BBCHD - 14th February 2010 - 9.00pm
The Devil was designed for temptation. He can be charming and clever. And exciting. And Mitchell can be those things too because he was made in the Devil's image, just as you were made in God's.
I like it. The three of us. It's us against the world.
Well, I don't want to be against the world anymore.The sixth episode and it really is clear that the production team don't know what to do with Annie. If indeed they have now put the 'death's door/men with ropes and sticks' idea to bed then they've shot themselves in the foot. Because it is conflict that drives the characters forward and whilst Mitchell and George actively move the overall story arc forwards, Annie is used either for a bit of tragi-comedy nonsense (the ghost baby) or the tragic reflection on and brief exploration of the afterlife concepts that the show has set up. But each time the series does this, the sub-plots are closed down, Annie gets upset, recovers and then they set it all up for her again in the next episode. Annie needs to become integral to the main story arc and the last two episodes have pushed her further away from that.
Characteristically, the episode opens with a flashback to London 1972. Basically this shows us a younger Kemp, a priest, whose family is attacked by vampires. Leaving his wife for dead, their actions give us a long overdue insight into why Kemp is so determined to eradicate the supernaturals, particularly the irredeemable vampires. Kemp's unshakable faith and Lucy's moral conflict over her relationship with Mitchell is a very powerful force running through the episode. It also forms the pivot around which the shattering climax operates. The episode offers further complex moral and theological questions about the interchangeable nature of good and evil. Much of this keys into the praxis of hysteria around Christian Fundamentalism and the continuing fear around 'otherness' - where those queer or 'non-natural' minorities as symbolised by werewolves, vampires and ghosts.
George is planning to move out and is house hunting much to the changrin of Annie. Annie wants everything to stay the same and believes something good has come to an end. The love lives of Mitchell and George, on the surface at least, suggest that this may well be the case and director Charles Martin underlines the possible future loneliness of the house with that lingering shot of the empty, battered sofa. The audience, however, knows better and can see that the relationship between Lucy and Mitchell is likely doomed as she plots with Kemp to blow the vampires to pieces with a bomb in the funeral parlour and that Sam's daughter Molly will scupper any plans George has because she knows he has a secret and will demand he reveal his true identity to Sam. Then, of course, there is Nina and we haven't seen Kemp's plan for her and George play out yet.
George is already bluffing his way round his monthly transformation by offering that he have to duck out Molly's parent-teacher evening because he's going tobogganing with Mitchell. He may have convinced Sam and whilst we've all been there, trying to put some flat-pack Ikea monstrosity together, swearing in front of the kids, we don't expect them to play 20 questions around the subject of tobogganing. Molly catches him out and a symbolic time bomb is set off counting down to when George will finally be forced to admit his 'otherness' to Sam.
As these storylines gather pace, Annie goes off to explore and see what good she can do for the world. I did enjoy the sub-plot about her assisting Alan Cortez, the psychic who's lost his power to listen to the spirits trapped in limbo and waiting to go through death's door. The idea that there is a troupe of them following him around is a nice idea and there is plenty of comedy to offset the darker plot elements of the George and Mitchell stories. It reaches its climax when Annie's mother, Carmen (a superb performance from Jacquetta May), turns up at the theatre, wanting to achieve a kind of peace with her daughter in the afterlife. It's a very moving storyline and fleshes out Annie's family background but it's self-contained and doesn't go anywhere.
Love the fact that Ivan has most of the local vampires on his Twitter feed and uses it to gather the clan at the funeral parlour to hear Mitchell's announcement that he will no longer lead them. Unwittingly, Ivan lets Kemp's henchman in on the false assumption there's been a gas leak. And we all know what that means. As the clan gathers and Mitchell tries to persuade Ivan to take over, the bomb planted by Kemp goes off. It's a suitably exciting climax to an otherwise fairly weak episode. This action will of course lead to the final showdown between Mitchell, Lucy and Kemp. Judging by the trailer for the next episode it also includes Kemp using Nina to reel in George too. It's all to play for now.