Being Human: 502 “Sticks and Ropes” Review
Things are getting a little spooky and silly in the second episode of Being Human’s fifth and final series.
Sticks and Ropes begins with a flashback to Alex’s past, a few months before her death. We learn that she used to have a close bond with her younger brother Decky (Daniel Kerr). Fast forward to the present and she encounters a ghostly child in Honululu Heights. This boy, named Oliver (Benjamin Greaves-Neal), claims to have died there in the Victorian times, but of course there’s a little more to his story than that.
Back in the Barry Grand, manager Patsy (Claire Cage) organises an Employee of the Month competition. Hal and Tom decide to compete to see who is the better worker. It’s already one sided affair though with Patsy still swooning over Hal no matter what he does. The resulting conflict between the vampire and werewolf pleases Captain Hatch as it enables him to slowly regain his strength. Mr Rook is also resorting to decidedly nasty measures to try and keep his shadowy organisation alive. With Crumb under his “care” he decides to give him a “snack” or two, which leads to disaster.
The episode really is one of two halves. There’s the comedic antics of Hal and Tom, and then there’s the more scary and sinister moments with Alex, Rook and Captain Hatch. While the shift in tone can be a little jarring at times, it mostly works.
The spooky scenes are well done and directed with menace. It’s a shame there weren’t more of them. Phil Davis once again puts a scene stealing turn as Hatch, aka the devil himself. He’s far creepier than he was in the opener and there’s a great scene when explains his plans for world domination. And that’s not to mention the slow and gruesome way he dispatches a certain character during the moment.
One of the highlights of Series 4 was the odd couple bickering between Tom and Hal which made for a lot of fun moments. The opener was a little light on them but this episode more than makes up for it. Pitting this pair at loggerheads again allows both actors to play up to their comedic strengths. It’s also hilarious to see Hal trying to act like a slacker (“I can’t slouch! I have a dancer’s back!”)
Alex gets the most character development here with a more caring, paternal side coming to light as she protects young Oliver. Child actors can often be bad, owing to a lack of acting experience, but Benjamin Greaves-Neal does a pretty good job as the young Victorian. And he’s just on the right side of annoying.
It sounds like an odd statement to make about this show, but episode 2 is a strange one overall. It’s not a classic but it mostly comes together in the end.