Being Human: Monsters With People Problems

Last week's Season 2 premiere of Being Human didn't have the luxury of immediately knocking us over the head, because it began three weeks after the events of the Season 1 finale. But it did set things up to kick down the door with the opening of last night's "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?," a very strong episode that re-emphasized what Being Human is all about: three sympathetic monsters clinging to humanity while adjusting to the new rules of their existence.

After all, it is right there in the title: Being Human isn't so much about a werewolf, a ghost, or a vampire as much as it is about three people who used to be human. And one of the great challenges of being human is having to deal with problems. The cold open of "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" was masterful in its execution. Where most shows would drag what happened into half an episode, Being Human laid everything out in three minutes. Here it is again in case you missed it:

Being Human wisely chose to cram so much awesomeness into that opening because it knows its strength isn't in showing us its characters in action, it's in showing us their reaction. And that allowed the rest of the episode to focus on how Josh and Nora are handling Nora becoming a werewolf. How Aidan is responding to his new boss. And how Sally is dealing with loneliness and fear. That’s the stuff I want to watch.

Let's start off with Josh and Nora, television's most adorable new supernatural couple. Josh giving Nora lycanthropy is a tad more serious than the "regular" human equivalent, which is solved by shaving the pubic area and applying some topical cream. This is a lifer disease that pops up every 28 days and leaves you naked in a pile of leaves with a woodland creature in your craw.

The way Josh and Nora dealt with their new reality felt very true. Obviously, Nora was in shock and thought she should go shopping for muzzles and Kibbles n' Bits. From her perspective, her parade will be getting rained on for the rest of her life. But Josh knows what it's like to be in her shoes, and spent all of last season understanding that he can live as both the man and the wolf. His first instinct was to guide her down the same path of understanding and acceptance to make sure she didn't lose her sense of humanity. But either way you slice it, it's a pretty sucky situation that only time will be able to heal. Hey, at least it isn't herpes.

Aidan dug up a new boss, a wrinkly prune who's been stuck in a box underground for 80 years. Suren (played by Dichen Lachman, who I still can't figure out if she's attractive or not) has "horrible boss" written all over her, and she's already holding things like Josh's life over Aidan's head to force him to do his bidding. I've never been part of the vampire management structure, but Mother's decision to put Suren in charge of Boston isn't likely to keep the stockholders happy. Suren is cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs, thinks turning humans is like friending them on Facebook, and was once a major buzzkill at a party because she ate all the guests. That's not an ideal choice for the boss of Boston. Washington D.C., maybe. But not Boston. However, if Aidan wants out of the vampire society, he has to put up with this reckless pup and train her to run the show.

All this stressed Aidan out, and when he stresses, he likes to bone chicks. (Several ladies just clicked over to Amazon to buy the book How to Stress Out a Man in 12 Easy Steps.) So he was about to take home Julia, a doctor who interviewed at his hospital, and all he could hear was the thump thump of her veins pumping blood. It was the equivalent of putting an In-n-Out Burger under the nose of a freshly turned vegan.

Sally's problems looked the most innocuous when the episode started, but her path is potentially the most dangerous. It's the old [blank] is a drug storyline, and in this case, [blank] is train-hopping the bodies of the living. I'm glad she's still hanging out with Stevie, the freshman ghost from last week who offed himself in high school. He's a potential favorite character, provided the writers can keep the actor from going through puberty (though sharing so many scenes with hottie Meaghan Rath may speed that up).

Sally had only worn someone's body once before, and that was for like ten seconds. But when she saw Stevie's lame friends Dylan and Boner jump into some dudes, her natural longing to feel again got the best of her. Like all drugs, body-hopping was fun for a bit until someone, meathead Dylan, forced himself sexually on Sally. And that hangover Sally was wearing looked awful. I recommend having Chinese food delivered and settling in for a Jersey Shore marathon. But will Sally have the self-restraint to stay away from feeling human again? She looked pretty euphoric while stuffing her face with beer and chips in that girl's body. I just hope her story moves more toward wondering how Stevie de-materialized Dylan and less toward Sally becoming a body-jumping junkie, because that metaphor has been done to, uh, death.

"Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" showed how Being Human can simultaneously be an escape (these are vampires, werewolves, and ghosts, after all) and remain grounded through its depiction of problems we can relate to. The situations of hurting a loved one, working for a jerk of a boss, or succumbing to temptation are dressed up with supernatural overtones, but the lessons we can learn from them are the same.

Notes:
– How funny was Sally this episode? With all the drama that happens in each episode, it's easy to forget that Being Human is a well-rounded series with some legitimate laughs.

– This is a great cast all around, but Kristen Hager as Nora really stole the show this week. She is absolutely fantastic as a woman completely who's confused and fearing for her existence. She totally reached into my eyeballs and tried to yank out tears during her heart-to-hearts with Josh. But it didn't work this time, Kristen! Almost, though.

– Another potential new favorite character: that weird redheaded vampire who is going to look for Heggemann.

– I've always been iffy on Dichen Lachman being cast on shows I like, but Suren seems like a great fit for her and she seems to really enjoy the role.


Follow TV.com writer Tim Surette on Twitter: @TimAtTVDotCom

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Feb 02, 2012
So far, I think the chemistry between Suren and Aidan is fantastic! Not sexual chemistry, but actor chemistry. However, we haven't learned the COMPLETE background of their relationship, so it is possible that they shared some sort of hot vampire sex in the past.

Great episode; watching Nora attempt to deal with being a wolf , "Can I get a mocha? Cause dogs are allergic to chocolate." was wonderful and gut wrenching.
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Jan 27, 2012
This episode was so much better than the premiere...even though the premiere wasn't really horrible. What I love about this show is how understated it is. It isn't just as supernatural type of show but it with all of the introspective storylines with the characters and the friendships and love and family stuff and the inherent need to just be the best version of yourself possible it's something that all can just relate to. It manages to give individual storylines and tie them all in together at the same time and focus on all this serious stuff while inserting humor and yet it isn't boring or even predictable.



I think Sally's plot still needs...more. If I had to compare them all she seems to have the weakest storylines going for her, and even when she does have her stuff it's going on at a time when Aidan and Josh are literally going through hell, and so her plots come off as insignificant in comparasion and her bringing the up make her appear too self-involved. I mean the girl could poof into a room and say she's being haunted by a dead serial killer but Aidan will rush in all hot and broody and say that Satan himself visited him and told him he's going to kill Josh and suddenly Sally reverts back to being the supportive but mostly helpess ghost.



I think Josh and Nora are the most compelling as far as somehow being easier to relate to, and that was just so evident this week. I love Aidan and his story as well, but I can't help but wonder if they'll continue down the path of him playing protective older brother, trying to keep his horrors and his vampire life separate from the other two, keeping to himself, and yet despite his efforts his life is the only one that every truly spills over into their realm affecting and endangering Sally and Josh (Josh the most). I don't found it problematic, but I do wonder if it'll always be that way. Once again Josh's life sort of hangs in the balance unbeknownst to him yet again, because he's Aidan's loyal bestie.



I do love that now that Nora's a werewolfette she and Sally can have girl time. This show is at it's best in those moments when our favorite main characters actually interact with one another together.
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Jan 26, 2012
"who I still can't figure out if she's attractive or not" Ah Tim, gotta ask....why is this YOUR decision?? Kinda put the gun to your own head on this one.
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Jan 26, 2012
I don't think that Tim needs any backing, but Dichen looks apart and definelty interesting, a little bit exotic - that's partly IRRITATING and so she is to some BOTH unattractive and attractive the same time.

For me her looks is just great , especially for her role - I can't stand all the cuties looking all the same.

By the way great episode and maybe Sally's story might become as interesting and fantastic as the boys' stories - there was sSSOMETHING coming thru her dream(if it was a dream at all).
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Jan 25, 2012
I actually think Dichen Lachman is pretty, but think she looks best as a blonde. And I actually dug her on Dollhouse.
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Jan 25, 2012
This is an extremely well-made show and I am pleasantly reminded of that each and every week.



As for the bashing of Tim because of his comment about Suren/Dichen - I won't defend it, but I will offer an alternate point of view. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. More than that, personality can be a large part of someone's attractiveness (which also varies from person to person). As viewers, we only see the personality of the character that actor is portraying. If the character in question (Suren) has a suspect personality, that person will come off as less attractive than another role they may have played (Sierra). People who know her in person as charming, caring, compassionate and sweet of course say how attractive she is in real life. I submit it's a testament to her acting skills that she can mask her wonderful personality so well it colors the appearance of the character she is portraying. Food for thought.
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Jan 26, 2012
Couldn't agree more. And there's a "new girl" that could use some tutoring from this "old girl".
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Jan 25, 2012
One of the best SyFy shows at this moment. Great opening.
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Jan 25, 2012
"Can I get a moccha" had me laughing and hurting for Nora at the same time, this episode was a masterful performance for her, and I really liked it overall.
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Jan 25, 2012
I really like how this show displays, like you said, the reactions of the situations they get themselves in. Like the show title, they try their best at being human, not being supernatural.
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Jan 25, 2012
This show has to be one of the, if not THE, best handling of vampires, werewolves, and ghosts on TV. It is so god damn compelling! The characters well fleshed out and the story takes place in the heads of the main characters, which is ALWAYS good. Awesome episode once again! Sally is definitely the FINEST! Check some interviews with her, she is just so damn adorable.
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Jan 25, 2012
How can you possibly presume to be considered in any way objective when you make rude and disparaging comments about how an actor looks. Can't decide if Dichen Lachmen is attractive or not? I can only conclude that you are blind and living under a very wet rock because her "Attractiveness" goes far beyond the surface, You will also not find it difficult to discover to a huge number of loyal fans as well as most every male with a pulse Miss Lachman rates very high in the pretty and sexy department. Stop being an ASS.
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Jan 25, 2012
I just have to say, beauty is subjective, not objective. There are people who think Brad Pitt is amazing looking, but I (seriously) only find him so/so attractive. And if beauty is more than skin deep, the sure, brad Pitt is beautiful with his charity work, but let's look a little further. If beauty goes beyond the surface, then wouldn't it directly relate to the qualities of the character they play, hence and ugly character (no matter how beautiful) would be ugly, and an ugly character become beautiful with a redeeming character? It is a nice story, but beauty is based on not only their personality, but also on their physical attributes that people find attractive.



Oh, but why a wet rock? Wouldn't just a regular rock suffice? Why does it have to be wet?
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Jan 25, 2012
Dichen Lachman is a most attractive lady, with a caring heart and a charming personality. (I met her when we all came together to walk for Club Mo; Mo being the lovely Maurissa Tancharoen Whedon.) Dichen is a compassionate, sweet, and wonderfully talented performer. She is also a cutie-pie.



Tim Surette, remember that words hurt. Dichen herself tweeted: "Can't do anything about how I look without surgery or some weird skin bleaching procedure. Like actors are not insecure enough already. :) How about focusing on the story." Her wise solution? "[You] just have to laugh. That's just his opinion and he's entitled to it. Should probably just ignore those things. 'Hollywood problems'." I admire her dignity and grace under pressure and pain.



Tim, if you are interested in being a truly professional reviewer, stick with the actor's work. I'll leave you with Nathan Fillion's words of wisdom: "It costs nothing to say something kind. Even less to shut up altogether."

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Jan 25, 2012
No one gives a flying flip about who you think is attractive or not. Think before you type. Actors are REAL people with feelings, you know.

If you're going to write a TV review, be professional. Stick with the show and leave the personal crap out of it.
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Jan 25, 2012
He didn't call her ugly. He said he didn't know if she was attractive or not.
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Jan 25, 2012
Dichen Lachman is very attractive and this part seems like a good fit for her. It was tough getting into the new characters in the US version of "Being Human" but Meaghan Rath - who had the unenviable task of replacing the awesome Lenora Crichlow's "Annie" from the BBC version, and Kristen Hager have won me over and as for Sam Witwer, been a fan of his since Gaius Baltar gunned his Crashdown down at the beginning of season 2 of "Battlestar Galactica". His Doomsday sucked but it wasn't the fault of the actor he just got a really horridly written Doomsday story on "Smallville". The weakest link is Sam Huntington who just isn't as likable as Russell Tovey's "George" and who really is just a boring nothing actor.
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Jan 25, 2012
"Suren (played by Dichen Lachman, who I still can't figure out if she's attractive or not)" My thoughts exactly.. I think she was pretty hot when she was on Dollhouse but IDK here.. Weird right? BTW Awesome episode last night! Alphas and this show are the best SyFy has done so far!
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Jan 25, 2012
Great episode. After what was Alcatraz last night. This just took over my monday's at 9 pm. Hey Tim, any thoughts on Lost Girl. The show that is on after this?
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Jan 25, 2012
Being in Canada, i've seen maybe 25 eps of LOST GIRL now (Season 1 plus more than half of season 2). It's a good show. I enjoy it, Bo looks amazing, Kenzie is total comic relief and Trick and the Fae Cops round it out nicely. I would give it a shot.
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Jan 25, 2012
I like Lost Girl, i think you should give it a try.
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Jan 25, 2012
I have watched the first two episodes on demand and it is all right. It is kind of like a Buffy the Vampire slayer, but a little naughtier. Which can be a good thing. I have enjoyed it thus far.
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Jan 26, 2012
I'm glad you liked it :)
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Jan 25, 2012
Don't hate on Dichen Lachman, she's all kinds of awesome!
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Jan 25, 2012
People think we (USA!) care about how different this version of Being Human differs from the UK one. I will never watch the UK one. If you watch both, you'd be giving it a low score because its predictable. Cannot win. This show does though. Stellar cast in a great season so far.
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Jan 25, 2012
I am in the US and I DON'T care for the US version. And god they are going to remake Misfits, I'm not looking forward to that either.
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Jan 26, 2012
Love Misfits. Was disappointed to see Sheehan go. I won't watch the Misfits' USA remake. Doesn't mean it wont be good.
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Jan 25, 2012
I beg to differ. Usually, and you're right there, US remakes of a good UK show are abysmal ("Life on Mars") (I always wonder why they think they need to Americanize stuff anyway. However, I could live with a UK remake of "True Blood" - some of those mumbled accents are impossible to understand.). In spite of loving the UK version of "Being Human" I also actually quite enjoy the US version. They did re-write the original story, so it's not entirely predictable.
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Jan 25, 2012
I agree, I enjoy both UK and US versions of this show. Dont even get me started on Skins though, the us "remake" was brutal.
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Jan 25, 2012
I'm a huge fan of the UK version and struggled through the first season of the US because I felt the performances didn't match up. I liked Bishop over Herrick, however (much more believeable bad guy) but was really disappointed that Josh wasn't the one to kill him. The acting seemed a little "theatre groupish" for me and I wasn't convinced by Sally's emotional scenes because they came across emotion-less.



But some good has come of it.



Although it's only been two episodes, I feel that this show has finally crawled out of the shadow of the original and become something fresh and different. The story has now deviated away from "remake" territory and entered the realm of "inspired by". I'm actually loving the show now and the new additions only serve to make it more enjoyable. I just hope that there will be a victory for the wolves in the future, second class citizenship sucks.
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Jan 25, 2012
This show flat-out delivers. I love how it is grounded in friendship and loyalty despite their glaring supernatural differences. It will never be in the running for awards, but it knows what it does and it does it impeccably. Pure entertainment here, which some would argue is the epitome of what TV should be.
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