Friday, January 17, 2014

BEING HUMAN "Old" and "New" Again

Article written for Seat42F.

Season four of SyFy’s BEING HUMAN feels very much like a continuation of season three, even though three months have passed. The same recurring characters populate the universe, and each of the main players have been in a holding pattern since we last saw them. But by the end of “Old Dog, New Tricks,” that is no longer exactly the case.

The most important change for the show is that Josh (Sam Huntington) is now only a human during the full moon. He gets about half an hour with Nora (Kristen Hager), his new wife, before and after her turn as a wolf, then spends the rest of his time prowling the woods. No one knows why he is this way, let alone how to fix it, so he’s kind of in a pickle, the full weight of which is spelled out late in the hour.

This is really depressing for any newlywed pair. They finally get hitched, committed to spending the rest of their lives together, and then they are ripped apart. Nora does spend much of her day, along with Aidan (Sam Witwer), near Wolf Josh, trying to keep him under control and caged when possible. But it’s certainly not the same, a real damper on their union.

Aidan’s relationship with Kat (Deanna Russo) is progressing nicely. They are attending functions together and spending lots of time alone. Though Aidan makes excuses about working long shifts so he can get out to assist with Josh, he seems able to be attentive enough to keep her happy. It looks like Aidan might finally find some joy, though of course that’s only tentative until Kat learns who Aidan is.

But before Aidan can feel too settled, a few wrenches are thrown into his tranquility. Kat says something that makes him uneasy. Blake (Janine Theriault) and a very surprising familiar face show up in an unexpected place. And his wife, Susanna (Katharine Isabelle), makes an appearance.

It’s a sure thing that no one on BEING HUMAN is allowed to be happy. These latest tribulations threatening the romantic lives of our heroes, the details of which I’ll withhold for now, are only the latest in a long line of such occurrences. Every drama needs conflict, but it seems like Aidan, Josh, and Nora have more than their share, never even getting a moment to breathe and recover before being thrust into the next emergency. It would be nice if, for once, we learn they’ve had an extended period of bliss in between seasons, even if we only glimpse it.

Now, I haven’t mentioned Sally (Meaghan Rath) yet, and that’s because she does seem to be living her nirvana. She’s spent months luxuriating in a spa with a nicer, softer version of Donna (Amy Aquino). Although she is apart from her friends, it’s hard to complain about such a reprieve, no longer dealing with the woes of existence and other ghost problems. Sally is finally relaxing.

Of course, all is not exactly how it seems. There is more going on than Sally realizes right away, and she will soon be fighting to change her circumstances, no matter how good they might appear to the outside viewer. But, until this wakeup call hits, Sally does appear to be enjoying herself.

I really find Donna a fascinating character who has by no means outlived her usefulness. Introduced as an evil villain, we’ve seen a few more layers late in her run, and now Donna reveals some things about herself that only make her more intriguing. She is certainly more knowledgeable than any of the others on the show about the supernatural world and how different realms work, which is a useful skill. As long as she isn’t trying to actively destroy Sally or those Sally cares about, there should be no objection to her sticking around a little while longer.

“Old Dog, New Tricks” spends time catching us up with everyone before embarking on the next legs of their journeys. Some of these paths are easy to see coming and others are less so. Four seasons in, BEING HUMAN continues to surprise and find new directions to take the cast in, and this installments shows no signs of that slowing down.

BEING HUMAN airs Mondays at 9 p.m. ET on SyFy.

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