Following last week’s dark and intense instalment, things are a little lighter here. In a nicely written episode with a likeable new character, George faces up to some family issues, while the police begin to circle Mitchell.
The episode opens with a flashback to Paris, 1933 where Mitchell and Herrick (Aiden Turner and Jason Watkins) have just finished feeding. Their discussion gives some background to Herrick’s resurrection, and introduces the notion of vampires choosing “heirs”, with the potential to bring them back from the dead. This gives context to Mitchell’s endeavour to get the information out of the amnesiac vampire in the present, though it does feel a little contrived to shoe-horn in the exposition in such a way.
Back at Honolulu Heights, George and Nina (Russell Tovey and Sinead Keenan) have made peace with the idea of being parents, and so when George sees an obituary for his father in the newspaper, the focus shifts to his own family. After Annie (Lenora Crichlow) hilariously tries to comfort him with a mournful rendition of a Cheryl Cole song, George decides to attend the funeral, but keeping his distance, considering he hasn’t seen his parents since he was turned three years ago. What he doesn’t expect is to find his dad also watching proceedings from a distance.
Having apparently died in a tragic fire, George Senior (The Vicar Of Dibley’s James Fleet) remains in this world, giving him a great opportunity to catch up with the son he thought he’d lost forever. George Senior is very much like his son; timid, and conscientious, but lacking the harder edge that allows George to stand up and fight for his corner – something which apparently led to George’s mum Ruth (Marion Bailey) leaving him for another man (ghastly Danny Webb, a true monster). When it becomes clear that George Senior’s unfinished business might be reuniting his family, George Junior has to pluck up the courage to face his mother.
There’s great work by Tovey, Keenan and Fleet, including a lovely father-son bonding sequence, and the comedy is light and underplayed (Tovey and Keenan arguably have a tendency to sometimes ham-up the comedy, but here they’re on top form). It’s a nice story, with an unexpected twist, that focuses more on the non-supernatural side of things. This is a show about vampires and werewolves, but it’s nice to be reminded that our heroes sometimes have to face normal, everyday issues as well. Indeed, the twist, while not Earth-shattering, ensures that many of the earlier scenes play out differently, and entirely more heart-breaking, on a second viewing.
Meanwhile, Herrick continues to lurk in the attic, a ticking time-bomb of malevolence. When he starts to succumb to his blood-lust, Mitchell lets him feed from him (surely a colossal misjudgement), but Herrick will soon need human blood to sustain himself…
Mitchell has other problems, too, as a CID agent named Nancy (Erin Richards) comes investigating based on Nina’s “anonymous” tip. Richards makes an instant impact as friendly, spirited Nancy, who is not unlike last week’s social worker Wendy, but before the world has broken her.
Mitchell, trying to deflect attention, drops Daisy’s name as a possible suspect, which makes us wonder – what exactly did become of Daisy? Perhaps through Nancy’s investigation we will find out, although her own intuition, along with the interference of Herrick, means that her focus may well remain on Mitchell. To complicate things even further, Annie notices Lia’s picture in Nancy’s file and, realising she was a Box Tunnel 20 victim, resolves to help Nancy with her investigation. As with many of the stories that are building up for the finale, it seems like things can only end in tears…
Airs at 9pm on Sunday 27th February 2011 on BBC Three and BBC HD.