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Review #2399: Being Human (US) 1.9: “I Want You Back (From the Dead)”

Posted on the 15 March 2011 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

The previous episode felt more than a little derivative of the original British version’s plot and character threads, and as one would expect, much of the subsequent fallout in this installment is necessarily in the same vein. At the same time, I must admit that the writers have managed to meld these events with the American character depictions very well. None of these actions feel forced.

Review #2399: Being Human (US) 1.9: “I Want You Back (From the Dead)”

Aiden’s situation with Bernie is heart-wrenching. I had overlooked the detail that Aiden had once had a son, one that he very likely killed, so his need for a connection to Bernie made a lot more sense to me. There was no way that this situation would end well, and all the setup this season with Rebecca made it all the more realistic that she would turn Bernie to please Aiden.

I still suspect that Bishop is pulling the strings behind much of this, especially Rebecca’s actions, all designed to bring Aiden back into the fold as his blood addiction returns full force. Forcing Aiden to kill Bernie himself, therefore accepting the rules of his kind and recognizing the truth behind them, seems like something Bishop would orchestrate. Even if it’s not a setup, however, it’s still a potent storyline that is very well delivered.

Sally’s subplot with Kenneth is very interesting, because it peels back some of the layers of Sally’s character and delves into the depths of her sullen nature. Unlike Annie, the manic British original ghost, Sally seems to put a happy face on an underlying depression. And now we see part of the problem: Sally is not just a metaphor for an agoraphobic, but also a metaphor for an abused woman. This is why discovering the truth about her death wasn’t enough to make the door appear; Sally still has to reconcile and overcome those underlying psychological factors.

Josh’s storyline in this episode isn’t quite as strong, though it strikes at the heart of his insecurities. The whole metaphor for living with an STD is played to the hilt, and it threatens to derail his relationship with Nora. I like the fact that the writers gave Nora her own cross to bear (tying indirectly into Sally’s character arc), but it also makes the foreshadowing all the more damning. Josh seems destined to scar Nora in ways she can’t begin to imagine.

It still seems like the writers intend to hew very closely to the plot threads from the first British series, which has its drawbacks. As some have noted, the American characters have evolved in their own distinct and worthy directions, and those directions aren’t necessarily compatible with the original plot arcs. The major beats of the story should still work, but hopefully the writers will take proper care in getting the characters organically into those semi-fated situations.

One last point: a lot of shows overuse the musical montage these days, to the point where it’s more and more obvious when the tone doesn’t’ quite fit. The music used on “Being Human” is prominently mentioned during the commercial breaks, and I think they have good reason to be proud of their selections. In this episode in particular, I thought they made some excellent choices that underscored the emotional depths of each situation.

Writing: 2/2
Acting: 2/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 2/4

Final Rating: 8/10

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