Up the ante.
For any type of sequel (movie, season), the goal is to be better than what preceded you. While it’s not a difficult prospect in movies is often meted out with bigger explosions and badder special effects, television shows often rely on the strength of the villain or the peril the characters are put in and just how they come out of it as a sign of going above and beyond. This season of ‘Being Human’ provides us with the latter and does so in a way that stands out from its brethren in the fantasy/sci-fi/horror genre.
Whereas season one focused on Aidan, Josh, and Sally’s attempt at living a (relatively) normal life together, this season centered on each character facing their darker half as well as dealing with the pasts they thought they’d left behind.
Of our three protagonists, Aidan has the most interesting journey. Never one for the spotlight, Aidan has just that after killing Bishop, his maker and the former leader of Boston. It’s a funny twist of fate that the vampire who wants nothing to do with his own community, suddenly becomes the de facto leader of Boston. His rule is quite brief and in the short time, we see just how uncomfortable Aidan has become with his life. It’s quite the divergence from his earlier self we see in flashbacks. The old Aidan – the one who turned Henry during WWI and watched over Suren in the 1920’s was a calm and strong vampire who knew who he was and while he did not love everything about the life, he accepted it. In a way, I was disappointed to see his strength diminished to the point of him breaking down in several episodes due to falling off the wagon, so to speak (such as killing the two young women for Henry in ‘When I Think About You I Shred Myself’). I understand him showing contrition and his desperate need to get away from what he used to be, still it disappointed me at times at times with how they chose to show that part of Aidan.
Of course, the most emo of the bunch has to be Josh. His constant rally cry of “I hate myself” got old quick (in actuality, it was old last year) but in a way it was necessary. It drove several plot lines (the werewolf twins, Hegemon’s cover up, Nora’s transformation) but also reminded us that Josh is the heart of our supernatural trio. It’s Josh that needed the semblance of normalcy living in the house has provided and, later in the season, is reinforced when he and Julia rekindle their lost romance. And though I wasn’t a fan of some of Josh’s holier-than-thou preaching, the intricacies woven into his character this season, from being the nerdy guy to finally putting it all on the line for someone else, more than kept me enthralled to see what else he was going to do.
Whereas Aidan acted as the body and Josh the heart, Sally was the season’s spirit. Her fight with her inner monster was the most tangible symbolization of season two’s theme. Though it wasn’t until the tail end of the season we found out the reaper was, in fact her own internalized darkness, it was a necessary shroud floating over everyone. And though she ends up beating it back, when she helps Josh in the season finale (‘It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To’), she, like all of us, is reminded that the fight against the darkness within us is an on-going fight and we’re liable to fall back into it, despite our intentions. It’s one of the best metaphors I’ve seen a show portray without beating the audience over the head with it.
As important as Aidan, Josh, and Sally are, the supporting cast was every bit as important. Last season we were introduced to Celine, Aidan’s love from the 70’s but the inclusion of Suren provided us with a look at an Aidan before doubts of his vampiric nature started driving his actions. Suren started off as no more than a volatile and petty brat but by the end of the season, she’d matured and accepted her love for Aidan, even giving her life (however unintended) for him.
For the entire run of the show, we’d heard Josh talk about his ex-fiancee Julia and how he’d left her when he discovered his true nature. How the past comes back to us! Her re-introduction into Josh’s life was one of the most titillating (yes, I used that word) scenes of the entire season. Knowing Aidan had been seeing (and doing the deed, and often) with a Julia, when Josh sees that it’s his Julia, the pained expression etched across everyone’s face was priceless. (My one wish would’ve been if the fallout from this triangle would’ve gone on a bit longer). As it is, after a few bumps, Josh gets to see that he can revisit the past and change things. And as much as I loved Nora and Josh’s chemistry, there’s something older and calmer in his relationship with Julia.
Speaking of Nora, her transformation followed a similar darkened path as the main crew. It was quite the inventive twist to have her embrace of her wolf side, a prospect diametrically opposite of Josh’s constant shunning and though she was out of pocket for several episodes, when she returned, there was a calmness about her that hadn’t been there before. My hopes are not only to see more of her next season and the changes of confronting her nature has made in her but, if she can reach Josh and help him accept his both his human and wolf side.
I wasn’t too crazy about the vampire council aspect of the season, being more a means to an end than anything. While the introduction of Mother – and her heinous actions against her daughter Suren – could quite possibly make for a very interesting storyline in season three, I was never captivated by her involvement though I will say the curiosity I have regarding her origins is something I’d like to see explored.
It’s funny how, despite most of the characters getting up close and personal with their darker half, one character went the opposite route. When we were first introduced to Ray in season one’s ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice (If We Were Human)’, Ray was not a good guy; he was selfish and cynical, embracing all of the bad things his animalistic side could do but not really understanding how to live in harmony with both. When we are re-introduced to him in the finale, he is back to being a family man, sharing his darkest secret with his wife. Were it not for him standing in the way of Nora’s chance at normalcy and Julia’s fate, Josh may have been inspired by Ray’s ability to have love and acceptance in his life. Though he tried becoming the Obi-Wan to Josh’s Anakin in season one, Ray was ill equipped for that responsibility. There is a parallel in his finding peace with both halves of himself with Nora upon her return. They both foster regrets but seem to have grown quite a bit from what they used to be. If only things end better than I think, Ray could truly be an inspiration to Josh in the same way I see Nora becoming if given the chance.
Whereas things were wrapped up nicely in the season one finale, so many threads remained open to start season three. Who will find Aidan? What will the end result be in the shootout between Josh, Ray, and Nora? Just how big a mistake did Sally make shredding herself in order to reach Limbo? There are so many avenues for the writers to take and, though the sophomore effort was by no means perfect, it did its job, building on and surpassing season one. I truly look forward to finding out the direction the writers are headed in ‘Being Human’s third season.