‘Being Human’: Series 4 Episode 7 spoiler-free review

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An old man from Gallifrey once said of the human race: “The end comes, as it was always going to, down a video phone.” Vampire Nick Cutler obviously agrees.

We love to process our world through a lens. It’s our great love and weakness. Which is why the last free act of Humanity in the Being Human universe will probably be someone uploading wonky mobile footage to YouTube entitled ‘Vampires eatin my neighbour, ROFL’.

Don’t hope for the whip-crack humour we’ve been indulged with in recent weeks though. Making History is the grimmest episode since the series opener, but whereas Eve of the War was a work of flesh and violence, this is one living in the shadow of looming horror. Almost as if reflecting the actions of Cutler, it moves slowly, deliberately; binding the last loose ends of the master-plan and pulling on the knots until they feel uncomfortably tight.

Cutler practically has Tom on a leash at this point, stringing the werewolf along with such ease that you sometimes have to wonder why Tom isn’t more suspicious. Perhaps it’s his time with Hal, or that he’s naïve enough to have swallowed the crafty vampire’s lies for the past two weeks, but he’s become too trusting, too docile, and in trying to do what’s right for baby Eve he’s forgetting much of what McNair taught him.

The manipulation of Hal is all the more devastating due to some well-placed flashbacks that act as a dark mirror to the proceedings of the present, and give both Molony and Gower chance to show their considerable acting chops. Hal of the past is a confident trilby-sporting cad, set in sharp counterpoint to the quivering wide-eyed blood-addict of the present. It highlights just how far the vampire has come and how far he could fall again.

Gower shows us a side of Cutler that is not only unexpected but explains much of why he’s doing what he’s doing. This is a character who walked in off the street in Episode 1 and gave us his grand speech for world domination, and it’s here you’ll understand the bruised ego that lies behind the slimy bravado.

Like a post-apocalyptic A Christmas Carol, Annie is being spoilered with knowledge of the future by Eve, and there’s some noticeably great cinematography here. When Annie and Eve talk in the spectral realm there’s a forward zoom/reverse tracking shot – of the kind famously used in Vertigo and Jaws – that brings out the otherworldy-ness in what could otherwise look like a dingy corridor in a Welsh leisure centre.

The future that the two ghosts navigate is a washed-out dishrag world of greys that emphasises the life that has been wrung out of the planet. Lingering shots of a child’s shoe floating in the harbour water or a broken doll impaled on a jagged bush are the bleak illustrations that accompany Eve’s harrowing tale of Humanity’s fall.

Sandwiched between the gloomy flashbacks to the past and the grim warnings of the future, events in the present have a feeling of claustrophobic inevitability about them that heightens the horror. Because, despite knowing the past and the future, it’s the present which shows us the scariest notion of all: that the downfall of Humanity might just be one retweet away.

Airs at 9pm on Sunday 18th March 2012 on BBC Three.

> Order the Series 4 DVD on Amazon.

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