Being Human: The TrinityBookmark and Share

Monday, 4 February 2013 - Reviewed by Tom Buxton
Reviewed by Tom Buxton

The Trinity
Written by Toby Whithouse
Directed by Philip John
Broadcast on BBC Three, 3rd February 2013
Coming off the back of perhaps its most controversial season of episodes yet, Being Human's return to BBC Three last night has been an event met with something of an air of trepidation this time around.

Certainly, with Series Four having proven particularly divisive for its swift and frequent regular cast departures - Russell Tovey and Lenora Crichlow among them - Toby Whithouse and his production team didn't have an enviable job convincing fans to stick around for the ride with a new cast in 2013.

This reviewer is happy to admit that he did consider the possibility of ditching the show altogether in the late stages of the 2012 run, but I can now confirm with no uncertainty that I'm thoroughly glad I stayed along for the ride, as Series Five opener The Trinity proved to be perhaps the greatest instalment the hit drama has given us yet.

So, just what element of the new series has restored my faith in Being Human, and indeed should have done the same for fans across the country? If anything, the answer to this question should be perhaps the most obvious part of this entire review, or indeed any retrospective on the strengths of the programme - it's the central cast who make The Trinity such a joy to watch.

Where Michael Socha and Damien Molony's Tom and Hal had their grating moments in Series Four, feeling something like awkward components in a narrative-driven machine that didn't quite know how to function with an amalgamation of parts old and new, the two lead actors come into their own this time around, sparking much of the same hilarious chemistry as George and Mitchell had in the first three seasons, yet with an innovative take on the vampire-werewolf matter with the conflict that's sure to brew between them later (more on that in a bit).

Better yet, Kate Bracken's Alex seemed to be the embodiment of everything Whithouse and his team of writers should have made Annie in her time on the show - not an angst-fuelled, borderline-apathetic teen obsessed with rekindling her betrothed's love and later protecting her friend's child, but a raw, passionate femme fatale who simply longs to experience the same thrills and shocks of teenage life which death has robbed from her. Annie's journey to discover her "unfinished business" remained, to me, the one solitary compelling element of her over-extended character arc, so for a new ghost to step into Honolulu Heights with such a brimming personality and sense of empathy is deeply refreshing, ensuring that Alex's own passing to the other side is the least of viewers' concerns.

The titular ‘Trinity’ of confident British stars are backed up by a refined supporting cast here, too. Steven Robertson's second portrayal of Mr Rook was a fiendishly understated performance, one that built cunningly towards a surprising twist in his character's nature towards the climax, while Colin Hoult took things in much the opposite direction with a crazed and unpredictable new vampire - Crumb - the likes of which we haven't seen since Lauren taunted Mitchell over her early conversion to vampire status in the original season.

Best of all, though, had to be the tantalising glimpses we received of the series' new resident villain, Captain Hatch. Phil Davis has already more than proved his own in productions such as Rome, Doctor Who: The Fires Of Pompeii and Sherlock: A Study In Pink, yet it's perhaps with this exciting turn as the Devil himself that Davis will reach his fullest performing potential, revelling in the sheer insanity and mythology of this ambitious role. Sure enough, we even got the first glimpses of the evil this character brings to the show with Hatch's manipulation of one member of hotel staff to commit suicide, not before writing out the ominous prophecy that "HE WILL RISE" (no prizes for guessing just who that refers to) in her own blood.

The episode's narrative was brilliantly structured, moving back and forth between the new supernatural team's modern-day exploits and Hal's flashbacks to the unleashing of a human Devil during the Great War. Both settings felt as faithful to their respective time periods as ever, with the 1918 version of the vampire-werewolf-ghost trio proving a comedic yet effective contrast to that of Alex, Hal, and Tom as the heroes of the past attempted to stop Satan feeding off the Vampire-Werewolf War (or as Alex so adequately puts it, The Twilight Saga). Again, it's testament to the creative vision of Whithouse and company that they could pull off such absurd concepts as this inter-fantastical race conflict and, indeed, the Antichrist feeding off such a battle, although after the ludicrous nature of the Old Ones' plot last season, perhaps anything is possible.

With The Trinity, then, the production team of Being Human have bounced back on to the televisual drama scene with a bang. Where other teams have tried and failed to "reboot" their season formula in the midst of repetition and tedium, Whithouse and his band of stars and behind-the-scenes wizards have breathed new life into a programme that one year ago I would have had you believe was on its very last legs. In 2012, this reviewer couldn't have been less concerned for the fates of the series' protagonists; now, discovering the next steps that Hal, Tom, and Alex will take on their journey to best the Devil in Series Five makes even a single week of waiting feel longer than ever. Here's hoping that this BBC Three drama continues to hit such heights in the five weeks ahead.