Stars: Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, Mark Pellegrino, Sarah Allen, Terry Kinney, Vlasta Vrana
Jeremy Carver & Anna Fricke
Paolo Barzman
Syfy, Mondays @ 9 PM
March 21, 2011

In “Dog Eat Dog,” the U.S. BEING HUMAN again enters new territory and is again the better for it. Show runners Jeremy Carver & Anna Fricke have crafted an episode with good suspense, surprises and no dead spots. As a bonus, director Paolo Barzman is a veteran of HIGHLANDER: THE SERIES, which means he’s an old, deft hand at the 1940s flashbacks that show a very different relationship between vampires Aidan (Sam Witwer) and his maker Bishop (Mark Pellegrino).

Back in the day, it was Bishop who was in love with a human woman (who didn’t want to be turned), with Aidan giving incredulous criticism to the relationship. The situation is made more fraught by the presence of “the Dutch,” some millennia-old vampires led by Hegemon (Terry Kinney), who frown so much on these breaks with tradition that they kill Bishop’s maker to prove a point. Bishop is offered the vampire leadership of Boston if he’ll renounce his human lover. Bishop goes one better and kills her so that he won’t be tempted.

In the present, the Dutch have returned. While Aidan is dealing with Rebecca (Sarah Allen), who is grief-stricken and furious that Aidan killed Bernie, the little boy she turned to prevent him from dying (and to give herself and Aidan a “family”), Bishop arranges for Aidan’s werewolf roommate Josh (Sam Huntington) to be kidnapped – in order to participate in a cage match fight to the death with another werewolf.

The other werewolf, a man called the Professor, has been held by the vampires for fifteen years, long enough to have lost the will to leave. The Professor warns the terrified Josh that if he’s not locked away, sooner or later he’ll turn and/or kill someone. Ghost Sally (Meaghan Rath) urges Aidan to do something and Aidan tries to bargain with Bishop for Josh’s release. It winds up being too late to stop the fight, but Josh is allowed to go home after he wins. Aidan explains that he agreed to rejoin Bishop in exchange for Josh’s release. As they are showing the Dutch around Boston, Bishop tells Aidan that the Elders are in town with the purpose of killing Bishop.

Huntington, finally given material that allows Josh to grapple with real fear and finding courage in a horrible situation (rather than the neuroticism the character has mostly displayed so far), completely rises to the occasion. Pellegrino shines in his romantic scenes and he and Witwer display a beguiling camaraderie in the flashbacks, which also allow Witwer to be rakish and menacing. Kinney is effectively intimidating as a vampire who scares other vampires.

“Dog Eat Dog” zooms forward, with all of the boiling-over emotions propelling the plot. It’s a good hour of forward momentum.

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