Being Human concludes by bringing the old Buffy comparisons full-circle: Alex climbs out of her own grave, Hal loses his soul then engages Tom in some good old-fashioned martial arts, the First Evil attempts to devour from beneath and then everybody gets Shanshu.
Or do they…?
First off, sorry for not bothering with a review of last week’s episode – I was either ill, or I’d had too much to drink. The effects are largely the same, except I tend to cry more when I’m ill.
So, the conclusion of Being Human, then. The last episode ever. Ever. Naturally, there has to be an apocalypse. It’s the only decent way. After last episode we had Hal losing his Gypsy Curse (or something) and becoming the affectionately dubbed ‘Bad Hal’ and deciding to slaughter a pub full of patrons; Tom was convinced that Hal had murdered his new bird and was on a mad one and Alex had finally discovered that Captain Hatch is, well, I’ll let the old man speak for himself:
“I’m only the fucking Devil, sweetheart!”
Then he traps her in what turns out to be her own grave in a wonderful homage to a certain Dutch film about disappearing. Holy shit, amirite?
The musical opening to this episode is a thing of beauty and deserves a hundred Youtube homages; Bad Hal dances around the pub singing along to the jukebox, waking up the now vampiric corpses of the various customers. It’s a glorious bit of dark whimsy and makes you long for more scenes with the worryingly charismatic Bad Hal. It’s true what they say; bad guys do have more fun.
Tom arrives in short order and delivers the kind of curb-stomb battle to the newly minted vampires that reminds us of the fact that, as cuddly as he’s been in this series and the last, with all his fretting over work and Baby Eve, he was raised in the wild and can destroy pretty much anything you put in front of him.
Alex, clawing her way out of her own grave with, as I mentioned, no shortage of reference to Buffy’s similar shenanigans in series six’s opener, decides that she’s going to fuck up Satan’s day and soon puts a stop to Tom and Hal’s fight. Bad Hal gives us great value for money once more in this bit, sarcastic and stroppy even as he relates how they’re going to save the world. Quite frankly I could do with a whole series in which an increasingly exasperated Alex and Tom have to contend with a sarky, homicidal Hal as a recurring villain (and he is still their flatmate!) but that will have to remain in the realm of fantasy and fan-fiction, sadly.
Heading away from the pub to find Hatch, it transpires that he’s managed to trigger a small, localised apocalypse in the Barry Island and Cardiff area; everyone in the hotel is dead and the very British devastation that we see, with bodies lining the street having thrown themselves from buildings and cars, once again shows off Being Human’s talent for not skimping on the blood and guts. You’re very lucky if you get to die pleasantly here!
Meeting up with the shell-shocked Rook, it seems the rejuvenated Hatch is planning on broadcasting his whisper of death across the world. Our misfit trio turn up at the television studio and confront Hatch, who is engaged in a wonderfully hammy broadcast to the nation as he attempts to wring sympathy from us by telling us of the nature of God. This is the first concrete mention of old Jehova, everyone’s favourite overbearing, jealous god after Zeus, in the Being Human universe and is an interesting, Preacher-or-Hellblazer-esque addition to the cosmology, even at this late stage in the game. So God’s just a lazy old bastard, really, is he? We’d probably get along. I could fill in for him?
Hatch’s response to the threat of banishment from Hal et al is to trap them in dream worlds where he offers them the chance to change the future; Hal the opportunity to not become a vampire, Alex the chance to not go on her fateful date with Hal and for Tom, a werewolf since being a baby, the chance of a normal life free from the wolf and with a baby on the way.
Of course the power of friendship is more than the Devil can contend with and, without one another, the trio can’t settle. The Devil’s real mistake here was letting them keep their memories of what had passed, but then that’s the role of Satan isn’t it? We have to consciously choose the wrong path for him to win. The Devil an existentialist; who would have thought it?
Despite this setback, Hatch’s minions manage to mess up the blood ritual that the trio intend to perform but is caught off-guard by a sniper rifle-wielding Rook, apparently ashamed of being played by Satan and keen to make up for his errors.
Hal, Alex and Tom return to Honolulu Heights, seemingly free of the Devil but still not free of Bad Hal. Hal, as naughty as he is now, reminds us that Being Human’s vampires are not all evil, not possessed, but always fighting with the demon within, by telling Alex and Tom that, simply by desiring to be human, they have already achieved it. This echoes Angel’s epiphany at the end of season 2 of his own series where he realises that, if nothing we do matters then all that matters is what we do. It also recalls words said by the character Innara in another Joss Whedon show, Firefly, where she tells someone that “a man is just a boy who is old enough to ask that question”. By your actions, you shall know us. It’s not just Satan who’s an existentialist.
Alex and Tom have decided to kill Hal but experience some difficulty; this situation is defused when there is a knock at the door, revealing a Devil-possessed Rook. Our trio completes the ritual and Hal plunges a stake into Rook’s heart, destroying the Devil but at the cost of their own un-lives.
Or is it? For it seems that, by killing the Devil, it is literally only their un-lives that have been killed and they get to live on as genuine, baseline humans (or flatscans, as the X-Men fan Alex might put it). They begin planning their next moves as real people in a real world free of the Devil.
Or (again) is it? As they discuss the various situations that Hatch tried to tempt them with Hal relates that he knew he could never accept because his two friends were missing; it’s at this point that, for the astute viewer, the penny drops, and in a beautiful Blade Runner homage the camera pans across to the paper wolf constructed by Hatch earlier on in Tom’s ‘dreamworld’.
It’s too bad they won’t live, but then again, who does?
Some might feel it a cheap point to end a drama on; it’s all a dream. Oh, yeah, great. So much for closure. Yet the sheer amount crammed into this episode, not just in terms of plot and character but also in emotional highs and lows, particularly towards the end of the episode, that you start to feel they’ve earned their happy ending. In light of this, the final twist of the knife is effectively cruel and put a smile on my wicked face.
It’s also a nice, open ending should the BBC come to their senses and decide to resurrect Being Human from its grave. And resurrect it they should; this episode was packed full of classic moments that reminded us why this series was so good: top swearing, good laughs, bloody violence and tear-jerking goodbyes. I could quite happily spend a lot more time with Alex, Hal and Tom but, as finales go, this was a good’n. However, the only way to finish is to paraphrase Partridge, so beautifully lampooned several weeks ago:
Give them another series, you shit.
Edit: Toby Whithouse, series creator, has an interesting blog post on the subject here. It’s a lovely post, but this in particular stands out:
But it doesn’t quite end there. On the DVD there will be an extra scene – one that takes place, in my mind, a week or so after the end of Episode 6. It answers the question I’m sure you’re all asking yourselves now – what’s happened to them? Did they save the world? And at the same time it allows scope for further stories, a future life for the show and the characters.
Excited! Will it ruin things? Who knows? Expect an update when said DVD is released!