Being Human 3.02 “Adam’s Family” Review
The eternal teenager. CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS!
Writers Brian Dooley
Director Colin Teague
THE ONE WHERE The awesome foursome take in Adam, a vampire who’s been stuck in those difficult teenage years for decades. Mitchell gets a job after some unorthodox career coaching courtesy of Annie.
VERDICT Dogging last week and vampire sex gimps this week? Clearly the Being Human team are feeling frisky. We’ll let them off, though, because this punnily-titled episode is, for my money, one of the best episodes of the show ever. Usually episodes written by guest writers don’t seem to quite strike that characteristic Being Human balance of humour, scares and emotion that the Toby Whithouse-penned ones do (although the fact he tends to write the season openers and closers arguably means he has an advantage because he’s got the pivotal moments to play with). But in this case writer Brian Dooley (who also wrote the season one episode where Mitchell accidentally shows a vampire snuff movie to a small child) has got it pitch perfect with a disturbingly twisted – and yet still funny – portrayal of the dark side of supernatural suburbia.
Adam is hilarious. Craig Roberts has the petulant teenager role down pat, his bravado – “I’m a registered poon hound” – making him seem like the vampiric equivalent of Jay in The Inbetweeners, but with an underlying vulnerability, particularly in the scene where his dad dies, that makes your heart ache for him. Bearing in mind that taken at face value at least 95 % of everything he says is rude or mean or both, it is a testament to both Roberts’ and Dooley’s craft that by the end of the hour you can’t help but feel for Adam and hope that his new life is a happy one, and rejoice that we can see a little of it in action courtesy of the show’s first ever web-only spin off, the first episode of which is now live at the Becoming Human BBC homepage.
Taking in a new stray pulls Nina and George back centre stage after the purgatorial angst of last week. Their relationship is fast becoming the real heart of the show, with the warmth and affection between them lovely to watch; how can it be that a relationship between two werewolves is one of the most believable twenty-something relationships on TV at the moment? A lot of the laughs from the episode come from them too, not least Nina’s fury at Richard and Emma’s disdain at having dogs sit on the furniture, and their shambolic assault of the sex palace to rescue Adam, complete with a reprise of George’s “Who want’s some of my chair/plant?”
Meanwhile, the ramifications of the Box Tunnel Murders rumble on, with Annie’s hilarious attempts to be Mitchell’s guardian angel inadvertently stopping him from making his escape on a container ship to sunnier climes, as well as proving Aidan Turner can do comedy as well Russell Tovey given the right material. While a Mitchell-Annie (Mannie?!) relationship has been signposted for a while, the little moments between them don’t feel forced, and even viewers who perhaps would rather the will-they won’t-they stayed firmly in won’t territory should concede that there’s been a pleasing slow burn to it: you can see the affection growing between them week by week. Nicely played.
FLASHBACKTASTIC We leave the angst of Mitchell this week for a pre-credits look at the 1970s life of Adam – nicely underlining to the audience that he’s going to be more than a mere guest character.
POP CULTURE REFERENCE OF THE WEEK As ever lots to choose from: Annie mentioning The House Of Elliott*(she’s clearly watching obscure Freeview channels while she’s at home – or purgatory has period dramas on loop); Mitchell blaming a late night viewing of The Fly for his erratic interview technique; and Adam comparing Honolulu Heights to Hogwarts. But the highlight has to be Adam insulting Nina by calling her Goldie (not the rapper, the Blue Peter dog – showing his real age rather nicely). (* This could also be an injoke, as Toby Whithouse actually appeared in The House Of Elliott back when he was an actor.)
MISSING POP CULTURE REFERENCE OF THE WEEK Ok, Gwen from GavinAand Stacey plays vampire Cougar Emma, Adam is tempted by a teen chav in an amusement arcade that looks suspiciously like the one Ness works in, and they’re living in Barry, and still no Gavin And Stacey joke? Pah.
STARSTRUCK Richard (Mark Lewis Jones) is one of those actors whose face you recognise even if you can’t place it. He’s appeared in lots of British TV as well as having a Russell Crowe-heavy film career with roles in Troy, Master And Commander, Robin Hood and The Other Boleyn Girl. However Melanie Walters is this week’s big signing. Hearing Stacey’s mum tell Adam to “Drink the man’s blood and have sex with me on the billiard table” is surreally brilliant.
LOOSE ENDS Not only do we have no Tom or McNair (aka our potential wolf-shaped bullets) but what happened to Herrick then? It doesn’t look like we’ll find out next week either – although if, as the trailer hints, we get zombies instead, then that’s pleasing enough. The living dead Being Human style? Everything else can wait.
IS THIS SIGNIFICANT? This graffiti seems too clearly and deliberately framed in the shot just to be random. Who are Cunis, Minsy and Fatboy? Any ideas? Or are we reading too much into it?
Adam: “Like I want to hang out with some whiffy goth anyway. Just cause you’re a vampire doesn’t mean you have to smell like the undead. One word Mitch: deoderant.”
Reviewer: Narin Bahar