Tuesday, 27 November 2012

MISFITS, 4.5 – episode five

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

written by Howard Overman / directed by Jonathan Van Tulleken

There's been a curious lack of super-powers this series. That isn't a reason to dislike Misfits, but there's an argument it starts to lose a unique ingredient without them. I sometimes have to stop and think about what Finn (Nathan McMullen) and Jess's (Karla Crome) powers are, and had completely forgotten what Curtis's ability was until last week's reminder. This fifth episode did feature some uses of power, but it was still an episode that didn't particularly require them. Thankfully, taken as a straightforward drama about life, death, fathers, family and secrets... it was one of the better examples.

The crux of this episode was about Finn trying to find his real dad, using a group photograph of a party he's calculated must have been the date of his conception. His search wasn't going very well until he eventually found Dan (Francis Magee), a man dying of cancer who appears to fit the bill, being cared for by Finn's long-lost sister Grace (Charlie Murphy)—a girl with the ability to keep death at bay, but only temporarily. Elsewhere, Jess started to get closer to Alex "the barman" (Matt Stokoe), despite Finn's attempts to nip their potential relationship in the bud by gathering evidence that handsome Alex is a closet homosexual.

This was really Finn's episode, and McMullen was very good as the young lad desperate to find a better father figure. His connection with Dan perhaps could have been given more time, because it felt a little strange he was more interested in sabotaging Jess's relationship with the unwitting help of his new sister, but I suppose the alternative wouldn't have been as fun. I just think we deserved a few more scenes of Finn and Dan trying to form a bond, because the moment it broke would have landed a bigger blow if we'd really felt their connection. But the moment still worked well enough, because guest-stars Murphy and Magee were great and McMullen's puppy dog expressions communicate a great deal. It's just that, for me, more time should have been spent on Finn, Dan and Grace becoming a family... but I understand that's tough to justify in a show with other characters and on-going concerns.

The mystery of Alex is getting a bit tiresome already, because I think I'd had enough of Misfits hitting this button. It's mildly interesting that he has feminine traits and is tailing a man, later demanding a look at his private parts, but hard to really get excited about. The answer will come, and it will either by insanely brilliant or very stupid.

As the follow-up to an episode where a regular character died, it was mostly unconcerned with repercussions. That's understandable to a degree, because only Rudy (Joe Gilgun) really knew Curtis for longer than a few weeks, but it nevertheless felt a little peculiar. The probation worker (Shaun Dooley, stuck playing a sorely one-note character) had a perfunctory scene trying to assess Rudy's mental state after the death of his friend, but it felt very tokenistic.

Overall, I really liked the show's approach to euthanasia and most of the scenes with Finn and his new family were well-written and dramatic. They just felt like they belonged in a different show, because Misfits is usually much crazier and daring. Finn's story could have come straight out of Skins, really. I miss the show's imagination, wit and creativity just now. This series has been playing things too straight and narrow, with the occasional surprise and gross-out (which are themselves becoming a little too grubby and childish half the time). Still, the preview for next week's episode looks far more daring, fun and insane—playing like a bizarre horror movie with a giant rabbit and characters with numbers drawn on their foreheads.

25 November 2012 / E4