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‘Being Human’: Series 5 Episode 2 spoiler-free review

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Followers of Being Human love it for its deft switches from the morbid to the comic to the mundane. There’s more of the same in this episode – only more so. The comedy is broader and the scares more horrific.

Those who considered some elements of last week’s opening episode overplayed may not like at least two story threads of this week’s episode. At the Barry Grand, or Hotel of Doom, as we are calling it, Tom and Hal compete to be Employee of the Month, in a storyline which sees puppy dog eagerness face off against cynical ennui – until the (ahem) stakes are raised to messy heights.

Meanwhile, back at Honolulu Heights, Alex discovers that she (and, before her, Annie) are not the only ghosts to have haunted the premises, thanks to the presence of a Victorian Little Lord Fauntleroy. It’s a chance for Alex to reveal the maternal side she’s been hiding behind so much leather and sarcasm; but viewers who recall last year’s ‘A Spectre Calls’ episode may be forgiven a slight feeling of déjà-vu.

As primly pompous children go, it’s fair to say that this one has a certain way with words. Still, as anyone who has ever spent any time with small children will know, their aphoristic one-liners are neither cute nor endearing, but a whole world of self-indulgence and casual prejudice. (So why do our friends on Facebook insist on quoting them?)

There’s spooky imagery aplenty, exploiting that classic horror trope, the corruption of innocence, and at least one moment that will have viewers jumping out of their skins. Who knew that Emily Bishop’s nephew from Corrie could be quite so terrifying?

If some of this feels like filler – the sort of comic cameos that you’d expect from a stop-gap Episode 2 – there is the sense, too, that this is leading somewhere: that the whispers and lies which threaten to tear our gang apart are part of a greater move towards global despoliation. The gags are as funny as you’d expect from Being Human. But it’s the conceits that linger in the memory – the Escher print in Hatch’s room which may be more than it appears – and the tragedy that awaits even the broadest comic characters.

As Alex has to come to terms with her past, there’s a feeling of one chapter closing before another begins.

Overall, the episode may have a strong flavour of broad comedy meets low horror, but – at the moment – it’s the high art in Hatch’s room that has us most freaked out. Could ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’ be a hint of things to come? And, if so, might we be heading towards the gaping mouth of Hell?

Airs at 10pm on Sunday 10 February 2013 on BBC Three.

> Order Series 5 on DVD on Amazon.

> Buy the complete Series 1-4 boxset on Amazon.

Are you looking forward to the episode? Let us know below…