[This is a review of Being Human Season 4 Episode 9. There will be SPOILERS.]
Whereas last week’s episode of Being Human, “Rewind, Rewind”, almost felt like a new beginning for the series as it heads for its end, this week’s episode felt very aware of Being Human‘s mortality, pivoting off of last week’s cliffhanger with predictability and a sprint back toward the show’s prime timeline comfort zone.
Inevitable? Probably, but in doing this so quickly, the writers shorthand Aidan’s emotional arc from vengeance “monster” to Bishop’s duplicitous house pet to penitent man following a convenient epiphany, robbing both the character and this episode of virtue and value.
Speaking of Bishop, last night was most likely a series wrap for Mark Pelligrino’s wonderfully evil father-figure/blood monster and he parted with a mix of bombast and grace. Pellegrino is one of those actors that seem to pop up everywhere, but he really had a chance to put down roots with Being Human and he shined as a well-drawn character; particularly in later seasons after the character’s death, when he appeared as a dominant figure in Aidan’s past - someone who represented Aidan’s debauched old ways, and an ideal to push back against.
It’s symbolic that Bishop’s finest moment from last night’s episode (though, his death-bed speech about Aidan’s move away from all the light in his life to become, essentially, the King of everything and nothing, was well-played and affecting) came in, presumably, the same warehouse where he died in season 1. This time, Bishop is devil-shouldering Aidan into killing Ray and Josh, with Aidan ultimately phasing through Josh (he can do that?) to jam Ray’s eyes out and toss him off the catwalk. An act that, once again, reveals Aidan’s monstrous capacity to Sally while also showing the ease with which Bishop can steer Aidan off a cliff.
One thing that Bishop couldn’t push Aidan to do was kill Josh. Instead, Aidan put guilt on his shoulders and assigned him to a fate far worse for his role in Sally’s death: life as a beanie wearing pie maker with the ghost of Sally trying to play matchmaker for Josh and his customers.
An Aiden-centric episode, Josh’s arc does prove valuable as he is used to facilitate Sally’s search for Alana (the medium that introduced her to Donna) and eventually Donna. Josh’s blood also proves useful when the vampire virus rears its head, saving Aidan and equipping him with the tools needed to rebel against Bishop out of envy, not out of conscience.
By episode’s end, when the three are re-assembled (following Aidan’s transformative Drive-esque montage scene), it is Josh whose life is the most balanced and Josh who has the most to lose when he decides to throw it all away in pursuit of his destiny with Nora – a romantic gesture that is as well handled as Aidan’s journey to that moment is bungled.
In the end, though, none of it matters – not Josh’s leap toward love, not Aidan’s sorrow, or Sally’s persistent urge to set things right (which always seem to set things wrong). That past burns up and Josh, Aidan, and Sally (and also Sally, and Sally, and Sally – what’s the deal with all the Sally’s?) jump back to their former present (with a brief side-trip that we’ll touch on in a moment), leaving only Sally with the imprint of what happened. It also leaves the viewer with a sense of what might have been.
Maybe it was foolish to think that the show would abandon what seemed like a wrecked existence and build on the new future that Sally had meddled into existence? But while this was always meant to happen, it seems like producers missed an opportunity when they decided to make this sojourn utterly brief and un-tethered to Josh and Aidan’s psyches (though, to be fair, that’s an assessment of the landscape right now, so perhaps they’ll jump back or those memories will flood in and gain a sense of permanence).
In a practical sense, the poetic tragedy of Aidan and Sally’s lost love contrasts nicely with Josh’s quest for reconciliation with Nora – and here’s hoping that the decision to short change the alternate timeline story at least pays dividends by allowing Josh and Nora the narrative space they need to close that sizable rift in a way that feels earned – but overall, “Rewind, Rewind” and “Too Fast, Too Forward!” feel hollow upon their conclusion. A surprise, considering the potential that the story seemed to carry with it.
As for next week and the future, Sally’s time-jump forward to a moment wherein Aidan is screaming about a great loss before snapping Josh’s neck certainly represents the darkest timeline, but at this point, with the trio back where they belong, it only seems natural to assume that something will be done to stop that future from existing, though the look of a sickly Sally in the promo for the next episode raises an eyebrow.
Being Human returns next Monday on Syfy @9PM