Being Human (UK)

Season 3 Episode 5

The Longest Day

Aired Sunday 9:00 PM Feb 20, 2011 on BBC
out of 10
User Rating
71 votes

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Episode Summary


Annie, George and Mitchell deal with someone from their past. Meanwhile Nina finds the secret that Mitchell has be hiding in the Attic.

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  • He's Back

    George stumbles upon Herrick in the psych ward of the hospital and can't believe it, and once he discovers that the police are going to take his picture he and Nina take him to their flat to find out what to do with him complete with being hounded by a social worker. Mitchell, upon seeing Herrick, tries to do away with him but is stopped by the others. We finally begin to see Mitchell sweat his prophecy coming true but I think we all know that he's playing into the prophecy's plans somehow by being so paranoid about it. The gang has to make a decision about what to do with Herrick, and some secrets will be uncovered and friendships are tested.moreless
  • Annie, George and Mitchell deal with someone from their past who's come back from the death. Mitchell still trying to avoid the prophesy of his death. Meanwhile Nina finds out the secret that Mitchell has be hiding from all in the Attic.moreless

    As I write this, I'm still not entirely sure how to feel about an episode like "The Longest Day." The episode sees the return of Herrick, now an amnesiac patient in residence at Nina and George's hospital. His re-appearance provides the show with the catalyst it needs to speed up season three's over-arching concerns with Mitchell's guilt, Annie's lack of self-confidence and George's newly expressed fears of becoming a father. Part of me was automatically relieved to see Herrick back. I still think that he's one of Being Human's better characters: he's not imposing physically but he oozes a manipulative charm that "The Longest Day" exploits fully. Then again, episode writer Sarah Phelps gave him too much to do in too brief a span of time, making "The Longest Day" seem more hectic than it needed to be.

    "The Longest Day" begins with George's initial discovery of Herrick in the hospital. The very first scene of the episode plunges us into the chaos of Herrick's new fragile, disoriented state. George almost instantly shares Herrick's unsettled state of mind as soon as he initially spies him. He only becomes more confused after he confirms that he's not just dreaming by looking in a mirror. As the hospital requires a background check before processing any new patients, Nina and George take it upon themselves to immediately usher Herrick out of the hospital before his past crimes are discovered.

    The pair's harried plan backfires on them just as quickly as it's put into action when wired social worker named Wendy visits the monsters' house under the mistaken impression that Herrick is Nina's uncle. Further chaos ensues erupts in the house after Mitchell tries to stake Herrick in a fit of rage, railing at George that they shouldn't be fooled by what he thinks is a disingenuous act of feigned innocence from the mass-murdering Herrick. Matters are even more complicated after Cara, one of the two vamps that revived Mitchell in season two's finale, resurfaces, insisting that Herrick come away with her. A confused Herrick refuses and practically spits in Cara's face when she insists that they belong together: "You obscene b****--you filth!"

    The tempest in a tea cup that Herrick causes was, all things considered, inevitable. After all, he did say earlier in season one that he has nothing but time on his side and hence would never stop hunting Mitchell and the gang. It also makes sense that he should show up now of all times considering where season three has been headed and how last week's episode left us waiting for something or someone to kick up a dust storm. Still, organic as his appearance may be, the way he's saddled with stirring the show's pot up to its boiling point feels a little rushed. Ideally, "The Longest Day" would have made his confrontation with Cara the only confrontation that he's involved in and furthermore, would have only alluded to a coming conflict between Mitchell and Nina. Instead, Herrick drives a rift between Mitchell and the werewolves two times during "The Longest Day." His discovery of Mitchell's scrapbook devote to clippings about the Box Tunnel 20 feels tacked on. It's the kind of revelation that Annie or Nina should have made and confided in Herrick, not the other way around. As it is, Herrick first creates discord between Mitchell and the werewolves just by showing up the house and then again by revealing to Mitchell's housemates his past crimes. The fact that Herrick, as an outsider, is the one to make this discovery and tip Nina off is what bothers me about this development, but here's where I get conflicted: would having one of the other characters randomly stumbled across Mitchell's scrapbook be necessarily a less neat way to accelerate events? The scrapbook is already a cheap plot device so using it in a way that feels completely right is a nigh-impossible trick to pull off.

    That having been said, while I wasn't impressed by the broad beats of "The Longest Day," I was taken with the cinematic way that episode director Phillip John filmed the episode. All of the scenes that centered on Herrick in his room were especially well blocked, like when George walks in on Herrick and tries to remind him of what Herrick did to him. There's also a markedly polished depth of field in the shots of Herrick slowly closing the physical gap between himself and George. I can't recall another recent episode that feature that kind of accomplished camera movements. John exhibited an eye for visual story-telling that was further put to great use in the scene where Herrick discovers Mitchell's diary. The crane shot that puts some much-needed distance between us and Herrick when he finds Mitchell's hiding place was especially effective.

    If nothing else, I have to give "The Longest Day" credit for perfectly capturing the monsters' frenzied response to Herrick's return. When Russell Tovey starts cracking up after first meeting Wendy, it really looks like George is coming apart at the seams. The intense discomfort and knife-twisting humor of that scene reaches a head when he snaps from laughing hysterically to asking Wendy if she wants tea. Jason Watkins is similarly spot-on as Herrick. He really shines when he takes potshots at Annie, chipping away at her by telling her slowly but decisively, "You're a bit--peripheral, like a regimental mascot." I've missed his authoritatively conniving character and am glad somebody that we have a villain in the show that we haven't just met that's capable of providing the show with the scuzzy driving force that Mitchell's moral crisis has robbed it of. Because sometimes, it's more fun to watch a remorselessly cruel character have a crisis of faith than a moral killer have a lapse in judgment.moreless

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (1)

    • Nina: Because, you know, if we're really going to execute an amnesiac psychiatric patient like we're the governor of shitting Texas, or something, then we should all get a vote.

  • NOTES (2)


    • Nina's reference to them acting like the governor of Texas is a reference to Rick Perry and the fact Texas has a history of executing mentally defiicient people (Milton Mathis, Marvin Wilson)
      In 2001, Texas Republican Governor Rick Perry, vetoed state legislation that would have outlawed executing inmates with mental disabilities.