Review – Syfy’s Being Human: Season 1 Episode 9 “I Want You Back (From the Dead)”

Erin Willard reviews Being Human airing on SyFy. SyFy takes on the hit UK show about a ghost, a vampire and a werewolf living together as they attempt to keep hold of their humanity in this re-imagining.

 


Photo courtesy of NBC Universal

 

Being Human airs Mondays at 9pm ET on SyFy.
Exclusive content and downloads at http://www.SyFy.com/BeingHuman

 

[stunned silence]… wow.  For those of you pining for the darker tones of the UK Being Human, there you go.  Literally a stunning ending.  This wasn’t a cliffhanger so much as a jaw dropper.  It could be because of my familiarity with the UK series, but the US series really seems to change the game with every deviation from its source material.  Shocking, and emotionally wrenching.  There were no victories this week.  A child was killed.  Actually, three children were killed, and one of them was killed twice.  This episode was a game changer.  There were only a few snappy lines, but snappy lines wouldn’t necessarily have been appropriate when you have three dead children, a physically abused woman, and a ghost who dies every single day.

The episode was great, and could have been the best episode of the season, but… I’m sorry to say that I had a couple of quibbles that deflated it for me.  Now I know that a lot of you loved this episode, so please don’t get huffy, just consider these things, from least to most bothersome:

Josh – First, his was clearly the lightest treatment this week, and was in fact very similar to the UK storyline for the werewolf at this point.  Nevertheless, it tracked well and there was enough of a development that I don’t feel his story was shorted in this episode.  Here’s my problem: I understand that he loves Nora, and wants to be with her, but is concerned about presumably two things.  One, that she will retreat from him in horror when she learns the truth, and two, that he might hurt her someday when he is transformed, which is the very reason he left his parents’ home.  Yet somehow when Nora shows Josh her actual scars from a previous relationship, instead of thinking “so the last thing she needs is someone who might physically hurt her even more,” he thinks “well I’m only a monster for one night a month, there are others who are ‘monsters’ more often, and I will protect her.”  Kinda tortured logic, but okay, it’s love, and I understand his wanting to protect her.  Still…

Sally – I love her new guy, and I love the two of them together.  It’s great that she can feel him – their “sex cloud” is a cool effect – and it’s great that she has someone who can teach her more about being a ghost.  My issue: She is upset to realize that she has once again fallen for a man with a problem, and says she will “lose herself in his issues.”  Why?  He has said that he doesn’t need her to fix him, that he manages to enjoy the rest of his day just fine, thank you, and in fact his “life” is much better now that he has Sally to return to afterwards.  So what is her problem?  Maybe it’s because she’s “forever 23,” but seriously?  She needs to respect him enough to allow him to deal or not deal with his problem as he sees fit.  Come on, she has a great relationship with a guy that she knew while they were both living, he can teach and show her so much, and he’s clearly – and literally – into her.  I hate seeing her turn all whiny just for the sake of having her endure more conflict.  Please, please resolve this one quickly.  I hate conflict for conflict’s sake, and I hate whiny.

Aidan – Wow, what a gut-churning storyline.  Extremely well acted by all involved, and well written.  The way Rebecca dealt with cranky Bernie was spot-on for someone with no experience with cranky kids.  Bernie was all innocence.  Aidan was exceptionally well played; horrified, terrified, connecting with Bernie and supportive of Rebecca.  The tension held well throughout, and the end of Bernie was heartbreaking. 

A side note here – I found myself astonished that I wasn’t completely put off by the loud whiner “background” music that came up at that point.  Normally that tactic drives me absolutely crazy because I hate that kind of music, I hate that it usually drowns out the dialogue, and it can feel like lazy writing.  This time, though, I appreciated that they didn’t go for some horrific sound effect, and really there was no alternative but to silence the scene sounds for the sake of the music.  Well done.

Now for my issue.  What Bishop said at the end that kinda ruined it for me, because it was wrong.  “Aidan was thinking he’d start a family of his own.”  No he didn’t.  He didn’t want Bernie to be turned, and he didn’t embrace the idea once Rebecca did it “for” him.  “I don’t know if you’re delusional, naive, or just plain stupid” was his reaction.  He knew that it would never work.  It was all Rebecca’s idea.  The only way that Bishop’s words work is if Biship actually thought, either on his own or because Rebecca lied to him, that Aidan was the one who turned Bernie, or that Rebecca turned Bernie at Aidan’s request. 

It could be argued that, while killing the two bullies was obviously wrong, it was better that they were killed by a skilled and experienced vampire rather than whatever mayhem Bernie was almost sure to cause at some point.  If vampires don’t age in this series, as is the common mythology, Bernie would forever be a threat to the rest of the vampires because he could more easily be discovered.  Perhaps Bishop creating the scenario that pushed Aidan to kill Bernie was done because it had to be done.  Bishop would know that if any other vamp killed Bernie that Aidan would agree that it was necessary but would still blame the Bishop gang and make that yet another reason for him staying away from them.

If all of that is the case, then I wish that Bishop would have said something along those lines, instead of the obviously irritating “Aidan was thinking he’d start a family…”  I realize I’m making a big deal out of one tiny scene and a couple of lines, but it’s what they left us with, they were the last lines of an emotionally fraught episode.  Please straighten us out with this next week, it’s bugging the heck out of me and messing with my reminiscing about an otherwise superb episode.

Today I watched some of the video from the cast interviews at the TCAs (available on syfy.com by clicking here ) and Meaghan Rath (Sally) said that, while based on and inspired by the UK series, the SyFy series will be diverging in big ways.  The addition of Josh’s family and his sister in particular was one big step away, and this week’s episode paved the way for much more.  As I have felt at the end of every other episode so far this season, I can’t wait.