Column: Gods and Monsters: Recap and Review: Being Human (Syfy) 3.12: Always a Bridesmaid, Never Alive

 

[spoilers ahoy]

Recap: Sally is dying and having dreams of Donna eating her. Meanwhile, she bones up on the Latin incantation she got from the psychic. She looks a lot like an AIDS victim in the final stages and parts of her are rotting off. Fearing she won’t make it much longer, Josh and Nora decide to move up their wedding – way, way up – so that she can be physically present at it. Meanwhile, Josh and Aidan prepare to help her do battle with Donna. They all know that as soon as Sally dies, she will have to meet the witch.

As a final gift, Nora helps Sally try out a series of outfits so that she’ll die in something decent, this time round (As you may recall, in this show’s ghost mythology, ghosts wear whatever they died in and Sally died in ugly gray sleepwear last time). Upon finding her perfect dress, Sally collapses and says it’s time. She dies surrounded by her friends. As soon as she stops breathing and her ghost pops up, Aidan shoves a hand into her chest and rips her heart out. He explains to a horrified Josh that physical remains are a big part of magical power, with the heart being the most important.

Sally’s door appears and it’s the same sabotaged one with the shell that Nick and Stevie went through. Aidan and Josh follow her through, despite still being in their bodies and Josh not being able to see ghosts and their doors, yet (huh?). Nora sees Josh off with a heartfelt kiss. Meanwhile, Aidan also has Kat (who came by to help with the wedding) and Kenny (whom he’s vampirized and is worried will turn into a wolf-hybrid like Kat’s old professor) to come back to. However, neither is present at Sally’s deathbed.

The housemates arrive in a very smashed-up version of the soup kitchen. Aidan says it’s another dimension and is Donna’s lair. But before they arrive, Aidan has a dream in a field about seeing his son (who has been turned into a monster with grody teeth and attacks him) and Josh gets attacked by a wolf in the woods. In the soup kitchen, his way is blocked by the reanimated Ray. Josh’s wolf daddy realizes he’s under Donna’s control (but isn’t able to stop it). After a fight, which includes some odd stuff like Josh taunting Ray about killing Ray’s son, Josh whacks off Ray’s head.

An ageing Donna is there. Of course. When Sally demands to know what Donna intends to do with her soul, Donna snots at her once again that she has no “right” to know. Now, I get that Donna is evil and is not going to cooperate in answering questions, but it’s a bit much to think Sally has no rights and not be challenged on it. Fortunately, after some taunting, Donna obliges with some Evil Overlord monologuing. It seems she feels entitled to people’s souls when she makes these bargains because they could always go off and have new lives, but they just have to come back and see their loved ones (’cause that attitude’s not sociopathic, or anything). Sally just had to save her brother, no matter what, and so, blah-blah-blah, she deserves everything she gets.

Sally’s not buying it. She points out that Donna got well-paid for her work and that she backloads her deals with all kinds of conditions she doesn’t mention to her customers. This doesn’t shake Donna. Neither does Sally’s Latin incantation, which only turns her into an ancient crone. And Aidan gets tossed all over the room. Laughing mockingly, Donna says that Sally didn’t even know what she was saying – it’s only a spell for forcing the person to show their true face.

Her calm is shaken, though, when Aidan correctly guesses she’s a witch from the Colonial Era. She corrects him on one detail – she wasn’t at Salem; she was at Andover (a lesser-known, but larger, offshoot of the Salem trials). Her shakes her calm some more by burning Sally’s heart in a brazier. The fire spreads to Donna and it looks for a moment as though she’s been defeated. But she successfully reduces the fire to a ball in her hands and throws it at Sally. Sally seems to control it herself, briefly, but then starts to burn. She apologizes to both Aidan and Josh, before Donna slashes her to pieces and eats her soul.

But Donna’s triumph is very short-lived. She burns to ash from the inside out and Sally wakes up in her bed next to her dead body. Aidan and Josh also return. There is a happy reunion with Nora, who decides it’s been too big a day to cram a wedding into. But a contrite Emily appears on their doorstep and insists on carrying it through. Afterward, Josh and Nora go on their honeymoon to a cabin in the woods.

This is, no surprise, a rather syrupy ending for the penultimate episode of the season, even if this season proves to be the last. So, it naturally unravels in the last few moments very quickly. Emily blows out some candles that then flare up after she leaves, showing a horrified Sally that Donna’s spirit is in the house. Aidan closes the door to the cellar as he and Kat go out, but we see downstairs that Kenny has indeed turned into a vampire-wolf hybrid. And Nora exits the cabin after a blissful honeymoon night, only to be accosted by a one-eyed, and very pissed off, Liam.

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Review: This one felt a tad busy – and not as strong as the rogue Reaper plot last season (Gee, I miss Todd). And there were some rather strange inconsistencies, like Aidan and Josh physically following Sally through a spirit door that Josh couldn’t even see. I know Lost Girl does that, but this isn’t that show and it didn’t make much sense here. That scenario also stubbornly refused to answer the question of what happens to vampires and werewolves when they die. Do they get a door? If so, why can’t their compatriots see it the way they can human doors? If not, what happens to them? Do their souls go somewhere or do they no longer have any? And also if not, what did Donna resurrect when she brought back Ray? Come on, show, don’t stint on that. It’s a big plothole, otherwise.

That said, it was still nice to see Donna go up in flames (even if England and the British colonies actually hanged their witches). Of course it’s not permanent – yet – because we saw at the end that Donna’s spirit has survived, not crossed over, and is now in the house, but it certainly set her back on her heels. I think Donna’s hubris is what will ultimately be her downfall. Despite her taking a page from Baba Yaga, she was mortal once and now she’s a ghost (would have liked to have seen a bit more of that backstory). We’ll see if that makes her stronger or weaker.

I wondered when Liam would return and what the deal was with Kenny (okay, not so much Kenny). It makes sense that Liam was pissed off. Looks like he’s had the worst of a couple of fights with vampires. But does he know yet about Nora killing his daughter? I felt sorry for Nora this week and it was nice to see her make a big effort on Sally’s behalf. At least we won’t be seeing Sally in fuzzy, colorless cardigans from now on. But will Nora make it to season four?

The dream interludes for Aidan and Josh were both quite interesting, but were also some of the things that were rushed. Aidan’s with his monster son zipped right past and the much-anticipated smackdown between Josh and Zombie Ray was perfunctory, at best. A few exchanges, Ray acting murderously dreamy, and a non-gory beheading, and that was it. The pacing overall felt off, with the beginning and the ending of the episode both dragging more than necessary, forcing the middle to be rushed.

Even so, the fakeout of the “happy” ending amused me. I knew it couldn’t possibly be that easy…and it wasn’t. We’ll see how this all goes down next week. It’s not too early in the season for major carnage and casualties.

Next Week: Ruh Roh (season finale): Liam and Donna each invade the housemate’s home in their own perilous ways.

You can watch Being Human on Syfy, either Monday nights at 9pm or on the official site.

About Paula R. Stiles

Paula is not at all paranoid about government conspiracies after six years in EMS, two years in Africa for the Peace Corps, a few summers with the Park Service, and ten years studying the Knights Templar. She's seen governments in action. They couldn't cover up a toy picnic table, let alone evidence of alien visitation. Writes about science for fun, history for money, and zombies for the company. You can read her sober-as-a-judge book about Templars in medieval Spain, Templar Convivencia, on Amazon. You can find her homepage at: http://thesnowleopard.net.

Paula R. StilesColumn: Gods and Monsters: Recap and Review: Being Human (Syfy) 3.12: Always a Bridesmaid, Never Alive