The British show Being Human ended its third series last night on BBC America. Not to be confused with the American version on Syfy, which ends its first season Monday (check back Tuesday for that review). The finale is amazing, quite possibly the best episode they’ve done yet, at least the final ten minutes or so. It is a real game-changer, taking the characters and plot to unexpected places. It’s hard not to wonder if the American version will be so open to such drastic developments when they reach the same part of the story.
Before the ending, there is resolution on a number of running stories. Firstly, Lia (Lacey Turner) tricks Annie (Lenora Crichlow) into returning to purgatory. It is presented as a mission Annie must undertake, creepily delivered by a dead body in rhyme, but actually, Lia just wants to deprive Mitchell (Aidan Turner) of his love. Annie is forced to watch a major confrontation among her friends, helpless to do anything, so that Lia can take her revenge. Surprising to Lia, revenge isn’t nearly as satisfying as she assumed it would be. Chastised, and realizing she is creating new victims, she lets Annie go.
Though relatively small, this is a wonderful piece of the finale, and a pay off from the series three premiere featuring Lia. The writers really dig down into what it means to get even, and how collateral damage is assured. Lia’s thinking it too narrow, not considering how what she has done will impact people she doesn’t even think about. Revenge can become a never ending cycle, which is what Lia seems to realize by the end of the whole mess. Well done!
Tom (Michael Socha) also concludes his run with McNair (Robson Green), who is killed in the penultimate episode. McNair knew chances were great that he would not survive, so he has left Tom a note asking him to stop the cycle of violence. Unlike Lia, McNair realizes the bigger implications of what he has been doing, and doesn’t want Tom to get caught up in the same things.
Sadly, a note is not nearly enough to sway Tom in his anger and grief. Tom goes after McNair’s killer. Luckily, Mitchell stops him, and that’s the last we see of Tom, for now. Tom is not a strong character, always having had someone by his side to guide him and teach him. It is likely that Tom will begin to quickly come into his own, and return to the series next season a more formidable werewolf. For now, pursuing the revenge would have only gotten him killed, so it’s a very good thing someone is there to prevent that.
The vampire that Tom wants revenge on is Herrick (Jason Watkins), who is killed by George (Russell Tovey) at the end of season one, only to be resurrected from the dead. His return to top villain status has been a very slow burn, and it’s not clear that Herrick ever becomes as much of a threat as he once was. Sure, he leaves behind a huge pile of bodies, but he never gets to the point where is making any dent against society at large, his goal. However, what Herrick represents is very dangerous, and he seems to only be the appetizer to a much bigger obstacle.
Side note, how exactly did Nina (Sinead Keenan) survive and heal so quickly after Herrick’s attack on her? Sure, Annie does something at the hospital, which while unexplained, seems to heal Nina. Annie’s powers aside, Nina may be a werewolf, but she goes from the brink of death to walking around in a kitchen in what seems like a day or so. And how is the baby completely unharmed? The knife went in pretty close to where the little whatever-it-is is growing. At best, the hospital would have a lot of questions about the miracle. Her rapid recovery is definitely the weakest link in the entire episode, and screams for further explanation.
Back to Herrick, he used to be smart. In the finale, he puts Mitchell and George in a cage and expects they will fight to the death. Does he seriously believe that any goading he provides will cause the two to battle so fiercely? George has a much deeper bond with Mitchell than Herrick ever had, and after observing them from his attic these past few weeks, he should have realized that. Especially once it becomes apparent that George already at least suspected Mitchell is behind the massacre of the Box Tunnel Twenty, and looked the other way.
Herrick’s ending is perfect. In this episode, especially, Herrick’s affection for Mitchell is often shown, but it is much less acknowledged that Mitchell feels something back for Herrick. The two have much shared history, and were very close for quite awhile. Mitchell knows he cannot allow Herrick to go on, because he knows that what Herrick has done, and what Mitchell has done when emulating Herrick, is wrong and must be stopped. But Mitchell decides to give Herrick a parting gift, allowing him to die while looking at a spectacular view. It is a nice acknowledgement of their past association, while still serving the purpose. Mitchell could have been cruel, but it emphasizes the good he strives for to have him give Herrick a final touch of mercy.
Would the American version of Being Human ever kill off one of the main trio, especially with so much more story left to go? Somehow, that seems hard to believe, since American shows seem so much more tied to their central characters than British ones. Yes, there are exceptions, but I’m speaking as a general rule. From a storytelling standpoint, it’s brilliant. It almost provides a reboot, and pushes the show to be different, trying some alternate paths. From a fan perspective, it’s much sadder, and if not done right, can kill a series. It remains to be seen which is in evidence here, as the fourth series is far off, but I’m already inclined to lean towards this being a good move.
The death itself is done with so much care and sadness. There is a very long sequence where the characters debate whether Mitchell should be killed, then say goodbye once the decision is made. Against stereotype, the girls are the ones arguing for execution, citing that they will be responsible for any future murders Mitchell commits if they let him walk out of the house alive. Of course, they aren’t the ones being asked to take his life, so it might be a little easier for them to judge. Nina also doesn’t have that close love and connection that George and Annie do for Mitchell, so there’s that.
For a second, a reprieve seems likely, as Edgar Wyndam (Lee Ingleby) (next season’s Big Bad?) shows up and interrupts George. But George turns and does it anyway, to stop Mitchell from being forced to massacre others under orders from Wyndam. As George proclaims he is doing this because he loves Mitchell, and Mitchell replies that he knows that, one of the sweetest deaths ever shown on screen unfolds. All the characters have previously had tears in their eyes, and viewers everywhere likely joined them by then. Perfectly executed. Excuse the poorly timed pun.
So what next? Wyndam seems bent on vampire world domination, and George is equally determined to stop him. I, for one, am just as curious as Wyndam about what will come out of Nina’s far-too-rapidly growing stomach. Annie is promised more ghosts, and as she seems to have the power to stop Nina from dying, it looks likely only the tip of her powers have come out. And I think it’s safe to count on more action, danger, and bloodshed in series four than in this past season. I can’t wait!