LadyGhosts of TV Past

Being Human UK Retro Recap: Episode 2.2

Annie goes on a date, Mitchell is visited by an old friend and George and Nina try to work things out. Spoiler alert: Nothing ends well for anybody. Welcome to Season 2!

Please note: trigger warning for sexual assault.

We open with a flashback to New Year’s Eve, Vienna, 1999. Mitchell is strapped to a chair, encouraging a fellow vampire to let him go. He can start tomorrow, all those people out there are too tempting. Another man comes in to tell the vampire something, and Mitchell shouts, “Queer” at him as he leaves. He begs the vampire to tell him why he’s doing this, and the vampire replies, “Because it’s what you’d do for me, Mitchell,” as he begins to play “Auld Lang Syne” on a piano.

Back in present day at the New Found Out, Saul is back at the pub and hanging out with Annie. George comes in and Annie introduces him to “the gang.” Annie is totally charmed by Saul. Hugh is less than charmed, and George seems to recognize the look in his eyes.

At the hospital, Lucy enters the elevator, and Mitchell shows he’s not very good at small talk by commenting that his day today is filled with a lot more poo than usual. Seriously, Mitchell, vomit and poo are not good topics. He admits that he doesn’t know how to talk to her and realizes, “Oh my god I’ve become my roommate.” Lucy says that the goldfish was the perfect gesture and that’s the speed she’s comfortable with. His next move can be a coffee. A DOA that needs to be declared saves Mitchell any more awkward chit-chat, but as he tags along, he recognizes the body as the man he called queer back in Vienna. The officer chats with Lucy, explaining that they’re trying to find the flatmate (and suspecting that they were a homosexual couple because of some theatre tickets on the counter… nice). When Lucy notices puncture marks on the neck she knows exactly what’s to blame: a gay vampire, she reveals, jokingly.

After finally leaving the pub, I guess (seriously, doesn’t he have a job to do?), Saul enters his house and pops the TV on. He takes a pill and chugs some OJ when he hears a voice calling to him from the TV. Terry Wogan is talking to him. About Annie. Terry thinks they would make a smashing couple. Saul is in rightful disbelief, but when Terry says it’s about the corridor, Saul stops in his tracks. Terry expositions that Saul had some sort of accident and saw some “interesting thing,” which Terry encourages Saul to tell Annie about.

At home, Nina wakes up to a selection of food brought to her by George. Since she did the night shift, he sweetly brought her a mix of breakfast and lunch. Later that day, Mitchell and Nina talk about general wolfiness, as the Bad Guy tech overhears them via the bugs that were placed at the end of the last episode. After Nina leaves, Mitchell confides to George about the DOA he saw. He explains that for a while, he lived with a couple: Carl, a vampire, and Dan, a human and Carl’s lover. Carl was clean and helping Mitchell to get there. George fixates on the part where Mitchell lived with someone before him, forgetting for a moment that Mitchell is more than 100 years old. Aww. Mitchell tries to convince himself that Carl couldn’t have done it. If Carl could give in, what hope does he have?

Saul visits Annie in the pub again, and Terry is back on the TVs there, too, pointing him toward her. He blurts out that he almost died. He had a car accident, fell asleep at the wheel and was technically dead for six minutes. He explains how he saw a bright white corridor, very frightening, there were men with sticks and rope. Sally blurts out that she’s seen it, too. He grasps her hand and she feels it. She’s relieved to have someone to talk to about this and gives him a kiss on the cheek as she goes to help a new customer.

Carl comes to see Mitchell. He’d been dreaming about blood, he explains. Dan didn’t even look frightened when it happened, just disappointed. George asks why he let him die rather than recruiting him. “Because he was kind,” Carl explains. “And if I did, when he came back, he might not have been kind anymore.” George doesn’t want him to stay, for Nina’s sake. He wants to make something as normal as possible there for Nina. Mitchell promises it won’t take long to sort this out.

The Bad Guy Old Man is praying as the tech brings him transcripts, points out the conversation between the “Type 1 and the lover of Type 3.” He points out that she’s not just a sympathiser. The tech doesn’t understand why they haven’t contained them yet. Old Man explains that the three types haven’t co-habitated like this before and the Professor thinks that warrants observation. Personally, however, he thinks that wounds should be cauterized, and suspects Nina would agree. Besides, they need another Type 3 before the full moon in 22 days.

At home, Annie gushes to George about Saul and he wants to know if she’s being careful. She jokes about her lack of need for contraception, but George is concerned about the drama of two guys chasing after her. She’s oblivious to Hugh’s attraction, claiming that he’s like a brother to her. George advises her that stabbing him in the face would be preferable than ever telling him that. She explains that she doesn’t want to just spectate for the rest of reality and George cautions her not to get hurt.

Nina comes home from her shift and finds Carl in the kitchen, munching on a shepherd’s pie that George made for her. Nina knows all about him and she’s very cold to him, seeing him as a murderer.  When Carl starts giving her unsolicited advice about not being too hard on George, she reminds him that it’s not his business. The violence and killing is clearly what Nina is most uncomfortable about with this new world she’s found herself in. “We shouldn’t be in houses,” she spits out to Carl, “in streets where there are children. I’m radioactive now, that’s how it feels.”

At the hospital the next day, Mitchell asks Lucy what happens next with the gay vampire victim. Lucy explains that he goes to the pathologist, who will probably find a very dull explanation like him falling on a pointy object or cats starting to chew on him. At least, that’s what normally happens. But this time, the police aren’t happy with the explanation of a heart attack and the coroner has authorized a second autopsy. Uh-oh.

Newspapers are the latest things that are communicating with Saul and they tell him that local residents agree that Saul and Annie are perfect for each other. Annie takes the first step (good girl!) and asks him out to see a movie that afternoon (again, does this man work?). When Hugh gives him the side eye and tells him he’s watching him, Saul goes kind of d-bag and informs him “I won, you lost.”

Mitchell pays a visit to the coroner, who wants to know why his checks have stopped. Mitchell explains that Herrick’s dead, but it doesn’t seem to matter too much to the coroner, who is tired anyway. Tired of “abetting the slaughter” of innocent people. Mitchell stresses to him how this will put everyone at risk of exposure, himself included. He understands, but he just wants to be able to look his grandchildren in the eyes. Even if it means he might die for it.

George finds a note in his locker that pisses him off. He goes to the former Wolf Room to find Ivan, who asks to know what happened that night. George abides: “He came in, I changed, I tore his head off.” Ivan says he doesn’t give a shit about Herrick. He’s 237, he doesn’t feel anything. “I wake up, I drink coffee, I think about you, I assume I should kill you.” Not just for the Herrick thing; he knows about George and Daisy. He wants to know what George said that made her feel again. George explains how he convinced her not to kill her daughter.

Saul and Annie go back to his place after the movie. The television encourages Saul to kiss Annie and he scoots closer and asks if he can kiss her. She cautiously says yes, and what begins with a kiss quickly proceeds to more as Saul begins to force himself on her, goaded by the television. She pushes him off but he darkly tells her the door’s locked before ordering her to get undressed. As she freezes, not knowing what to do, he launches himself at her again and she disappears in a reflex reaction. In the safety of the house, she tells Mitchell and George and Mitchell is upset that she revealed herself to be a ghost. George actually asks if she’s all right and points out that no one would believe him. Mitchell still thinks it was reckless but Annie snaps back that she thinks she’s owed a couple of screw-ups. Which is a fair point. George says to stay in the house for the time being. Mitchell is pissy and goes to find Carl. Annie sits with George and muses about her attraction to volatile, unsuitable men as she thanks him for not saying I told you so.

Mitchell finds Carl staring at the house he shared with Dan. He wanted to get some photos. Mitchell tells him that the coroner won’t cover for them. They need to get Carl out of town. “I was safe. Look what happened. Maybe it’s time to stop,” Carl suggests, implying that he should just be killed. Mitchell says he’s not ready yet. As Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” plays (before it was cool, btw), Mitchell has a plan. We see Carl in his bed, puncture wounds on his arms as Mitchell calls in the crime scene. Nina recognizes him in the hospital as Mitchell punches the fire alarm. He goes down to the morgue and finds Carl crying over Dan’s body. George and Mitchell ferret him out of the hospital.

Saul sits at home, drinking and smoking as the newscast agrees that All Women are Whores. Screw you, newscast. The announcer then sheepishly explains how, oh, maybe they should have told Saul– Annie’s dead, she’s in limbo, but she’s turned death down. Which pissed some people off. Death wants her back. The announcer tells him that he’ll tell Saul all about it, then, maybe Saul should go for a drive to clear his head.

Hugh stops by the house, worried because Annie didn’t turn up at work. She tells him that the afternoon didn’t go very well. Annie is clearly shaken and Hugh asks what happened, but then says it’s none of his business. “I wanted to be normal,” she explains. “A normal girl kissing a normal boy. I wanted to escape. Just for a second.” When Hugh asks from what, she says herself, then leans in and kisses him. He pulls back and she apologizes, but Hugh explains, “I’ve wanted to kiss you from the moment I saw you, but not like this.” He doesn’t want to be the consolation. He needs her to want to kiss him. And he’ll wait.

George and Mitchell hand Carl over to Ivan. It’ll just be a lost body now, not a murder, Mitchell explains. He thanks Ivan, but Ivan explains that this isn’t the end; they’re sliding into chaos and they’ve got no safety net anymore. Mitchell says he thinks they can just reveal themselves, not like Herrick wanted, but just not living in secret anymore. Ivan’s reply is too well-written not to quote:

What, are you imagining some kind of peaceful coexistence? It would be chaos! Worldwide panic. Good news for religion, mind you. Especially Christianity. It’d be standing room only in the churches all of a sudden. And as soon as they knew about vampires they’d know about werewolves, they’d know about ghosts. They’d be next. And when humanity had finally finished with us it would turn in on itself. First the other religions–massively in the minority now. Then the homosexuals, the disabled. Do you want to know what the future looks like? Enforced worship in churches a mile high. And every country surrounded by a coral reef of bones. {pause} But fuck it, maybe it should happen. There’s nothing on TV at the moment.

An ambulance drives by as George and Mitchell head back to the hospital and George recognizes the body as Saul. It was a car accident and there was a vodka bottle on the seat next to him. He hit a couple, who are in the ICU. Nina asks to see George, leaving Annie in the room with Saul. She asks if the radio should be on.

Lucy finds Mitchell and tells him that the gay vampire killer is gone. Nina tells George the same. Mitchell shrugs it off. “What if I got it wrong?” Lucy worries. Nina guesses that they let him out. “Is this the next stage? Where will I be in two years’ time?” Nina worries. She’s pissed about aiding and abetting a murderer and accuses George of losing his way. Mitchell reminds Lucy that they found occult stuff in the room and implies a “sex cult” stole his body. Lucy says he’s weird and then says to buy her a drink. Tuesday or Wednesday.

Saul moves and then the monitor beeps steadily. Annie calls for help and as Saul appears in the room. Annie tells him that he died and a door appears. Annie thinks she’s supposed to help him pass over, but the radio says she’s wrong. “Oh, how we missed you,” it remarks as it gleefully informs her that she can’t disappear. They’ve trapped her. The radio implores Saul to get her through the door. She struggles as he tries to push her through the door. George approaches the room, but can’t get in. She screams to him for help. Annie and Saul struggle as George struggles at the door. Just as Saul is about to push Annie in, he has a moment of revelation and goes into the door himself. The room door opens and George falls in.

At the house, Nina has packed and kisses a sleeping George, leaving her key before she exits. Mitchell asks her not to go. It’ll take time to adjust. She says they’ve gone native. Claims they’ve lost their humanity. The house accelerates it. She wrote George a letter. She loves him, stomach-turning love, but she looks at him and she wants to pull chunks of flesh from his face. Mitchell wishes her good luck. George wakes to Nina being gone.

Nina looks over a bridge as Old Man passes her and then greets her. “Do I know you?” she asks.

Annie suspiciously turns the radio off in the house. She goes to work, but Hugh can’t see her any longer. “Not again. Please. Not this again,” she begs as she realizes that she’s back at square one.

I think this episode definitely held up much better in a second watching. It’s so nice to have good old George back and Nina actually explains what’s going on with her (although, not really to George), so her actions are more understandable as well. I think seeing Nina go through the transition from human to monster is a really important aspect of the show. Mitchell’s been vamping it up for hundreds of years when we meet him, Sally is just happy to be seen and George has been coping with the changes for two years. They’ve all processed their fates. Nina is still processing, still in denial, still angry, still unsure how to live with herself. Just think about how ill at ease George was with himself when we met him… TWO YEARS into it. It’s no wonder Nina’s having some issues.

The Saul/Annie plot is problematic for me. Between the needless attempt at sexual assault (how was that supposed to get Annie to cross over? Seriously?) and the complete lack of explanation for why Saul decided to stop trying to drag her into the door, it really felt all over the place. What bugs me the most, though, is that the writers distill it into “Annie is attracted to dangerous, abusive men,” which feels cheap and easy to me. There are other ways that plot could have been handled and I wish they’d explored them. The fact that Annie literally loses herself after her assault doesn’t sit right with me either, although I’m almost willing to accept it as a metaphor for the marginalization that women feel after an assault.

Overall, though, the episode is extremely solid, especially concerning Mitchell’s slow ascent into taking on the position vacated by Herrick’s death. He’s become the fixer now. He’ll do it his way, but he recognizes that there’s an important order to be maintained and it goes deeper than he ever concerned himself with before. How will he step up? Will he change the culture or be corrupted back into it?

Transcript Quotes from Planet Claire Quotes.

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.

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