Entertainment Magazine

Review #3330: Being Human UK 4.4: “A Spectre Calls”

Posted on the 29 February 2012 by Entil2001 @criticalmyth

Contributor: John Keegan

Written by Tom Grieves
Directed by Daniel O’Hara

With the new status quo now firmly established, it makes sense that the writers would set up a situation where the new bonds are sorely tested. Or rather, it would, if the fourth series weren’t already overstuffed with a huge game-changing mythology with a ton of elements to address. Considering that this is the mid-point of the fourth series, it’s astonishing that it still feels like things have barely progressed past the preliminaries.

Review #3330: Being Human UK 4.4: “A Spectre Calls”

I’d say that the standard 13 episodes of a season of the American version might not be enough to cover the implications of the new direction for this show. There is an attempt to make some connection to the larger plot arc, in terms of Kirby being an agent of the spectral young woman with designs against Eve, but it all comes down to the execution.

Credit for this episode goes to Tom Grieves, who hasn’t previously been listed as responsible for earlier episodes. I wonder how new he is to the series, though I don’t know that it matters much. A lot of the disappointing elements of this episode are, unfortunately, stock and trade for the British “Being Human”. For me, this episode failed based on the characterization of Kirby alone.

Here’s the thing: if you’re going to have someone insinuate themselves into your happy little family, then they shouldn’t be overtly sinister from the minute they show up. Nor should the process be so fast and complete that the effect of said character makes no damn sense. Kirby is literally around for minutes before Annie is hanging on his every word, and this absolute stranger’s words are taken as gospel truth.

I thought Annie was a complete idiot in the previous episode, and sure enough, that only escalates in this installment. Setting aside the whole Kirby bit, she’s making a complete mess of the household. It certainly seems that her schedule for the house (made without any input from Tom or Hal, no less) involves walks. Correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Annie’s reckless decision to take Eve out into the public one of the reasons for the crisis in the previous episode?

Kirby is just a ridiculous extension of that logic. The idea of Future Ghost Girl having enough control over the afterlife to send a spirit back through a door to execute her purpose is enough to make one’s head spin. Recognizing that this is actually the most reasonable part of Kirby’s appearance on the show is mind-boggling.

In order to make this work, since Tom is usually quite paranoid about strangers (recalling the fourth series premiere), they have to put Tom in a psychologically vulnerable spot. He wants to have a proper birthday celebration. Why this is suddenly important, and why he must be rendered all but useless as a result, I don’t know. Even the scene where he and Hal had to play a gay couple for a visiting doctor just didn’t work; the writers haven’t earned the rapport between the new characters, like the chemistry that Mitchell and George had, to sell it properly.

Meanwhile, the Box Tunnel Massacre comes back into the equation (perhaps because this series has felt remarkably disconnected from the first three), as Cutler plans to incorporate public distress over all that into his scheme to present werewolves as a clear and present threat. (How this is supposed to make vampires look any more attractive, I’m not sure.) Tom looks to be set up as the poster boy for the disinformation campaign, but otherwise, the whole vampire apocalypse arc is still too far in the background.

We’re left with the same problematic set of goals for this series: a desire to take on a conflict on a massive scale, while maintaining the cozy core principles of the initial premise. It wants to be “Underworld” as seen from the perspective of a family room of a neutral halfway house. Unless Selene is going to join the cast (and really, she could replace Annie any time, for my part), I don’t see this series pulling it off. And considering that the ratings have dropped significantly in the UK, I’d say the future is anything but bright.

Writing: 1/2
Acting: 1/2
Direction: 2/2
Style: 0/4

Final Rating: 4/10

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