Thursday, April 23, 2009

My Review of Being Human's 1x03: "Ghost Town"

Written by Rachel Anthony
Directed by Alex Pillai

Annie: “Not just parsley sauce, there’s boiled ham as well. I’m going to put it in a casserole dish and I’m going to take it round.”
George: “Right. Well, okay, aside from the fact that’s a mental idea on so many levels, do you think you could possibly do it another night? Only I have a friend coming over for dinner. A female friend.”
Annie: “Oh, okay. So I’m contemplating resolving my death so that I can move on to the next dimension and you’re worrying about getting your leg over?”

Last week, George had the task of learning more about his nature via the destructive influence of Tully and this week Annie got some lessons in Ghost 101 herself. Of course, the only worrier would have been that she would get such lessons through a similarly destructive influence.

Thankfully the writers don’t repeat themselves as Annie’s go to guy, Gilbert is actually adorable. A former student who died in the eighties, Gilbert is a friendly ghost, even if his ideas of fun could be considered questionable. His introduction is certainly one of the more casual we’ve had.

Annie nearly destroyed the house because of her time of the month and Mitchell and George took her clubbing so she could meet Gilbert. Inadvertently Mitchell might have been playing matchmaker because there was a certain spark with Annie but that could also be down to the fact that she was interacting with a fellow ghost.

In the space of three episodes all we’ve known about Annie is that she’s a bit OCD, has some serious self esteem issues and loved the idea of being a wife. This is conveyed even more when Gilbert took her to her own grave. As Mitchell would put it, Gilbert certainly knows how to treat women.

And that’s the thing with Gilbert, even when he sounded incredibly rude, he’s still being compassionate and helpful. To be fair, Annie’s story about how she and Owen met was sort of dull but it opened Gilbert up into getting Annie to address why she hasn’t crossed over.

I thought it was to do solely with the fact that there are gaps surrounding her death but Annie’s desire to be a provider for Owen played into things heavily. I think it’s something to do with Annie’s nature rather than just a gender thing. Annie is a very caring kind of person, arguably too much.

When she started talking to Gilbert about how Owen used to keep losing his keys, I got the impression that Owen took her for granted with things. Plus it did make sense for Annie then to go to Owen and Janey’s place and start taking care of him but it also served as a catalyst for more answers.

First off all, despite the nice guy persona we saw in the first episode, Owen is actually quite a jerk as well as control freak. Janey might be a very annoying person but no-one should be lumbered with someone like Owen. I really did feel for her when Owen started yelling at her.

Then there’s the reveal that Owen killed Annie because he thought she cheated on him. Did Annie cheat on Owen? Perhaps it’s not shocking as a reveal but that’s the thing about this show. It’s immaterial that a lot of the stories aren’t original because up until now the execution has been sublime and that to me has been the show’s biggest selling point.

The reveal about Annie’s abusive relationship with Owen might not be shocking in retrospect but it’s beautifully fleshed out and you’d have to have a heart of stone not to feel for the girl when she’s finally confronted with the truth behind her death. Owen removing her thong from the pipes in the toilet was there to cover his own backside.

And if Gilbert wasn’t endearing beforehand then he certainly deserved a gold star for reassuring Annie about her worth. I knew that when he admitted to falling in love with her that she wouldn’t reciprocate but it was a nice way of exiting the character as falling in love was the thing that made him want to cross over.

Hats off to Alex Price for a spirited performance as Gilbert in this episode. His method of fun might not have been the same as Annie’s but the rapport with the two of them was undeniably brilliant and I liked his commentary on virtually everything in this episode.

As for Annie, knowing that the love of your life killed you is definitely a bad turn for the book. She made no effort in masking her sadness, not that you’d blame her but it was good that she told both George and Mitchell about it. If knowing about your death or being a wife weren’t enough to make Annie cross over, then what will be?

Elsewhere while Annie was dealing with old love, George was trying new love for size. Of course the poor sod would have trouble in trying to sleep with Nina and while she mistook it for premature ejaculation, she certainly got him to get over his initial stage fright. I take it then that Nina will be around for much longer.

Lauren on the other hand found a better way of getting at Mitchell – by trying to go clean. I was unsure of whether or not she was playing Mitchell but in her desperation she did seem very serious. I don’t think it was because she was suddenly feeling bad about killing people.

It was pretty clear that Lauren’s motives for wanting to go clean were designed to snare Mitchell and it nearly worked. Both of them fed off each other in order to combat their bloodlust but Mitchell knew it wasn’t going to last long and even though he knew giving her blood from the hospital wasn’t going to help much he still did it.

It’s good that Mitchell does have to struggle to keep his hunger at need but it’s also good that we don’t see him in anguish for the duration of each other episode. Lauren’s still a bad influence on him and as soon as Seth showed up to collect her, she didn’t waste time running off with him. Whatever plan Herrick is cooking up, can we please have some actual development on it?

Also in “Ghost Town”

This is the first episode not to be written by Toby Whithouse. I wonder how many other episodes aren’t penned by him.

George: “Love should be the opposite of death. It should be the biggest reason for wanting to be here. What else have we got? Football? Shoes?”

It was never really established how Gilbert knew Mitchell and George but he did seem concerned about their killing ways.

George (re Annie): “How can she possibly have PMT? She’s a ghost.”
Mitchell: “I don’t know but it’s not worth the risk. Let’s go to the chippie.”
George: “Mitchell I have two steaks in the fridge. They go off if I don’t eat them today and I’m bloody starving.”
Mitchell: “If you want, I can rush in and grab the steaks.”
George: “No way. I’m not eating raw meat like an animal just because a ghost is ovulating.”

Mitchell: “I never know with you whether it’s Jewish guilt or werewolf guilt.”
George: “They’re pretty much the same thing.”

Nina made a very direct point of mentioning that she used to be attracted to men like Mitchell. I assume she views Mitchell as the aloof type.

Lauren: “You did this to me. You made me what I am.”
Mitchell: “And I take responsibility for that but everything else since then. Everything you done, that was you.”

Annie (re her grave): “I’ve never seen it before.”
Gilbert: “It’s beautiful.”
Annie: “Beautiful? I was 22 years old. I had my whole life to live. I was happy. I was in love.”

Anna Clare Sawyer was born in 1985 and died in 2007, the same year that George was bitten by Tully.

George: “So what needs to be resolved?”
Annie: “Well if I knew that, it wouldn’t need resolving, would it? Keep up!”

Mitchell (re the neighbours): “We’re valued members of the local community.”
George: “Yes, till we inadvertently kill one of them.”

Good continuity from the previous episode with Mitchell’s determination to keep in with the neighbours.

Gilbert: “Well, that was the dullest story I have ever heard. Nobody should make a film out of that. Thank God you met me. It’s time you had some fun girl.”
Annie: “I thought fun was a bourgeois concept.”

Annie (re Owen): “I'd like to be like his guardian angel and stop anything bad from happening to him.”
Gilbert: “Can you stop him from listening to Michael Buble?”

We learned that Annie was into design and that Owen was into computers at college. Annie’s nicknames for Janey included “Tango Face” and “Filthy Orange Pleb”.

Mitchell (re George): “Are you checking me out or him? You know he worries about me getting harassed in the work place.”
Nina: “Don’t worry, you’re not my type.”

Lauren: “Did you really throw up at the DVD?”
Mitchell: “Only the first dozen or so times.”

Lauren talked about being in an abusive relationship with the man she killed in the DVD. More lies or is she as much a victim of Herrick’s than helper?

Nina: “You’re a man. You are a man, aren’t you? You’ve always been a man.”
George: “Oh God, it’s … I have trouble containing myself.”

Annie: “Maybe it’s me. Maybe I am that annoying and pathetic.”
Gilbert: “Of course not. You’re amazing.”
Annie: “But the man I loved killed me. Am I really that hard to love back?”
Gilbert: “Hey, hey come on. You are loved by loads of people, by me.”

Standout music: This episode had genuine delights with “Girlfriend In A Coma” by The Smiths and “Tunnel Of Love” by Fun Boy Three.

Gilbert: “Come with me.”
Annie: “I can’t.”
Gilbert: “I don’t wanna go on my own.”
Annie: “No I mean I can’t. This isn’t for me. This is your death.”
Gilbert: “I just needed to meet you. All this time, I just needed to meet you.”

Mitchell: “It’s stopped now, hasn’t it? Now everything’s normal?”
George: “Well that’s something.”
Annie: “Yeah. I find out that the love of my life killed me. But it’s okay because at least now we can wash up.”

Chronology: It’s a month since “Episode 2”, though we didn’t actually see George wolf out in this episode.

Out of the three episodes we’ve had so far, this is certainly the best one. The show still maintains its humour and drama but this episode only serves as a reason why terrestrial viewers should be enjoying this series along with everyone else.

Rating: 10 out of 10.

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