“I believe you would corrupt Keith Richards” Hal to Alex.
As this episode begins, we see Hal promoted to the post of Acting Manager of the hotel he and Tom both work for following the disappearance of the manager.
Tom is jealous of Hal’s success and, continuing the theme of their ongoing rivalry as stirred up by the mysterious Captain, this leads to more friction between the two of them. Desperate to gain greater success and improve himself, Tom turns to Larry, a celebrity weatherman turned werewolf, who offers to mentor him in ‘how to become successful’.
In the meantime, Hal visits Lady Mary, the 250 year old ghost of one of his victims. Alex, typically not taking no for an answer, follows him on this visit and the resultant fallout of that meeting causes some serious soul searching for all involved.
This is mostly a slow burning, character building episode which stands in severe contrast to the previous episodes, each of which built up the tension of the arc plot.
Here we have a more relaxed storyline, lacking the sinister presence of ‘The Captain’ nor much of any of the darkness this series has led viewers to expect. Instead we get a more light-hearted tale that examines some deeper levels of the characters, delving into their desires and expectations with some humorous asides.
We have the image of Tom in an ill-fitting suit, the arms folded back to fit, spouting a bunch of management-speak platitudes in an attempt to be ‘more successful’ as well as the amusing contrast between the soft spoken, elegant woman that Hal believes Lady Mary to be and the person she has become since her death centuries ago.
Her very modern response to the inappropriate advances of misogynistic bastard Larry is a prime example of this contrast.
Overall it is a well crafted and excellently performed episode but there is the sense that it is essentially filler – the arc plot is not advanced significantly and with only a few episodes left before the final ever one it has to be asked if there is any value in fleshing out the characterizations any more than already achieved in the past.
Like episode one, which examined the metaphysics of Vampires through the embrace of Ian Cram, this episode manages to look at werewolves in much the same way in the interactions between Larry and Tom.
Larry’s story is an exploration into the reasons as to why previously intelligent and successful people like MacNair (who used to be a stockbroker) and George (an intelligent linguist) seem to drop out of society after the change. Putting Larry’s story in contrast to Tom’s – who has never been part of society due to being bitten as a baby – highlights this perfectly.
The idea that werewolves acquire instincts and urges that humans do not have has been hinted at in the past but here we see how those instincts might change someone’s reactions to day to day life rather than just on the full moon.
In the past we have seen George developing Tourette’s like symptoms when he tried to suppress his werewolf urges but Larry seems to suggest that the change is deeper than that and most werewolves have some form of anger management issues to contend with. From a purely world building point of view, I find this fascinating.
To say the episode is light-hearted is not to say there is no darkness here. Larry is a deeply scarred and flawed person who essentially tries to corrupt Tom to be more like him and use him to achieve his own goals with the humour only lightly sugaring this. Mary’s plot line takes us to the heart of Tom and Alex’s dilemma over Hal and the final scenes are hinting at a pending menace which our heroes will have to face at some point.
However, if you are looking for any answers as to what is going on with The Captain or the covert government agency (which is seen here undergoing the after effects of last episodes ‘budget cuts’) this is not where you will find them.