Saturday, December 17, 2011

Being Human U.K. Season One, Episode Five

Oh my goodness, this show keeps getting better and better. This episode opens with George asking what it is about that them, that leads people to drop of jars of jam, by way of apology, for writing pedo on the front door, and Annie announcing her decision to haunt Owen.  George tells Annie that he understands why she wants to haunt Owen, but says that he does not want her to go. Annie replies, "I want to scare him, to make him beg and scream. It's not just about justice; it's more jagged than that." I am glad to see Annie stand up for herself but sad that it is happening after she is already dead.  As we know women die from domestic violence daily but for them death is always the final assault.

At the funeral home, Herrick is holding court and rejoicing over the fact that Mitchell has decided to join them.  Lauren is clearly not impressed by what is going on.  She hints that there is plenty of room for storage and this of course implies their feeding habits.

At the hospital, Mitchell invites Herrick in through what looks to be a back door.  I don't understand why Herrick needs an invite, when the hospital is a public building.  In the elevator, Mitchell tells him about 41 year old Duncan Johnson, who has 5 weeks left to live, because he is dying of AIDS. When Herrick inquires about Duncan's profession, Mitchell tells him that he is an architect. Herrick then proceeds to introduce himself to Duncan, saying that he has a proposition for him.  What dying man is going to turn down that offer?
Back at the house, George calls Owen to complain that the plumbing is on the fritz again, to get him to come over to the house. 

Later, in the hospital cafeteria, Mitchell approaches Josie, a woman who he dated in the 60's.  Though she knows that he is a vampire, she is still shocked to see that he has not aged a day. Mitchell tells her that he shares a house with some friends, and they reminisce about a weekend they spent together. When George interrupts them, Mitchell introduces him to Josie, but when George balks, Mitchell reassures him that she already knows all about them.  George mumbles about talking later and leaves. Josie then tells Mitchell, "that was mean, you just outed him."  Really?  Outing is something that happens to GLBT people with disastrous results, it's not something that happens to imaginary werewolves, and the analogy is absolutely wrong and insensitive. It amounts to yet another example of using the language of the oppressed, to apply to the supernatural. Josie then goes on to tell Mitchell that she is dying of lung cancer, and that there is no hope for her.

Later that day, Owen shows up at the house.  He walks into the kitchen, only to discover that the plumbing is indeed working.  As he leaves the room, Annie is waiting for him. She says, "I am death. I am darkness, vengeance and fury, fire and blood, diamonds and bones, sapphire and steel. Confess Owen, confess." When she walks away from him, Owen taunts her asking , "hey Annie, is that the best you got?"  As Annie stands there absolutely shocked, he laughs dryly. " I should have known that even death would not be a match for even one of your sulks," Owen says.  He dismisses her and walks out of the door. 

Back at the funeral home, Mitchell and Herrick are watching over the body of Duncan.  Mitchell asks Herrick if he would consider talking to Josie.  When Herrick learns that she used to be a dance teacher, he says, "not exactly an essential worker, but come the evolution, we will need to learn how to dance". Lauren overhears the conversation and when Herrick leaves, she tells Mitchell, "You shouldn't do that, let them take someone you care about." When Mitchell asks why not, Lauren replies,"they could become cruel.  It changes you this life."  Mitchell says, "It didn't change me", but Lauren answers, "yes it did, it just took longer." Duncan suddenly sits up, drawing a huge breathe, and as Mitchell rushes to comfort him, Lauren leaves the room.

Back at the house, Annie tells George about Owen's reaction to seeing her. She says, "It makes sense really when you think about it. We were expecting him to react like a sane person, even though this is someone who killed is fiancee, concealed it, and then rented out the crime scene." I feel it necessary to point out that the writers have fallen back on the criminally insane.  We all know that people who are neurologically atypical, are far more likely to hurt themselves before hurting anyone else, and yet in the media, the insane violent person is what is most often depicted.  This is absolutely disableist, because not only does it actively other, it creates unreasonable fear. Annie then decides that she is going to visit Janey, for fear that she will be next.

Mitchell arrives and interrupts the conversation. Annie tries to tell him what has been going on in his absence, but he clearly is not listening to a word she is saying.  George asks Mitchell where he has been and then outright says, "You're back with them."  Mitchell tells him that it is different and that no one is being forced.  He is still angry about what happened with Bernie.  He says humanity is stupid and cruel and that humans are really the monsters. 

The next day, Herrick approaches Josie and says that it's a lot to take in, and that it's about there being another option.  Mitchell tries to tell her that hospitals would be antiquated, and that this would end all famine and all war.  Josie responds, "Being human means being mortal. It means dying. You can't rob people of that.  It's a trick, Christ Mitchell just because they are handing themselves voluntarily it doesn't stop it being a con.  You're offering something you have no right to.  Of course people want eternal life. People want capital punishment, it doesn't make it right. Never a birth, never a death; that's no evolution, that's a full stop." She goes on to ask whether or not Mitchell's friends know about what he is doing, and when he says no, she tells him that this is why he got Herrick to approach her because he knew what she is going to say.

When Annie shows up at Janey's apartment, Janey faints immediately.  Annie sits down to wait, but when Janey wakes a second time, she goes running upstairs and hides in the bathroom.  Annie follows her up the stairs and tells her that Owen killed her. Janey immediately denies it, but Annie tells her that this is why she is still there, and that she cannot let it go.  Annie says, "If you tell me that he has never laid a finger on you and never not even for a second made you feel scared then I'll walk away right now."  When Owen comes in the house, Janey goes running down the stairs into Owen's arms, saying that she is going mad.  Owen looks at Annie, and pretends not to see her, as he goes on about how he cheated on Annie, including at their engagement party. He says that Janey is just having a reaction to the affair based in guilt, and that Annie would love her reaction, because she was always bitter about people who were smarter than her.  Tears roll down Annie's face, as Owen tells Janey that he can't see anything.

In the hospital, Josie pulls George aside, and tells him that the vampires are mobilizing, and that they are making it sound all new labour, but that it's a coup.  Josie asks if George is a wizard and George tells her that it's ridiculous.  He asks how many people are they planning to recruit, how bad is this"?  Josie says, that Herrick told her, "no one gets left behind."

At the funeral home, Seth asks why Bristol is the staging area for what they are doing, and Mitchell tells him that the first vampire to have a double life lived here.  Apparently, he was a slave trader and ran for parliament.  When Mitchell asks if anyone had ever told him the story, Seth tells him that they've only ever talked about him. and the things that he has done.  Mitchell walks around back and finds a door with bloody fingerprints on the frame.  When he bursts into the room, he learns that the vampires have been holding humans against their will and feeding on them.   Herrick walks into the room saying, "we were going to tell you, but like so much in life, it all comes down to timing."

At the house, George rushes in, and he is barely coherent, as he tries to tell Annie that Mitchell is in trouble.  He asks her if they should take crosses and garlic but when she is clearly unresponsive George asks her to chip in. Annie finally says, "I can't, it's beaten me.  Owen's won, I can't touch him.  He just keeps on killing me."  George tell her that she needs to stand up, and help, and that if she can't do this, then she has done to herself, the one thing that Owen could never do, because then she has finally died.

At the funeral parlor, they are met by Seth. When George tries to move around Seth, Seth grabs him by the neck.  Annie then hits Seth with a chair, but he is not down for long.  It's only when Seth grabs George's shirt, ripping it open to reveal his star of David, that Seth is repelled enough for George to punch him.  As they try to figure out exactly what happened, George says, "That was pathetic, we were like the worlds gays legers"  Really?  First, we have the use of the term "coming out," and now we have gay as a pejorative.  The writers still have not been arsed to include a GLBT character, and so every time you see either appropriation, as with the coming out comment, or gay used pejoratively, it works to normalize homophobia and affirm heterosexual privilege. 

Mitchell then confronts Herrick, saying that what was going on in the room, did not look voluntary, but Herrick tells him that evolution is never achieved without blood being spilled. "This is the natural churn of history. We are not good or bad, we are just what happens next".  Herrick tells Mitchell that he does  not want 100% conversion, and that there will always be a percentage of humanity kept alive, because they have to eat.  Mitchell responds saying that this is smoke and mirrors, and that he can't do this. Herrick tells him that he can't leave, but Mitchell is worried about his friends. 

George and Annie burst into the room, and the three make their escape, with Herrick and his goons fast on their trail.  They get cornered by Seth, and George starts waving his star of David, only to be told that there are too many of them for that to work this time.  Lauren sneaks up behind Seth and stakes him saying, "well he won't be staring at my tits when he talks to me anymore," and the four of them run out of the building.  Lauren asks where they are going, and Mitchell tells her that they can run and hide, but she says that she cannot run from herself.  Lauren asks Mitchell to take her out of this world, because he brought her in.  Lauren says that the person she used to be is almost gone, and now she wants Mitchell to save her.  Mitchell cradles her in his arms and then stakes her. As she dies, Lauren says, "someone needs to stop him Mitchell, he wants to tear everything down."

Back at the house when George hands Mitchell a tea, and Mitchell thanks him for coming to his rescue. Owen arrives at the house saying, "hi honey I'm home. I got your message."  When he sees George and Mitchell, he snarks about them being Annie's back up singers. He asks, "is the point of all this to make me feel guilty?  It won't work.  Here's the thing that they never tell you, when you kill someone and you're away with it, you're bullet proof, you're a God".  Annie answers, "there's a question you haven't asked yourself yet. If I exist what else does? You think that you're the big bad wolf, but you should see George on the full Moon. You think you're a cold blooded murder Mitchell was killing people eighty years before you were born. Don't you get it yet, I am just the tip of the iceberg; I'm good cop. Look at you so pleased with your grubby little murder, fact is when it comes to pure naked evil your an amateur. I want you to know that you've wandered off the path.  This is where the wild things are.  We've got your scent now and we can follow you to the end of the world.  Now I'm going to tell you something that only the dead know."  

Owen rushes out of the house terrified and hearing voices.  George asks what she whispered to him and Annie simply says, "I told him a secret".  Owen finally wanders into a police station, and says that he killed his girlfriend, and that vampires and wolves are coming to find him now.

Back at the house, they discuss the meaning of closure, when suddenly, Annie's door appears.  They share a tearful goodbye, and just as Annie puts her hand on the door knob, someone starts to bang on the front door.  When Mitchell goes to answer the door, Herrick slams a stake into his chest, demanding to be invited in.  Annie comes running, but George tells her to go, and that he can take care of Mitchell.  He picks up the phone, saying he will get Mitchell to the hospital, and yells at Annie to go, because this might be her last chance.

I don't know about you, but I loved learning more about vampire history in this novel.  I enjoyed that Annie threw off the mantle of victim, it just saddens me that she had to be prodded to do by George and then later backed up by George and Mitchell.  It would have been nice if she had been able to handle this episode on her own.  There were a lot of complex ideas being wrestled with in this episode.