‘Being Human’: Series 5 Episode 3 review

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Much like a piece of Hal’s blank jigsaw puzzle, the Blackadder-ly named ‘Pie and Prejudice’ looks like one of those episodes that could have possibly fitted anywhere in the Being Human continuum. That’s not a terrible thing, but in a series – a final series at that – which contains only six episodes it’s jarring to have an hour that applies the brakes to the established apocalyptic momentum.

Perhaps it’s because the brimstone and ire in Phil Davis’s performance has already left a lasting impression on us, or because we expect each of Being Human‘s final hours to contain a greater sense of doom than the last, but Episode 3 feels dislocated compared to what has come before.

Even the question it poses – how much you let the supernatural side of you define who you are – feels a bit late in the game for a series now five years old; redundant given what we know of Tom and everyone else. It’s the sort of question George could have been asking in Series 2 back when Dr. Jaggatt was stalking around.

Familiar though the question may be, the ramifications it has for each character does at least provoke some strong performances from the cast and the guest stars. The Mighty Boosh‘s Julian Barratt does a brilliant job of slithering through the episode as Larry Chrysler, the washed up TV weatherman who’s three parts Alan Partridge to one part human skid mark.

Likewise there’s a strong performance from Amanda Hale as the anachronistic Lady Mary, an unpredictable spirit who has denied so many doors in the name of helping Hal stay clean that it’s sent her a bit doolally.

Both characters provide a sort of twisted reflection for our protagonists. The shiftless no-good lycanthrope. The crazy ghost lady. They’re both the people Tom and Alex fear they might become if they go astray and let their supernatural side subsume their humanity.

Michael Socha’s performance is particularly terrific, encompassing the kind of naivety, hope and sorrow in the character not seen since last year’s ‘Puppy Love’. You also have to hand it to Socha: no one can mime fighting a psychokinetic stake better than he. It was a scene more ridiculous than threatening – like watching a clown fending off a rabid poodle – but you can’t fault his commitment to it.

And Hal? Well Hal is his own dark mirror image, held back by thin rituals of order. But the Marigold gloves come off and it’s bad Harry who wins out this week, killing Chrysler and leading the character down a dark path that will no doubt put him in conflict with Tom and further top up The Devil’s XP points.

With just three episodes remaining (!) perhaps this was the last chance to take a breath and properly survey our beloved characters before all Hell breaks loose. If so then ‘Pie & Prejudice’ certainly succeeded. It’s just that a little more filling wouldn’t have gone amiss.

Aired at 10pm on Sunday 17 February 2013 on BBC Three.

> Order Series 5 on DVD on Amazon.

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

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