That said, if my coworkers ask me why I'm so despondent this week, what do I say? "Oh don't mind, me, just a bit overly invested in a fictional narrative, lalala."
Uh, that was nearly perfect, and for me it casts the whole season into a nearly-perfect light. Not even quite sure where to start. Um.
This character has put me on a rollercoaster, ya'll. Over the course of three seasons he's slowly gone from being my number one vampire boyfriend to public enemy number one. I have literally been shipping Mitchell/Stake since episode two of this season. WHY THEN AM I INCONSOLABLE ABOUT HIS DEATH. I--I may never be the same! What are you that you could do this to me, John Mitchell?
I think it's a mixture of two things -- it's because his arc ended precisely the way it needed to, and because there's a level of complexity to his monstrosity. Because yeah, to me Mitchell has been literally monstrous this season in a way that's been almost too hard to watch, and has been getting steadily worse since LAST season. He is manipulative, profoundly dishonest (to himself, to others) cowardly, self-obsessed, masochistic in a way that is destructive to those around him, MONSTROUS is really a good word. He lies to Annie, to George, uses them, stops at nothing to survive at the expense of them and others. Oh, and not to mention he's an actual MASS MURDERER. But there's something beautiful in how the show never lets him get away with it. No other show holds vampires so accountable as Being Human held Mitchell accountable. Is there another vampire narrative in existence that treats human lives as important in the way Being Human does? Is there? (Because no, Vampire Diaries does not. It comes close with characters who aren't Damon, but unfortunately Damon kills the most people, so.) Whithouse never shies away from showing Mitchell for what he is, the ugliest parts of him and it's not tortured and romantic, it's disgusting. I could barely even look at him this season.
So in that way it really made sense and rang true for me, because it was so unflinching. This is a guy who clings to savior figures, takes all the responsibility for his actions off of himself. He did it with Josie, he did it with Lucy, he did it with Annie, which I'll never forgive him for when he KNEW she'd been through abusive relationships before. As sweet as he was in series one, he'd committed atrocities before that -- he goes through periodic cycles of abuse and destruction, and he was going to keep doing it for as long as he lived. Annie stopped that cycle, she and eventually George (more on Annie's amazingness later). Finally he met people who loved him enough not to accept his bullshit once they saw him clearly.
It's sort of presented as an actual sickness, his vampirism, like an addiction. The symptoms were textbook, even. And it really came through, especially in the end, how much he really does love George and Annie under all that sickness, even as he used them and manipulated them and hid behind them. And it really came through how much they both love him, even as they started to realise and accept what he was, what he'd always be. That's exactly what was so heartbreaking about his ending, because it NEEDED to happen, and everyone knew it, but they still loved him. I was nearly sobbing.
I'm proud of Toby Whithouse for seeing this narrative through in the most satisfying way, and not backing out or leaving things open for Mitchell to return. It's better this way, much as it hurts. Even if it took Aidan NEEDING to leave the show for this narrative to exist, I'm happy that it was handled the way it was, and that it exists now, because it was tightly-written and intense and nearly perfect. I feel like the balance of nature has been restored after Damon Salvatore, lmao.
Now. Annie. Annie. Make no mistake, Annie is fucking fantastic. Not too many characters resonate with me the way she does, she is like the perfect storm of subtle writing and characterization and Lenora's acting and I LOVE HER SO MUCH. I was so worried about her this season, because it was shaping up to be all about Mitchell's self-obsession and more of Annie's subplots getting picked up and dropped, and less of her being proactive/having agency. I really didn't want to watch her falling in love with a Mitchell who clearly was just using her for his redemption, not when she is especially vulnerable to men doing this sort of thing to her, manipulating her, and she has a history of being blind to it. It was another thing about the season that's been almost impossible for me to watch because here's Annie, trapped between existences, unable to be seen or heard or touched, desperately clinging to the few things and people who ground her to this world. Of course she falls for Mitchell, of course she does. It broke my heart.
But that was so, SO not all there was to her story this season. She's a hero, y'all. It's a little harder to see with characters like Annie, who aren't loud or snarky or traditionally "fierce". But the way the show makes use of the strengths she does have is masterful and subtle. Annie is painfully earnest, hopeful, optimistic, and so bursting with love it's almost uncomfortable to watch. She's also deeply flawed; her insistence on seeing the good in people ends up getting herself and others hurt, and stops her from seeing situations as they really are. But at her core, she's deeply empathetic. She cares about people, relates to them, and it's that empathy that, at multiple points during the season, saves people, gives her strength, and allows her to see situations the other characters can't. Able to empathize with Lia, with Sasha, with Cara, with Wendy, with Nancy, and in each case she ends up helping or learning from each of them because of it. (I will expand on this at some point, but this post is too rambly already haha).
And most importantly she empathizes with every human victim she comes across. It's intrinsic to who she is, so when she finds out about what Mitchell did on that train, she can't accept it or forgive it, to hell with that tired "love conquers all" crap because those people had families and lives. ("Do you even know who you're in love with" KILLED ME because she looked at him and realized he couldn't possibly know her if he'd expect her to accept what he did, and it hurt so much) And yet she STILL is unable to watch Mitchell suffer alone or give up on him completely, so she promises to stay with him in prison? ANNIE WHY SO GREAT. Their first scene in the finale gutted me, because there's Mitchell, manipulative to the end with his "that man isn't me anymore" bullshit, and there's Annie, not letting him get away with it for a second, not letting him play the victim at all. That moment when Herrick shows up and Mitchell goes with him without a second thought was heartbreaking, because I think it wasn't until then that the stalwartly-hopeful Annie REALLY understood that Mitchell's beyond saving. And he really, really is.
Lastly re: Annie, her shining moment in this episode was obviously Lia, and how she knew exactly how to get through to her. And then, AND THEN, her pointing out to George that letting Mitchell go would be a choice every bit as much as killing him, and then George looks at her before staking Mitchell and she just nods -- I'm so proud of Annie I don't even know what to do with myself. PERFECT CHARACTER.
Now, to Georgeface. <3 George and Mitchell/George basically killed me. I can't take it when Russell Tovey cries! I can't. He cries, I cry. Clockwork. Again with how this show constantly and relentlessly stresses how important human life is, how horrible what Mitchell did was, and how it corrupts everything and everyone. George has known more about Mitchell than anyone, even at the end of series 2 he knew, but deliberately he turned a blind eye out of love. (He was also an enabler for Mitchell, and jeeze, the addiction parallels I can't even.) The moment in the cage when George sees Mitchell, REALLY sees him for the first time was clearly the turning point for everything. Right when George sees Mitchell for the monster he is and what he's been a party to, THAT'S when Mitchell realizes he has to put a stop to it. Just gorgeous symmetry there. I think it's that friendship that I'm going to mourn most of all. It was all so pitch-perfect, George not being ready, Mitchell realizing how much he's corrupted George, the two of them having that beautiful scene where Mitchell tries to make him believe everything they had was fake, and then he breaks down into emotional honesty. I CAN'T. I want to cry again just thinking about it!
George: What happened to you?
Mitchell: It won.
I love this show for making me feel both gutted and profoundly relieved when Mitchell died. Just amazing, amazing.
And Nina! NINA. She's been utterly flawless throughout this season. We needed her perspective as someone who has no reason to be as attached to Mitchell as Annie and George are. The way she calls him out on his emo bullshit in this episode, I get shivery just thinking about it. But it's much more complex than that. She lashes out at Mitchell when he tries to make George be the one to kill him because she views everything through the lens of what it means for George, for her and George, this woman who's been through so much with and for George, and who George relies on so much just to hold him together. There's always been this weariness in Nina when it comes to that, like a weight of responsibility. Because she knows how much George needs her and it takes a lot out of her, but she loves him so much anyway, and it's just masterfully done. We never lose her perspective in all of this.
+ Whithouse lost points for manipulating my emotions when it came to that DCI chick. Who was flawless and amazing and deserved her life.
+ I think Herrick not realising Mitchell would kill him was a little too pat, plus it was a little TOO easy for Mitchell to kill him, but I am glad of two things: the emphasis on the fact that he's "proper dead" (and so in turn is Mitchell now) as well as the way it wrapped up quickly enough to allow for maximum final moments for the OT4.
+ Lia ♥ So glad to see her back, and I'm glad she wasn't vilified for what she did. Lia/Gilbert OTP. Also when she goes in for the hug, and Annie's reaction to it, just. FLAWLESS.
+ CONTINUITY. Not just with Gilbert haha, but with stuff like "anything that happened would've happened a lot sooner and a lot worse if it weren't for you two".
+ Nina's alive! OBVIOUSLY, I just thought I'd mention it. ETA: Does anyone else think it looked kinda like Annie bent down to either kiss Nina or whisper something and then she just woke up? What was thaaaat. I mean it was explained with the werewolf thing, but.
+ Tom and McNair! I kinda love Tom, even though he was kind of just there as a red herring in the episode and I'd love to know what happened to him.
+ The fakeout with Mitchell's death was cruel. At that point I was like "DO IT DO IT OH GOD DO IT LAHFLKDHF" and then new baddie rolls up and interrupts things. Of course, once he promised Mitchell that he'd make him his henchman or whatever, I was about 90% sure George would go ahead and stake him anyway.
+ "I think you've got a fight on your hands." OH KIDS. That final shot. I can't wait for season 4.
+ I do miss Mitchell, but it's the old Mitchell I mourn most, the potential of him back before he started this cycle again. Not even sure how I'm going to watch season one ever again without sobbing actually. However, this Mitchell? He had to GO, and kudos to Whitehouse for going there.
Sorry this is rambly, haha, but I am BEYOND pleased.
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