Being Human’s second season finale arrives maybe a couple of episodes past the point where it may have still been possible to say something interesting about the state of the series. Anyone who finds listless moping exciting when it’s done by pretty people with access to blood squibs and thinks that an atmosphere of general depressiveness confers depth on underwritten, meandering crap may be willing to forgive the dead spaces, the awkward direction (with quantities of silent, expressionless extras standing idly about while people are bloodied and impaled in front of them), the humorlessness, the sheer predictable laziness, and the outright hostility to common sense.
By this point, anyone who’s been following along since January might have compiled a checklist of things to be grateful for, because they didn’t happen. It made for a very happy surprise, for instance, that we never did get to see the werewolf douchebag twins again, when it would not have been out of character for the show to drag back even the one who Aidan killed. Nor was there any trace of Susanna Fournier’s Zoe; Apparently her big closure moment with her shredded-ghost soulmate Nick in last week’s episode was her curtain scene. This may have been a bit of a shame, because Fournier, whom I was slow to warm up to, eventually built enough of a character for herself that she was able to overcome what the writers were shoveling at her.
Less welcome was the continuing presence of Scott the Reaper, whose refusal to disappear from the show after Sally figured out that he was a figment of her imagination remains more baffling than anything that the show has officially packaged as an intentionally mysterious riddle. Tonight, the show brought the ghost of Sally’s mother back for one last bow. At one point, Mom and Sally and the Reaper are all in the same room together, and while Sally and her mother are trying to have a tearful farewell conversation, the Reaper keeps piping up, and Sally keeps reprimanding him for interrupting. This gives the connoisseur of bad supernatural-fantasy TV the chance to see one character whom mortals can’t see asking another character with the same problem whom the hell she’s talking to.
Kristen Hager’s Nora is still around, first seen lying in a hospital bed looking as if she’d had a reckless encounter with a strawberry-jelly donut. Now that it’s starting to look as if Brynne the trust-fund werewolf isn’t going to be come running back like Candyman if her name is invoked, it would be interesting to hear a few details about what Nora’s wild fling away from Josh was like, and why it’s left her so sad-eyed and convinced of her unworthiness of being loved. She’s still keeping mum about it, which probably means that the writers either think that the actual details would make viewers recoil in horror from her or that they’re having trouble thinking of any. She looks so spooked that it’s hard not to wish to see whatever show she was doing during her time away instead of this one. Maybe, sort of like Bryce Dallas Howard in The Village, she wandered to the edge of the world she thought she knew and discovered it had strange, unfamiliar dimensions. Maybe she started to wonder why there are so many French-speaking people in what she thinks is Boston.
Last week, Nora informed the still-dismayingly-ill-informed Josh that, if he kills Ray, the man who turned him into a werewolf, it’ll “lift the curse.” (Is it just me, or is that a peculiar turn of phrase for a doctor to use about what appears to basically be an infectious blood disease?) Josh went in search of Ray and found him but, being a nice guy, couldn’t kill him. Nora now greets this news with jubilant relief: She never wanted Josh to become the kind of man who could be a killer, she says. That’s why she’s only now telling him that, if he killed Ray, it would also cure her, and anyone who Josh turned after he’d been turned and thus counted as part of the “bloodline.” Nora is in that hospital bed because she fell down while trying to get to a safe place to “turn” and may have given herself a concussion. This scene proves conclusively that she hurt her head pretty bad. The ever-selfless Josh reacts to this news by tearing off half-cocked, with a plan, once again, to kill Ray, so that he can repair the damage he’s done to Nora’s life. When Nora finds this out, she goes running after them, to talk Josh out of becoming a murderer. But what in God’s name did she think was going to happen? Why did she even feel the need to tell him?
Never mind, shut it out. There are other cliffhangers to construct, and more new bullshit rules about the supernatural to use in the process. Having been informed by Danny, the reliable, trustworthy guy who murdered her, that she can use a different ghost’s door to pass to the other side, Sally shares this information with her mother, and is then surprised when Mom’s door appears and Mom urges her to go through it. Where do people get these ideas? Aidan, meanwhile, enlists Henry’s help in getting to Suren’s vampire Mother, whom he has decided he has to kill, because there’s been far too much bloodshed, and what surer way is there of putting an end to a cycle of violence than assassinating the head of a murderous organization and setting off a power struggle? Besides, he owes it to Suren. During all those years that Suren was buried alive on Mother’s estate, Aidan was the only one who kept coming back, year after year, to stand at her graveside with Mother and do his tactful best to suggest that there might be some flaws in her theories of parenting. We get to see a few of these visits in flashback, because they deepen the historical texture of the narrative, and because the prop department found a cap that Sam Witwer thinks is to die for.
In the end, Mother kills Suren, after giving Suren a chance to prove herself “a true leader” by killing Aidan, and has Aidan buried alive in that same grave in the backyard across from the compost heap; Josh, Ray, and Nora end up in one of those Mexican standoffs that ends with the sound of gunshots after the screen has gone black, and damned if Sally doesn’t shred herself in order to get to limbo, which she has to do in order to... do something, but if that something was made ragingly clear, I blanked on it somehow. The last line of the season, which is spoken by Sally with her voice coming from a radio, is "I think I made a big mistake," which resonates more than anything else that precedes it. My own feeling is that, having been freed from the constraints of following the British series’ during its first season, the show choked, badly, in its sophomore year. But it’s still enough of a hit that SyFy, not a channel that can afford to be blowing off anything with much of an audience, will be happy to have it back again next year. How much can it recover? It depends on how excited the cast and crew can get by the challenge of knowing they have next to nowhere to go but up.