Being Human Season 1 Eppi 4 Wouldnt it be nice if we were human

Being Human Season 1 Eppi 4 Wouldnt it be nice if we were human

Buffyhotep's picture

Things remained fairly predictable on SyFy’s Being Human this week, taking even more narrative cues from the UK version than usual. Lee Tully is reimagined as ‘Ray’, a redneck werewolf who befriends Josh and gives him some pointers about being a supernatural oddity. Meanwhile, Rebecca and Aidan reenact the orgy scenes from Caligula, still stretching the “I am a monster” angst a bit thin. It’s kind of hard to empathize with them when they are actually acting like monsters.  Sally deals with the burgeoning romance of her fiance and best friend by alternating between screams of unhappiness and screams of joy. The plots are a bit more interconnected this week, which works to the show’s favor, but everyone altogether seems to have just given up any pretenses of ‘being human’, making the show’s title seem somewhat ironic.

The appearance of Ray, the dirty, foul-mouthed werewolf, and Josh’s stalker/eventual friend is the most significant development in this week’s episode, providing some a logical impetus for Josh’s emerging violent streak. It’s probably the most engaging part of the episode, at any rate. In the UK series, Tully provided a more aggressive alternative to Mitchell’s quiet mentorship; he does the same here, but rather to Aidan’s absentee status. It’s only fitting that Ray takes things in a different direction than his British counterpart. He teaches Josh the same practical methodology for handling full moons and gives a demonstration on how to become a sex offender. He’s rowdy and animalistic, though, so when he’s crass and forward with women, he gets their phone numbers; Josh’s awkward mimicry nearly costs him his job.

Ray’s endgame, though, is not to get Josh fired for sexual harassment, but to rope him into assaulting vampires, a bit of a left turn from the story on which this one is based. Last week saw Josh lose his temper with a vandal and nearly strangle him. Here, the adorable Sam Huntington beats Bishop’s creepy vampire yes-man half to death with his bare hands after a little nudging from Ray. Josh is the only member of the trio to even halfway try at the titular attempt to live a normal life, so seeing him fall so thoroughly off the wagon and give into his monstrous impulses is much more distressing than Aidan killing a new girl every week. Ray genuinely sways between creepiness and uncouth charm, complimented by Huntington’s natural, dorky charisma and surprisingly genuine fits of bestial rage. Again, it’s far and away the best part of the episode, taking a good story from the British series and retooling it for the new cast and setting. Aidan and Sally could learn a thing or two.

Disappointingly, Aidan’s luminous skin and perfectly tossled hair don’t save his plotline from being a bore. Last week, I complained that he’d too quickly fallen into the extracurricular activities most famous to vampires, without becoming a sympathetic character first, and he continues down that path in this episode. A pig he may be, but when Ray insists to Josh that Aidan is a villain, I couldn’t help but kind of think he was right. He spends the majority of this episode spooning with Rebecca in blood-spattered hotel rooms. The hostility welling up between Ray and Aidan is sort of interesting, but overshadowed by the latter’s boring vampire drama. He wants to eat everyone around him, which is fine and good, but merely displaying the impulse and expecting us to feel sorry for him is not sufficient. He just seems like a dangerous psychopath if he isn’t played with a sympathetic backdrop. Rebecca is as pretty as Aidan, but even less likable, and the two have so little emotion in their scenes that I almost found myself missing Sally’s mirror-shattering overacting.

Speaking of, Sally starts the episode in her usual fashion, seeing that Aidan and Josh are talking about Josh’s recent, traumatizing transformation and potentially dangerous stalker, and deciding that the conversation would be better served discussing how sad she is about her fiance. At this point, my brain no longer processes Sally’s verbal abilities as coherent attempts at communication. She never directly impacts the plot’s progression, anyway, so when I hear incomprehensible happy screams, I take it that Sally is pleased with the development, and vice versa with sad/angry screams. In a rare break from mutilating the supporting cast, Aidan sits her down and tells her to stop being so selfish and annoying. Sally takes his words to heart, and tells her fiance and best friend that it’s okay for them to have sex, a notion that had previously inspired only sad/angry screams. That’s nice of her, I guess.

There’s some real, palpable character development in this episode, manifesting mostly in Josh, and not at all in Aidan. It’s possible that Sally has also learned to stop being such a shrill lunatic, but I don’t yet trust the writers to deliver me such a wonderful thing. The fact of the matter is, Aidan is most likable when he’s helping his friends, which is usually only in very small doses outside of his main trajectory in the plot. In this sense, he’s in danger of ruining the entire John Mitchell plotline, and by proxy, the George/Josh one too. Meaghan Rath’s general lack of talent has probably doomed any chance Sally had of retaining any of Annie’s charm and likability. Josh is carrying this show all on his own, and he has very scrawny shoulders. The writers need to intervene soon, or Josh will collapse beneath the weight.

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KaptariMind's picture

First, let me just say: Well put, Buffy. This is the first review of yours I have read and am very impressed.

As for my own opinion, I offer more agreement than anything else. What I'd like to add is probably far too optimistic. When Rebecca disappeared at the end of the episode, I thought, "Thank Christ! Now we can give this guy a REAL plot line!" But you're right in saying that this would take some drastic action by the writers, though I think they've laid some groundwork with his flashbacks and the drama with the police officer, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  I'm also hoping that Sally's acceptance of her fiancé's new relationship will also give her character some room for further development, but that's going purely on faith...

Oddly, I think at this point I'm better off having not seen the Brit version. I have nothing to base my enjoyment of the show on. And so far, I am enjoying the show. 

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