Being Human Recap: U.K. Series 1 Primer

If you’ve been following our recaps and/or watching Being Human on Syfy this year, you’ve probably heard reference to the fact that it’s a remake of a British show that recently finished its third season. If you haven’t dipped your feet into the original series, now is a great time to start, and starting next week, I’ll be Retro Recapping seasons 2 and 3 in the regular Being Human slot. Why not start with season 1? Because it covers a lot of the same ground we’ve already covered in the U.S version. So if you’d like to skip it and jump to season 2, while you’d be missing out on some great television, this primer will let you know the basics of how. Mitchell, George and Annie differ from Aidan, Josh and Sally.

Characters you already know:

Mitchell – (Aidan) The vampire, trying to stay clean
George – (Josh) The werewolf, convinced he’s a monster
Annie – (Sally) The ghost, dead before her time
Herrick and Seth – (Bishop and Marcus) The vampire leader and his inadequate lackey
Lauren – (Rebecca) Mitchell’s unfortunate mistake
Nina – (Nora) A nurse who begins an uneasy relationship with George
Owen – (Danny) Annie’s grieving ex-fiancee

Episode 1

The series opens with Annie, our ghost: “Everyone dies. Everyone deserves a death,” she corrects as she introduces us to our roommates and how they should have died. Mitchell was supposed to go down in battle and was surprised to find that death smiled at him first, knowing he wouldn’t stay dead long. For herself, she wanders, overlooked and forgotten through her house during her wake. And George, poor George, walking away from the metaphorical trainwreck at a terrible cost.

Mitchell has a bad one night stand with a girl we will discover was called Lauren, who later turns up as a vampire. George and Mitchell move into Annie’s place. Annie is happy and visible to normal people. George is fastidious, freaking out about the amount of tea Annie, who can’t even drink it, makes. The roommates are already in quite a comfortable groove, more than just strangers, though not entirely friendly. George in particular, doesn’t like the idea of Annie living with them, thinking it infringes on their normalcy, which he is striving so hard for. Mitchell is introduced to the master plan: Herrick sends Seth to turn influential people at the hospital. Mitchell forces him to leave. George’s Wolf Room is compromised and he’s forced to change at home, where Annie gets to see what he goes through. We’re introduced to Owen, Annie’s fiancee, who tells us how Annie has died: a tumble down the stairs, and she hit her head. We also meet Owen’s chav (that’s British slang for low-class and trashy) girlfriend Janie.

The same big moments are there from the U.S. pilot: the turning of Lauren/Rebecca, the setting up of the vampire structure and the big bad in Herrick/Bishop, George/Josh watching as a young naive coworker dies in his arms at Lauren/Rebecca’s teeth and George/Josh’s subsequent discovery of how the system works. It’s the little moments that give the U.K. series an original and quirky feel, like Mitchell taking the TV outside while George prepares to change in the living room, George referring to the wolf as “It,” disassociating it from himself in a way deeper than Josh did, Annie’s giddiness as being more solid, being able to be seen, being able to make loads of tea.

 

Episode 2

We meet Lee Tully, who George uneasily befriends after discovering that the two share the secret of being a werewolf. Mitchell voices over an explanation of exactly what happens to George during the transformation in a bit of dialogue that’s too good not to quote:

He should be dead within thirty seconds. The werewolf heart is about two-thirds the size of a human’s. But in order to shrink, first it has to stop. In other words, he has a heart attack. All the internal organs are smaller. So while he’s having his heart attack, he’s having liver and kidney failure too. And if he stops screaming, it’s not because the pain has dulled–his throat, gullet and vocal chords are tearing and reforming. He literally can’t make a sound. By now the pituitary gland should be working overtime, flooding his body with endorphins to ease some of the pain. But that too is shut down. Anyone else would have died of shock long ago, but it won’t let him. And that’s the pain I find most remarkable. It drags him through the fire and keeps him alive and even conscious to endure every second. Nothing like this could just evolve. Is it the fingerprint of God? An impossible lethal curse spread by tooth and claw. Victim begets victim begets victim. It’s so cruel, it’s perfect.

Mitchell tries to jump into the world of being human by getting to know the neighbors. Annie reverts to being unseen again after her encounter with Owen in the previous episode. As George is dealing with Tully, he also finds himself butting heads at work with one of the nurses, Nina. Lauren metaphorically haunts Mitchell, taunting him to giving up trying to go clean and return to the vampire family. After the double jeopardy of Tully attempting to force himself on Annie and revealing that he was the werewolf that turned George, Tully is told to leave and never come back. Mitchell and Annie share a chaste kiss before a mysterious DVD arrives. In the U.K. series, vampires can’t be captured on video, so we watch as an invisible entity has sex with the man and drinks him dry. Mitchell can’t help but fish it out of the garbage after he promises to throw it away.

Episode 3

Annie’s wedding date approaches (and coincides with PMT, which, man, we still have to deal with that as ghosts? Eff that!) and Annie becomes really erratic. Mitchell and George take her out to get her mind off things and she meets Gilbert, a fellow ghost, haunting it up since 1985. He takes her to her grave, but rather than getting closure, she mourns for the marriage and the kids that she’d never have. She decides to try and figure out her unfinished business, which she thinks is being the perfect wife to Owen. In related news, Owen comes over to fix the creaking pipes and it turns out to be a lace thong clogging them up, leading to Annie remembering how she died. After a fight with Owen in which he was violently jealous, Owen pushed her and she fell down the stairs, hitting her head.  George and Mitchell contemplate the idea of pursuing relationships, but Mitchell doesn’t think that turned out well last time. Speak of the devil, Lauren finds him and reveals that Herrick made her make the video. She’s not dealing with the whole being a vampire thing well; she wants to feed all the time and she begs Mitchell for help. He agrees to help her stay clean, but they get very dirty in the process. When he’s not dealing with Lauren, Mitchell is putting in a good word for George with Nina and inviting her to dinner on his behalf. The date goes pretty well until George gets a little growly as they start getting friendly. She interrupts him on the way down to his Wolf Room and Surprise Sex happens in the break room!

Episode 4

Informally known as the Pedo Episode, this is the first plot line where the US version takes a huge left turn from the original. Mitchell tries to save Lauren from the vampire family. He saves a boy, Bernie, from neighborhood bullies, and befriends Bernie and his mother Fleur. Watching George completely unsure how to act around a 12-year-old (alternately treating him like a toddler and offering him beer and cigarettes) is one of the highlights of the series, frankly. When Bernie grabs the wrong DVD to take home, Fleur organizes the neighborhood against the roommates, branding Mitchell and George pedophiles. George worries that Nina is only interested in the Wolf, but Nina confides that the other night was a bit quick for her as well. Annie isn’t dealing with the discovery of the way she died well and is acting out, becoming a poltergeist, especially when she learns that Owen is coming over. Owen informs the guys that they have to move out at the end of next month so that Owen and Janie can move back in eventually. She burns her memories of him and discovers that she can be seen again. Herrick offers to help Mitchell solve his situation, but tragedy strikes when, after trying to apologize to Mitchell, Bernie gets surrounded by mobbing neighbors and then hit by a car as he runs to his mom. She’s consumed by guilt as she watches her son die and Mitchell offers to help, revealing to her that he’s a vampire. Mitchell turns him and arranges for Bernie and Fleur to leave town, before going to Herrick and letting him know that he’s back in.

Episode 5

Sally makes a plan, finally: she’s going to haunt Owen. Annie goes to Owen’s and attempts to make him confess, but he just laughs at her efforts, taunting her, asking, “Is that the best you got?” So, it doesn’t go exactly how he wanted, really. Having failed with Owen, she turns to haunting Janie, who is a much easier target. Annie promises not to hurt her, and just tries to convince her that Owen killed her. Janie refuses to believe it.

Mitchell has returned to Herrick and the family, returned home, but he finds that Lauren has taken his place as the problem child. The vampires’ plan isn’t all that Mitchell thinks it is, though, as he finds that Herrick’s intentions in turning people aren’t as altruistic as Mitchell wants them to be. An encounter with Josie, an old girlfriend, helps him realize that even if he thinks that he’s turning people for good reasons, it’s not who he is. When he starts having second thoughts, Mitchell goes looking for Herrick and stumbles upon a vampire feeding farm in the basement of the undertaker’s. Josie explains the situation to George, who is energized to go save Mitchell, but Annie is paralyzed, beaten down, defeated by Owen. After a pep talk from George, the two head to the business to get Mitchell in a hilarious confrontation (“the world’s gayest ninjas”) with Seth, who only leaves them alone because he’s repelled by George’s Star of David. As Mitchell is realizing that he definitely doesn’t want to be on the vampires’ side, George and Annie arrive to the rescue, but the roommates get surrounded. They are saved by Lauren, who stakes Seth and then quips, “Well, he won’t be staring at my tits when he speaks to me anymore.” As they run away, Lauren begs Mitchell to put her out of her misery and he stakes her.

Bolstered by the rescue, Annie calls Owen over and all three roommates unite against him. Owen continues to laugh this off, feeling bulletproof. Annie calls him out:

There’s a question you haven’t asked yourself yet. If I exist, what else does? You think you’re the big bad wolf. You should see George on a full moon. You think you’re a cold-blooded murderer? Mitchell was killing eighty years before you were even born. Don’t you get it yet? I’m 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, you’re an amateur. I want you to know you’ve wandered off the path. This is where the wild things are. And we’ve got your scent now. We can find you at the edge of the earth. And create unimaginable tortures. And now I’m going to tell you the very worst thing in the world. Something only the dead know. {she whispers in his ear.}
Owen: That’s not true!
Annie: I saw it. My advice to you? Find a safe place. With locks. And bad dogs. And never ever turn out the light.

She wonders what happens, when her closure comes. As Owen turns himself in to the police, Annie’s door appears. George begs her to stay and Annie cries as she hugs him and reminds him that he hated her. She hugs Mitchell and asks him not to kill anyone. There are tears all around, including from your recapper, and as she opens the door, there’s a knock at the other door, making the moment absurd. “We can’t do this with somebody at the door,” Mitchell remarks as he opens it. It’s Herrick, who stakes Mitchell before George pushes him out. Annie wants to stay and help, but George tells her to go.

Episode 6

Two years earlier, we see George get attacked by Seth and a few other vampires and get saved by Mitchell. It’s the last straw for poor George, who doesn’t want to run away again. The two lost souls collide.

Mitchell is brought into the hospital and Nina wants explanations for what’s going on, what’s so secret, and why Mitchell’s condition is so odd. Mitchell’s body can’t make more blood and Josie offers to let him drink her; she’s terminal, anyway. George visits Herrick, telling him to leave Mitchell alone, but Herrick promises to chase them to the end of the world if they try to stop his plans. Herrick goads George into attacking him, but George stops himself, leading to Herrick pointing out his weakness. Mitchell goes to Herrick, arranges for them to meet and finish it the next night, the full moon, so that George can’t be there. He does it so that George and Annie can be free after Herrick’s finished him. Annie wants to talk him out of it, and George goes behind his back, telling Herrick the meeting place has changed. Herrick, cheered on by the vampires and Johnny Cash (god, this show has a great soundtrack), goes to meet his fate. Annie is visited by a ghost of a vampire victim and has him take her to the undertaker’s where she goes full on Poltergeist on them. She saves the people in the feeding farm as Mitchell waits for Herrick who won’t be coming. Crazy Cara, a hospital worker that Herrick recently turned, lets slip to Annie that Herrick is heading to the hospital instead. Annie goes to get Mitchell so that they can save George, and the three roommates lock themselves in with the big bad. Herrick points out what they’ve done:

So. A werewolf, a ghost and a vampire decide to live like humans do. They get a job, a house and a TV license. They take friends they will lie to. Take lovers they will infect. In fact, the only part of humanity they successfully adopt is its ability to deceive and destroy. All in all I’d say your little scheme has been something of a failure.

Mitchell tries to talk George down, convincing him that it’s not worth him becoming a killer for. George claims to know what he’s doing and, “Besides, I owe you,” he reminds Mitchell. Nina, unfortunately, has followed them down there, and after George pushes her out of the room, she watches as he transforms and kills Herrick.

The next morning, Mitchell is concerned at how George is handling being a killer. Nina is still processing the discovery and the fact that she was scratched by George. Mitchell notes that George has started using “I” when referring to the Wolf. The roommates sit, at ease and unease, all at once. Not knowing what lies before them.

An old man sits talking to Owen. He’s grilling him about his story about the dead fiancée and her vampire and werewolf roommates. He tells Owen that he’s been very helpful and as he leaves, he makes a phone call, informing someone named Professor Jaggat, “We’ve found them.”

 

Transcript Quotes from Planet Claire Quotes.

Published by

Crystal Coleman

Florida girl living on the west coast. During the day, I consult in social media and community management. I have a really cute puppy (Elphaba) and a British husband (I keep him for his accent) as well as an unhealthy relationship with parentheses. http://thatgirlcrystal.com

3 thoughts on “Being Human Recap: U.K. Series 1 Primer”

  1. WOOO! I’m so glad to see the UK series covered here!! I’ve kind of been afraid of the US version and avoiding it on SyFy. My best friend and I have been watching the seasons all in one go, we just finished with Series 2 (in one night, oof), and now I have to wait for her to get back from a remote research island for Series 3 and it is KILLING ME.

    1. I know the general plots of series 3, but I’ve been staying away from details, so I can’t wait to see it.

      Don’t be afraid of the US version. I think, overall, they did a great job at following the blueprint but making it its own, distinct series. The plot changes for Bishop (Herrick) and Rebecca (Lauren) are extremely well done in particular. The only character I feel like they could have done better with is Sally (Annie), especially after rewatching the original this weekend. I have hopes that they’ll turn around on her in season 2.

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