The End. And the reveal of the true Devil of Being Human: Toby Whithouse.
We mean that as high praise. Like Captain Hatch, Whithouse gives us almost everything we want from Being Human‘s final ever episode: one last satisfying bite of the apple before we’re all cast out of the garden and forced to wander the channels on a Sunday night. But as with every offer Satan makes, it comes at a price…
We’ll get to what that price is in a bit. First though, it’s time for a verbal round of applause for all concerned in the making of ‘The Last Broadcast’, which probably wasn’t the hour of telly you were expecting it to be, but was all the more impressive for defying assumptions. The Devil’s mission statement in Episode 2 may have left you expecting fire and brimstone on a BBC budget, but the psychological approach has traditionally been Satan’s modus operandi.
Phil Davis, already magnificent as the decomposing pile of Satanic porridge Captain Hatch, now transcends to dapper new levels of evil. Suave and seductive like a 1940s matinee villain, this is a creature who’s good at what he does, knows it, and so has time to toy with the three puppets trying to cut his strings; pausing his plan for ‘Revelations II: Satanic Boogaloo’ to ensure they don’t interrupt his televised evil.
The Devil flips through his classic hits and pulls out an Old Testament favourite: the temptations. As when he was a snake in Eden, he isolates and seduces his victims. Not with knowledge, but with the most prized treasure of all: a chance to take a permanent interlude from their curses. A chance to be human. The very thing this show has been about since it began. ‘Bang’, indeed.
It’s not just a temptation for them. It’s a temptation for us too. We revel in the fan-pleasing nostalgia of seeing Allison and Leo, and for a moment we almost want our trinity to give in. This is the ‘happy ever after’ that they each deserve, hell, that we deserve. Or it would be if they were together. But they’re not. And this is the last chance we’ll get to say it, so here goes: Socha, Bracken, Molony – take your bows. Yours was a perfect trinity.
Perfect, and triumphant. There’ll be some who are unsatisfied by the schmaltzy ending to what’s always been a drama with the sharp taste of iron on its tongue. That’s to be expected, because maybe it’s purposely too perfect. It’s here we pay the price of the hour, symbolised by a simple origami wolf. The Devil’s representation of fantasy? Or reality? It’s the lupine equivalent of Inception‘s spinning totem.
It’s an ending we can believe to be true or one we can believe to be of our own fabrication; a fantasy we can live with because, just like the fantasies of the trinity, it’s what we desire rather than deserve.
Tom, Hal, Alex, happy ever after. We, the audience, happy ever after. This is Whithouse, like Satan, offering us each what we want. Don’t like it? The origami wolf is your chance to reject it all. It’s up to you.
That’s the price. The consequences of your choice. But then, that’s what being human’s all about.
Aired at 10pm on Sunday 10 March 2013 on BBC Three.
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