We’re now halfway through Being Human‘s final series so it probably makes sense to squeeze in an episode that’s not arc-driven at this point. Still, there is a feeling during ‘Pie and Prejudice’, enjoyable as it is, that the show is taking its foot off the accelerator a little too much. Phil Davis’ Captain Hatch/Satan is entirely absent this week, as is evil nerd vampire Crumb. Instead, we have two (presumably) one-off guest stars in the shape of The Mighty Boosh‘s Julian Barratt and Ripper Street‘s Amanda Hale.
Arrogant weather-man Larry Chrysler (Barratt) is attacked by a werewolf one night while leaving the studio. He’s instantly sniffed out by Tom when he pitches up at the Barry Grand Hotel, who sees Larry as proof that being a werewolf doesn’t mean you can’t be successful. Meanwhile, Hal and Alex visit Lady Mary (Hale), a Regency-era ghost who reveals to Alex that time has changed her more than she lets on.
Last week’s episode placed the character development emphasis squarely on Alex. This week, it’s Tom’s turn. We’ve already had a fair amount of bickering between him and Hal, but this week shows that his insecurity runs much deeper than simple competitiveness. While it’s obvious that Larry is an utter tool, his stories of city living and fast cars tell Tom that behaving like that is the way to get ahead. Well, that and wearing a suit jacket. It’s very much a broad-stroke morality lesson but Tom is the only character it would work for. As Larry points out, “He was, quite literally, raised by wolves.” We’ve mostly seen his naiveté used for comic effect and the character was overdue some more serious exploration.
Julian Barratt’s Larry Chrysler fits squarely into the Being Human canon of one-off characters who seem ridiculous but show their dark side over the course of the episode. Like Crumb, he’s desperately overcompensating, and like James Lance’s manipulative ghost Kirby from series 4, he knows that Tom’s lack of cynicism can be used against him. Barratt seems to be going for Alan Partridge spliced with Howard Moon, which is pretty much what the script gives him to play for the bulk of the episode. However, when things do get slightly darker towards the final few minute the actor plays Larry’s weaselly menace very nicely.
Hale’s Lady Mary is more developed and consistently entertaining, as the character compensates for a lack of touch by indulging in all her other senses (developing a love for John Woo films and the music of Metallica in the process). The fact that Hal has been hiding the fact that she wasn’t his last victim doesn’t quite have the impact that it should, but Hale is excellent and there are some wonderfully bizarre touches from writer Jamie Mathieson (the toilet shag is the strangest things we’ve seen on Being Human this series). This series has been a little short on surprises, so a character with the ability to shock was exceedingly welcome.
There has rightly been a lot of time spent cementing Hal, Alex and Tom as a group this year and ‘Pie and Prejudice’ saw each of the characters announcing their need for the others. Hal once again sticks up for Tom, Alex convinces Tom to return to the B&B because she needs him, and Alex and Tom stop Lady Mary staking Hal. The unit has now been forged.
So let’s hope they start to move forward as it still feels like we’re going over old ground. Hal’s murder of Larry at the episode’s close felt like it should have been a surprise but we all know that the vampires on Being Human have short fuses at this point. It’s certainly entertaining but, like last week’s episode, it’s all quite familiar. Alex aside, there’s nothing here that feels like it couldn’t have come from a previous series. The cast are all great, the new line-up is certainly working, and there are a few jokes that will make you laugh out loud. We just hope that it shifts up a gear as we head towards the finale.