Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review: Being Human (USA) "There Goes the Neighborhood Pt 2"

Non Spoiler Review:
Last episode's cliffhanger is dealt with right away, and the action focuses primarily on Aidan's messy handling of the Rebecca situation—particularly Bishop's messy fixing of the Rebecca situation. The whole thing creates a big batch of trust issues for everyone, makes Josh even more depressed, and sets a new threat on the loose. Sally, meanwhile, continues her travails stuck within the confines of the house.

While I groaned at how quickly the cliffhanger was resolved—it was a cop-out, to be sure, and hopefully isn't setting up Aidan's vampire powers to be the deus ex machina of the week—the rest of the episode really came together around new vampire Rebecca and the damage she manages to inflict on pretty much everyone who crosses paths with her. The theme was monsters—Aidan's attitude that they can overcome their curse, while Josh is determined to wallow in despair at being an outcast. Somewhere in between is Sally, who is still coming to terms with what she is exactly.

After two strong weeks, I'm definitely sticking with the series, anxious to see the relationship between Aidan, Josh and Sally continue to evolve, coupled with the wild cards of Bishop and Rebecca.

Spoilers Now!
A compelling montage narrated by Sally begins with a brief vignette of each of the main characters' origins. Sally is dead on the floor of her house and we see her later as a ghost at her memorial; Aidan first encounters Bishop as a soldier in the Revolutionary War; Josh is wounded on a camping trip, finding himself later turning into a werewolf. Then we end with a horrified Rebecca waking up in the morgue, and Bishop at her side. All she needs is a bite to eat, he suggests.

Josh is changing in the vault but Aidan finally checks his voicemail and is off at vampire speed. He gets there really quick and rescues Emily, shutting the door. He takes Emily to the cafeteria, filling her in that Josh has a condition and she should talk to him. She seems to accept it all quite well, with Aidan's assurances that he has friends who are looking out for him. Alrighty.

The next morning Josh heads home and Sally is waiting anxiously for news of what happened. He says it's all okay, despite that she couldn't leave the house to help. Sally is excited with her own news, and tells him that Danny is coming over—Aidan called him. But Josh thinks it's a bad idea. If Danny sees her it would ruin everything with their new life. 

Aidan takes charge as Danny shows up to look at the clogged sink. As Sally watches on the stairs the light bulbs suddenly burst. Josh heads upstairs to discourage Sally from coming down to see him. It's a humorous scene with some nice crazy camaraderie between the three of them. But Danny's not very proficient with the plumbing. He does ask if there's been any weirdness there—things that people have said after he moved out. Josh and Aidan dismiss it. 

Not one for delicacy, Josh asks how Sally died. Danny recounts how one night on her way to the bathroom she turned the wrong way in the dark hallway and fell down the stairs. He found her at the bottom. Sally stares at the spot at the foot of the stairs where she died. On that mellow note, he leaves.

At the hospital, Kara awkwardly hits on Aidan. Aidan's interested, but only in her blood, and tries to curb his urges, while Kara keeps trying to ask him out to the bar after work. He manages to avoid the question and runs off.

Josh, meanwhile, is astonished to see Rebecca standing by her memorial. When he heads off in search, she corners him, ready to chow down on him. But she suddenly realizes he's a werewolf and is disgusted she almost drank from him. What she does do is spill the beans on Aidan for drinking from her and killing her. Watch yourself, she tells him.

Josh confronts Aidan about turning Rebecca, which comes as a bit of a shock. Aidan swears he didn't turn her. Josh is furious with him for succumbing to his instincts and destroying their normalcy and storms off. Aidan heads off to have a showdown with Marcus, demanding answers. Bishop breaks up the scuffle and explains he solved the problem after Aidan asked for their help. And by the way, she just loves being a vampire, and usually she hangs out at the park. So Aidan heads off there.

Sally's by herself when Danny arrives to fix the pipes. He can't sense her at all, of course. The pipes burst after Sally gets agitated but Josh shows up and Danny leaves to shut off the water, pausing for just a moment in front of Sally. She's getting increasingly depressed at what she's supposed to do to move on.

Aidan finds Rebecca, and she's a little miffed about the whole killing thing, but now that she has Bishop as her mentor she's quite happy just to feed and know that nothing can kill her, free of her human self, and perhaps even exact some vengeance on her no-good family. Aidan sees Rebecca has plenty of I-S-S-U-E-S, but she had those even when she was human. Having no luck dealing with anyone, Aidan leaves her, too.

Josh and Sally have a heart to heart and while he does feel sorry for her, he's not the best at giving comfort. He admits he was engaged but his ex doesn't know about his wolfy ways either. Sally just wants to talk to Danny while Josh is happy to just avoid his family. They're monsters, he says, and Danny's never going to accept that.

Aidan is drowning his sorrows at the bar, the same one Kara is at, so he invites her to join him. His blood lust is getting the better of him though, so he phones Josh to come to the bar. Josh isn't in a socializing mood, but Aidan implies he really needs him to come, as if Josh is his AA sponsor. So Josh rushes over, fearing Aidan is about to feed on her. But it's Rebecca who shows up to intimidate Aidan and Kara first. Kara slowly realizes this is Rebecca and goes back to her friends, leaving Rebecca to try to get Aidan to come with her. When he doesn't, she picks up another guy, but Aidan nixes that pretty quickly.

Josh shows up outside, just in time to be grabbed by Rebecca yet again for a "See what I did?" moment—she's managed to feed on Kara in the alley. Aidan comes outside, and Rebecca tells him to turn her or she's a goner. Josh pleads for Aidan to save her, but he does nothing, and so poor Kara dies! Having created a horrible mess, Rebecca is pretty much satisfied and leaves.

Josh and Aidan wait at the hospital as the police investigate the murder. Josh is pretty sure this is the end of their brief life at being human, but Aidan looks at Bishop playing cop across the room and tells him it's going to be fine.

We get another musical bit, this time with Sally re-enacting her fall, slowly drifting down to lie at the foot of the stairs where her head struck the floor. Josh confronts his sister one last time as she's leaving the hospital, telling her to not contact him again. Aidan goes to Bishop and says that despite what he's done in the past, for now he's on the side of the humans.

Later at the house, Josh watches Aidan on the front step, commenting to Sally that he realizes now he must be struggling every minute of every day to control his vampirism. He joins him outside with a coffee, while Sally stands in the doorway.

What Worked:
With two episodes under the belt, the character relationships have been set up quite nicely, especially between Josh and Aidan with this interesting addict/sponsor dynamic. Can either of them be there for each other when it's necessary? How long before Josh rebels against Aidan's fatherly manner with everyone in the household. He's two hundred years older and seems to have the answers to everything on matters of supernatural. I'm excited to see where it all goes with Sally slowly learning about herself and participating more in the action.

What Didn't Work:
My problems with this episode both have to do with credibility. The cliffhanger was handled badly and a total psyche-out for the viewer. If Aidan's powers are that great that he can travel at super speed and get to the vault in no time at all, then there was no real danger to start with. Being Human runs the risk of making Aidan too powerful. Add to that, Josh was conveniently turned away from his sister the whole time so she couldn't see any change in him. Emily accepts that he has some unnamed condition from a friend she doesn't know, and that's it? That's too much of a stretch given the obvious pain Josh was in right there in front of her.

How did Rebecca learn pretty much everything about being a vampire so quickly, including that werewolves exist and what they smell like? Did she attend a full day seminar? I can see she might love the idea of being a vampire, but she accepts everything and seems to know everything. When we first see her after the morgue, it looks like she's been vamping around for years. The show has to be grounded in some sense of reality—that the existence of the supernatural is going to come as a big shock to normal humans, otherwise it could quickly cross over into cheesy territory.

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