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Being Human "The War Child" REVIEW

TV REVIEW It's decision time for Annie...

Episode 4.08
Toby Whithouse
Director: Philip John

THE ONE WHERE Burn, baby, burn… Annie blows up Eve and the leader of the Old Ones - and finally moves on.

Could this be the end for Being Human ? It could, you know. It really could. But we fervently hope not, because cast and crew have performed miracles this year. Losing one member of the regular cast is obstacle enough, but in the space of eight episodes, they’ve lost another three, and introduced a completely new line-up. The fact that they are every bit as loveable as their predecessors has to count as a triumph. In the current economic climate no BBC show is safe, but let’s offer up a silent prayer that BBC Three’s commissioners see sense. We're painting the protest placards now, just in case.

UPDATE: Hurrah! BBC Three have announced that the series is coming back! Wahoo!

This is a great finale, although arguably, like last season’s, not quite as good as the episode that preceded it. Setting up a series climax allows you to create all sorts of thrilling situations; satisfactorily seeing things through to their conclusion can be a little more tricky.

After all that build-up, seeing Cutler’s masterplan fizzle out like a wet fart is slightly underwhelming (even if we saw it coming). There’s a good story reason for it of course, in the shape of the mysterious Men In Grey... although even that explanation doesn’t neatly fit. Menacing witnesses is all well and good, but Cutler’s video of Tom and George transforming was trending on Twitter, presumably seen by thousands. That’s something beyond even the MIGs' control. After all the good work knitting social media into the series arc, it’s as if it’s dismissed at the last moment.

Also, while we can understand the desire not to dwell on the messy (and morally troubling) matter of a baby being blown to bits, the episode does seem to move on with rather undue haste after Annie turns suicide bomber. There’s little time to pause and take stock before we dive into the mystery of Mr Brook. When/if the series does return we hope there won’t be any more prophecies – particularly prophecies which only turn out to have any impact on events because people believe in them. The fact that Eve doesn’t have any special mystical properties does feel like a bit of a swizz.

Having said all that… they blew up a frickin’ baby ! Toby Whithouse must have yarbles the size of cannonballs. Annie’s dilemma is gripping, and her departure very moving (although Tom’s confession that Hal is “his best mate” is just as much of a lump-in-the-throat moment). There are some cracking gags (especially the one about glory-seeking Manchester United fans!). The episode’s gore quotient also really impresses. It’s a thrill to finally see what happens when you don’t invite a vampire in. As Cutler slowly cooks, it's reminiscent of both Frank Cotton in Hellraiser and Freddie Krueger. The sight of maggots squirming around on Alex’s corpse is pretty stomach-churning too, but then they top it by having Hal lap up her congealed blood. Gross! More please!

But the best thing about this finale (besides the dawning realisation that the delightful Alex is lined up to be a regular) is Mark Gatiss as Mr Snow. A study in softly-spoken menace, blessed with a wonderfully grandiloquent turn of phrase, gloriously condescending, he’s a captivating creation. Is it too much to hope that somewhere in a field in Barry, his various scorched body parts are scuttling together and reconstituting themselves like Captain Jack Harkness? Probably. Ah well.

REFERENCES Mr Snow’s “One last question…” is pure Columbo. A shot of him and his entourage around a table recalls Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” (see below). Annie calls Alex “Skywalker”. Mr Snow quotes Macbeth (“By the pricking of my thumbs…”). Hal quotes Matthew 4:9 ("All this I will give you if you will bow down and worship me”). The underground base with its rows of boxes recalls the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark .

NITPICKS How the hell did Hal manage to lure Tom into the back of that police van without getting torn to shreds in the process? Did he find a chicken in the kitchen to wave around?

IT’S WOSSISNAME! Michael Wildman (Milo the werewolf) played the centaur Magorian in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix . You might also remember him from the episode of Extras where Maggie gets in a panic about her golliwog .

BEST LINE Mr Snow cuts Cutler down to size: “These eyes have looked upon pharaohs and the son of the carpenter, and now they must look at you, proudly showing its idea like a child with a handful of excrement.”

Ian Berriman

Download our Being Human series four mix CD !
Read more of our Being Human series four reviews .
Read our How To Make A Werewolf feature .
Read our Being Human interview with script editor Laura Cotton.
Read our interview with Damien Molony .

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