Following on from last week’s episode, in which Tom was cast in the role of trusting child, it’s another Tom-centric episode this week, but one which allows him to be mentor for a change, as he takes new werewolf, Bobby, under his wing.
Bobby, as played by Ricky Grover (EastEnders), is a natural mirror to Tom, being someone, like him, who sits awkwardly in the modern world: his attitudes and instincts – even his fondness for telephone answering machines – being distinctly old-school. It’s Bobby’s journey which is at the heart of this episode; but he’s not the only character fumblingly seeking the acceptance of a peer group and an escape from the past.
Crumb, who makes a reappearance this week, is hoping in death to enjoy some of the social interactions he never enjoyed in life. Viewers who haven’t taken to Crumb may initially resent his return, as once again, he is a means for horror to be played for awkward laughs. But if his story starts out as cringe comedy, it ends up in a different place altogether – one which may redeem him in the eyes of the viewer.
As we saw in the scene when Crumb devoured his sister and niece, Crumb is genuinely conflicted about his vampirism, even as he delights in its sensual indulgences. But the ultimate barrier to him becoming human is not his undead status, it is his pride: the arrogance of the little man which clings to him even in death, and which finds cause for resentment in the opportunities and successes of others.
Add to the mix Dominic Rook, who, in the abrupt curtailing of his career, has reasons for resentment of his own, and there is a lot of vanity and thwarted ambition for the Devil to make use of. Captain Hatch is the very model of dishevelled old world ‘charm’ this week – a champion of traditionalist values in the face of a changing society, every unrighteous insinuation spluttered with the conviction of a tabloid headline.
It is an uneasy delight to hear Hatch talk of the ‘sanctity of the confessional’: the language of the Church being, ironically, his calling card. But, as we have seen in previous weeks, he who listens to the Devil has his cards marked, and this knowledge is compounded by the awareness that, with only two episodes to go, it can only be a matter of time before someone sees through his game.
Airs at 10pm on Sunday 24 February 2013 on BBC Three.
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