Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Colin Teague
Nina (to George): “You forget what it’s like to discover this world. It’s not exciting, it’s frightening.”
And to continue on the hope that this show wasn’t a one season wonder is a premiere episode that beautifully set up a lot of crucial plots would be this. It’s no wonder that we’re gonna soon have a US version of this show to compete with during the summer.
From last season, George killed Herrick and this opening episode presented a few consequences for such an action. The first big one would be Nina. Hands up who thought she wouldn’t become a werewolf? I take it that would be no-one then.
The reveal of Nina being an actual werewolf could’ve been tackled in a lot of ways but having her confiding in Annie when they were alone worked just as good as anything else would’ve done. Nina was until the first season finale the only human character that audiences could identity with. Now she’s become the fourth regular supernatural character.
There are times in TV world when differences between US and UK writing and culture can be so apparent. If this was an American show (it will be soon enough), Nina’s ordeal would’ve been overwrought in some places. Here there’s a lot of fact and the fact is simple – the supernatural world frightens her.
It might not be the thing that George was particularly keen on hearing but it’s believable and it’s down to wonderful writing and Sinead Keenan that you never feel frustrated with Nina throughout the episode. Even her reasons for not wanting to tell George rang completely true, given how much she knows about him.
She knew that he wouldn’t be able to handle the fact that he turned her into a werewolf and tried her damndest not to tell him, even to the point of withholding sex from him. Unfortunately this brought out something of a jerk in George as well. He was pretty cold to Nina in some scenes, even if once again it was easy to understand from where he was coming from.
When she finally did tell George that she was a werewolf, there a part where I did think that maybe they would’ve split up. While they got past some of the initial tension with each other, there’s still plenty of stuff that’s going to come back to cause the pair of them a lot of trouble. The obvious one being Daisy for a start.
In interviews, writer and creator Toby Whithouse has stated that the main villains for the second season were going to be human but fortunately, it also didn’t mean that supernatural ones wouldn’t occur either. George has already stirred enough trouble in the supernatural with being Herrick’s murderer and vampire husband and wife team Ivan and Daisy didn’t waste time in making a first impression.
Some viewers who could the preview of this episode found it a little strange that Daisy didn’t seem to share the same anti-werewolf stance that other vampires did but I didn’t. Her fixation on George though seems to be obvious. She’s either trying to bring out his dark side for her own purposes or deep down there is actually an underlying attraction for George.
Either way, George did himself no favours by having sex with her in the woods and the way Ivan was watching them, there’s a lot more to this whacked out vampire couple than meets the idea. We even saw Daisy attempt to murder her own daughter before George managed to stop her.
But Ivan and Daisy weren’t the only ones who were clear trouble for the gang. Who the hell is Professor Jaggart? I was hoping that we’d see him in this episode but instead we got Kemp and an assistant using a machine to stop a werewolf from changing, except it killed the wolf in question.
Kemp himself seems to have an avowed hatred for the supernatural world. When Galvin begged him to let him change into his world guise, Kemp ensured that he died instead. And he tricked the gang out of their house long enough to get his men snooping around the place for paranormal residue and the like. Needless to say, if Kemp is dangerous, I dread to think what Jaggart will be like when we eventually see him.
Outside of new villains and George and Nina’s relationship, there were also some lighter aspects to the opening episode. I have to admit to laughing at Annie’s techniques at being interviewed. Sure she managed to get herself a job at a local pub but attracting Saul’s attention could be more trouble that it’s actually worth.
Then there was also the introduction of Lucy as well. To me, she had a similar snarky factor that Nina had when we first met her and it didn’t take too long for Mitchell to get into her good graces as well with the goldfish. In terms of love interests, I think that’s everyone covered this season – George/Nina, Annie/Saul and Mitchell/Lucy. The dynamic will definitely a lot more interesting with multiple viewpoints in that house this year.
Also in “Cure And Contagion”
The episode opened up with a simple reprise of the key events from the first season, without dragging anything out.
Daisy (to George): “Can I just state for the record, huge fan?”
It’s nice to see this episode kick start a friendship between Annie and Nina. Annie was great in staying with Nina during her first transformation.
Ivan: “Oh mate, you look awful.”
Mitchell: “You just smacked me in the face.”
Daisy: “I couldn’t wait to meet you, killer of Kings. I want you for my scrapbook. What was it like?”
George (re Herrick): “I can’t remember.”
Coincidently enough, series creator Toby Whithouse is writing a vampire themed episode for the new series of Doctor Who this year.
Ivan (to Mitchell): “Taking out Herrick, it’s never clean, it’s never clinical. It leaves a wound and wounds get infected.”
Annie (to Hugh): “There’s another option here. We could just ignore all that and you could give me the job.”
Annie’s still making cups of tea that she can’t drink and now she’s dunking biscuits in them to George’s irritation.
Kemp: “Do you hear that, Mr Galvin? In two minutes, nothing will change and everything will change.”
Annie: “There’s a werewolf called Nina in Buffy.”
Nina: “I never watched it.”
Err, Annie, Nina the werewolf is from Angel but points for making me smile with that little reference no less.
Annie (re George): “Then I’ll tell him.”
Nina: “If you do, I’ll give you fucking rabies.”
Nina (to Mitchell): “You loaded a gun and fired it into a crowd.”
According to Lucy, some of the doctors have rated a female patient as someone that wouldn’t even jizz in the face. Too much information there.”
George (to Nina): “You’re doing it again. This is not about you.”
Lucy (re Trevor the goldfish): “And do we have joint custody?”
Mitchell: “No, he’s all yours but I’d like to visit him from time to time.”
There was a trailer that aired at the end of the episode revealing some future spoilers. It looks like we’re in for some interesting times.
Daisy (to George): “I’ll do it, I’m not like you. I can’t be you.”
Standout music: “Mushaboom” by Feist stood out for me.
As openers went, this hit all the right spots. Following on consequences from last season – check, introducing new and promising characters – check, wonderfully pithy humour and great camaderie amongst the cast – check.
Rating: 9 out of 10.