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Wednesday, 16 of October of 2019

Being Human – “It’s My Party and I’ll Die If I Want To”

“The easiest person to hate right now is you.”

 

Aidan, held by the Dutch, watches Suren's last moments.

"This was my worst idea since those chops in the '70s. Maybe even that mustache in the '20s. I can't be trusted with facial hair."

The best times on this show are the morning roundtables. Aidan sucks down blood from a coffee mug like a cup of joe. Josh rifles through the paper and eats breakfast as the only patron of the house who eats his food with a fork or spoon. Sally kicks up on the counter or in one of the chairs, watching the corporeal exist. They laugh, they chide, they discuss the things in their lives as if those things only ever happened to them.

And this good humor between monsters was the point of Aidan and Josh moving into the house in the first place: to have a corner of the world away from the horror of their other-worldly existences where they can commune with their inner human. While last season included only minor intrusions on that happy home (Rebecca’s occasional appearances, Josh’s maker hanging out), the season one finale obliterated their home’s hide-and-seek base quality.

Bishop’s flaming charge into unwelcome turf shattered a window and shattered their beautiful dream. This season has marked several instances where their domestic pursuit has been tread upon, maimed, bled, and haunted. If the first season was about protecting their home from the truth of their natures, this second season has been about exposing the fantasy as impossible when the house is infested with repressed nightmares.

The house has become more nest than home. But, by the end of this season finale, we see the house as more happy than it has been in some time.

The house probably hates Josh the least. As the de facto owner (the one that can invite people in and the one that wants this place to be a safe haven the most), he deals the least damage to the place. In fact, if it weren’t the other monsters pinning him in (like during that whole Reaper fiasco that put Sally and Zoe on the outs), all of his misadventures would occur out of the home. And what a litany of misadventures he had: from trying to be the domestic werewolf (that provides inconspicuous transformation shelter for him and his turned girlfriend) to werewolf epidemiologist and then back to where he was last season before Nora’s change, a romantic trying to hide his monster.

It should be noted that Josh is a reactionary character. Stuff happens to him, like the universe continually throwing up obstacles to complicate his dream of being normal. Even his sole attempt at seizing his life stems from a random bit of happenstance: a rare eclipse sends him into a frenzy that positions the love of his life into oncoming traffic. The man that has been increasingly careful about his monster lets circumstance define his existence. Until Julia gets hit by that car and leaves him with a message that will haunt him forever (“I loved you enough, Josh. You just never believed it.”), his life is only about controlling what he can and weathering the constant onslaught from what he feels he cannot.

With one love of his life gone, he has the opportunity to do him and the other love of his life (Nora) a favor by murdering Ray. But to kill human is a little too proactive for Josh so it’s no wonder he tries to enlist Aidan to help him. But when Aidan can’t make it (he has his own slice of Hell to contend with), it’s also no wonder Josh just allows the universe to collapse on him again, for a beast more attuned to “carpe diem” to pin him down with his own silver-loaded gun, and for his hobbled girlfriend to have to show up in order to at least stall his quick end. The house to Josh is not just a safe haven free of monsterdom. It keeps his evil destiny at bay. Even with his life at risk, he does the house the favor of a least keeping his trouble beyond its walls.

Aidan, meanwhile, trespasses all over the sanctity of the house when he brings his sired (and skinned) son to his room and feeds him a couple of co-eds. But even he tries to bring normality to the home (double date with Suren!) and tries as best he can to keep the monster life out of it. When the orphans come for his help, he turns them away from the house. When he makes the decision to run away with Suren, he takes it far, far away from the safe haven. And when he looks for trouble, he goes to it and doesn’t invite it in.

Though the plan to kill Mother is one of the dumbest I’ve ever heard. Not even remotely thought out. Aidan’s been a vampire for just shy of 250 years but Mother’s been around for close to 2500. The woman’s seen it all and has become insanely powerful. To think that he’s going to end her when she’s eating her feelings or maxing and relaxing in the basement is ridiculous. I don’t know if I was supposed to believe that Aidan was being rational with this plan or if this is Aidan being so lovestruck and dumbfounded by the recent course of events that he can’t think straight. Read a vampire book, Aidan: it’s suicide to go mano a mano with a vampire exponentially older than you. They have the vampire Force. Am I surprised that Aidan and Henry are captured? No, because they’re idiots. Am I surprised that Mother kills Suren? Immediately yes but then — no. Am I surprised that Aidan gets buried? A little. Why not just kill him? Why would Mother keep him alive, particularly with so much of his reckless insubordination. But at least it’s far away from the confines of that tortured house.

Even though Aidan went back on his promise to keep the house as monster-free as possible, none of what he did there compares to how much Sally has tortured it. Granted, she was never part of the monster-free pact between the gentlemen, but with her poltergeisty panic attacks and the literally tempestuous outbursts from her ghost-schizophrenia, the house has suffered greatly the emotional roller coaster of Sally’s afterlife.

But what’s bad for the house has been good for us to watch. Last season found Sally to be whiny and self-important. Missing that Door was the best thing for her narratively. Skipping the Door entered her into an existential universe of the after-afterlife. If meaningfulness can be derived from a belief of what comes after death, and further meaningfulness can come from being admitted to a realm different from the limbo between death and Door, what can be drawn from an undocumented existence after the Door is gone, maybe for good? With nothing to strive for, Sally essentially becomes the disillusioned youth who no longer believes in God. She experiments with things in her world that are frowned upon by ghostly society. Possession is like dropping acid where she can feel things she wouldn’t normally be able to feel and forget about her state of being incorporeal. But it also brings out a psychosis in her, one that tells her to shred.

The lesson that Sally has never really learned is that Doors seem to appear for people that’ve accepted they are now beyond the corporeal world. Sally holds onto the land of the living with a death grip and there’s no way she’s going to move on if she still has friends that breathe and desires for the physical world. Since we, as an audience, mostly understand ourselves and our world within the context of mass, it’s easy for us to think of Sally’s skillbuilding (manipulating physical objects, communicating with the living, possession, poltergeist) like she’s gaining experience points in some game, level-grinding in the monster refuge. But, in actuality, she’s regressing.

Shredding is the ultimate abjection of ghosts. By holding herself in a position apart from the other wandering souls (even if she has to create an alter ego to separate her sweeter self from the prejudice) and considering herself a proper judge of all that is incorporeal, she can deny that she is one of them. She becomes a “reaper,” a new class that’s beyond ghost and operates with a sense of justice that’s based in mortality.

When Sally’s mother’s Door appears, is she racked with jealousy or the loss of her mother she didn’t have to suffer when she was alive? She doesn’t have long to consider it since her mother offers her a way out, to use her Door and get to the other side. I’m not sure what that would do to the balance of this story world, if her mother’s sacrifice would demonstrate a human-like sense of family that doesn’t exist within the collection of souls. But Sally can’t “leave it up to chance” of whether going through the door would bring her to the place like Heaven or the place like Hell. So, she shreds herself. Suicide: another act of mortality.

But it removes her from the house. She communicates from other plane, apparently still able to manipulate objects in the living world in order to shout pleas to the breathing from beyond the beyond. But, as she does, doesn’t the house look so tranquil? It’s as if the whole place takes a deep sigh of relief and can finally settle in peace. The nightmares are gone. So, while Sally wanders a truer limbo, Aidan suffers a burial, and Josh waits for his evil destiny to close in on him, the house takes a little bit of time to enjoy the silence. Until Sally starts screaming through the radio. Rude.

Some other things about the finale:

  • “Sense. Logic. None of that matters.” Aidan really takes these words to heart when he take on Mother with a plan that’s essentially “two on one — we got the odds!”
  • “You two are totally about to go two separate killing sprees for women. That is so hot.” Is killing one person a spree?
  • Henry does tell Aidan that it’s suicide, just with a poor defense. It’s not suicide because he’s doing it for the wrong reasons. It’s suicide because Mother’s like a vampire ninja. With her own army of other vampire ninjas.
  • Just because you use “cellar door” doesn’t make your plan sound more pleasant, Aidan.
  • “Do you have any idea how many gang members are kids who’ve never even touched a gun and they kill people all the time!”
  • “You’ll be human.” Title alert!
  • The hug between Josh and Sally is sweet. I feel like their connection is the strongest since they’re both so desperate to cling to humanity. Aidan dabbles in human more out of a refutation of vampire society.
  • Why would you ask your mother to kill you, Sally? Isn’t there a stranger you can find?
  • An interesting postulate that Josh pulling the trigger makes the human part of him a monster. He’d be freed of one curse but saddled with another. So which is worse? Becoming a wolf and losing a night every month? Or a lifetime of regret only maybe partially subdued by releasing Nora from the beast, if it even works? Ray’s survival instinct relieves Josh of having to consider that but this mission was doomed from the beginning. Josh wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger and he’d eventually do the math.
  • The montage of werewolf transformations makes me feel shame for this show. If next season we can avoid seeing the actual turning, I would be forever grateful.
  • My speakers aren’t good enough to capture Scott’s smooth bass. I feel like I need to get better acoustics to fully appreciate his voice.
  • Aidan made a deal with the Dutch for him and Suren. Is that the only thing that’s going to save him?
  • God, that Atlee the Ginger Dutchman is such a weaselly-looking mofo. Kind of like Ron Weasely. Ron Weasely really isn’t all the weaselly-looking, I suppose. But you’d expect him to be. “Weaselly” looks weird to you now, doesn’t it?
  • When Aidan tells them to close the coffin, it looks like he’s been getting acting lessons from Tim DeKay.
  • Who the heck has that kind of radio anymore?
  • Sally doing her GOB Bluth impression. “I’ve made a huge mistake.”

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