Being Human: “Wouldn’t It Be Nice”


“Wouldn’t It Be Nice (If We Were Human)”

Being Human

Syfy, Monday, 10 PM E/P

Written by Chris Dingess

Directed by Jerry Ciccoritti

Reviewer’s Note: This review covers the American version of Being Human, considered by itself and without reference to the original British series on which it is based.

“You suck at being a werewolf.” — Ray

Josh takes center stage this week on Syfy’s Being Human, as he continues looking for ways to fit his werewolf life into his human life, or what’s left of it. Having abandoned, for no reason I can see, the perfectly good basement Aidan was locking him into earlier, he takes to the woods. Alas, the woods of Boston are more crowded than they used to be, what with picnickers, hikers, and lovers scattered about the underbrush. It’s hard for a shy werewolf to find a place to Transform. This time, when Josh wakes up, he’s confronted by a homely fellow named Ray, who says he’s a werewolf, too. Ray takes a reluctant Josh under his paw and acts as his mentor. He shows him a hideout, advises him on ways to distract his wolf-self away from people, and offers packing tips for the trip. We learn that hydration is important to the werewolf lifestyle. As the moon waxes, Ray offers more than practical advice: he schools his padawan in the philosophy of the wolf. Vampires are blood-suckers, leeches, and ticks; women are easily seduced as long as one keeps in touch with the wolf within; and the night before the full moon is a good time to go kick vampire butt. Ray not only mentors Josh, he moves in with him, and pretty soon Aidan is arguing with him over who gets more refrigerator space.

“I can’t go to a restaurant and pretend to eat the food, when all I want to do is eat the table next to me.” — Rebecca

Meanwhile, an unwelcome relic of the past has popped into Aidan’s life again: Rebecca (Sarah Allen,Warehouse 13),, the nurse he killed and Bishop turned into a vampire, has decided she no longer likes the life. At first, I wasn’t sure what she wanted from Aidan—did she want him to kill her? Again? But then she seems to be pondering whether she wants him for a lover or for dinner. When she can’t get her kicks out of the human blood he brings her from the hospital, she drinks from Aidan. This is not enough to satisfy her, but it is enough to bind them in the blood-and-sex games we have come to expect from any vamp pair (yawn). Throat-biting in the alley behind a restaurant almost turns into the murder of a busboy, until Aidan wakes up from the blood-trance long enough to haul Rebecca away. She is miserable with this diminished existence and whines constantly. You’d think the girl had never been on a diet before.  

“Don’t you feel like she’s watching?” – Bridget

Sally spends her time hanging around Danny’s apartment. It seems that Bridget, Sally’s best friend, has been sharing her grief over Sally’s death with Danny, and the two are bonding. In fact, they’ve been making out, and Sally is getting really steamed. She gets so angry she finally affects the physical world, and is as astonished as the mortals when her temper shatters a bowl. With a little counseling from Aidan (absolutely the last creature on Earth I’d go to for relationship advice) and some practical hints from Ray, she discovers she can move small objects. Even better, she can talk to human minds. So, once Aidan has persuaded her to “move on” (the mantra of an emotionally stunted culture), Sally visits her best friend and tells her it’s okay to date Danny. But as soon as Bridget tells Danny she “heard” Sally, Danny rushes right back to the house, trying to contact her. I don’t think Danny has quite decided to “move on” just yet.

“Everything we are is just under the skin.” — Josh

This episode felt un-balanced. Aidan and Josh both find solace, for a short time, hanging out with members of their own supernatural tribe. But as time goes on, it becomes more and more obvious that those companions are more tied to their supernatural aspects (blood drinking, transformation) than they are to whatever remains of their humanity. Rebecca goes back to being a hunter; Ray beats up on vampires to let his wolf out. These are not the directions Aidan and Josh want to go, so in the end they wind up gravitating back towards one another. They may be very different beings on the supernatural plane, they may even be natural enemies on that plane, but their primary bond is that they want to be human more than they want to be supernatural. This makes them outcasts from their own kind.

“I go where my mind goes.” — Sally

Sally, however, is making no effort to become human. She met her mentor last week, in Tony, the ghost from the 80s. Like Ray, he taught Sally a lot about her abilities and her potential, but it became clear that the two of them did not click on any other level. Basically, all three of our heroes have had apprenticeship roles in the last two episodes; what I don’t understand is why the writers did not combine Sally’s story last week with this week’s stories of Josh and Aidan’s apprenticeships. It would have been more symmetrical, at least, to show the three friends experiencing more or less the same learning curve. But then, Sally has always been the square wheel on this tricycle; often Josh and Aidan’s stories will mesh, but Sally’s is completely independent of the other two. It’s like there are two different series intersecting here.

“I have to protect the world from myself.” — Josh

Josh and Aidan, as usual, complemented one another: Aidan needs more of Josh’s self-control and Josh desperately needs more of Aidan’s savoir-faire. Aidan nearly succumbed to the temptations posed by Rebecca; like an alcoholic, he learns that a little bit of what he craves is enough to blow all his resolution. Josh disastrously tries to copy Ray’s seduction technique, and nearly winds up with egg salad on his face. The scene where he quote’s Ray’s homespun come-on to a nurse, while Aidan listens and winces, was one of the most cringeworthy moments of the episode. Sally, however, is becoming thoughtless and morose. What she sees as her love for Danny begins to look more and more like jealousy and possessiveness. After she thwarts Danny’s attempt to discuss their growing attraction with Bridget, she watches in stormy silence as Bridget leaves. It looks like Sally is only happy when Danny is miserable. There may be hope for her; she matures enough to give Bridget permission to pursue Danny, and refuses to interact with Danny when he comes looking for her at their house. Maybe she is growing up.

“Crepes?” — Josh

This was one of the better episodes of the four shown thus far, which is still not saying much. Aidan is mellowing, Josh is learning, and Sally is acquiring more depth. However, the guest stars overshadowed our three main leads in a big way. As always, Rebecca has the best lines (“I have to live like an anorexic nun?”). Ray was a downright knee-slapper of a guest character. His redneck werewolf was a refreshing change from the too-cerebral Josh, who overthinks everything. He, too, had some of the best lines of the night, especially when Josh tries to defend Aidan: (“He must be part of that soft, cuddly sect of vampires I’ve been hearing about.”) And the scene where a werewolf makes crepes for a vampire, a ghost and another werewolf was one of the highlights of my week.

“Why do we keep on looking, when every impulse tells us to look away?” – Josh

Being Human clocked in at 1.438 million viewers, for a 0.6 share in the 18 to 49 demographic. This is a drop-off of about 25% from the series premiere, which was under 2 million viewers to start with. The History channel has higher ratings, and often better sci-fi. I’m not sure how much longer this experiment is going to last.