So, how does the first episode this season not written by the show’s creator Toby Whithouse fare with our reviewer Narin Bahar?
Written by: Lucy Catherine
Directed by: Colin Teague
The One Where: Relationships between the housemates begin to degenerate as Mitchell steps in as de facto head of the vampires to stop a rising human body count, leaving him little time to sympathise with George’s depression over Nina leaving him. Annie, meanwhile, tries to cope with the return of her invisibility by turning her attention to fixing Hugh up with his kebab-loving ex girlfriend (no, this isn’t a euphemism). And it turns out that Lucy isn’t all that she seems – which might be very bad news indeed for Nina.
Review: Well, the identity of shady Professor Jaggat has been unveiled. Those suspicious that our big bad was lurking around in plain sight may have already have put Lucy on a suspects list with Hugh and Terry Wogan (okay, maybe not him, but you can never tell) even before the mention of her religious beliefs early in the episode, but the unexpectedly early reveal is intriguing and typical Whithouse. There are still five episodes to go and what we thought was going to happen has veered off course already, leaving us well on the back foot as an audience, even before you factor in that Nina is seemingly co-operating with Kemp and co and looks set to get a nose bleed (for starters) for her trouble.
Meanwhile, the vacuum of power left by Herrick’s death means the vampires are running riot. The developing mythology of the show is arguably one of the most interesting elements of series two so far, with the flashback showing not only that vampires have been a part of Bristolian society for hundreds of years but that some people in very high places have been turning a blind eye to them for their own ends. As things spiral out of control as per Ivan’s most dire predictions (where was he this week? The vampire scenes were lacking his arch sarcasm), Mitchell picking up the mantle to ensure the safety of humanity is understandable, but sees him becoming more monstrous by the moment. He might have been in Casablanca but Mitchell’s clearly never seen The Godfather – despite his best intentions he’s moving well down the path of his own Michael Corleone style turn to the dark side.
While in Aidan Turner’s capable hands Mitchell spiral out of control is hugely watchable – particularly when he matter-of-factly tells George he should pull himself together – the two remaining housemates are overlooked this episode. While Being Human prides itself on the change of tone between humour, horror and drama, somehow this week’s sub plot with Annie and George helping each other through their grief in their own inimitable way doesn’t ring true, despite being laugh-out-loud funny. Annie seems to get over being invisible pretty fast, while George swings between alright and upset pretty much as the plot needs him to, the bonding between Hugh (who, come to think of it, fell into and out of love with Annie pretty sharpish all things considered) was amusing but felt quite a leap from the George lying in bed too listless to buy tea. That said, Russell Tovey’s handling of George’s grief at his farewell conversation with Nina was gut-wrenching – it’s fast becoming apparent that for emotional powerhouse moments putting Tovey and Keenan together, even on either end of a phone, brings nothing better.
Flashbacktastic: A grim but funny look at how vampires were dealt with in 1600s Bristol pre-empts how Mitchell deals with Cara in the present day. George’s Del-Boy-Trotter-circa-1970 date outfit doesn’t count as a flashback, but it should.
Pop culture reference of the week: The boys’ anguish at the erratic scheduling of The Real Hustle is funny even before you factor in that last week’s Being Human started half an hour earlier than the series opener, leaving fans frothing at the mouth in similar fashion. Meanwhile, after Annie referenced it in episode one, it becomes clear that a certain business-themed reality show is another regular Windsor Terrace favourite: when discussing career options that don’t involve wee and poo, Mitchell tells Lucy that he plumped for hospital cleaner, “because Nick on The Apprentice already has the job of being Nick on The Apprentice .”
Soundtrack of our times : Aqualung’s “Strange And Beautiful (I’ll Put a Spell On You)” gets the prize for maximising melancholy as Mitchell kills for the greater good, but for sheer surreal brilliance a bunch of lawless vampires doing a mass karoake version of Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab” has to take the cake.
Our world but not: It turns out Bristol’s crime rate may be being artificially pushed down by an unholy alliance between the city’s chief constable and the vampire community whereby repeat offenders are exsanguinated. Well it’s cheaper than Neighbourhood Watch.
Quotable moments: “My name’s John Mitchell and I’ve killed more people than you’ve MET!” Narin Bahar