By John Keegan
After a season full of thrills and unexpected twists, the writers for “Being Human US” deliver a finale that, at least in the afterglow, might leave many scratching their heads. While none of the events seem particularly out of place, given the direction of the season up to this point, it does seem a bit underwhelming. Of course, the question is: does it simply not stand up, or pale a bit compared to what’s come before?
Part of the problem is that the showdown between Mother and Aidan required a bit of time to parse things out, which I assume was a combination of availability, budget, and storytelling density. Whatever the case, those scenes, while ultimately important to how Aidan’s plot thread was (more or less) resolved, were also a major brake on the pacing. Yes, it was important to discover that putting a vampire into the ground is less about punishment than about stripping away humanity, and it underscored that Aidan’s struggle with Mother is nothing new, but it also took away some of the energy that previous episodes imparted.
While Aidan’s story did come down to the inevitably confrontation with Mother, it didn’t quite go down as expected. Aidan’s attempt to sway the Old Ones failed, and Suren essentially squandered her one chance to defy authority. I couldn’t have been the only one hoping she would stake Mother while she had the chance. Instead, she all but surrendered, and thus sealed Aidan’s fate. (Of course, had Suren killed Mother, it’s likely she and Aidan would have gone down fighting, which would have disrupted plans for the third season quite a bit!)
Josh’s plan to kill Ray also took a bit longer to play out than necessary, if only so they could have the standoff at the very end. In the wake of Julia’s death, Josh does the expected thing when faced with the possibility of curing both himself and Nora. He’s just unhinged enough by grief and the trauma of recent events to follow through on his plans. Of course, when things go from hypothetical to actual, he hesitates. And Ray, being a bit more experienced, is well aware that Josh’s hesitation is a sign that he’s not ready to kill. (Something easily solved if Josh simply shoots Ray before he has a chance to react, given that Josh had the drop on him.)
Whatever the case, the whole “cure” doesn’t quite make sense. If it depends upon the child killing the parent, so to speak, then how does using a gun even work? How would this mystical curse differentiate between Josh or Nora pulling the trigger? For it to work at all, one would think that Josh must physically (and thus very personally) kill Ray. But I have my doubts that even that would work; it all seems too pat, too contrived, to be the solution.
Josh’s plan also requires Sally to fall off the wagon, allowing her Reaper side to regain some ground. That way lies madness, of course, so Sally becomes deeply desperate. Having introduced the concept of “limbo” in the previous episode, it makes sense that they would use it in this context. The fact that Sally is so far gone that she believes the only solution is to take herself into Limbo speaks volumes.
Of course, there’s the obvious problem with her decision to shred herself: nothing indicates that there is a way to come back. In fact, it sounded like going to Limbo was a one-way trip, and that even if one could come back, they might not be the same afterward. Oddly enough, out of the three character arcs, this is the one that feels the most earned, which ought to be deeply ironic for fans of the British original.
Perhaps part of the disquiet over the season finale is not that it lingers over certain plot points, but rather, that it gives very little hint as to the direction it might take in the third season. It’s easy to guess that Aidan will be rescued from his imprisonment sooner rather than later, but what will that lead to, since he’d be even more of a renegade? Josh, at least, is sure to survive with curse intact, but what comes next? Sally is trapped in Limbo, so sooner or later, she will return, but with what consequence?
Considering what the writers managed to do this season, with an equally blank slate coming out of the first season, there’s reason to keep faith. Even so, being too open-ended can be a problem when it is meant to serve as resolution for a long season arc. It wraps up the season on a disappointing note, which is not what I expected from the writers of “Being Human” after such a strong season.John Keegan is Editor-in-Chief for Critical Myth, a partner site of SciFi Vision.