There are a couple of decent jokes embedded in tonight’s Being Human. My favorite comes when Aidan snaps a woman’s neck, lets her limp body fall to the floor, then looks down to see Henry feasting on her blood. “Five-second rule,” says Henry. Such moments are teensy, edible scraps to be picked out of a banquet that was mostly rancid swill. This show has turned into a machine for destroying its own characters and betraying anyone who was ever fool enough to want to see what was going to happen to them. I can give the creative team credit for having the guts to fearlessly go where a lot of shows that have to lure its viewership back next week would be afraid to go. The only problem with their daring is that it’s not backed up by any degree of taste or good sense.
Tonight’s episode, titled “I’ll Sleep When I Shred” or “Shredding Bell Blues” or “Shred, Shred, Whine” or “Slay Lady Slay (Across My Big-Ass Shred)” or some other goddamned unconscionably stupid thing, begins with Aidan and his best bud Henry arriving at the house and asking Josh to invite them in. Last week’s episode ended with Sierra from Dollhouse skinning Henry alive for his transgressions. Those of you who were afraid that Henry would recover before we got to see him again need not have worried. He’s all red and sticky, like a cherry Tootsie Pop left on the dashboard on a hot day, so Aidan tucks him in and goes out to find a couple of girls to lure back home so that Henry can feed. Aidan’s plan is to “glamour” them, as they say on True Blood, so that they think they’re just steaming up the sheets with a super-hot-looking guy, instead of having their veins tapped by someone who looks like Darth Maul after an accident involving a malfunctioning tanning bed.
He also intends to send them home with plenty of that good red stuff still in their bodies. But Henry, naughty imp that he is, breaks the spell, the girls get a good look at the situation they’re in and utter those famous last words, “We won’t tell anybody,” and poor Aidan is required to start with the neck-snappin’. It’s then that Henry really goes to work filling his hump, and when Josh comes home the next morning, all he can say is. “You look so much better.” You don’t really need an extra reason to laugh at this other than that it’s there, but it did remind me of that story that Keith Richards, having had his own good red stuff replaced in a series of transfusions that amounted to the rich junkies’ equivalent of liposuction, used to go around greeting people with the words, “How do you like my new blood?”
Have you perhaps been wondering how Aidan and Henry met in the first place? Me neither! It all happened back in 1918 in France, in some flashbacks to the first World War that seem to have been designed to make the much snickered-at trench scenes in Downtown Abbey look like Paths Of Glory. Aidan was just a poor boy fighting for his country, which all things considered raises a hell of a lot more questions than it answers, and Henry was a soft-hearted lad wearing eyeglasses and a floppy haircut that really bring out his previously undetected resemblance to Guy Pearce—except for those angles where they really bring out his previously undetected resemblance to Ray Manzarek. Henry does Aidan a good turn by removing the bullets from his flesh when he’s brought in from the battlefields, so Aidan, who needed to have the lead picked out of his carcass and scarf down some blood before he could heal up like Wolverine, does Henry a solid by turning him into a vampire after he’s been mortally wounded and saving him some after he’s been obliged to kill and drain every human being within a five-mile radius. The other joke I liked came when Henry, not yet turned, tried reading poetry to Aidan and sensed boredom on his part. “You don’t like Walt Whitman?” he asks. Aidan shrugs, “I liked him just fine.”
Josh has his own reunion going down at the hospital, where he runs into the ghost of Stu (very special guest Jay Baruchel), the fellow who he had along with him on that unfortunate camping trip that resulted in Josh having to chain himself up in his storage locker every full moon. At first, this seems to mean that Baruchel is playing Griffin Dunne in An American Werewolf In London, which would certainly beat whatever the hell Dunne’s doing now on House Of Boring Lies. But the show has something much more depressing and cringe-inducing up its sleeve. After Josh and Julia have spent the day and evening getting reaquainted—they break the ice by sitting together at a mandatory sexual-harassment lecture and making snarky comments, which at the very least counts as a cute idea—they seem to land in bed together.
It turns out that Stu has actually taken possession of Josh’s body for the express purpose of having creepy stalker-date-rape sex with Josh’s ex-fiancée, who Stu now confesses he was always in love with. Seriously, what the hell was the chinless, adenoidal little mouth-breather thinking, pulling this shit? “I wanted her to look at me the way she used to look at you,” he says. Instead of doing the right thing and kicking his disgusting, ectoplasmic ass all over the block, Josh inexplicably melts, though not exactly because he’s so empathic. Me too, he says. Is there any quality more winning in a character than having him bond with his ex-fiancée’s rapist because they have similar taste in self-pity?
The ass-kicking of ghosts is reserved for Sally and her unwanted bosom companion, the Reaper, who continues to hang around and say things like “This has to be done, but it doesn’t have to be cruel. We’re reapers, not monsters,” while continuing to look like an evil David Copperfield who can’t find his hair gel. The show has been pushing the idea that reapers are a fact of its supernatural mythology who play by the rules, so it’s disheartening when Zoe the maternity-ward ghost whisperer tells Sally that she’s never heard of one before, and disillusioning when the ghost that Stevie was supposed to have shredded, thus necessitating the reaper’s shredding of Stevie, turns up safe and sound. Has the Reaper been selling the too-trusting Sally a bill of goods? Oh, it is so much worse than that! In a Fight Club twist, it is revealed that the Reaper is a projection of Sally’s imagination, and she herself has been blithely running wild all over Canadian Boston, shredding her friends and strangers alike with gay abandon. What does this remarkable, rug-pulling development actually mean for this troubled show? If the trailer for next week’s episode means anything, and I fear that it might, it appears to mean a lot of Meaghan Rath popping her eyes and baring her teeth and laughing “Mwah-hah-ha!” Bad as tonight’s episode was, I predict that next week’s is gonna leave a mark. Warn your friends.