Before we get started, I’d like to thank Carrie Raisler for filling in for me while I was locked in a cage in the basement of a funeral home last week. I only wish the episode could have been better, although I think I actually enjoyed it more than Carrie did. Tonight’s episode, however, is probably my favorite of the series to date. I had a good feeling about “Dog Eat Dog” as soon as I saw those creepy barn cocoons in the “previously on” segment. I’ve been waiting for those suckers to turn up again.
The inhabitants of those cocoons turned out to be suitably creepy as well, just as you would expect from thousand-year-old Dutch vampires who only get to town every 50 years. Being Human shelled out for an actual recognizable guest star for once, as Terry Kinney (probably best known as McManus on Oz) brought a suitably Old World sense of menace to the role of Hegeman. For once on this show, the vampires were actually scary, especially once Hegeman had a beard full of blood.
Hegeman and the rest of the Dutch also figured into the episode’s sepia-toned flashbacks to the 1950s, which provided a little sympathy for the devil as we learned that Bishop was once the Richie Cunningham to Aidan’s Fonzie. It wasn’t hard to see where these scenes were going, once it was revealed that Bishop had a forbidden human lover (a nurse, in a parallel to Josh’s love life, mercifully on the back burner this week), but I’m always up for anything that shakes up the format a bit. (The secondary benefit of the flashback sequences was the change-up in the soundtrack choices, as the usual Goth wrist-cutters were replaced by vintage doo-wop and rockabilly. In fact, the music was better in the present-day sequences as well, particularly the sinister, bluesy score used in the dungeon and funeral home scenes.)
Josh has little time for fretting over his relationship with Nurse Nora, as he’s kidnapped and stashed in a basement cage to await a dogfight to the death with an older werewolf known as the Professor. In a nifty dovetailing of storylines, it turns out that the dogfight is the scheduled evening’s entertainment for the Dutch, setting up an additional crisis for Aidan. I know, the poor guy had to stake his surrogate kid just last week, and now here he is, faced with betraying his roomie. Aidan is able to secure Josh’s freedom in exchange for promising to return to Bishop’s family, but not before Josh is forced to kill the Professor in the arena. (The CGI in this sequence is a real low point in the history of special effects; I would have just as soon watched two poodles battling to the death.)
Finally, the stage seems set for some sort of big showdown in the season’s final three episodes, but it’s not as if “Dog Eat Dog” was perfect. The show tried its best to convince us that Sally was an integral part of the action—Josh may have even said “Sally, you are an integral part of the action” in their little chat on the front stoop—but even though she gave each of the boys a pep talk at a crucial moment, it still felt forced to me. Rebecca is still hanging around, and I have to say, she bums me out more with each subsequent appearance. If Aidan could find it in himself to stake a little boy, couldn’t he do the same for her sooner than later? Still, I don’t want to nitpick too much, since it’s rare enough that I find this much to like in an episode of this show. Here’s hoping it’s the beginning of a strong final act.
- There were a handful of nicely offbeat touches in this episode, but I particularly enjoyed the woman playing “Danny Boy” on her accordion at the dogfight.
- “Yes. That’s the level of shock I was looking for.”
- With “Dog Eat Dog,” we now have a record for shortest episode title. But it will be broken next week by “Dutch Treat.”