Parental mind control. CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS!
Writer Sarah Phelps
Director Philip John
THE ONE WHERE George is reunited with his family and the net starts to close around Mitchell.
VERDICT Well we’ve finally met George’s family – and ironically enough even with the whole werewolf thing, he’s probably less strange than either of his parents. After the angst and paranoia of last week, it’s a crunching gear change to move back to the more humour/action orientated story structure again but Lisa McGee manages it with assurance, writing one of the funniest scripts of this series, zinging with pop culture references and comedy, from Annie’s unique way of comforting the recently-bereaved to Nina and George helping his dad practice his big speech to his wife – “no, you’re a bit rapey now”.
As ever Being Human is at its best trying to reconcile the supernatural with the human, and George and Nina’s attempts to smooth over the chasm his disappearance has left in his parents’ life is moving and hilarious in equal measure, as well as showcasing again the lovely easy-going relation between our werecouple. And whose parents wouldn’t assume mental illness if you came home to out yourself as a werewolf?
While the A plot is relatively fluffy – it’s possibly a testament to how bleak things have gotten lately that something so filled with pathos feels relatively light – there’s enough else rumbling on the background to ensure those fearful of Mitchell’s eventual unravelling can’t rest easy. Nancy (with her supernatural sidekick Annie who also finally clicks as to Lia’s importance) quickly proves to be more than a cop cliché brought in to front Mitchell’s downfall. The mixture of fear and bloody-minded bravado that sees her let Herrick lean in to tell her where Mitchell “buries his nightmares” is chilling to watch, while Herrick sucking her bloody tissue picked out of the bathroom bin is disgusting and disturbing in equal measure. But through it all, you can’t help thinking things wouldn’t have got this far if Mitchell had just burned the blimmin’ book when he had the chance.
While this is a solid, funny episode with a clever premise and some great performances ultimately it suffers for feeling a bit like filler, albeit great filler. The importance of the ramifications of Nina’s anonymous call, Herrick’s return and Mitchell getting madder by the minute all overshadow George’s family problems, although having seen the “coming up” sequence for next week, perhaps we should enjoy this pleasant lull before we need to go back to hiding behind cushions...
FLASHBACKTASTIC Paris 1933. Herrick tells Mitchell how siring works Being Human style – and Herrick first hints at the idea of old ones having the knowledge of resurrection. That “tomb service” pun was terrible though.
PUN FUN This series is the first where episodes have been given names as well as transmission numbers – show creator Toby Whithouse told SFX in a recent interview this was because he wanted to make it easier for fans to refer to episodes when discussing the show, and bring the same anticipation he had as a long-time Doctor Who fan hearing what the episodes would be called prior to watching them. This week’s was thought up by the show’s script editor and resident pun queen, Laura Cotton. ( I’d like to know which genius came up with cringingly brilliant idea that George’s parents would call their home “Sandscastle” – ed. )
LOOSE ENDS Daisy’s surname is Hannigan-Spiteri. Any relation to Sharleen?
STARSTRUCK George Senior is played by James Fleet, of Vicar Of Dibley and Four Weddings And A Funeral fame – ironic really when you think of Annie’s attempts to comfort the recently “bereaved” George.
POP CULTURE REFERENCE OF THE WEEK Lots of options – from George’s dad being wondering if his unfinished business is seeing Titanic and George telling his mum and stepdad Marcus that he had escaped from the Church of “Earth, Wind, and... erm, Fire” in a way that sounded not dissimilar to The Shawshank Redemption through to references to Strictly Come Dancing , Guardian Soulmates and the Atkins Diet. But the pick of the bunch has to be Annie’s Auden / Cheryl Cole mashup in response to hearing of George’s dad’s death. Brilliant.
George’s Dad: “I’m going to fly Jack, I’m going to fly.”
Review by Narin Bahar