tovey was especially sympathetic, though that’s not really that hard considering that he’s demanding a role in deciding his unborn child’s fate (“It could be fine. We’re both fine…most of the time.”).
But that’s where I get frustrated: the reason Nina tells George that’s she’s not apprehensive about her pregnancy because of the baby will be a werewolf like them, but rather because her own mother beat her. (SPOILER) This is a weak and, in light of the way the episode ends, too easily surmountable problem, one that’s created in a flash and resolved just as quickly. It’s pure canned drama even if I did like the way that, before the episode’s end, Nina’s just-add-water fears of revisiting the sins of her mother does gain traction with a simple, “I’m sorry, that’s not enough, George.” Still, if that’s the worst thing that can be said about “Type 4,” I’d say the bar for season 3 just got raised a few notches.
Nina and George’s storyline can go one of two ways: the right way would be to have the baby be born and Nina actually beat the child. The wrong way would be for them to lose the child somehow, possibly killed by Mitchell. I say that this is the wrong way because I think that that would be much too tidy a way of complicating all four of our main protagonists’ story lines.