Column: Gods and Monsters: Recap and Review: Being Human (Syfy) 3.13 (Season Finale): Ruh-Roh

 

[spoilers ahoy]

Recap: Liam’s arrival at the cabin sparks a confrontation between him and Josh and Nora that draws the battle lines for good. Nora picks her side when she defiantly tells Liam that Aidan lied to protect her – she killed Brynn.

Liam forces Josh and Nora to a warehouse where he has a bunch of vampire-werewolf hybrids penned up. He tells them how this “new breed” of abomination originated, but they refuse to kill the feral hybrids on his orders. So, he locks them in. When the hybrids wake up, they are forced to defend themselves and Josh burns them alive as a “mercy” killing.

Liam, meanwhile, has decided to go “punish” Aidan by killing his hybrid “son,” Kenny, who is still locked in the basement. When Aidan gets in the way, Liam stakes him to the wall, though not in a mortal way. However, he’s diverted from killing Kenny when first Sally combusts Liam’s weapon in his hand, and then Josh and Nora rush in. Nora gets knocked out. In the melee, Kenny crawls over to her and starts feeding on her. Meanwhile Liam starts to choke Josh. Sally gets between them and screams at him. Startled, Liam jumps back, just within reach of Aidan. Aidan grabs him and yanks him back onto the stake pinning him to the wall. Impaled, Liam drops dead and turns back into a wolf. A horrified Josh then yanks Kenny off Nora.

Nora is okay afterward, but the housemates realize that Kenny has to go. Aidan agrees to take him out into the woods and kill him. And it might be a mercy, too, since Kenny is all messed up about the thing Aidan has inadvertently turned him into. The mercies in this episode are small indeed.

But when Aidan takes him out there, he starts having flashbacks to when he first became a vampire. Though his neighbors (and that dirtbag pastor) were suspicious of his mysterious resurrection, his wife, Susanna, hid him from them. But his son accidently let slip he was back and the preacher had Susanna taken out to the river to be dunked until she confessed. When she refused, they put her under too long and she drowned. Having found his son in the woods, Aidan came to the river a little too late to save Susanna and freaked out in vampire mode for the first time. He killed all of the men involved, sending the rest of the villagers screaming.

In the present, Aidan can’t do it, so he screams at Kenny to run. A blood-craving monster who has spent his entire life to this point in a bubble out roaming the New England woods? This’ll end well.

Back at the house, Sally moons over her dead body, but she soon finds something – or someone – else to occupy her. Donna is still in the house as a spirit. She confronts Sally, threatening her with the knowledge of what can happen to a spirit whose “death spot” is destroyed. According to her, Sally and her friends are the first ones to give her a run for her money in a long time. She then tosses Sally down the stairs and drags her down through a hole in the bottom, apparently to Limbo.

Sally’s dead body creates more trouble on its own when Kat comes across it and (okay, not-so-inaccurately) thinks Aidan is a serial killer. Why she doesn’t wonder if Josh or her good friend Nora might be, I don’t know. At any rate, she flees home in terror and Aidan is forced to promise a favor to Blake in exchange for glamoring Kat into forgetting what she saw. Afterward, he mutters that he owes people all over town now. As he walks home, he passes a taxi, out of which gets a woman who looks just like Susanna.

Blissfully unaware of Sally’s predicament and Aidan’s dilemma, Josh and Nora return to the woods to wolf out with the full moon, which will be Josh’s first time after being scratched by Liam. However, when Nora wakes up human the next morning, Josh is still a wolf. In broad daylight. The credits roll on Nora’s scream.

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Review: This wasn’t as strong a season finale as last year’s, though I’ve always thought this show tends to have better episodes leading up to the finale than the finale itself. It’s as if the writers just stop in the middle of a big storyline that sets up the next season, rather than crafting an actual cliffhanger. When the show finally gets canceled, they’re going to have an interesting time of it, ending with a complete story. But that won’t be a problem this year, since the show has already been renewed.

Jeremy Carver seems still to have been heavily involved in the show this season, to the detriment of his new gig, Supernatural. Personally, I think his wife is quite capable of handling things on her own. Let him focus on Supernatural and get that house in order, because Being Human‘s house seems to be doing just fine. The dead bodies upstairs and the monsters in the basement notwithstanding.

Nora appears to be firmly established as a regular character now, so I don’t think any of the four housemates are going anywhere permanently, despite the cliffhangers. I am very curious to see what happens with Susanna, though (and kudos to genre vet Katharine Isabelle for her role in that). Is she good? Evil? Indifferent? Is she even Susanna? Maybe she’s a witch like Donna and that’s why she’s still alive. Or maybe she’s a vampire. Or something else. It could be she will help Sally best Donna, though I have a feeling Sally may end up showing Donna what it’s like to be eaten first-hand. Sally’s been in Limbo a lot longer than Donna and I think she’s got more raw power.

I was a tiny bit skeptical about the period of Susanna’s witch trial. The late 18th century in New England was not a time when people were all about the witchcrazes. The famous Salem witchcraze of 1692, which spread all over the Massachusetts Bay Colony while it was in transition to becoming the Province of Massachusetts Bay, greatly discredited the charge after the investigations imploded. The main accusers were publicly humiliated as gullible idiots and hatemongers. While witchcraft accusations did continue for a while into the early 18th century, the strong reaction to the Salem trials slowly turned witchraft into something in which only stupid people believed. This ensured that Salem was a major watershed in Colonial America in terms of the decline of witchcrazes. Which hasn’t stopped Americans from finding other things over which to hang people.

Also, dunking was an interrogation technique, not a method of execution. In addition, it was believed that witches could not drown, a bit of lore that may yet come up next season as the reason why Susanna didn’t die.

That said, law and order was pretty shady on the frontier and pockets of beliefs in all sorts of weird stuff could have persisted here and there, witchcraft being one of them. The Reverend, who seemed a little psalm-happy as it was, could easily have kept his flock in line with such outmoded beliefs.

Also, what the writers were probably trying to portray was the epidemic of belief in vampirism in the 18th and 19th centuries, which appears to have stemmed from the deathlike coma into which late-stage TB patients could fall. These people were not, however, believed to be witches and the staking in their gravebeds and such that they were subjected to was very different from the hanging that was meted out to witches in England and Colonial America.

The villains themselves didn’t do that much for me this season. Liam was well-acted by Xander Berkeley, who really threw himself into the role with great ferocity. However, the way he was written, Liam was never what you’d call the sharpest knife in the drawer. His plots were fairly basic, and his arrogance and snobbery kept getting the best of him, as did his temper. While his literary antecedents were fairly obvious – the antiheroes of Get Carter and The Limey, notably – he never achieved their cunning or purity of motive. And he seemed to have too much trouble absorbing the truth about his kids, so he never had the epiphany those two protagonists achieved.

Donna had the opposite problem. The magazine, Black Gate, used to talk in its guidelines about not wanting protagonists of heroic fiction who were godlike and bored, dealing death with a yawn. Well, that goes for antagonists, too. Major characters, on either side of the story, should have ups and downs, strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and setbacks. And they should react to these turns of fortune in some significant way (Even Spock lost his Vulcan cool from time to time). Otherwise, they end up being pretty dull.

We never saw much variation in Donna’s mood. Her supreme self-confidence never wavered. She seemed rather bored with it all and, as a result, I found myself rather bored with her. This is too bad because I was very intrigued by her, initially, but she never developed much. We didn’t even learn the bare bones of her origin story until late in the day, after I’d stopped wanting to know. I suspect she won’t make it past the season four premiere, but if she does, show, please give us a reason to care. Right now, she’s about as much fun as watching blood dry.

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No episodes next week, but the show has been renewed. Check out our season four reviews when it returns in January.

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) 3.13 (Season Finale): Ruh-Roh