Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Review: Being Human Final Episode - The Last Broadcast

For five years, thirty five hours, Being Human had entertained us with its wonderful mix of the domestic and the supernatural, great drama and hilarious comedy and overall, at the show’s core, its fantastic characters. We had seen vampire Mitchell (Aiden Turner), werewolves George and Nina (Russell Tovey and Sinead Keenan) and ghost Annie struggle to keep being human in face of their afflictions, with sadness and laughs along the way, until they all met their heart-breaking ends – bets are out on which is the saddest. On Sunday, the story of the show’s current heroes, bloodsucker Hal, lycanthrope Tom and spook Alex, and that of the entire series, came to a close. The show has been reliably good at climaxes from Herrick’s plans for revolution in Series One, Mitchell’s fall from grace in Series Three to last year’s the Old Ones and their prophecy for humanity’s end (remember Mark Gatiss’ delicious turn as Mr Snow?). However, could the show’s creator Toby Whithouse pull off the big one; the finale episode, the last broadcast of Being Human?

As you may have worked out during this over-long, melodramatic introduction, it bloody well did.

The writing is excellent, finding time for both reflection on all three main characters as well as the traditional ‘end-of-the-world’ action that finales have. The episode starts with the trinity in surely the worse positions they can possibly be; Hal seemingly having abandoned humanity and killing again, Tom ready to murder his best friend and Alex trapped in her own grave. It’s hard to believe that things can deteriorate for them even more. And then we find out the Devil has gone walkabout and plans to bring about the apocalypse. Some days are just like that, aren’t they?

When the dream sequences kick in is really when the episode gets into the meatier, more uniquely Being Human fare as our heroes are shown an ideal world they long for, by that sod of a Devil. Each gets to the heart of the characters as well as the show itself; three supernaturals fighting to lead mundane, boring, wonderful human lives. Whithouse has clearly had at least a rough idea of this episode in his head for a while and it really shows as events head to an ending that, although I never saw it coming, makes perfect sense. Either one you pick.

It’s not just the writing that sparkles in this episode with all major cast members playing a belter. Phil Davis relishes playing the biggest villain of them all, forming every word with audible malice and nuanced guile. He gets some fantastic lines over the hour, both ones that will make you chuckle or send a shiver down your spine. Really, though, the stars of this finale are Kate Bracken, Michael Socha and Damien Molony, each completely nailing their characters while also moving them on somewhat. We get to see a slightly more vulnerable side to Alex, a brave, responsible one from Tom and a Hal – once split between good and evil – who slowly comes together as a person. Each approaches the ending stronger and more human, accepting of what is to come.

On the whole, ‘The Last Broadcast’ – possessing a terrific title, by the way – is a truly fitting end to the entire series; one that’s well-written, well-performed, heartfelt yet bravely ambiguous. Toby Whithouse’s denouement should keep fans debating the fates of his characters for many years which I imagine is precisely what he wanted. All I know is that Being Human has been a series consistently terrific throughout its run, delivering everything from jokes about the quality of Black Swan to showing the Earth on the brink of Armageddon – on several occasions. Come early next year when the series would usually be on, I shall miss it but it is comforting to know that this was a show with the courageous conceit of being about being human and completely succeeded. And for that, everyone who worked on the show should be extremely proud.

P.S. This review is 666 words long. Just thought you might like to know…

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