Monday, February 11, 2013

My Review of Being Human's 5x02: "Sticks And Rope"

Written by Daragh Carville
Directed by Philip John

Alex: “Tonight we’re all gonna party like it’s 1899, yay ha. You’re not yaying, Hal.”
Hal: “Yay?”

One of the things I was hoping for with the fifth series was that we’d get some exploration into Alex’s family and while it was always a safe guarantee that it would happen, I am glad the writers chose this episode to be the one to do it in.

After a rather Hal centred first episode, it was fair that Alex got the spotlight this week and throughout the hour, Kate Bracken is a bloody joy as Alex begins the process of letting her family move on from her death while dealing with some troublesome Men With Sticks And Rope and of course, Victorian kid, Oliver.

Oliver managed to be that successful mixture of both horribly obnoxious and sympathetic which made it very easy to see how he could get on Alex’s nerves but at the same time inspire her to look after him and make sure he completed his business. Alex might not be Clara Oswin Oswald when it comes to looking after kids but she’s a lot better at it than both Tom and Hal gave her credit for.

She could certainly tell with general ease when Oliver was acting up and certainly had no problem with trying to discipline him as well but more to the point – she took an interest in his death. At first not entirely for selfless reasons but she did get Oliver to open up about Albert’s death and his own suicide and she certainly didn’t hold it against when he had been revealed as a trap either.

It also tied in nicely to the fact that Hatch has clearly earmarked Alex as a threat too. It was him who sent the Men With Sticks And Rope and it was also him who views Alex as a threat more than either Hal or Tom, both of whom he can’t get enough. I’m really intrigued as to why ghosts are such an inconvenience for Hatch and I can’t wait to see what other lengths he’ll resort to get Alex out of the way.

Alex’s confrontation with the Men With Sticks And Rope was definitely the best part of the episode. Mainly due to the scene feeling genuinely creepy and atmospheric but more to the point that Alex seemed to outsmart them and gave both Tom and Hal the heads up about the whole ‘He Will Rise’ thing. Now all she has to do is get Hatch in her sights and potentially take him out because Hal and Tom certainly seem to be giving him a lot of ammunition at the moment.

Speaking of Tom and Hal – this was an amusing episode for them. They might not have been their most mature over the whole Employee Of The Month competition (due to Hatch’s meddling) but the food fight scene with them was hilarious and it was nice that in spite of his standoffish attitude at times that Hal actually stuck up for Tom. It certainly made up for the implication that he seems to think Tom is incompetent for the most part.

Two episodes into the new series and I really do think that Tom, Hal and Alex are working nicely as a trio. It’s a shame that it’s been announced that this series will be their last one together but as a unit, they’re definitely shining brightly. I don’t even miss the original gang and I loved them to bits.

As for the baddies of the weeks, again it’s Captain Hatch who’s winning really. Patsy might have annoyed the crap out of me but even I felt really bad for her when she became Hatch’s latest victim and that speech Phil Davis delivered at the end of the episode was truly brilliant writing too.

Less brilliant on the writing front though was the RPG banter between a disillusioned Alan and Crumb on the beach. It doesn’t help that I can’t warm to either character but the whole Crumb situation as a whole has become frustrating. Both Hal and Rook (or one of them at least) should simply take him out or curb his bloodlust instead of either putting him in situations where he kills loved one (Rook) or rejected him (Hal). I think it’s safe to say that two episodes, Crumb is one villain that needs to go and soon.

Also in “Sticks And Rope”

The episode opened with a flashback of Alex and her younger brother Decky, whom she didn’t take to Dodgems. That was something she’d later do with Oliver.

Tom: “What did you do before?”
Alex: “Looked after my brothers. Been out on the piss with my mates. Got off with inappropriate people.”

Alex wanted to be a concert pianist before she died and it seems that she’s a fan of Diagnosis Murder as well. I did laugh at her referring to Oliver as Niles though.

Captain Hatch (re Sophie): “I keep thinking was it something I said?”
Patsy: “Oh Captain, she was devoted to you. Now we’ll have no more maudlin from you now. It’s a new era.”

Hal: “Tom, you don’t know who you’re provoking here.”
Tom: “I know who I’m provoking, Mr Runner Up, Mr Silver Medal.”

Tom’s impression of Hal was pretty spot on and I did find it interesting that Hal seemingly has a dancer’s back. Maybe we can get a demonstration of his dancing.

Alex: “So why did you come out of hiding?”
Oliver: “Because I saw you. I know you’re not much to look at but you can’t have everything.”

Mr Rook: “Your hour approaches, Mr Crumb.”

Crumb killing his sister and niece better have some emotional consequences later on. Rook’s desperation to his organisation going though doesn’t seem to be impressing Alistair.

Hal: “Problem is, I’ve never been bad at anything in my life, so I was wondering if you could help me.”
Alex: “Oh, what because I’m the leading expert of fucking things up?”

Hal: “I don’t like to discuss my past.”
Captain Hatch: “You see that breaks my heart. That says you’re ashamed.”

Hatch really knew how to play on both Tom and Hal’s social standing in getting them to turn on each other. Plus that tableau of his came in use when he was getting his pals after Alex.

Hal: “I have killed men and women and children, so just think how easy it would be to kill you.”
Crumb: “Well, that’s something we have in common then.”

Sticks & Rope Guy (to Alex): “You’re too late. The end has begun. Night will fall and he will rise.”

Oliver and his family originally used to own Honolulu Heights but it was only due to Alex’s presence in the house that he was used as a weapon.

Captain Hatch (to Patsy): “Everything you love will die and everything you’re scared of will come true.”

Chronology: Three months since the events of “Making History”.

Well, “Sticks And Rope” was certainly an interesting episode. While I could’ve done with the RPG talk and the OTT antics of Crumb, it was an episode that served Alex pretty well and it’s nice to see that Hatch is subtle in his menacing antics too.

Rating: 8 out of 10

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