Recap and Review: Being Human (Syfy) 2.10: Dream Reaper

By Paula R. Stiles

[spoilers ahoy]

Recap: A comatose Sally is living in her own dream world, where her Reaper self is her perfect boyfriend (named ‘Scott’). She has a nice job, a great relationship with her mother, and classy clothes (instead of the usual PJs and sweater) with a great haircut. Even the house is all done up in a new, grey decor. But she has a flash of reality when she sees a reflection of Josh in the toaster oven, and another when she sees odd messages PMing her on her laptop, unnerving things like “I’m right next to you.” Scott comes home unexpectedly. When she tells him about the creepy messages, he reassures her that he will “fix” it and they cuddle while he closes the laptop. Later, she hears the others calling to her and has flashes of her immediate past in the outside world. When she gets dizzy and nearly falls downstairs onto the place where she died, though, Scott catches her. Still later, she discovers her drab sweater in her closet, which is otherwise filled with colourful and fashionable clothes. Drawn to it, she puts it on, but then goes ahead with getting dressed for a dinner party, anyway.

Outside, Josh and Aidan try to figure out how to wake her up without waking up the Reaper. They have the additional problem that Aidan hasn’t fed in a day (so he’s going into blood withdrawal) and it’s the day of the full moon. This results in some ugly bickering between the two of them over whose fault it is that Sally’s gone crazy. Josh says that Aidan should have told him about Sally’s Reaper. Aidan says that Josh was too busy contemplating his own navel to notice Sally was in trouble.

Aidan agrees to go to the hospital and find Zoe the Ghost Whisperer/shaman. She’s reluctant, at first, being bitter about the way Sally broke up her support group, but far more contrite once she arrives and realises what happens. Zoe blames herself for not understanding what was going on. Sally felt so much guilt over missing her door, was so convinced that she had created an imbalance in the universe, that she created an alter ego to punish herself – the Reaper.

Zoe agrees to risk herself in trying to “mindmeld” with Sally to communicate with her. But every time someone outside tries to talk to Sally, the ‘Scott’ part of her responds violently, first putting the house on a supernatural lockdown and then waking Sally up to threaten them. White-eyed and vicious, the Reaper tests the salt barrier, then turns on all three of the others. ‘He’ outs Aidan and Josh as monsters, talks about Aidan’s harbouring of Henry and the murders of the women from last week, reveals Sally’s terrible loneliness being stuck in the house where she was murdered, and mocks Zoe with the revelation that Sally shredded Nick (something Aidan and Josh had kept to themselves to snooker Zoe into helping).

Once again reverting to her pathetic and bitchy default self, Zoe refuses to help Sally further, so the housemates are forced to reveal their true and monstrous natures, in order to explain to her the dire peril she’s in. For some reason, dopey Zoe seems to have a harder time buying that Josh is a werewolf than that ghosts exist, but when Aidan shows her his black demon eyes and vampire teeth, she quickly becomes a believer. She mindmelds with Sally then passes out, awakening in the middle of the dinner party inside Sally’s head.

Left on their own, Josh and Aidan start to lose it. Aidan is irresistibly drawn to Zoe’s comatose body while Josh searches frantically for something in the house to chain himself down. Josh has to drag Aidan off when Aidan starts feeding on Zoe (which Zoe feels in Sally’s dreamworld). Josh screams at him about the two dead women from last week and shows a rare moment of true honesty under the whining when he admits that he feels he is the only one left “holding on”, even though he’s “dangling off a cliff by my fingernails.” Aidan then breaks down in a fit of remorse over the deaths of the two women he and Henry killed in the house, saying that he wishes he could live without blood, but it’s not possible. It’s more than an addiction; it’s his only nourishment. He has tried to live on blood without hurting humans and has failed miserably. Realising that Aidan’s guilt is genuine, Josh takes pity on Aidan and offers his friend some of his blood. At first, this seems to work, even leaving Aidan happy and buzzed – and then it all goes horribly wrong when Aidan becomes violently ill and begins to bleed from his eyes. Werewolf blood, it seems, is extremely toxic to vampires.

In the party, Zoe tries to wake Sally up, telling her that she’s dead and “living” in Boston with Aidan and Josh. If she doesn’t go back, everyone else in the house will die. Scott keeps putting her off, but Sally starts to realise what’s going on when Zoe sees Nick in the crowd and tells her Nick is also dead. Horrified, Sally accidentally recreates Nick’s drowning. Not even Scott’s attempt to choke Zoe stops the flood of memories and Aidan’s screams of agony from outside break up the party images.

In desperation, Scott grabs Sally and takes her to the top of the stairs, the party disappeared and the house dark. While Zoe begs from the bottom of the stairs for Sally to wake up and save everyone, even showing her the image of Sally lying in the spot where she had died, Scott begs Sally to stay inside with him. But Sally realises Zoe is speaking the truth. She is dead, her life already over. She throws herself down the stairs and wakes up. The supernatural lockdown also lifts and Zoe goes to the kitchen to bandage her wound from Aidan. Sally and Josh share a moment of camaraderie before Sally begs Josh to go get himself locked up in order to wolf out safely and Josh breaks the salt line. Sally then talks to Aidan, who is slowly recovering. Zoe leaves, angry and unforgiving about Sally’s shredding Nick.

Left alone, Sally finds that Scott still exists. He can’t leave, being a part of her. But he’ll always be there for her, just maybe not quite in the way she’d like.

Review: This was a very interesting episode, with a lot of payoff for Sally’s storyline. I quite liked that they decided to concentrate on a single storyline this week. While the tripartite stories have resulted in a lot of plot busyness and more-or-less equal coverage of the housemates, they haven’t resulted in much depth. Here, the writers got to dig deep into Sally’s story, as well as the show’s mythology on the ghost world (which is strikingly different from that of the living world). I really liked that they finally showed the results of Sally’s loneliness and isolation, which had been slowly becoming clear over the course of the season to the audience, but were a brutal and sudden revelation to those characters trapped in the house with her. Sally didn’t just up and go mad on her own or because she was evil. She got a few hearty pushes from those around her.

I have seen discussion that Sally has been self-absorbed and focused on her own problems. I can see that opinion, even if I don’t agree that it’s the full story. Yes, Sally has spent a lot of time talking about what was going on with her, while perhaps ignoring the problems of her housemates, but this went two ways. Sally’s big problem was that she felt isolated and alone, living in a limbo world that was only tangentially connected to the living world and only intermittently with the afterlife. The other characters frequently acted as if she were talking furniture that had no existence when they weren’t bemoaning their own problems to her and seemed unable to comprehend what she was trying to tell them about her own world. She couldn’t even leave the house for most of season one.

In season two, she looked for friends and support in the ghost world, but they were all flawed and weak in different ways. Nick had turned out to be stuck on his own neuroses, which he acted out as his drowning every day. Then, to feel even more alive, he’d hooked up with a living ghost groupie. Similarly, Stevie had killed another ghost and seemed unstable (All his protests aside, he was stalking a former bully of his when Sally shredded him). Sally’s mother rejected her to get jiggy with the ghost of her old boyfriend.

The living were (mostly) no better, with Josh too wrapped up in his own problems to notice Sally’s increasing madness and Zoe too jealous of Sally over Nick to do more than reluctantly give her advice here and there. The only one who even tried was Aidan, who reached out of his own wreckage to try to help Sally. Unfortunately, Aidan was no wiser than anyone else on the subject. But I liked that the show balanced out his plummet back into the vampire world with his clumsy empathy for Sally’s predicament, while well-meaning Josh didn’t notice until it was nearly too late. Being well-meaning is no help when you’re also oblivious.

I really liked that Sally/Scott was so powerful. If ghosts are capable of the environmental influence we’ve seen Sally engage in, however subconsciously, then they should easily be the most powerful beings in the Being Human verse. No one but another ghost can destroy them (Though a medium might be able to exorcise them, it’s an extremely dangerous process) and ringing them with salt does little besides tying them to a single location for a little while. They can still put a house on lockdown so that you can’t get out. Zoe bluffed that she could wait until Sally/Scott got bored, but Sally/Scott didn’t freak out randomly, having chosen the worst possible time to lock down Aidan and Josh for maximum carnage. Raw power, rage, cunning, and virtual invulnerability are a deadly combination.

Another thing I liked was that the episode did not try to tie things up neatly. Josh and Aidan had it out and came to a new understanding, while we found out that Aidan felt terrible about the women who died. Yet, they are still dead.

Also, Zoe didn’t magically forgive Sally at the end. Not that I’m a fan of Zoe. She still comes across like one of those prison wives who marry a lifer because ‘at least I always know where he is.’ She is a total wannabe and ghost groupie who does not know nearly as much as she thinks she does, nor is as wise. I think she liked holding court over these sad spirits, many of whom had haunted the earth far longer than she’d been alive, and making them beholden to her. It made her feel special and important instead of like a lonely freak. But it wouldn’t have been in character for her to forgive the one ghost left that she knew, when that ghost was her former romantic rival who had murdered the ghost guy she loved. If Zoe were absolutely honest with herself, Sally would be about the last ghost she’d have wished survived all of this, even before Sally shredded every spectre in the vicinity.

And finally, Scott didn’t go anywhere. I know it’s the usual thing for these dream characters to be “killed off”, only to linger in the background for some sweeps week when the writers want to dredge up an evil blast from the past (coughDannycoughcough), but the way Scott was portrayed here, he wasn’t actually evil. He’s not just Sally’s dark side; he’s also her protector. Yes, he’s part of her own psyche (or, at least, he started out that way) and yes, it’s a rather cheap way for the writers to let Sally own her considerable and destructive power without addressing their major issues concerning strong female monsters, but he still comes off as a real and separate character. And he’s strangely sympathetic and interesting. Kudos to Dusan Dukic for making that work. Yeah, it’s creepily incestuous, but I kinda like their pairing, and think Dukic and Meaghan Rath have some nice chemistry. Keep him around, show, please.

Next Week: Don’t Fear the Scott: Nora returns with a cure to the werewolf curse and Mother also returns to Boston, with ugly consequences for Suren and Aidan.

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. StilesRecap and Review: Being Human (Syfy) 2.10: Dream Reaper