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Being Human (U.S.): “Partial Eclipse Of The Heart”

Illustration for article titled Being Human (U.S.): “Partial Eclipse Of The Heart”
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If, for some reason that might seem unimaginable to us now but isn't really any more unlikely than H. G. Wells' brainstorm that our technologically advanced Martian conquerors wouldn't be able to figure out how to get themselves vaccinated, some future generation is in need of confirmation that the North American Being Human was the most depressed, emo-saturated TV fantasy show of its time, tonight's episode would be an ideal one to pull out of the time capsule. Last week's episode was one of the more enjoyable ones of this season, and one in which the characters' suffering had some weight to it, because in the first half, evidence was presented that they also have the ability to enjoy themselves when all hell isn't crashing down on their heads. Tonight's episode begins with its nose in the ditch and just keeps tunneling down from there.

When we last saw Josh, he was conferring with his werewolf ex Nora, who told him that he could break the curse that has made his life a lupine hell if he kills Ray, the man who turned him into a werewolf in the first place. Tonight, Josh goes stalking Ray, tracking him deep into the heart of the suburbs of Montreal-passing-for-Boston and parking outside his house one morning. Imagine his dismay when he sees Ray emerge from his front door trailed by an adorable little boy and a woman who presents him with a large lunch cooler, which presumably contains a still-beating heart torn from the body of a helpless victim, and maybe some Fruit Roll-Ups. Josh is so disheartened by the discovery that the man he's looking to kill has a family that he takes his eye off the ball and lets his head droop down. In doing so, he is forgetting that Ray, the werewolf father figure in his life, is also a good enough tracker to notice a wolfy-smelling dweeb throwing himself a pity party a few feet from his doorstep. Ray confronts him and demands, "I told you, didn't I? That you'd come to me, that one day you'd get it, eh?" Way to not sound Canadian, Ray.

Ray explains that he's no longer the lonely survivalist recluse that he was when last we saw him. He's reconnected with his wife and son and has a successful landscaping business, using his "uncanny bond with nature" for personal gain. His story of making peace with what he is and reconnecting with loved ones from his past rhymes with Josh's own situation since hooking up again with his ex-fiancee, Julia, and he seems to offer a model of stability and domestic happiness that Josh can learn from. He just has to "shackle myself in a steel-panel basement once a month." This ought to raise many questions that Josh could pursue, such as, "How much does it cost to install one of those steel-panel basements, and how would you say it compares to trying to maintain a storage unit in an unmanned facility in a remote location?" or "Wait, you only have to do it once a month? In the universe my show is set in, it seems like there's at least three or four full moons in an average week."

But Josh has to make it to his next meeting with Julia and her best friend, Chelsea, who sadly turns out not to be Chelsea Handler, or even Laura Prepon, though she does have a killer glare and a mean mouth on her. She looks at Josh as if he were a cockroach that just won't stay down, even though she keeps spraying it with Raid, ostensibly because he broke her friend's heart. Josh gives her the old super-sensitive Sam Huntington eye-lock and croons, "It's good to see you. I know what it must have been like when I left, that Julia wasn't the only person I hurt." He tells her that he promises not to run away this time and that he's here to stay and tough it out through the hard times, and she steadily, perceptibly melts. She melts so quickly and thoroughly, in fact, that it's hard not to wonder: Was he doing her, too? Or at least causing her to dream about it every night? Maybe Sam Huntington should give seminars.

Not everybody has his mesmeric powers of communication. For reasons that not even H. G. Wells might have been able to conceive, Sally still wants to spend time with Zoe, the widowed ghost whisperer. Sally shredded her boyfriend and wiped out her whole ectoplasmic encounter group and nearly killed her, but she can't give up the idea that she and Zoe should be able to get through this dark chapter of life together. Snubbed, she follows Zoe around in the park, bugging her by reciting great speeches from history that she memorized in her school days, while threatening to move on to The Canterbury Tales. At this point, Zoe gives in and agrees to talk to her, which is very disappointing for anyone who was briefly looking forward to hearing Meagan Rath delivering her best attempt at a Middle English dialect, which would have been any sane person's first pick for "Who Won The Week."

Unfortunately, just at this moment, an eclipse of the sun occurs, and Walter, the pedophile ghost who Sally shredded, comes staggering over from the playground equipment, whimpering and appearing to beg for forgiveness or mercy or half a sandwich. It's hard to tell just what he wants, and even harder to look at him, because clearly the actor was hired strictly on the basis of whether he could plausibly look like a pedophile ghost for a few seconds on-screen, without anyone telling the casting director, "We'll need him to come back a few episodes later so we can have him get on his knees and tremble and gesture beseechingly after we've lightly dusted him with flour, so be sure and get someone who's a good enough actor that he can do those things too without it just looking embarrassing." Everyone involved wants this scene to just end as soon as possible, so it's a lucky thing that Zoe is on the case. She deduces that all the ghosts Sally shredded must have returned to our plane for the duration of the eclipse: "Something about the duality of the sun and moon messes with the order of things. It skews the planes of paranormal existence." Don't think she's just pulling this out of her ass, either. "When I was a kid, I went on a field trip to watch one through a filtered telescope, and it just started happening. Ghosts started appearing."


Sally and Zoe hurry back to Sally's house, where, sure enough, Zoe's doubly deceased boyfriend Nick is lying on the floor, waiting for them. So is Danny, the ghost of the mean bastard who killed Sally in the first place, and who was subsequently  shredded by her in the house. But that's not the bummer one might expect, because some time in limbo, with ghostly "undesirables," has shown him the error of his ways. (He gives the impression that the afterlife for the ghost of a murderer is kind of like Oz.) He tells Sally that what he's been through since she dispersed him is "nothing I don't deserve," and Nick tells Zoe that  she was "the first thing since I died," and in the seconds before they both disappear again, everyone achieves closure. Josh is not so lucky. He and the girls are getting along great when the eclipse causes him, mid-brunch, to start turning wolfy.

Having just delivered that passionate speech about how he'll never just run away again when the going gets tough, Josh, that's our boy, runs away. Julia chases after him, and catches a glimpse of him with extreme five-o'clock shadow breaking out on his cheeks and what look like plastic Halloween teeth sticking out his mouth, just before the shock causes her to back into traffic and get hit by a car. Josh, nothing if not dependable, reacts to the sight of her lying there, all bloody in the street, by running away again. After he gets a grip, he returns to find her sitting on the curb, and makes another impassioned declaration about how he'll always protect her, until he realizes that, of course, she was killed by the car and he's talking to her ghost. Just before taking her leave of our world, she tells Josh that, if he'd just leveled with her back then about being a werewolf, she'd have understood, and they'd have worked it out: She loved him that much. And Josh, left alone in the aftermath of his cowardly, despicable behavior, is forced to finally accept the fact that the real problems in his life are related to the defects of his character, and that he needs to become a stronger and more self-aware person if he's ever going to break out of this cycle of self-recrimination and destroying the people he says he loves, rather than go on pretending that everything would be better if he weren't a werewolf and blaming it on his condition and whoever caused it.


Stray observations:

  • Next week, on Being Human: "I'm going to kill Ray!" Aw, shit!
  • Not much to report about Aiden's storyline, at least nothing one couldn't have guessed. In a nutshell: Henry looks to be selling him out but instead saves his life, they try to make it look as if Henry tried to kill him but Aiden overpowered him, and then while Aiden is trying to cut a deal seeking sanctuary for himself and Suren with the Amish vampires, Suren get hungry and goes crawling back to Mother. Consider the table set for next week's thrilling season finale.
  • For what it's worth, the ongoing season of the British Being Human is, for all its faults, approximately 1,800 gajillion times lighter and more playful than this one. Considering what both shows were like a year ago, it's the kind of switch normally seen only in movies involving grown-ups in high-stress jobs and their wastrel children, who both envy each other's lives, and who have access to some archeological artifact with magical properties.