Saturday, 16 March 2013

"Deep down we're human"

OK, I can put it off no longer, but once I've done a blog post about the last ever Being Human it's definitely all over.

"The Last Broadcast" by Toby Whithouse, directed by Daniel O'Hara. Spoilers under the cut.

- One thing that's been very cleverly dealt with in the way this series ended is the development of Hal's 50-year cycles as a multiple personality disorder. At first I thought it was a shame this got going at a point where it couldn't get explored properly, but on reflection if it had become an ongoing arc it would have probably just been a retread of Mitchell's Series 3 storyline, and we all know I don't like what that did to the show. Actually the way it's used, with the ending we appear to be getting at first being that Bad Hal comes back, helps defeat Hatch and eventually goes away, is a suitable, if not entirely jolly, way to end his story, and in keeping with his past history. Of course it doesn't quite work out that way anyway.
- Obviously the "Puttin' On The Ritz" sequence needs a mention.
- The broadcast itself is a great example of the way Being Human has (almost) always balanced comedy and darkness; Hatch's suicidal Apocalypse getting interrupted by the "interlude" footage of the potter's wheel.
- Great to see the return of Louis Mahoney's Leo and Ellie Kendrick's Allison in the temptation sequences. And Gordon Kennedy is Alex's dad!
- Most interesting thing about the temptations is that Hal's appeals to his sense of guilt rather than the wish for a happy life. In which context, the choice of Leo as a tempter to appeal on behalf of his own guilt is a canny one. But then I guess the devil is in the details.
- The ritual as we actually see it doesn't make that much sense, does it? A supernatural trinity has to perform the ritual which will destroy them, and all it'll actually do is expel the Devil from his host body? And then he can just possess it again? If killing the host body kills the Devil, couldn't Hal have just staked Rook from the start rather than go through all that?
- So the trinity actually turn human as a result of the ritual instead of being destroyed. Which is kind of the sort of thing people write fanfic about, but OK, there's a nasty little twist coming. It still doesn't make sense though: OK, I can buy that Hal and Tom's curses come from the Devil, but Alex's? In the Being Human universe it's always been the case that Alex's condition is what happens to everyone after they die, it's just that for the vast majority it lasts a few moments before their door shows up. A ghost doesn't have an extra supernatural curse on them like a vampire or werewolf, they're in what's been portrayed as a natural transitional state, just for longer than intended.
- Still, the turning-human sequence is very movingly done, particularly Hal's slow approach to the mirror.
- And then the final twist that, after Hal told Hatch he should have put the three together in their parallel fantasy worlds, that may well be exactly what the Devil did, and chaos actually is reigning outside while the trio get their happy ending, forever unaware that they're living a dream. Apparently Toby Whithouse has said the ending is meant to be ambiguous, although it does seem the choices we get are between a slightly too-neat ending and a viciously twisted one. I would have thought which it is was clear, but true to form within minutes of going online after the episode ended I found people fanwanking explanations for how the origami wolf from Tom's fantasy ended up in real life.
- And it goes without saying that Michael Socha, Damien Molony, Kate Bracken, Steven Robertson and Phil Davis knocked it out of the park.

Favourite lines:
- "Can I walk through walls? Am I basically one of the X-Men?"
- "I'd do a trick for you. I'd turn water into wine but it's been copyrighted."
- "Wouldn't want to miss a bullshit supervillain speech from one of the cast of Cocoon."
- "It's basically a Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse thing, but I'm doing it on my own. Cutbacks."
- "You'll have to excuse me Allison, I think I'm having a Quality Street moment. Perhaps you'll go in the living room and read a magazine, or a novel."
- "Shut up, you're just symbolic."

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