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Being Human

Being Human, then. Fantastic. Awesome. Watch the repeats, or get the DVDs in April, or watch the whole thing on iPlayer - all six episodes are available just now.

It was an interesting choice to start the show with the flashback of how George and Mitchell met. I thought it was a bit too much playing with the audience after the huge cliffhangers, but I think it'll work as a nice story beat when you're watching the whole six hours in one go on DVD, rather than having waited a week for an answer. (Er, or two days, in my case.) And then when we cut to Mitchell being wheeled into the hospital, all the focus was on him (and what the hospital was going to make of the stake/ the fact he has no heartbeat, especially considering he worked there), and it completely failed to register with me for a good few minutes that the fact that Annie was there meant she'd chosen not to go through the door, so that was a bit anticlimactic.

The scenes with the three leads were great, especially just before George left. Annie was left so helpless as both the guys tried to protect her - and in a way she was helpless at that point (or thought she was) because she would fade away if she didn't have the anchors of the guys and the flat. And because she didn't think she could do much to help. Structurally the whole thing was very good - her transition to ass-kicking Annie after that was particularly awesome. And I'd guessed that George was going to take on Herrick himself, of course, but the way they picked up on things from earlier in the show and had him use the isolation dungeon and the Star of David was nice, as well as the comparison between the stand-off and the earlier meeting between George and Herrick in the cafeteria.

The big themes were love and sacrifice - there were loads and loads of sacrifices going on. All three of the main characters: Annie choosing not to go through the door, Mitchell wanting to fight Herrick himself to give the others a 24-hour head start (although surely he knew Herrick better than that, and anyway, as George pointed out, telling him to give up his entire life again rather than fighting wasn't all that helpful really); George being willing to sacrifice himself/ his humanity/ his relationship with Nina to save Mitchell. (I know he said later that protecting his friends was the fullest expression of his humanity, but I'm not sure that he realised that when he hatched the plan.) Herrick sacrificed himself for the sake of his goals. (I wonder whether his mention of being the "key" was significant, and if it'll be picked up. Possibly connected to all the wittering about destiny and fate at the start, which I tuned out of a bit - between Heroes and Buffy/Angel, I've had plenty of that.) And Josie sacrificed herself to save Mitchell, too.

George accepting his monster was a big step for him, and I think it's also a big part of an ongoing theme of the show - that humanity does have a lot of darkness and "evil", and embracing that and overcoming it to whatever extent you can is more human than having fake tea parties with the neighbours. We've always been shown that the humans can be monstrous too - Owen, particularly, but also the pitchfork-wielding mob. And I was reminded of Annie's conversation with George about the things she was going to do to Owen, and whether that made her evil. ("No. Just human.") Mitchell, of course, has had to deal with this for a while, and I think George will have a lot more of it next season, since he's now had his first kill AND infected his girlfriend with lycanthropy. Oops. I do love Nina, by the way, I thought she was amazing from the moment she arrived onscreen being mean to poor George. Heh. One of the only women to have been strong from the start of the show - Annie had been beated down by Owen and had to overcome that, Janie was in the process of losing her backbone to Owen, and Lauren had been abandoned by Mitchell and was somewhat alone and needy in reaction to that. I hope Nina manages to retain her strength now that she's been drawn properly into the freaksomeness.

The sarcastic chaplain! Please bring him back. Fabulous. So much character in so little time. I liked his interpretation of the "put away childish things" quote, that it was about understanding things as an adult, being open-minded and realising reality coudl be more elastic than you thought, partly because I strongly dislike the usual usage of that passage to tell people to stop enjoying things that aren't seen as grown-up enough. And I adored Herrick. So so much. I wasn't a fan of Seth until the penultimate episode with his geeky curiousity about Annie, but I loved Herrick right from the start. I'm not sure if I have much to say about him, though, apart from the obvious "banality of evil" and references to the Mayor from Buffy. I liked his quoting during the showdown with George - I didn't know what it was at the time, but apparently it was from Brecht's The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, a satirical allegory of the rise of Hitler.

Therefore learn how to see and not to gape
To act instead of taking all day long
The world was almost won by such an ape!
The nations put him where his kind belong.
But don’t rejoice too soon at your escape
The womb he crawled from is still going strong.

"But don't rejoice too soon at your escape". Yeah, that brings us to the epilogue, all right. They beat the bad guy...but we don't know what happened to all the bad guy's henchvampires. They're going to have to deal with Nina, too - and presumably Mitchell knows that/ if she's a werewolf now, unless he can't tell until after she's first changed. And we have the spooky new hunter, who's found them. I'm so looking forward to the next series, but I can't believe we'll have to wait till next January for it.

A few niggles, but they didn't at all interfere with my enjoyment - they mostly didn't even occur to me till afterwards. I'm not sure about the concept of the Star of David not affecting Mitchell because of George's affection for him - it worked thematically but not dramatically, I think. Especially because George wasn't even wearing it at the time. I couldn't tell if the chaplain's Bible-reading had any effect, but surely he'd have had a cross on - why not tell him to use that? Also, do all religious symbols work as long as you don't feel affection for the vampire? Presumably not, because Mitchell didn't have any noticeable reaction to Tully being covered in pentacles and other symbols, although I can't remember how close he got. And it seems to be more about the holy item being visible than its presence; Herrick (and the other vamps) could get plenty close enough to George when the necklace was under his shirt. And what would have happened if George had to defend himself against Mitchell for some reason, like if Mitchell had stayed with the vampires? AND and, does that mean there were no crosses in the whole of the funeral home? That'd be a bit...unusual, and would seem to limit its usefulness as a cover. Although I never did establish if they ever had any actual customers - one of the vamps at the beginning was giving out business cards, but then Nana at the end was a vamp. Hmm...

Why didn't they think to rescue the vamp-food people before? OK, they didn't really have time, but they could have been planning for it, or at least feeling bad about leaving them. And why did they think taking Herrick out would fix everything? There were lots of other vampires just in Bristol, and Herrick seemed to be talking as if the vamp uprising was a bigger thing than just Bristol! It wasn't that well defined, actually, whether they were fighting to save their own lives or to stop the vampires taking over - it seemed, a lot of the time, that they were just trying to save themselves. But if that were the case, I think the threat should only have been to them - it seems a bit odd to set up a Huge Threat To The Entire Country and then have your heroes pretty much ignore it, and only maybe stop it happening as a side-effect of saving themselves from death.

Although, to combine the two, the vamps are a bit wussy if there's a holy object visible within about ten feet of them - I think I'm overestimating them because of the powers vampires have on other shows. It suddenly occurs to me to wonder how often Mitchell went out on a date with someone then went to kill them and discovered they had a cross on, even if it was just decorative. I mean, I'm a staunch atheist yet I've got some ankhs that are cross-like enough to probably count. I suppose the "affection" clause might kick in, but that really does make the protection a bit useless.



( 9 comments — Comment )
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 01:28 am (UTC)
Yeah, I did wonder if Herrick was lying, but in a way I didn't want him to be because I really liked the little polite conversation in the middle of the fight!
Mar. 2nd, 2009 01:47 am (UTC)
Or the symbol could be like a wand...the person behind it uses it as a vessel to focus his faith? I'm sure there were crosses at the funeral home, but with no faith behind them leaving them nothing more than ornamental? Just a theory. =)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
I have read vampire stories where the religious icons only work with vampires who are believers, ie, those who come from Europe and were turned in the middle ages have been culturally indoctrinated with the church, so are afraid of the cross. But with more contemporary vampires not so much.

Before the explanation in the last episode, I had a theory that Seth was Jewish (at least when he was alive, and it fits the name) and that's why David's Cross worked with him, but not with Mitchell (who I assume would have been Catholic).
Mar. 2nd, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)
Yeah, I think I've read those too - also stories where it's the faith of the person wielding it that's important. (I think someone successfully warded off a vampire with a necklace with a small sheep on it, because it was the Lamb of God, but I may have dreamed that o_O)
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:29 am (UTC)
I love the scene in Doctor Who with a Communist repelling vampires with a red star.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 09:37 pm (UTC)
"Curse of Fenric" yes twas awesome.

About the religious symbols I agree with rbekkah I think the star of David serves as a focus for George's power of faith. I think there needs to be intent behind the use of it. Whenever George is with Mitchell he's not threatened he doesn't intend to ward Mitchell off, to hurt him. Maybe George could learn to channel it better like Annie's channeling her stuff.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 01:51 am (UTC)
Yeah, that would work quite well, actually. And would explain why Mitchell could hold the star of David, too - if George isn't holding it and focussing, there's no effect.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 07:48 am (UTC)
On the subject of the crosses and stars of davids, I'm going to refer to the tully thread about his religious symbol. Basically what it's agreed on is that George's star of david works because he believes in it, and as long as he trusts Mitchell, Mitchell is immune. Tully's symbols dont work because he doesn't put all his faith into any of them and the crosses in the funeral home might just not have anyone in particular to hold it against vamps. Alone it wouldnt matter but if a catholic person picked it up, it'd be a weapon.
Mar. 2nd, 2009 08:00 am (UTC)
Well, any Christian really. Crosses aren't exclusive to Catholicism.

I've always assumed that hidden symbols = hidden faith. You need a blatant declaration of faith (showing the symbol, reciting a text) to be useful as a weapon. Kind of like having a concealed weapon you never draw. A stand-off is much easier to achieve when both sides have visible weaponry. :)
( 9 comments — Comment )


bad wolf
Notes from extinction

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