We don’t know about you, but we were utterly blown away by Sunday’s penultimate episode of Being Human. As an exercise in upping the ante, it was mission accomplished. But with such a build-up of tension, there inevitably comes apprehension about whether the finale will deliver.
So: let’s get one thing out of the way to begin with. It does.
Toby Whithouse has said that this final episode will keep fans guessing and speculating for years to come, and, while this isn’t wrong – of which more later – this isn’t a final episode that dodges story resolutions. But not necessarily in the way you might expect.
As an exercise in managing and confounding expectations, this episode is skilfully done. From the opening scene, it wrong-foots you with a heavily stylised, and cleverly choreographed, sequence in which Hal becomes a maestro of horror. And the choreography doesn’t end there: there’s one fight scene that’s a little bit Kill Bill.
But over and above the direction, the thing that really sings is the dialogue. Having spent some of Series 5 tactfully avoiding the theological implications of the Devil being the Big Bad, writer Toby Whithouse addresses the issue head-on in scenes saturated in the language of the Book of Revelation.
With Hal and Tom at each other’s throats, Alex six feet under and the Devil literally having found his feet, this episode was always going to be big on action. However, in the scenes when the Devil reaches the pinnacle of his plan, what is surprising is that there is room to reflect on what the Devil might mean in a 21st Century context, and what he might make of us.
Phil Davis’s performance here is electric: eyeballing the viewer with cynicism and disdain. It feels, for a minute, like the script is channelling the spirit of a different era of televison altogether – and not just because of the appearance of a television staple from the 1950s. There’s something of the Wednesday Play about all this in its willingness to provoke and to satirise.
But you don’t want to know this. You want to know if Hal fatally succumbs to his dark side, how and when Alex returns to the action, and if there are any returning cameos. And we can’t tell you any of this. Sorry – they’re called spoilers for a reason.
What we can say is: the things we’re talking about here, they’re not going to be the things you’re talking about on Sunday night. What will send you scurrying to the forums instead – at least if the reaction of the CultBox team is anything to go by – will be the last six minutes.
This isn’t because Whithouse drops the ball at the last moment – he doesn’t – but there is ambiguity here: a final image which, in its framing and underscoring, feels oddly portentous for something so apparently innocuous. If you’re in the mood to read it that way, it allows for analysis of the ending which doesn’t take things at face value – or it’s possible that we may just have read too much into things. Either way, there’s plenty in this final episode to stimulate the mind as well as provide the emotional closure that the series needs.
There are moments where you’ll be punching the air at the way elements from Hal and Tom’s stories tie up. One apparently throwaway reference in Episode 5 proves not to be so throwaway after all. But whether this is enough for you may well depend on how literal you want your finales to be.
As for us: well, it was more than enough. In fact, we’re ever so slightly in awe.
Airs at 10pm on Sunday 10 March 2013 on BBC Three.
Are you looking forward to the finale? Let us know below…