If you’re like me, your first encounter with the actor Aidan Turner was when you saw him on Being Human BBC as the vampire, John Mitchell. Today I thought I’d look up info on his character, John Mitchell and share it with you, as well as some pictures. Enjoy!
John Mitchell (Aidan Turner) is a 117-year-old vampire (born on 29 July 1893) with the appearance of a young man in his twenties. He had chosen to give up drinking blood and preying on humans, attempting instead (insofar as it is possible) to become human, again. Like other vampires, Mitchell has enhanced strength and sense of smell, and his eyes turn completely dark when he had blood lust or when he wills it; though it appears that he is slightly weaker when he abstained from drinking blood, he could survive without it. His image cannot be captured on film and he had no reflection in mirrors. Although he can survive daylight, his eyes are overly sensitive to natural light, prompting him often to wear sunglasses outside in the daytime. He often wears dark clothing, rings and fingerless gloves. Publicly quiet and calm, he works as a hospital cleaner (a deliberate choice, as it is a low-status, low profile job, which enables him to live quietly with the minimum of commitments or chances of exposure). Mitchell is always referred to by his surname by his friends.
Born in 1893 and Irish by birth, Mitchell fought as a young soldier in World War I, when he was originally recruited as a vampire by William Herrick. He encountered Herrick after a battle, stumbled upon him and several other vampires who were picking through piles of bodies for anyone living to feed on. Mitchell agreed to feed Herrick and become a vampire in exchange for Herrick leaving the rest of his men alone. He rejoined his regiment, hoping that no one had realized that he has changed, but became so hungry that he stole poison from the medical supplies, killed one of his friends, and drained his blood before deserting the army and running away. At some later point, he rejoined Herrick and the vampire community, accepting his new vampire nature.
In his early years as a vampire (and before his conscience was reawakened), Mitchell was quite a hero within the vampire community, who still circulate stories of his exploits amongst themselves. These seem to be a cause of great guilt for Mitchell who has asked Herrick to stop the retelling of the stories as he would prefer to be forgotten. At several points, he has faced a conflict of emotions as he debated whether to “convert” people dying around him to prevent their deaths. In the 1960s, Herrick gave Mitchell the opportunity to kill a young girl that they had lured into their car. Mitchell showed guilt and anger at the easiness of the kill and let her go. He told Herrick that she had escaped, prompting the suspicious Herrick to say that he would keep a closer eye on Mitchell. Mitchell has attempted several times to abstain from drinking blood (one attempt was a New Year resolution for 2000, with the aid of a fellow vampire called Carl). At this time, Mitchell showed an extreme addiction to blood, as well as heightened aggression, lack of control and extreme panic due to blood withdrawal.
Mitchell’s reluctant rescue of the werewolf George from a squad of fellow vampires, and the subsequent development of their friendship, further awakens his conscience, and he eventually opts to drift away from the vampire group in Bristol and to join George in living quietly. After “converting” Lauren into a vampire (as covered in both the pilot episode and Series One Episode 1), Mitchell, infuriated at himself, decides to fully give up the blood and to attempt “being human” once more. He continues to take care of George, particularly around the full moon when George transforms.
In episode 3 of Series 2, Mitchell has become the new “king” of the vampire group in Bristol, hiding evidence of their feedings, recreating their human front and intending to wean them off blood, although his activities are hampered by such problems as Ivan–his oldest apparent “recruit”–being unable to completely forsake blood after so long, forcing him to allow Ivan to feed in secret while maintaining his public front. After the deaths of his vampire group by an explosion at the funeral parlor, subsequently receiving confirmation that they have been betrayed by the coroner despite a deal he had made, Mitchell realizes that he has wasted his time trying to hide his blood lust and goes on a frenzy with Ivan’s widow Daisy. Paying a last visit to George and Annie, he briefly seems to return to normal when warning George to stay away from cities in future before returning to his more arrogant, blood-crazed ways. A confrontation with a priest while searching for Lucy reminds him that George saw him as a good man when he was injured by Herrick, and reveals Lucy’s connection to the organisation that seeks to “cure” George and Annie. Finding the organisation’s headquarters, Mitchell confronts Lucy, countering her claims that he and his kind are evil with both the theological argument that God made them just as he made mankind and by pointing out that she killed despite having a choice, but he nevertheless refuses to kill her or Kemp. He later shows evident grief when Lucy is killed by Kemp.
At the start of Series 3, Mitchell enters Purgatory to rescue Annie (following a terminally ill patient at the hospital where George and Nina now work through the Door after his demise). Although his mission is successful, he also learns that the time and date of his death have been confirmed, and he would be killed by a werewolf at some unspecified (but apparently not-too-distant) future date. While claiming to Annie that he has not believed a word of what he heard, Mitchell is in fact increasingly haunted by both the “prophecy” of his death and by the continued police hunt for the person responsible for the “Box Tunnel Twenty” massacre. He rejects an offer to depart Britain to live with the vampire “Old Ones”, commenting during a talk with permanently teenage vampire Adam that his friends help him remain clean as their goodness inspires him by forcing him to think about the disappointment they would feel if he were to succumb to his thirst.
After a confrontation with vampire “fan” Graham, Mitchell tries to tell Annie the truth about the massacre, but Annie simply tells him that whatever he had to tell her does not matter, assuring him that all she wants is the man he is now and that what he had done in the past does not matter compared to what he has done for her and George. The two finally admit their love for each other and begin a romantic relationship. Although Annie tries to find ways for their relationship to become physical at first, Mitchell eventually admits that sex has always been about violence rather than love with him, and suggests that their “pure” relationship can be better than a sexual relationship.
Mitchell has a tense relationship with werewolf vampire-hunter McNair due to Mitchell’s concerns regarding the “prophecy” of his death (despite having claimed to Annie that he does not believe in fate). He reaches a certain understanding with McNair once they work together to save George and Nina from a group of vampires, although McNair still feels that Mitchell’s sins will catch up to him eventually. When Herrick returns to life, Mitchell initially attempts to stake him–particularly after Cara stakes herself before being able to tell Mitchell how she and Daisy have brought Herrick back. He is convinced by George to let Herrick live on the grounds that he deserves the same chances everyone had given Mitchell.
When Annie learns about Mitchell’s role in the massacre, she tearfully convinces him to allow himself to be arrested. Mitchell goes along with it to prove his love for her, even as he tries to escape being processed due to the risks if his true nature is exposed. Although Herrick releases Mitchell–revealing in the process that his resurrection was aided by the fact that he was torn apart rather than just being staked–Mitchell finally stakes Herrick when he concludes that he has seen and done enough in his life.
On hearing the news that another man has been framed for the Box Tunnel Twenty massacre, Mitchell recognizes that other vampires has set up that frame, and will call in a favor from him later. Sickened by his ultimate inability to escape his past, Mitchell decides that he wants to free his friends of the taint he has brought to their lives. He returns to Honolulu Heights to ask George to kill him–not realizing that he is being followed by Wyndham, one of the Old Ones. George is initially reluctant to carry out Mitchell’s wishes, but once Wyndham has spelled out his plans to use Mitchell as an “attack dog”, George stakes Mitchell in order to save him from this final abuse. George’s last words to Mitchell are, “I’m doing this because I love you,” to which a grateful Mitchell responds, “I know,” before he dies.
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