The third series of Being Human has been quite a roller-coaster ride, and the finale is no different.
Following last week’s astonishing cliffhanger ending, with the police snapping a game-changing picture of Mitchell and with Nina left lying in a pool of blood by the newly restored Herrick, Episode 8 (‘The Wolf-Shaped Bullet‘) has a lot of fallout to cover. We’ll start by warning that it’s not a perfect episode, with some aspects getting shorter shrift than they perhaps deserve, but the low-key atmosphere and the heart-wrenching, intense drama shine through to provide a terrific ending to the series.
Without giving too much away, it’s sufficed to say that Mitchell doesn’t spend the entire episode in a jail cell, although he does find himself in a different sort of enclosure as things progress. Annie, meanwhile, who was willing to stay with Mitchell in his cell for the rest of time, is also led to a different sort of incarceration, when a very creepy nursery rhyme (delivered by a zombie, no less) leads her to a reunion with ghostly Lia (ex-EastEnder Lacey Turner), the prophecy-spouting spectre from the series’ first episode, who has more light to shed on the titular wolf-shaped bullet. Then there’s a grief stricken Tom (Michael Socha), becoming a real wildcard as he goes out looking for vengeance when he discovers the body of the slain McNair (Robson Green).
Elsewhere, Herrick is enjoying being his scheming old self again, and appears to have picked up where he left off, with his eyes on a vampire uprising. However, when we’re introduced to an absorbing new character, Herrick’s delusions of grandeur instantly seem pitiful in comparison.
There are several memorable scenes and sequences throughout the finale, including a haunting, sunrise-bathed encounter, but two thirds of the way through there’s a break, and things come to a natural halt. What ensues in the extended epilogue that follows is drama of the absolute highest quality, with terrific performances from the entire cast. Russell Tovey, in particular, has never been better. It’s as moving a sequence as you will see on television this year. Daniel O’Hara’s understated direction lets the drama flow and the script keeps true to the characters, while wringing every heart-wrenching emotion out of them.
It’s an outstanding climax to a largely outstanding episode that manages to draw pretty much all of the plot-threads from all three series to a close in a satisfying, and sometimes shocking, manner. What few threads are left hanging will surely be explored further in the next series, which is set up intriguingly by the final moments and a shot that teasingly resembles an advance Series 4 promo image.
Where Series 1 did an excellent job of introducing our characters and the incredible, frightening world that they inhabit, Series 2 split the group up somewhat, and there was arguably too much focus on the villains, with the religious zealot Kemp and the far less interesting Professor Jaggat. Series 3 rectified those problems, having the group largely work together throughout and the ‘big bad’ coming from within, in the form of Mitchell’s guilt over the Box Tunnel Massacre. When the enemy from outside did appear in the form of Herrick, the return was given an extremely effective twist with the transformation into “Uncle Billy”; a character who was written and performed so well that he almost converted the enemy into one of the core group.
These elements helped Series 3 to become arguably the best yet, with new elements tantalisingly introduced in the finale that have the potential to widen the scope of Being Human even further when the show returns next year.
Airs at 9pm on Sunday 13th March 2011 on BBC Three and BBC HD.