Starsky and Hutch Go Vamp
“You’re The One That I Haunt”
Syfy, Monday, 10 PM E/P
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’re exactly the same, minus the tragic sideburns.” —Celine
One blond, one dark. Shaggy hair. Aviator shades. Seventies wardrobe with leather jackets. Striding down an alleyway side by side with that butch swagger, joking with one another in what we now call bromance language. I don’t think I was the only viewer of this episode getting very strong flashbacks to the Seventies cop drama Starsky and Hutch as I watched flashbacks of Bishop and Aidan in the days of disco, sideburns, and platform shoes. This episode included more backstory on Aidan and Bishop, which didn’t move the plot for this episode along so much as set us up for next week’s finale. We meet Celine, a former lover of Aidan’s, in both the past and the present. In the Seventies, Aidan demonstrates his undying (ahem) love for her (Laurence Leboeuf, Trauma) by having her name tattooed on his chest; in the present, she (Nathalie Breuer, Providence) offers him the wisdom he needs, and needs nothing more from him. In the Seventies, she begged Aidan to turn her; in the present, she refuses his offer when he finds her dying of lung cancer. She’s one of only three people in the world now who know about Aidan’s relationship with Bishop, and know how dangerous Bishop is. In fact, she knows more than Aidan does, since Bishop kidnapped and abused her forty years ago. Other than that, however, her introduction into the show tells us nothing we didn’t already know, except that Sam Witwer looks ridiculous in that wig.
“He’s always leaving and you have to drag him back.” —Celine
One of the annoyances of last-minute characters like Celine is that they provide insight into the characters that the characters themselves should have, without having earned it. If Aidan can’t figure out for himself how manipulative and needy Bishop is, at least someone who has known him longer and better should tell him—someone like Josh or even Sally. True, Celine has earned her knowledge of Bishop, or rather had it thrust upon her, but she’s also been out of the picture since forever. Does she really know Aidan? Are they actually close enough for her to still have that much insight into him? It’s not really necessary to drag her in to tell Aidan something Rebecca could have told him last week. Unless, of course, Celine plays a larger role down the line, in which case the writers should just name her Plot Device and get it over with.
Josh: She looks like the Grudge.
Aidan: I know she looks a little rough.
Josh: Rough? If we video taped Sally right now and showed somebody, they’d be dead in three days.
I had to laugh when Sally made her first appearance in this episode. In full zombie makeup, including occluded white eyes, she drifted through the living room as if being pulled on a dolly, staring straight ahead, silent and menacing. Which gives Josh and Aidan an opportunity for some of that banter we’ve been missing so badly. Sally is still recovering from her encounter with an exorcist, which has turned her into a vengeful poltergeist who is out to kill Danny. She went from amusing to horrifying in seconds. It was more than the makeup; Meaghan Rath pulled out all the stops in transforming her character from the charming young woman we love to the hate-filled harridan of nightmare. When we first met her, she could not even touch Danny; now she joggles him while he is shaving with a straight razor, and he almost cuts his throat. He knows what’s going on, and decides to take last week’s exorcist’s advice to heart: he decides to burn down the house. Which is a mistake when the ghost you are trying to evict can keep you from leaving the house. Aidan and Josh return just in time to put out the fire (why? it can only improve the property) and save Sally from… what? Death?
“He’s trying to kill me… again.” —Sally
It was good to see the culmination of this story arc. While it is important and necessary for Sally the Ghost to confront her death, confront her killer, and find justice, it is also a very predictable arc. The writers have tried to pretty it up by introducing Sally’s friend Bridget (Angela Galuppo, Stephen King’s Dead Zone) as a complication, but ultimately the whole line was predictable. Frightened out of his wits by the revelation of who (and what) his tenants really are, not to mention an apparition of Sally herself, Danny confesses all to the police. (I only hope that one of the cops who processes him for questioning is Bishop). What I liked about this scene was not just that Danny got what was coming to him, but that he got scared straight. It wasn’t Aidan’s vamp-out that scared him into confessing, it was seeing Sally herself. Danny has always been in denial, not just about his real nature but about his crime; seeing the undeniable victim of his carelessness and selfishness put him over the edge into Truth. And in the end, it wasn’t Aidan’s restraint but Josh’s compassion that saved his life.
“I know what it’s like to kill someone. You cannot live it down. We’ve all killed—except for you—we’ve all killed someone.” —Josh
It’s good to see Josh acting as the conscience of the group again. So often, these characters are clueless when it comes to themselves, but preternaturally wise when it comes to their mates. Aidan gives Josh better advice about dealing with Nora’s pregnancy than anyone else; Sally gives Aidan good advice on dealing with Rebecca. Similarly, Josh can appeal to the essential innocence in Sally’s nature from the essential innocence of his own. On that moral level, these two connect better than anyone else. Aidan, the born killer, refrains out of friendship, not conscience, but Sally decides that she will not sink to Danny’s level by condoning his murder. Of the two, it’s Sally who earns redemption, which appears in the form of her Door, the symbolic exit to the afterlife. Will she go through it? As she ponders it, Bishop literally flies through a window and stakes Aidan.
“You know, I feel really awkward walking around with a bunch of stakes under my jacket.” —Josh
I think we’re coming to the end of Bishop’s character arc. Mark Pellegrino is already in filming and post-production for three movies (he was shooting one in my back yard last week), and I suspect he may not be coming back to Being Human. It would not surprise me a bit to see his character taken out in the season finale next week—that’s not a spoiler, just my speculation. He has made himself a pariah by his attack on the Elders, he has lost his lieutenant, Marcus, and his newest progeny, Rebecca, and he has made a permanent and final enemy in Aidan, his strongest scion. He’s desperate and cornered and doomed. Even Josh can understand that, so like Aidan he carries wooden stakes around with him. Just in case they get jumped. Which, of course, they do. Josh saves Aidan from one of Bishop’s minions, but it does not occur to either one of them that they could be at risk in their own home, so at the crucial moment, everyone is unarmed when Bishop crashes through a window.
“Don’t you think we’re thinking of ourselves just a little too highly?” —Josh
Being Human gained another tenth of a point to an 0.6 adult rating for this episode. 1.44 million viewers popped it into the top rank of Syfy’s scripted shows, well above Stargate Universe. Next week is the season finale. Not surprisingly, the show has been renewed for a second season; we’ve got one more show to go in this one, but I feel a change coming.