Having a laugh in the caff
THE ONE WHERE Hal gets a job working at the café, and is forced to decide which side he is on.
VERDICT A simply hilarious episode, as funny as anything in the previous three series. Pairing up Tom and Hal to work together proves to be an absolute delight: I could happily watch these two exchanging banter and insults all day. Watching them slowly, hesitantly bonding, despite their obviously reluctance to do so, is also really rather lovely.
In the space of just three episodes, the writing team have managed to write out the old line-up, write in a new one, and make them friends. And by the time they sit down, like their predecessors, for some communal TV viewing (only this time it’s The Antiques Roadshow , not The Real Hustle ), you completely believe in that relationship. That’s a pretty incredible achievement.
The other highlight of the episode is Michaela, a ruthless demolition of “I’m so weird and edgy, me” emo types. Okay, it isn’t exactly a subtle parody, but it’s a very funny one – unless you’re a sensitive goth who thinks you’re one of the few people in the universe who has a drop of poetry in their soul. I so hope the character isn’t just a one-off. Then there’s Annie’s weird memory-shag with Regus – possibly the oddest sex scene I’ve ever seen. And to top it all off, knuckle-dragger-masturbation-aid Nuts gets a proper kicking. Marvellous.
It’s also pleasing to see some of the troubling issues left unanswered in the previous two instalments tackled. Not only is the whole “Why don’t they just move?” question properly addressed, with Annie almost deciding to go on the run with the baby, but we get a solid explanation as to why Regus is helping to protect Eve. It’s not an entirely plausible explanation, mind you, but Mark Williams sells his lines so well that you buy it. Neatly done.
In fact, the only disappointing thing about is that Fergus, that vampire cop with the air of a feral rodent, gets staked. It’s been a stunning performance by Anthony Flanagan (whom you might remember as a sinister henchman in series one of Survivors , or from a guest role in Doctor Who ’s “42” ) and it’s a crying shame that we only got to enjoy it for three episodes. Still, at least we got a good Hoover gag out of his death.
NITPICKS For any regular viewer it comes as no surprise that Michaela isn’t dead, given that we don’t immediately see her ghost. And the “comedy hair” she momentarily acquires on her return as a vampire is way too daft. It’s like something out of The Little And Large Show .
FEATURED MUSIC Elbow’s “Grounds For Divorce” plays as Tom straps on the baby, ready to go shopping. Hal chills out by listening to the largo from Bach’s Harpsichord concerto in F Minor .
BEST LINE Tom to Michaela: “I like your tights – you look like a bee, and I like bees.”
Ian Berriman twitter.com/ianberriman
Read more of our Being Human series four reviews .