Saturday, April 9, 2011

Review: Being Human (USA) "You're The One That I Haunt"

Non Spoiler Review:
With the primary vampire storyline seemingly on the back burner now, Josh and Sally get more focus. Sally is still in zombie ghost mode, recovering from her traumatic exorcism and behaving more powerful when it comes to exacting revenge on Danny. Josh deals with Nora's unusually fast-progressing pregnancy. All culminates to a shocking ending.

Just when you think Danny is over and done with, he comes back, and Sally's bitchiness follows suit. If she could only play the part a bit softer, she could draw more sympathy from me. But after a full season she's still the outsider. I'm suffering too much from British Being Human comparisons, given most of this week's plot was pulled from the end of its first season. So it didn't really work very well for me this time around. I continue to be distracted by character behaviour. But if one is watching Being Human with virgin eyes, then it likely will be much more exciting.

Spoilers Now!
Following the drama at the funeral home (which is pretty trashed), Josh and Aidan are going to work packing stakes in case of run ins with Bishop or his followers. Meanwhile, Sally is gliding around the house looking like a zombie ghost from The Grudge, and freaking everyone out. Aidan says she needs time to heal after her experience.

On the hospital grounds, Aidan sees a familiar girl that makes him reminisce about when he got his Celine tattoo (and sported an awesome haircut) back in the 70s as we flashback. And he seemed very much in love with the human Celine, who's pretty okay with him being a vampire. Back in the present, she's older now, and goes inside with a nurse. He pops in on her in her hospital room. She's quite happy to see him, and tells him he hasn't changed a bit. She has a daughter all grown up, too. But she reveals she's dying of lung cancer.

Returning to the 70s, a harder edged Bishop interrupts Aidan's tryst with her. Aidan apparently disappeared for five years and lived in Montreal, but won't come back to Bishop, who reminds him about Jane from 20 years ago and how hypocritical Aidan's being with his own human girl. Bishop asks him to come home.

Aidan returns to their apartment, telling Celine they need to leave right away, but she's worried for her family. She suggests he turn her so she can defend herself rather than abandon her family. He refuses, but says he'll go handle Bishop and come back for her. They'll meet at the train station.

Nora's scheduled an ultrasound considering she's already showing and her HC levels are off the scales (which could mean multiple fetuses—yay, puppies!—or birth defects). That does nothing to alleviate Josh's concerns, but he says he'll be there with her for whatever she decides.

Danny is shaving as creepy Sally appears, though he can't see her. She seems to have more powers, as she can cut him with his razor. But she doesn't go all the way, just giving him enough of a slash to send him to the hospital. Satisfied, she manages to return her appearance to normal.

Sally goes to the hospital and chats with Josh as Danny gets his neck tended to. She theorizes nearly killing him has made her more powerful, and wishes she could just be strong enough to finish him off. 

While Josh and Aidan have a talk about Nora in the stairwell (in which Aidan basically tells him to take things one day at a time) the cafe waitress comes up and says hi, and Aidan immediately recognizes her as having talked to Bishop...she's been turned and attacks them, and they manage to restrain her as Josh stakes her. Nice teamwork.

Danny shows up at the empty apartment (AGAIN), and assures Sally the medium told him how to destroy her. He wants her to show herself, but she doesn't. So he produces a can of gasoline and starts throwing it around the living room and sets it on fire. Sally decides that if the house is going down, he's going down with it and locks him in.

Josh and Aidan show up, but Aidan throws Danny into the wall and goes all vamp on him. Josh somehow puts out the entire inferno in the living room with one fire extinguisher and asks if Sally's okay, which brings the big reveal that they both can see her and are monsters like her. Josh stops Aidan from killing him, trying to convince Sally not to go through with it either, as they've all killed someone but her. Danny can now see her and she assures him he hasn't been saved, but he'll wish he was dead. Later, as the fire department deals with the situation, Danny confesses to setting the fire and to killing his fiancee. 

Given Celine asked him so many times to be made a vampire, Aidan goes to her and tells her he's finally ready to turn her. Now that she's had a life and a family she can make a better decision, he says. But she decides she's had her time and turns him down. He asks her why she wasn't there when he came back for her at the train station.

It's her turn for a flashback. Bishop had abducted Celine after Aidan left, and drank from her. She woke up with him, but he warned her that if Aidan really thought of her as an equal he would have turned her already. She'd already missed their train station reunion. Bishop told her Aidan will forget her, and if she did make an attempt to tell him the truth, he'd kill her family. In the present, Celine doesn't reveal what really happened. She just tells him to be happy. 

The ultrasound reveals Nora is 14 weeks along, not seven, and the baby is normal. Josh is pretty happy and they decide they have to be wrong about the date (!?).

Though the house is a mess and their couch is all burned up, the trio have a toast to Danny being gone, and Josh being a father. That's when they notice a door in the middle of the room. Yay, Sally's door! They say their good-byes and she's about to open it when Bishop crashes through the window and stakes Aidan. But he starts to burn, given he wasn't invited in, and leaps back out into the night. Sally and Josh try to do something but Aidan writhes on the floor with a stake through his chest.

The Verdict:
Something seemed to be missing this week, given this was the culmination of a lot of plot points (and storylines from the UK version). Maybe it lacked the emotional connection I'm continually comparing to the original. A lot of it continues to stem from the writing and the the sometimes manic way characters behave between levity and despair.

Josh's willingness to accept his paternity of the baby—but ignoring the unusual nature of the pregnancy—seems pretty flimsy. It's coming across way too flippant, especially from Aidan, who should know better than to tell Josh to just take it a day at a time and blah blah blah. This is seriously good advice when you're dealing with a possible werewolf baby? Nora probably won't be as understanding.

Then we get Sally who just comes across so vindictive and mean. Oddly enough, the actress who plays Annie can say the exact same things, yet she's sweet as pie. I've decided it's the actress. When Annie's door appeared and they said their farewells I was weeping like a baby, but with Sally, I thought "Oh, nice. Buh-bye, Sally". Maybe it's unfair for the comparisons, but the American version just doesn't feel like these three are family or have one another's back.

To be fair to the show, taking it out from under the shadow of its parent, the writing still needs a bit more care and fine-tuning. Get rid of the ongoing contradictory advice Aidan doles out. The back and forth with Sally's attitude about revenge. The blind eye Josh is willing to turn to his baby's conception. More wit and less one-liners.

And for some quibbles...why did the young Celine speak flawless English compared to the thick French accent of her older counterpart? And I've had tiny kitchen fires that took more time to put out than the entire living room Josh managed with his handy fire extinguisher. How is that place going to be remotely livable for weeks? Finally, after learning Danny murdered Sally, after an attempted exorcism, and obviously showing up many times before, as Sally can attest, STILL Danny can just walk into their place. 

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