Stars: Sam Witwer, Meaghan Rath, Sam Huntington, Kristen Hager, Amy Aquino, Connor Price, Helen Colliander, Katharine Isabelle, Gianpaolo Venuto, Kyle Switzer, Deanna Russo
Writer: Nancy Won, adapted for U.S. television by Jeremy Carver & Anna Fricke, created for U.K. television by Toby Whithouse
Director: Paolo Barzman
Network: Syfy, Mondays @ 9 PM
Airdate: January 27, 2014

Sam Huntington as Josh in BEING HUMAN "Lil' Smokie" | © 2014 Philippe Bosse/Syfy

Sam Huntington as Josh in BEING HUMAN "Lil' Smokie" | © 2014 Philippe Bosse/Syfy

BEING HUMAN is at its best when its characters are bonding. Only Sally (Meaghan Rath) and Nora (Kristen Hager), and Nora and Josh (Sam Huntington) get to spend quality time in “Lil’ Smokie,” but even when everyone is separated, the episode underscores what they all mean to one another. The script by Nancy Won also finally acknowledges what has seemed to be a spot of narrative blindness in having Josh – who has just gotten his nurse job back again – observe to Aidan (Sam Witwer) that between the two of them and Nora, they’ve taken a combined eighteen months of sick leave from their duties at the hospital. “When is the administration going to catch on that you, me and Nora are, like, the worst nurses ever?”

Aidan is jumped and kidnapped by a couple of vampires who turn out to work for Aidan’s “son” Kenny (Connor Price). Aidan is surprised to see Kenny alive at all, and even more surprised to see him looking good, as he seemed to have died of the vampire plague. Kenny shows Aidan his new vampire nightclub and invites the older vampire to help run Boston. Aidan has already run Boston, first with Bishop, then with Mother, and has no desire to do it again.

Josh is experiencing the wolf rising in him whenever he’s threatened. He knocks down a colleague at work, chases a man on a jogging trail and finally turns into a Lon Chaney-type werewolf when he’s cornered by a couple of vampires. When he arrives home in great distress, Nora gives him a loving pep talk, saying that he’s stronger than the wolf – the wolf is alone, whereas Josh has himself, Nora, Aidan and Sally.

Sally is still trying to decipher the book of spells she used to rescue Josh from being a full-time wolf. The spells on the pages keep vanishing and being replaced by new text. When Sally finds what seems to be a spell to conjure up her door (the one that will let her pass on), it starts to vanish and when she tries to use it, she allows a gateway for Donna (Amy Aquino) to enter. Donna still insists that it’s too dangerous for Sally to be topside and that the two of them are linked. When Donna forces Sally to mimic her movements, Sally rebels, burning up Donna, the book and almost incinerating herself before regaining control.

Later, Sally realizes that the book has become part of her and she now knows it by heart. Nora is upset to hear that Sally was trying to find her door – she doesn’t want Sally to leave. Sally uses her new magical knowledge to erase the scars on Nora’s stomach, caused by Nora’s brutal ex (who Nora eventually killed while she was in wolf form). However, using the magic causes Sally to travel through time. She is at the house at a party in the Seventies, where Sally again sees the young girl who will be murdered by a coven, but at the party, the girl is circulating, asking people if they want “lil’ smokie.” When Sally returns to the present, she sees the words “don’t leave me” on a wall in blood and thinks she is meant to somehow help the girl.

Kenny admits to Aidan that he sent the two vamps (now dispatched by wolf Josh) to kill Josh. Kenny thought that, without Josh, Aidan might take back his “son.” Aidan is appalled – and then sees that Kenny’s face is distorted. Kenny has the power to make even other vampires see what he wants them to see – this is how he has so quickly come to power. Aidan softens, saying that Kenny doesn’t have to change his appearance. When Aidan and Kenny go back to Kenny’s club, one vampire is dying on the floor and disintegrates before their eyes. Security footage shows a massacre – committed by Aidan’s vampire wife Suzanna (Katharine Isabelle). Aidan pretends he doesn’t know who she is.

There’s quite a lot going on here. Sally’s growing witch powers add an extra dimension without betraying the original premise – it levels the playing field as far as giving her tangible abilities, and it broadens the world around the characters. The bond to Donna is worrying/interesting, and of course Aquino is so terrific in the role that we welcome her whenever she appears, despite the havoc she wreaks.

Josh’s uncontrollable wolfiness is intriguing, and Aidan slipping into paternal mode with Kenny makes absolute sense in terms of what we know of our vampire hero, never mind his resolutions to the contrary. With what we found out about Suzanna in the previous episode (that she killed her and Aidan’s son when she first turned), it makes sense that she’d be self-loathing and genocidal toward vamps. It also provides fertile ground for upcoming drama between her and Aidan.

“Lil Smokie” is big BEING HUMAN goodness.


Related: TV Review: BEING HUMAN – Season 4 – “That Time of the Month”

RelatedTV Review: BEING HUMAN – Season 4 – “Old Dog, New Tricks” – SEASON PREMIERE

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Article: TV Review: BEING HUMAN – Season 4 – “Lil’ Smokie”

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