We’ve complained that the fifth series of Being Human has felt like it’s been treading water for the last few weeks. However, with this penultimate episode, we’re finally seeing the plot move forward. Hal’s finally snapping, Tom’s finally stepping up, and Alex is finally doing something about Captain Hatch.
The big guest this week is young Natasha (Kathryn Prescott), who is chased into the Barry Grand by a thug and runs straight into Tom’s heart. He gets her a job at the hotel, but little does he know that she’s a plant from Mr Rook in an effort to drive a wedge between him and Hal. Hal’s back on blood and only too willing to accept Natasha’s offer to provide him with what he needs. Meanwhile, Alex is convinced that Hatch knows more about manchild werewolf Bobby’s suicide than he’s letting on, and investigates the hotel’s oldest guest.
This week’s episode (written by Sarah Dollard) was a very good example of the show using comfort zone staples (Tom has a crush, Hal is in need of a fix, Alex is trying to be pro-active) but using them to advance the characters and the plot. It’s sweet to see that Tom is in two minds about pursuing his interest in Natasha given that he’s already promised his heart to Allison-with-two-l’s, and the scene in which he asks Hal and Alex for sex advice is exactly the right combination comedy and warmth (the birds and the bees line is a keeper). Michael Socha is as good as ever at playing the character’s naivete and he clearly enjoys playing Tom’s rage when he finds out what Hal’s been up to with his girl.
In earlier episodes Hal’s mounting need for blood felt a bit cursory, like it was something the character had to do because he was a vampire, not because there was any particular motivation for it. But Damien Molony has always seemed a bit more comfortable playing tortured than actually evil (while Aidan Turner clearly relished Mitchell’s turns to the dark side) and he is at his best here, simply unable to resist the prospect of fresh blood from a willing donor. In terms of development, Hal’s been dealt the weakest hand this year but it was great to see him confronted by Alex and be told that the reason he didn’t ask for help was because he knew that they would help him. He didn’t want to be clean.
It was a good episode for Kate Bracken too. She got comedy (teasing Tom about his crush, threatening to tip over Rook’s table), some romance (succumbing to Hal’s blood-fuelled charms), and some good old-fashioned Being Human big emotional moments, as she and Tom tried to come to terms with the fact that Hal had fallen off the wagon. This series has benefited hugely from her performance as Alex and this episode really showed off her range.
And the episode’s close finally saw the emergence of Captain Hatch as a proper villain. He’s still irritatingly ineffective given the fact that he is supposed to be Satan himself but it was great to see the plot-line starting to pay off. The literal meaning of “He Will Rise” was nicely played and, although we’re still not sure about the glowing red eyes, “I’m only the fucking devil, sweetheart” is a strong contender for best line of the series.
‘No Care, All Responsibility’ also saw some welcome nasty shocks, which series 5 has been sorely missing. The death of Natasha was impressively unflinching, and Alex’s expulsion to a coffin was an excellent cliffhanger. The episode certainly had its problems, and Natasha should probably have been around for another episode for the loss of her character to really resonate (and because Kathryn Prescott’s performance was very good), but it’s great to see the show picking up the pace a bit. Tom’s on the warpath, Hal’s organising his own take on a pub lock-in, and Alex is six feet under. Bring on the finale.