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Review of Being Human ‘Sticks and Rope’

Neela Debnath

oliver 300x208 Review of Being Human Sticks and Rope

Ben Greaves-Neil as Oliver the lordly Victorian ghost (BBC)

SPOILERS: Do not read this if you have not seen Being Human ‘Sticks and Rope’

Being Human always features brilliant guest characters who manage to steal the show. Last year there was Craig Roberts as Adam the eternally youthful teen vampire and Ellie Kendrick as Allison the geeky werewolf.

This week viewers were treated to a great performance from Ben Greaves-Neil as Oliver the lordly Victorian ghost with a high opinion of himself and a penchant for fake tantrums which no one falls for. It was funny watching him treating Tom as his horse and getting piggybacked around the house in a master-servant sort of relationship. He also bossed Alex and Hal around which added to the hilarity.

There were some other amusing moments in this episode. The rivalry between Hal and Tom culminating in a food fight was a little piece of visual humour that is not usually featured on the show but worked. Then there was the scene where Crumb and wannabe vampire Alan (Hamza Jeetooa) had a geek-out over an RPG video game, perhaps it really will be nerds who inherit the earth.

As well as making viewers laugh there was a fair a bit of horror in the shape of the men with rope and sticks. It was terrifying watching Alex getting attacked by them and the sequence may have been the most frightening moment on the show to date.

Much has never been known about the men with sticks and rope apart from the fact that they take ghosts into the afterlife if they have not yet crossed over. Nevertheless it still seems unclear whether they are a force for good or evil. For instance Annie was taken by them to purgatory and almost ended up in hell until Mitchell rescued her – in one of the least troublesome rescues to grace the small screen. It was never really explained fully but they seem to be malignant and powerful and yet they are not. However, what I gleaned from this episode is that they grow stronger in the world of the living as the devil grows stronger. Perhaps more light will be shed on them later on in this series.

The other horrific moment in this episode came when Patsy started to bleed while Hatch sat next to her monologuing. His speech to no one is particular started off sinister but ran on for too long. His soliloquy played out like a recap of this week and last week and was more exposition than was necessary.

Overall, Sticks and Rope was a fun episode with a lot of comedy juxtaposed with some disturbing scenes. The comedy-horror-drama formula of Being Human never gets old and it’s impressive that it manages to weave all these elements together seamlessly. My only concern is the potential rehashing of a storyline. Last year Kirby the ghost was enlisted to break up the trinity by manipulating Tom and Hal while this year it is the devil. It’s odd that it should be so easy to play with the pair given what they have been through. Then again, it could show that there is still a lack of trust between them and a certain snobbishness on Hal’s part towards Tom.

On a small note, for those who may have missed it last week (including myself), Being Human’s creator Toby Whithouse made a guest appearance again as Rook’s boss Alistair Frith. Perhaps it’s just me but the scenes between Frith and Rook feel like a supernatural version of The Thick of It – even reminiscent of Torchwood: Children of Earth – but with the absence of Tuckerisms.

Next week on Being Human… Julian Barratt – one half of The Mighty Boosh – joins the cast as a TV presenter-turned-werewolf. Amanda Hale who was recently on our screens in Ripper Street is in another period role, this time with a bouffant hairdo and going by the name of Lady Mary. Is she a ghost? Is she a vampire? Is she a werewolf? Either way Hal is introducing her to Alex. Meanwhile Rook is on edge after his career continues to disintegrate and spiral downwards.

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