For a show about all things supernatural, Being Human has not, to date, addressed the macabre power that Josh has to pay for a) a townhouse in Boston on a nurse’s salary, b) food for three people (to be fair, Nora contributes), and c) the widow and orphans of his Wolf Daddy. Perhaps he is reaping the dividends of investing in Retrograde Sexual Politics Industries, since he seems to be rolling in their literature this episode.
Josh, still determined to marry Nora despite the fact she is a terrible person, badgers Nora to let him come along to her annual visit the folks. It’s important in a serious relationship that you should take an interest in the family of your loved one. However, it is not cool to insist you be introduced ahead of when your significant other is ready to do so nor is it kosher (which Josh knows about because he’s Jewish, the show reminds us in the least awesome way possibly) to force an intimacy that your partner doesn’t have or want with those potential in-laws. The family member calls the tune for the SO, and as Nora is demonstrably unenthusiastic about going to see her family—she’s only going because the members who aren’t her mother wouldn’t get the poor lady a cake for her birthday if her horrible daughter doesn’t—Josh ought to back down. He doesn’t because of course. Josh thinks he can handle the meeting (thinking only of his own needs, which is a great thing in a relationship that he wants to be a marriage) because he introduced Nora to his mom and “it only required minimal drinking.” This is Josh’s mom, who didn’t believe in perfectly reasonable supernatural phenomena like werewolves, and was only worried about ridiculous things like her son being bug-fcuk crazy for thinking he was one. Ugh, families are awful. (And/or realistic and concerned for your well-being. The worst!)
Josh’s insistence on meeting the rest of Nora’s human clan is spurred on by Aidan suggesting that Josh needs to ask her father—with whom she does not speak more than once a year, with good reason—for permission to marry her. Aidan’s sexism is understandable, if still annoying, given that his formative years were two hundred years ago, when transactions involving moving women from the holdings of their fathers to that of their husbands were more commonplace. (Aidan might also be addled by the fact that Josh wants to marry Nora all of a sudden, seeing as he’s been in the ground for a year and missed a few things. Also, Nora is, well, Nora.) Less understandable is that Josh buys into it or any of the other sexist tropes and assumptions he makes throughout the episode.
Erin is dragged along to the family gathering specifically to meet-kind-of-cute with Nora’s brother RJ. (Erin had offered to stay in the car, if she needed minding so badly she couldn’t stay at home. Nora says she’s not a dog, to which Erin, amazingly, chirps, “I kinda am!”) Nora’s mother chides her daughter for not warning her that she was bringing two people with, and when Nora says she tried to call but couldn’t get through, we learn that the Sergeant family is still on dial-up. This, and the shabby lighting, implies all we need to know about the socio-economic status of Nora’s family, in ways more subtle and sympathetic than having Nora’s dad just be a jerk alcoholic in the Al Bundy/Archie Bunker mode. It is for this paragon of blue collar manliness that Nora buttons Josh’s shirt so his Star of David necklace is covered. I, too, lament that this is the only outward demonstration of Josh’s supposedly dear faith, Nora, but jeeze. Also, ick, show. Ick. We have to make it clear that her father is the worst by implying anti-Semitism? It isn’t enough that he’s checked out of life, is clearly abusive (given the way his family tries never to upset him), and tells Josh he should only marry Nora if he’s hot for Nora’s mother, into whom Nora will surely turn. Nora’s mom is a better person than Nora, so that doesn’t seem so bad.
Oh and Nora’s worse than even we knew. Back when she dropped Josh like a hot potato for the Teen Wolves, because they were down with killing humans she didn’t like, Nora came back to Josh only after killing Brynn because Brynn went “The Most Dangerous Game” on a rando Homo sapiens. Nora, who is cool with killing Ray and her abusive ex-boyfriend, found killing Brynn for killing humans for sport so awful, you guys. If only she hadn’t exercised her agency to do what she wanted and make mistakes and had stayed with Josh, none of this would ever have happened! I am giving this show the side-eye so hard right now. Josh tries to say he’s just as bad, but even Nora refuses to let Josh tell her it’s okay to be herself and calls him out for forgiving the people he loves too easily. Which: WORD. I’m less sold on Nora’s praise that Josh is always “looking for the good in people.” Aside from those he is sleeping/living with (and even then), Josh is hyper-judgmental of people and assumes the worst of their intentions.
Consider RJ, Nora’s brother. He makes a friendly overture, with beer, to celebrate his sister’s impending engagement with her (his dad spilled the beans), which Nora, because she is terrible, rebuffs. (“We don’t do this.” This? Celebrate one another’s good fortune?) Left alone when Nora runs off, RJ resumes shrugging shoulders and not making eye contact with Erin to indicate that he likes her. RJ is funny, gently corrupting (versus the murderers surrounding him in that house), and the worst sins he commits are a) giving admitted drug user Erin a beer and b) making out with her a little without caring how old she is. I don’t buy that RJ is more than a biscuit older than Erin (Daddy Sergeant clearly keeps the house in booze, so he doesn’t have to have been twenty-one to get at beer), so it doesn’t read as creepy that he doesn’t want to make sure she’s of age. He’s a kid and he’s horny, and! So is she! Erin pulls RJ up to her room, not the other way around. Let us be clear on this: Erin wants some action. We know she’s been abused in previous foster homes and stood up to it, acting out in order to be re-placed away from perverted foster siblings. Girl knows what she will and won’t tolerate and acts accordingly. So, once more for the record, Erin is asserting her own sexuality and inviting RJ to participate. Willingly.
Too bad Josh doesn’t see it that way when he comes home to find his pseudo-adoptive daughter behind a closed door with a boy. Erin was someone that only last week Josh was afraid of because he thought she was tough enough to shiv him in his sleep. This week, Erin cannot be trusted to defend herself against a boy that she decided to canoodle while both are dressed and above the covers of her bed. Kids do more sexual things in public than what Josh walks in on. Josh, naturally, treats this discovery as though he alone could stop the rape of a defenseless nun. He screams at RJ about how young Erin is, going fully overprotective dad. (The theme of tonight’s episode: Dads are the WORST.) The concern would be touching if not for Josh subsequently turning on Erin. The words, “What the hell is wrong with you?” are uttered by Josh, re: Erin kissing a boy. (HOW DARE YOU HAVE A SEXUALITY, YOUNG LADY.) This is all an excuse for RJ and Josh to fight so the show can prove that Nora’s family is the irredeemably damned, when, in fact, her family is just…people! (Her dad is definitely the worst, though.)
I’m sorry, I have to take a break here and just go WTF SYFY!? This whole storyline is gross and repugnant, and, worse, achieves none of what the writers want us to feel. The true sin is not the sexism but that the sexism accomplishes nothing. You can be vulgar if it serves the story; without that, you’re just vulgar. Focusing just on the Erin-RJ issue: RJ is meant to be a villain because he wants to make out with a young, pretty girl who wants to make out with him. This, in a show where the leads are all murderers. It’s one of those moments where you realize that our popular culture has finally gone over the cliff on the sex vs. violence debate. We can have heroes who kill, but people who have sex—nay, kiss—and like it? Are Satan and must be destroyed, the better to make the non-sexy couples look like saints.
Think I’m joking? In the first season of Being Human, Rebecca made the mistake of throwing Aidan around for some sexy times and ended up bled to death. Josh and Nora had sex once; Nora ended up pregnant (and then a werewolf). Sally’s loving relationship turned out to be one based on chronic abuse. Season two found Sally’s mother being a philanderer (so, of course, she died). Nora wanted more than to be dependent on Josh because of her condition; her time with the Teen Wolves ended in murder and her returning to be Josh’s demure almost-bride. Sally ripped apart the ghost half of a happy couple. Aidan went back to his old girlfriend, with whom he was still in love, which ended with her dead, his son brow-beaten back into the organized vampire fold, and himself buried underground. (Symbolism!) This season, Josh is shaming women over their decisions and trying to buy a wife from her father; Aidan can’t drink from any human he wants because of AIDS the flu; and Sally kills anyone she used to know if she gets to know them again if-you-know-what-I-mean-and-I-think-you-do. To quote Clue: this is getting serious.
Sorry to get so ranty there, but it needs saying: SyFy, you’re on notice.
Compared the grating developments in the werewolf front, Aidan and Sally’s combined stories are much more satisfying. After throwing a raucous party at the flat to attract some food sources, Aidan (who is clearly not okay) and Sally (ditto) reveal their insecurities to one another. It’s a human exchange, one grounded in mutual respect, caring, and desire to connect—and possibly to have sex. Which! For all the fail elsewhere, the show manages to tease about with Aidan and Sally’s every interaction without the unresolved sexual tension overpowering the rest of the disclosures they make to one another. They manage to be understandably flawed without any of the histrionics demonstrated by their roommates.
Aidan in mourning means Aidan is suicidal; he’s feeding without precautions on random, potentially contaminated strangers and draining them almost dry. Sally, genuinely scared for her friend, confronts him for wanting to die, trying to challenge him to live. Nowhere discussed: that it might be wrong to almost kill strangers for their blood in back alleys. Because, again, murder isn’t the problem that laws since time immemorial would have you think it is. (Not for our intrepid heroes!) Sally threatens Aidan with a staking, offering to make his passing easier if he wants to die so badly. Aidan confesses that Henry’s death, his being the last vampire alive and the stress of knowing he’s one vein away from following the rest of his kin is wearing him down. It’s not helping that Josh is looking to move on with Nora and that Sally has made noise about having to leave Boston as well (the better to avoid murdering people she knew in her old life). Aidan is lonely and not handling it as well as a man who’s had two-hundred-plus years to work on that ought to do. Sam Witwer, to his credit, sells this without having Aidan wallow in self-pity.
Sally and Aidan come to a détente. She promises she won’t leave (and Josh is too codependent to leave anyway) and sets about securing a new identity as a sous-mortician for Max. Aidan will try living, despite the losses he’s suffered, starting with getting his old job back. All this is resolved with a minimum of flirtation from either of them despite the fact they reach their agreement with Sally straddling a shirtless Aidan in his bed. (This may be the first time we’ve seen Aidan’s bedroom actually.) Now why can’t we extend that complex understanding about the way people who love each other (and might want to physically love each other) relate to one another from Aidan and Sally to the werewolf clan? Aidan is even rewarded for his efforts at life by meeting a literal boy-in-a-bubble, on whom he will be feeding, according to promos for next week’s episode.
Next week: Liam reappears! Max’s undead mum doesn’t approve of Sally. We live in a world where a woman calling another woman “slut” is an acceptable thing for a promo. Keep on coming with that sensitivity fail, SyFy.