A vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost share a flat. If we weren’t living in a post-Twilight era, the premise of BBC America’s Being Human would sound insanely stupid. And maybe it still does sound stupid, but series 1 of Being Human proved that the show is not only wittier than any of the homegrown supernatural fare currently airing in America, but it’s also one of the most engaging programs on TV – it would be impossible for me to count the number of times that I’ve had an actual, visceral reaction to this amazing show.
I worship at the altar of Alan Ball and applaud any program that incorporates James Frain into its cast, but True Blood tends to err on the side of confusing vampire sex. Being Human, on the other hand, grapples with real issues like guilt, self-loathing, isolation, and the desire to belong in a relatable way. The show’s creator, Toby Whithouse, is able to use the supernatural elements as a metaphor for what it means to “be human” without sacrificing any of the excitement you’d expect from a show about a vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost.
In series 1, Mitchell (Aidan Turner), a vampire struggling to control his blood-sucking habit, George (Russell Tovey), a loveable, mild-mannered werewolf determined to lead a normal life, and Annie (Lenora Crichlow), the ghost haunting their flat, became this tight, supportive unit and in the finale, teamed up to defeat Herrick – the vampire leader who’d been hell bent on making it impossible for them to lead the quiet lives they’d tried to carve out for themselves. The first three episodes of series 2 have already aired on BBC America and somehow the show is even better than it was last year. The new villain is a religious fanatic named Kemp and the guy is frightening. He’s a member of a secret anti-supernaturals organization and he’s at least ten times scarier than Herrick, mainly because Mitchell, George, and Annie don’t even know that he’s pursuing them.
As we gear up for the remaining five episodes, let’s take a look at where our three supes were at the end of series 1 and how things have already begun to change for them in series 2.
In order to kill Herrick, sensitive, unassuming George had to embrace the werewolf nature that he’d fought so hard to suppress. He may have saved his roomies and brought about a sort of temporary peace but unleashing that brutal, animalistic side for the first time has made his struggle to lead a normal life all the more difficult – George, the kind of cautious werewolf who locks himself up during the full moon, may have enjoyed ripping off Herrick’s head a little more than he’s willing to admit to himself.
Complicating matters is a manic vampire named Daisy. Killing Herrick has made George a celebrity among the vampires. Daisy, who is attracted to George because of his notoriety, tries to draw out the beast within him, which leads directly to George cheating on Nina, the hard-won girlfriend he unwittingly gave his werewolf “curse” to.
George is an emotional wreck in series 2. Only three episodes have aired and he’s cried at least twice in each one of them. At the same time, there’s something hard about George, something dark. He’s still as sarcastic as he ever was but there’s also a meanness there that didn’t exist prior to that final showdown with Herrick. Before Nina reveals that she’s a werewolf in the first episode, George is cold, distant, and extremely unlikable.
Brooding is usually a vampire’s prerogative, but George is breaking stereotypes, showing the world that werewolves can be just as gloomy and aloof as their blood-sucking, supernatural brethren. Now that Nina has left George to be cured of her curse by creepy Kemp, poor Georgie will certainly be crying a lot more.
Having sufficiently terrified Owen, her cheating fiancé/the man who killed her, Annie had the opportunity to walk through the door of death and cross over to the other side. But she didn’t, choosing instead to stay with Mitchell and George. Taking care of her unfinished business, however, boosted her confidence and by the beginning of series 2, Annie can be seen and touched by non-supernaturals. Psyched about her newfound visibility, she begins working at a pub where she meets a handsome man named Saul. Alas, romance is not in the cards – Saul hears voices coming from TV sets and radios that persuade him to act aggressively toward Annie and eventually end up getting him killed in a car accident. Annie happens to be in the hospital when Saul dies and his door of death appears. A radio in the hospital room instructs Saul’s ghost to push Annie through the door. Fortunately, for Annie, Saul walks though the door and it disappears. Unfortunately, it seems that Annie has an enemy targeting her specifically.
Annie started series 2 so silly and funny and, ironically, full of life. Her interlude with Saul, though, has broken her spirit (no pun intended) and caused her to regress – she is once again invisible to humans. One of the biggest questions for me when I found out that there was going to be a second series was: how is Annie’s story going to develop after finishing her unfinished business? Will her unfinished business change every time she doesn’t walk through the door? Well it looks like all of that is starting to be answered. For Annie, series 2 will be about this unknown foe trying to get her through that door and Annie trying to sort through her reasons for not crossing over.
Bringing down Herrick created a power vacuum and all kinds of chaos – bodies are turning up at the hospital with bite marks, threatening to expose Mitchell and the rest of the vampire world. Although he’s been trying to stop drinking blood and distance himself from vampires who insist on killing humans, Mitchell feels that he must assume a leadership role in the wake of Herrick’s death – he wants to serve as an example for the others. Episode 3 ends with the vampires essentially naming Mitchell their king.
It’s incredibly difficult to watch Mitchell entangle himself with these horrible vampires and their politics. He may not be drinking blood but he’s definitely backsliding. As he gets more and more mixed up in the vampire bureaucracy, he’s starting to neglect his friends – the tight bond that he had with George and Annie kept him grounded. One can only hope that he sees the light (does that count as a vampire pun?) before Kemp begins to pursue the three of them more aggressively.
Where do you think things are headed? (No spoiling, readers in the UK…)