The season finalé lives up to the promise of the penultimate episode, reckons SFX blogger Narin Bahar
Written by: Toby Whithouse
Directed by: Charles Martin
The One Where: The gang make their final stand against the (in)human threat. Kemp drags Annie kicking and screaming into the afterlife and - after he returns for one last attempt on the lives of her friends - Annie returns the favour.
Verdict: Flickering lights, blood-soaked bodies, big scares, shadowy camera angles, all accompanied by a nerve-shredding score – everything's in place for a terrifying and truly disturbing finalé, even before we see Kemp tasting Lucy's lipstick from the side of her Garfield mug (which, let’s face it, is up there with Lloyd watching Nina in the shower for the ick factor).
We've been building to this climax for weeks and it doesn’t disappoint, although, as ever, Whithouse takes the audience's expectations and messes with them a little. The final confrontation at Kemp and Jaggat's facility is as devastating and moving as the build up made you hope/fear, but still leaves enough time for another shock or two.
In lots of ways Toby Whithouse is very Whedon-esque in his style. His world could be our world, his pop culture references are ours, and that makes everything scarier. Ratcheting up the tension further is the fact that we know people can and do die and, frankly, the end of this episode is a bloodbath. Annie being dragged through the door while George amd Nina can only watch in horror is heartwrenching, while her appearance from the other side through the TV was both a nice nod to her training with Sykes and a crumb of hope for wishful thinking sorts that a door’s been left open (ahem) for Annie’s return next year. Meanwhile Tully, Henessey and Lucy both meet untimely ends ironically killed by a monster more inhuman than Mitchell at his most furious. Kemp went from creepy-but-well-meaning to completely batshit crazy in a believable way, with Donald Sumpter if anything underplaying it as Kemp spiralled ever more into madness, mayhem and murder. This was a finalé so bleak that it’d be handy if Whithouse took another Whedon cue and went for a musical episode just to give our tear ducts time to recover.
The friendships at the heart of the show are fully back in focus and the best scenes are those moments between our core four (because no-one can doubt Sinead Keenan's earned her place now). Nina’s reactions to Lucy coming to their safe haven, and indeed her shift across the series from wanting to protect humanity to wanting revenge over it was particularly nicely played – with Keenan’s narrow glare back on form to the extent that if I was Lucy I’d have been worrying more about meeting a sticky end at her hands rather than either of the boys’.
With the show’s much-heralded move to Cardiff on the cards now, the plot reason given for their fleeing Windsor Terrace was nicely handled. There’s lots of scope for grief and new fish-out-of-water stories next series, as well as exploring whether the clearly traumatised Mitchell can be redeemed after all he's done. Meanwhile Herrick’s return should give the ethnically cleansed vampires a boost, although I’m starting the campaign for an early group bloodletting orgy to bring about the return of Ivan too.
Overall this is a cracking end to a series which has never drifted below being one of the best things on telly in any given week and with a good few jaw dropping moments that have to be up there with the best British sci-fi we have. Doctor who?
Flashbacktastic: The retro sounds of “I'm Saved”, paired with copious amounts of Brylcream means we're expecting the preamble to be a mid-’50 bit. But no, it's just Kemp's modern day holy army has uniformly unfortunate hair, although by about ten minutes in this is the least of their problems.
Pop culture reference of the week: Lucy on being visited by a portent of doom warning something was coming, when Kemp asked what it could be. “Retribution, my stuff from Amazon, she didn’t go into detail...”
The Otherworld but not: It turns out the afterlife is a (more) horrifying version of one of those supermarket deli counters, where you take a ticket and wait with dread and fear for your number to be called.
Gone but not forgotten: Tully – who had time to write ”George, all the werewolves die” on the wall of his cell, but alas not enough time to escape. And Herrick, who actually does return, albeit naked in a way that ensures the scene encompasses several interpretations of “scary”.
Quotable moments: George: “Nina, you are worth a thousand of me.” Nina: ”Just the one'll do.”