A quality street moment

Last night was the last ever Being Human. 

** MAJOR SPOLIERS ALERT!! **

Series 5 was a shorter than average series with big ideas as Hal, Alex and Tom took on the Devil himself.  I love stories like this so I was very excited to see how our three would cope. 

Hal, Alex and Tom have been described as a run of the mill vampire, werewolf and ghost but Hal and Tom are anything but.  Tom has been a werewolf his entire life, he doesn’t know any different, the wolf is part of his identity and Hal, of course, is an Old One.  They are so much more, in this respect, than Mitchell and George.  Contrary to this, Alex is new to this supernatural world and less powerful than Annie, although she picked up her supernatural powers a lot quicker than Annie did.  Alex has more fire in her than Annie, however, so what she lacks in experience she makes up for in intelligent quick thinking and pure rage. 

The beginning of the end sees Hal and Tom torn apart from one another, giving off enough energy to allow Captain Hatch to stand up out of his wheelchair, don a particularly fitting ‘devil’ suit and begin his apocalypse.  Alex knows the truth of what is going on but has been sent into her own grave by Hatch and, presumably, trapped. 

Hal, having just recruited a bar full of people and having done a fantastic dance number, is confronted by Tom who is ready for war.  Tom easily defeats Hal’s new recruits, reminding us all of just who he is.  He is McNair’s son, a werewolf almost from birth and a deadly vampire hunter.  He confronts Hal, who will not be so easily defeated and I wondered in this moment if we might lose Tom.  Not a lot has been given away about who Hal is beneath the OCD and to the last episode I still wasn’t sure what he was capable of.  But did anyone else notice the similarity between good/bad Hal and Joss Whedon’s Angel/Angelus?  Mitchell turning bad simply meant he became dark and broody, Hal turning bad seemed to mean him becoming a completely different person and speaking of ‘good Hal’ as such. 

Thankfully Alex arrived to save the day.  Yes, she got out of her own grave.  How?  By climbing out of it.  I admit this one had me stumped.  She couldn’t rent-a-ghost out, but she could simply pass through the top of her own coffin.  Where was the challenge?  She was then shown pushing up through the soil.  Why did she simply not pass through the soil and stand up?  The golden opportunity of Alex realising she was in her own grave was sadly lost as we moved immediately away from Alex and back to Tom and Hal ready to rip each other apart.

That was the main problem with this episode; everything was a little rushed.  Here you have three, well developed characters packed into a tiny series and one last hour.  It felt like we were only touching the surface of Hal, Tom and Alex and beautiful moments were just being passed by in a race to the end.  

Despite being rushed, this episode is still a work of brilliance with some fantastic ideas and lines.  I particularly loved the Devil explaining his own apocalypse as “a four horseman of the apocalypse thing but I’m doing it on my own.  Cutbacks.”

 It has been mentioned to me that Being Human has lost its way.  No longer is it about ‘being human’.  While I can understand this, as vampires fight for world supremacy and the Devil creates arguments between vampire and werewolf, the art of being human is still there, between the lines.  Every day Hal must fight the creature within to stay human, every day he must create order and fight his instincts to make the right decision.  When he is told that he can only do this through not feeling, he replies ‘what is the point?’  What is the point in being human if one cannot feel?

What about Tom?  Heartbreak and loneliness causes him to act out.  Ok, so not all of us would try to stake our best friend if we thought he’d killed the girl we liked…or would we?  While on the surface these stories are supernatural, they are grounded in human reaction.

 As befitting the last ever episode, this last hour is all about that conundrum of ‘being human’.  What does it mean to be human and will our trio ever be capable of it?

 The episode comes to a climax as the Devil whispers and negotiates with our three heroes.  He takes Hal back to the day he was turned, he takes Tom to a new life of home and love with a pregnant Allison and Alex back to the day she died and the last conversation she had with her father.  He offers them all the same thing; a second chance.  To be rid of the monster for good and to have what they truly desire.  It wouldn’t be real of course, but they could be happy.  Happy and separate, as Hal points out.  Silly Hal.

 I thought I knew where it was going at this point.  It was the final episode, so why wouldn’t we lose all three?  But then we were given an anti-climax and it was all over in the blink of an unbelieving eye as the Devil escapes Hatch’s body just before Rook shoots him in the head.  That couldn’t be it.  It can’t be that simple to be rid of the Devil.

 Of course not!  He returns, in Rook’s body, and our trio try once again to sacrifice themselves for the good of the world.  This time it works.  Now, here’s another bit that I didn’t really understand.  Alex drinks the cocktail of vampire and werewolf blood, the three roll around of the floor dying as the Devil is pushed out of Rook and flies around the house looking for a new body.  He eventually finds Rook once more and Hal kills him.  Really, Hal?  Why didn’t someone just do that before?  I reiterate; it can’t be that simple to be rid of the Devil.

 The idea of the curses being lifted now that the Devil is truly dead is a nice touch.  Hal is human once more, Tom can no longer feel the wolf inside (which must be very strange as he’s never known it any different) and Alex is alive and aching all over.  How can a girl be brought back from the dead that easily?  I thought.  What’s happened to her decomposing body we saw in her grave at the beginning of the episode?  This didn’t bother our heroes, however, and they quickly rejoice at being given what they’d always wanted.

 Have you worked it out yet?  I hadn’t by this point although I was very suspicious.  It wasn’t until Hal explained to the others that he had told the Devil that he should never have separated them.  That was when it clicked.  And just in case you still weren’t sure, we were left with the fleeting glimpse of an ultrasound picture (Allison’s unborn?) and an origami wolf made by the Devil as he negotiated with Tom in that very room.

 Being Human could never have had a happy ending.  It just wouldn’t be right.  But here, Toby Whithouse has managed to give us both in a stroke of genius.  It is a melancholy ending and one that gave closure but left me feeling uneasy, as it should have done.  Tom, Hal and Alex are blissfully unaware and happy.  They are finally human, despite the message throughout the whole episode being that they have been human all along – it was their humanity that could have saved the world.  While we can only imagine what destruction the Devil is orchestrating in the real world…

What an amazing programme Being Human has been and what an awful lot of potential lost with its cancellation.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I’m having a quality street moment.

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4 responses to “A quality street moment

  1. Pingback: My mum’s day | J E Nice·

  2. Mmm. I did buy it as a happy ending. The Ritual did not work in the 19th century and the first time, because Bad Hal used another vampire’s blood. The Ritual did work the last time, because even Bad Hal knew he had to do it, himself. The story was that the vampire and wolf would die after the ritual, and they did, leaving the humans behind. Alex I can cope with, I just love happy endings.

    • That’s a good point. I did really like that angle, it’s very poetic. That’s the great thing about an ending like that, you can take it however you want! I know a few people who have chosen to ignore the last few seconds and love the happy ending! I think it was a brilliant ending. Waiting for the entire collection to come out on DVD now! 🙂

  3. Pingback: Wednesday Creature Feature: the werewolf | J E Nice·

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