Friday, 26 November 2010


Friday, 26 November 2010

Love is in the air for episode 3, which continued the quality of last week's sensation, despite a few shaky moments. The big surprise was seeing the mystery of the Superhoodie answered so early, until you realize we're almost halfway through series 2. The advantage of British TV having such short runs is that storylines develop so rapidly it's impossible to get bored; the disadvantage is that you lose the slow-burn that raises anticipation to fever pitch. Could we have done with a few more weeks of teasing? Whatever your opinion, the Superhoodie's reveal definitely spun Misfits in a less predictable trajectory...

This week, Kelly (Lauren Socha) was accompanied by Nathan (Robert Sheehan) and Simon (Iwan Rheon) to a tattoo parlour to get her faded "tramp stamp" touched up, only for bigmouth Nathan to insult her tattooist Vince (Nathan Constance) by questioning his sexuality. Vince exacted revenge by turning Nathan gay and hopelessly besotted with Simon, using a super-power he's acquired that enable his tattoos to influence the people who wear them. This was the week's comic relief storyline, with randy Nathan becoming obsessed with the bewildered Simon (who was unsure how to take renowned joker Nathan's advances), with Vince as the episode's freak-of-the-week villain to defeat. It was an unusual super-power, which gave the story a certain freshness and creativity. Vince was like a twisted version of Cupid, shooting his tattoo-arrows into people to alter their behaviour, while his comeuppance was absurdly amusing, with Simon realizing Vince's "kryptonite" was a nut allergy ("remove the tattoos or I open the nuts!")

Meanwhile, Alisha (Antonia Thomas) was determined to unmask the Superhoodie and, after noticing he appears whenever the gang's in trouble, she intentionally provoked a fight with a passer-by to lure the Superhoodie out into the open. Her plan worked, but she took tumble and banged her head, waking up inside the Superhoodie's lair to realize the masked man is none other than... Simon!? But this wasn't the shy and withdrawn Simon she knows from community service; rather a "Future Simon" full of confidence, smouldering intensity, and ashen muscles. It wasn't long before they had passionate sex together, partly because her incommodious super-power (that the libido of those who touch her goes into overdrive) doesn't appear to work on Future Simon, so it was a relief to have physical contact of someone in control of their actions.

The Simon/Alisha storyline was the core of episode 3 and its most appealing element. I love how Misfits steals from previous superhero stories, but makes them work in its own universe, with enough twists to keep it feeling fresh. Alisha waking up in Future Simon's hideout was reminiscent of Vicky Vale being taken to the Batcave in Tim Burton's Batman; the lair itself resembled the temporary Batcave from The Dark Knight; Future Simon revealing his identity to Alisha reminded me of Superman II (when Lois Lane discovered shy Clark Kent's secret and was taken to his Fortress Of Solitude); and Future Simon's intention to protect the timeline and ensure certain key events happen echoed a situation in season 1 of Heroes with time-traveller Hiro and his future counterpart.

Some people might consider it a letdown that Simon was revealed as the Superhoodie, but it worked well for me. I assumed the 'hoodie would be a regular character from the start, and the only reason I doubted myself was that it felt too obvious. But despite some predictability, it was never a foregone conclusion and Future Simon's reveal in the shower was still an edge-of-your-seat moment leading into an ad break. Iwan Rheon also did well playing two different characters, and I thought it was a wise decision not to make Future Simon the vastly different to the Simon we know. While he was noticeably more self-assured and charming, he was still reserved and sensitive.

In a minor subplot laying groundwork for a future story, Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) apologized to Nikki (Ruth Negga), the girl whose flat his friends vandalized because they thought she was the Superhoodie. She's evidently not be the parkour-loving superhero, but she is the girl Nathan saw in his own future (as a costumed superhero), and someone he believes he'll become close to over time. Interestingly, we learned that Nikki has a heart condition that makes her dependent on an oxygen tank, and she's waiting for a transplant with a suitable donor. It looks like Curtis and Nikki are going to become closer over this series, but it's uncertain if she'll be the one inspiring him to become a fully-fledged superhero, and how her heart problem will factor into this storyline.

Overall, this was another very strong outing for E4's superhero comedy-drama, skillfully taking the story to a whole new level. The great thing is that everything comes from a place of character, and Misfits allows the actors to perform in a way you don't often see in this genre. When you compare this show to how the younger characters in Heroes were treated, it makes that show look rather laughable and naïve. I'm slightly concerned about how series 2 is going to develop, as it's now embracing a bigger scope that feels like a risk. The show has largely succeeded because its concerns are small-scale and relatable, but Future Simon represents a more epic mythos. That said, I suspect the hints of a game-changing future for the gang will be undone, as timeline are always in flux, and I doubt writer Howard Overman is in any rush to have Simon become this tranquil porcelain-skinned hero. Is a big reset button waiting to be pressed?

  • Future Simon informed us that the present-day Simon loses his virginity soon, but not to Alisha. Who's going to be the lucky girl?
  • Where exactly is the Superhoodie's lair? How did Future Simon come to be in the past? Does Curtis develop the ability to send other people back in time? And why is he immune to Alisha's power now?
  • A prediction: Future Simon isn't our Simon. While we believe the reveal of the Superhoodie has been done early, the big disclosure will be discovering the Superhoodie's a villainous shape-shifter?
  • In one scene, Simon told Alisha that it's inevitable that one day their secret will be exposed and then everything will change. Alisha herself saw a news report in Future Simon's lair that had her being interviewed as one of the "ASBO 5", hinting that they become famous. My nitpick is that the misfits aren't unique, as most weeks there's a new super-person in the mix, but the characters continue to act like they're the only ones affected by that freak storm.
  • I think I mentioned this last year, but I hate the lack of episode titles. It just feels so clumsy referring to "episode 3". Would it hurt to give us titles, Mr Overman? I like titles.
  • I loved how Future Simon and Alisha's moment of passion was a scorching hot sex scene, in contrast to self-appointed ladies man Nathan's attempt to shag Kelly – which was an embarrassing fumble that ended on a "finger-puppet" joke to break the awkward mood.
  • Was it me, or did the musical score take on a Dark Knight vibe this week?
WRITER: Howard Overman
TRANSMISSION: 25 November 2010, E4/HD, 10PM