I’m feeling very conflicted about the premiere of the fourth series of Being Human (UK), which is more of a relaunch of the series than a continuation. Bear with me, as I try to work through some stuff here. Beware, there will be spoilers. First, let’s ask a fundamental question: What is horror?
While vampires, werewolves and ghosts provide a traditional “horror” backdrop, Being Human has traditionally defined horror on a much more personal level: isolation, rejection, the endangerment of loved ones. In that sense, “Eve of the War” continues the Being Human tradition.
Series three ended with the show’s most powerful game-changer ever: George‘s staking of Mitchell. Both tragic and life-affirming at the same time, it was ultimately a beautiful act of love and a reminder of the major tenet of the show: we will protect each other. See, I’m a sucker for Being Human, because it resonates so deeply within the gay mythos. Namely, finding and creating a non-biological family. Annie, George and Mitchell were at their best, and their most human, when protecting one another and creating a safe environment for their non-traditional family.
It’s a hardknock afterlife, Annie.
So, at the risk of sounding like one of those fanboys, maybe it would have been best to end the show after series three. And yet, here we are. Mitchell and Nina are both gone, and I can’t say I’m too broken up about Nina’s demise. I always felt she did more to destroy the family than any outside forces. George, thankfully, still lives, though he’s a mere ghost of his former self. He spends his time barricaded in the baby’s room, waiting for the vampire nation to attack. Although he’s clearly protective of his daughter, he’s not that affectionate toward her. He hasn’t named her and has apparently left any nurturing of the kid to Annie. Clearly, this isn’t the George we know and love.
The vampires are ready to start a war and want to present George and his baby as gifts to the vamp elders. Seems the vamps believe the baby is a purebred, which is something we just learned about in the US series, but have had no proof of in the UK version. The vamps use Tom as adorable, delicious, unwitting bait to lure George out of the house on a full moon, while they swoop in, terrorize Annie and grab the baby.
Meanwhile, we’re introduced to a new vampire, Hal, and his werewolf and ghost roommates, Leo and Pearl. What’s that? Another supernatural trio shacking up together? Leo is an aging werewolf and barely survives the full moon. He is concerned that with his death, Pearl will disappear without a tether to the human world. In a few brief scenes, we get the feeling these three have been through a lot together and have somehow made it work. Yet, the end of their family is near.
So, in some ways, “Eve of the War” carries on the emotional core of the Being Human we know and love. Non-human characters protecting or sacrificing for one other. It feels familiar, yet something is missing. Ultimately, the baby is proven to be human, though a very special one. A chosen one. Born of two supernatural beings, surrounded by a trinity of supernaturaldom, a vamp historian predicts she could bring about the end of the vampires. George makes a final stand to protect his daughter, reminding us briefly of how courageous and loving he’s always been, the emotional center of the show. His fate is supposed to feel like a parallel to Mitchell’s, yet it feels too rushed, convenient and logistically necessary to have the same sort of emotional impact. I just wasn’t feeling it, though I desperately wanted to.
Now we have a new show, with a new premise/mission. Annie and Tom have been charged with protecting and raising baby Eve, so she can fulfill her destiny. George gives her a name in his final moments, by the way. But since there are really only two possible names for female chosen ones, you knew it was either going to be Hope or Eve. So, Eve, it is!
The part of me that loves this show and loves the premise fervently hopes this relaunch will work. It’s entirely possible that a new trinity will coalesce. Annie, Tom and (I’m assuming) Hal could very well develop the same sort of bond the originals had. Plus, they do have a baby to protect. That’s sure to bring them together quickly. Yet, it’s going to be a tall order to replace George and Mitchell. Hopefully, the series will stick close to its fundamental values and build upon what’s come before.
I think getting Tom out of his clothes would be a good first step. You know, just to honor the Russell Tovey tradition.
Being Human (UK) airs in the US on Saturdays at 9/8c on BBC America.