Vampire Singing Motown While Doing the Dishes: Being Human, “Hold the Front Page”

Remember Adam from last season? He had been a vampire since he was kid, and he was living (read: feeding) off his parents who loved him very dearly until they died. He left Annie, Mitchell, and George with the intent of going out on his own, trying to survive without his safety nets. You kind of figured that was going to come back and bite them in the backside (in a completely normal, human sort of way).

What did you reckon? Could that kid of 47 years make it on his own, avoid draining the general population with none of his regular safety nets in place? Well, it’s time to catch up with Adam, and learn about some new supernatural figures in the Being Human universe. Not to say that the episode misses out on any of our new gang antics — there’s all sorts of fun down that road.

Being Human season 4 episode Hold the Front Page

Hal is doing the washing up in the kitchen whist singing a rousing rendition of the Motown classic “Reach Out (I’ll Be There).” In perfect falsetto. The words “precious” and “ludicrous” fall sadly short of the true brilliance that this moment awards us. Annie is jarred, but asks Hal to take Eve for a moment while she warms up milk. She is cut short when someone arrives at the door.

It’s Adam, back from his travels with a friend: her name is Yvonne Bradshaw, and she is (or rather was) a girl’s boarding school head mistress before ruining her career by running away with Adam. After all, he appears to be a good 30-40 years her junior, and she happens to believe that he is. That’s right, he hasn’t told her about his little condition.

Being Human season 4 episode Hold the Front Page

Once Yvonne begins to talk about her experiences with men, things get decidedly more weirdful. Apparently Adam is not the first man to throw himself her way. It seems to happen all the time, no matter how beautiful, famous or young they are, and some of these admirers have died. Yvonne appears alarmed by her past with men, but has clearly learned to cope with it. Tom shakes Yvonne’s hand and already seems a little smitten with her himself. In the meantime, the press have followed Yvonne and Adam to the B&B — a slightly problematic scenario, as Tom and Yvonne are the only people capable of answering the door without arousing suspicion (since they’re the only people who will show up on camera). They try to explain why this is a problem to Yvonne, who believes they are all mentally damaged or having her on.

We see Cutler taking a dead body into the woods and cutting it up with the gardening rake so it looks like the man has been mauled with claw marks. Never a good sign.

Tom goes to have a nap and dreams that Yvonne is a barrister. (Tom has a thing for barristers — he thinks they’re “dead classy” — which is perhaps the sweetest thing in the world.) Yes, this is basically a sex dream. Tom wakes up all hot and bothered and things are clearly a bit off.

Being Human season 4 episode Hold the Front Page

Tom must have a thing for the wigs….

Hal is sitting with Eve, who spits up on him because she’s a baby who does cute, gross baby things. Hal was going to read her poetry because that’s what he thinks dads do, I guess, when Adam comes in to bother him. He wants to smoke. Hal points out that he can’t inside, but he can’t outside either with the press around. Adam goes out back to smoke anyway, where he’s caught on camera by some journalist fellow who promptly notices that the photos are strangely empty. The journalist tries to talk to them around front, and Annie employs Tom to deal with him. Tom makes the mistake of telling the journalist his name, so the guy looks Tom up. The journalist then goes to see Cutler… after all, Cutler got Tom out of prison a little while back.

It turns out the journalist — named Pete — has put together an impressive history of vampire crime over the course of his career. Cutler admits that his suspicions are well founded, but tells him that the real enemy is the werewolf community. Pete asks Cutler to meet him at his hotel room sometime to discuss it.

Being Human season 4 episode Hold the Front Page

In the meantime, Tom has started getting competitive over Yvonne, trying to make Adam look bad by pointing out his vices. Yvonne touches Hal’s arm during the awkward exchange and that night, Hal has a dream that Yvonne is offering herself to him for blood. (So, a vampire sex dream.) Hal wakes up, goes downstairs in the morning to Tom and Adam’s bickering and proceeds to shove them both aside with promises of poetry for Yvonne. She is suitably discomfited, and tries to diffuse the situation. Tom offers to show Yvonne his collection of named stakes. Annie comes downstairs, fails to notice anything is amiss and goes to make everyone tea. When Tom tries to challenge Hal by going after him with a stake named “Duncan,” Hal quickly turns it around and murders Tom with it. Adam runs scared and Yvonne tells Hal how proud she is that he ended up her champion. She tells him he has one task left… to kill the baby. Hal raises the stake to little Eve —

…and that was all the real dream, don’t worry. It probably should have been obvious; Hal’s dream-view of Annie shows her to be hyper, tea-obssessed and unobservant when trouble strikes, and Hal’s dream-view of Tom betrays his fear that Tom still wants him dead. Still, the nightmare has given him some clarity and he calls on Annie to deliver the news to Yvonne: she’s a succubus, the daughter of a human and a demon.

Touch puts people within her grasp, and sex with her kills them. The only way anyone can be free of her spell is to gain distance from her. Yvonne finally relents to all the nonsense she has been hearing from the crew — this is the first thing that has made sense to her. Yet she finds that she truly loves Adam, and she is worried that his love for her was just part of her succubus allure. The only thing to do is get Adam away from her to find out how he feels.

Annie carries Adam out under her ghost guise, and sits him down in a cafe. Adam is disgusted that he has been under Yvonne’s spell, and even more disappointed that the lack of vampiric hunger he felt around her was all a lie. He leaves. Annie tries to break the news to Yvonne gently, but it doesn’t work. Yvonne goes out of the house and tells the press what they want to hear: that she’s stole a boy’s innocence, that’s she’s a monster and they should all hate her. Adam follows a young blond girl to a bar, where he sees the news broadcast of Yvonne’s confession. He runs back to the B&B.

Being Human season 4 episode Hold the Front Page

I would like to take a moment to praise the show for this startlingly sensitive portrayal of a figure that is often only included as an excuse to sex up the material. Yvonne is not a made-up supermodel in a low-cut minidress, but a well-spoken, fusty middle-aged school marm. Her abilities as a succubus do not please her, even before she knows what they are. The unwanted attention she receives, the lovers who she loses, they cause her real pain. Instead of going for the cheap skin, Being Human chose to examine what it would actually be like to suffer when in possession of such power.

Being Human season 4 episode Hold the Front Page

In the meantime, Cutler goes to meet Pete, who reveals that he knew Cutler was a vampire. It turns out that his mother was murdered in front of him by vampires and he’s been trying to prove the truth ever since. He keeps Cutler there with a cross on the door. Cutler is trapped; when Pete’s friends get there, they’ll see how his picture doesn’t turn up. Even if he chooses to kill Pete, he won’t be able to leave and they’ll know what he is.

Annie has been trying to get Hal to take care of Pete’s snooping for the sake of the house, despite his protests against threatening the man. She is finally adamant enough that he follows her to the hotel room. They find Pete dead on the floor; Hal mentions that the cross on the door won’t affect him because he’s an Old One, but recounts a time when they did work on him. Monks captured him and held him for months, but he killed one of them and used the man’s body as a shield to get past the crosses and escape. He reckons that the vampire who had been trapped in hotel room had heard of his little trick from others and tried it himself. Yikes.

Yvonne is distraught at losing Adam, so she goes to seduce Tom while Annie and Hal are out. She’s about to move in for the kill when she hears Adam at the door. She runs downstairs, but won’t let him in, worried that he’ll fall under her spell again. Adam tells her that she’s not a monster, and that he does love her. She points out that he probably just doesn’t want to be alone, but Adam says that’s sort of what love is. They own up to both being trapped as the creatures they are, but decide that they should be happy together.

They drive off into the sunset, and Annie tells Hal that she shouldn’t have egged him on in going after Pete. She admits that after killing Kirby, she kind of wants to do it again, and knows how messed up that is. Hal realizes that he does have some control over himself because he didn’t hurt anyone. At the end, Cutler is uploading the video he took of Tom transforming into a werewolf onto the internet. Uh oh.

It occurs to me that this entire episode is really about being trapped. Some traps are bad (Cutler in the hotel room), and some traps are actually good (Adam and Yvonne together). Hal is trapped in his own way as well, but we don’t yet know if his trap is a good one or a bad one.

Questions:

  • If this one journalist guy has put together evidence on vampires, how many more of these people are out there, do you think?
  • If it takes a demon and a human to create a succubus, then what does that mean for the Being Human mythos? Are there angels too? And what other supernatural creatures might come popping up?
  • So what’s the deal with Tom building a swimming pool out back? They keep bringing it up too much to be casual.
  • Will Hal sing “Heard it Through the Grapevine” next week? I’m desperately hoping that the answer is yes.

 

Next week’s offering: “Puppy Love”


Emily Asher-Perrin is doing her washing up with a rousing rendition of “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.” You can bug her on Twitter and read more of her work here and elsewhere.

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