Couch Pumpkin: Sofa Adventures
News and reviews for the big and small screens…where potatoes fear to tread.

Wine and Roses ~ Being Human 2.1

Well, the powers that be weren’t lying when they said that series 2 was going to be dark! There was so much going on in this episode that it’s hard to even begin a review without spoilers, so everything’s under the cut just to be on the safe side.

To recap: After the dramatic events of the last series, in which the spooky trio deposed vampire Herrick and thwarted his plans of global take over, things are not looking good. George is traumatised because he finally gave in to his wolfly urges, and sinks further into aggression and lust as he fights with visiting vampires Ivan and Daisy. Nina struggles with the secret that she may be a werewolf too, and confides in Annie, before undergoing her first transformation in the isolation room. Conflict with George ensues as he misunderstands her moods, before she reveals her condition after an emotional argument.

Annie gets a job at the local pub and gets on well with barman Hugh and (dodgy) customer Saul. She’s feeling upbeat after solving last series’ Owen problem. Meanwhile, Mitchell feels at a loss, and is only briefly cheered by his interaction with a cute doctor at the hospital. Finally, a sinister group who have been experimenting on supernaturals shows up at the house, leaving us in little doubt that our protagonists are in extreme danger.

This was a brave series opener, taking a far more serious tone than most of the previous episodes and thus running the risk of alienating both long term fans and new viewers who were drawn to its mix of drama and comedy. However, I am not going to criticise this choice yet. It was necessary to examine the aftermath of series one, and a lesser show might have shied away from it and reset the characters – not Being Human, which confronted the trauma head on. Although George seemed radically different from the shy, awkward man of series one, Russell Tovey’s outstanding performance brought depth to the character and made his brief embrace of the wolf totally relatable. I also commend Sinead Keenan (Nina) for a moving performance that showed her character’s fear and resilience.

The standout sequence of the episode was the triple transformation of George (feeling at last a little more in tune with himself, as shown by his satisfied look at the railway tracks), Nina (terrified to make her first change) and a werewolf at CENSSA (the aforementioned creepy group) trying to overcome his condition in a fatal experiment. This scene was tense, dramatic and excellently filmed, particularly Annie and Nina in the isolation room – it also demonstrated the improved werewolf effects. The werewolf’s gory death brought a slice of full on horror that implied the group have less than kind motives in mind.

Humour came from Annie’s attempts at working in the pub, which was endearing and sweet. However, I did not like the way this came across as the ‘comic relief’, and I hope that Annie’s role is more integrated in future episodes. It’s fine for the show to go dark, but I’d like to see the balance of humour and drama return in time. There are seven more episodes for this to happen, though, so I’m not going to slam it right away for abandoning this key feature of its success. This first helping certainly seemed like it was setting out the pieces for the series ahead, especially with the almost excessive use of new characters, so it’s unfair to make sweeping statements based on 2.1 alone.

I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, particularly the development of the CENSSA storyline. In outsider narratives the need to ‘medicate’ or ‘control’ those who are different is a common feature, and it makes sense that there’s a religious motive at work here as well. Will the trio (/quad, with Nina) survive their inevitable encounters with the group? And what will Daisy and Ivan get up to next?


One Response to “Wine and Roses ~ Being Human 2.1”

  1. I agree with everything you said. I too felt that the show lacked the perfect mix of drama and comedy that first attracted me to it. It felt too serious to the point that I felt like I was watching a different show from season 1. The first series managed to tackle pretty dark material (i.e the Annie/ Own confrontation) without feeling too much, you know. And Annie’s comic relief felt too detached from the main action that I almost wished they hadn’t included it.

    I also think that Russell Tovey and Sinead Keenan’s performances would have stood out even more if the audience wasn’t being bombarded with all the new characters. I understand the introduction of Ivan and Daisy but was the guy Annie took home(I’ve forgotten his name) necessary so early on? But that’s just me being picky.

    I can’t wait to see what happens but I hope that some of the old Being Human charm returns.

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