Tuesday, 4 December 2012

MISFITS, 4.6 - episode six

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

written by Jon Brown (story by Jon Brown & Howard Overman)
directed by Jonathan Van Tulleken

I've missed the sense of insanity Misfits once had in abundance, even if it sometimes resulted in misfires like a love story involving a gorilla, so ultimately found episode 6 a very enjoyable watch. It could have been much more, but write Jon Brown didn't manage to elevate his potent idea into anything much beyond what it was: a giant killer rabbit on the loose at a party. This was a shame, but the group dynamic's getting stronger every week as the characters of Finn (Nathan McMullen) and Jess (Karl Crome) sink their hooks, and I'm glad we've been given a replacement for Curtis in pensive Abby (Natasha O'Keeffe)...

There was a simple idea propping up this week's episode, with Rudy (Joe Gilgun) taking Finn, Jess and barman Alex (Matt Stokoe) to a supposedly hedonistic house party organised by old mate Saunders—unaware that the host's tripped on acid while watching TV and, thanks to a dangerous super-power, accidentally hallucinated a murderous 6-foot bunny rabbit dressed like a Tarantino character into existence, whose weapon of choice is a golf club.

The killer rabbit wisely didn't dominate, although I was disappointed it didn't go on a rampage at the party. Instead, this episode was actually more focused on everyone's attempts to have sex—partly prompted by a power that suddenly displayed each one's number of sexual partners on their foreheads. Rudy (99) set about trying to celebrate a fitting centenary, leading to a chance encounter with an enigmatic young woman called Nadine (Gillian Saker); Finn (1) resolved end his humiliation by finding a shag; and Jess (2) finally made a play for Matt (46), which didn't lead to the natural conclusion she was expecting. Later, Matt's big secret was finally revealed: a super-powered transgender woman has stolen his penis and replaced it with a vagina, so he's literally lost his manhood and doesn’t believe any woman will find him attractive now. As reveals go, it was quintessential Misfits—strange, amusing and yet oddly resonant from a character standpoint. Coming after Hit & Miss last summer, just what is it with Karla Crome and transgendered people?

Part of the reason I liked this episode was simply because it got the characters out of the community centre for the entire episode, which does become suffocating after a while. I wish Misfits had the budget to spread its wings some more, but I'll take whatever respite from psycho probation workers and graffiti-cleaning I can. The house party setting had its own problems, but the hour just about managed to keep things moving forward without too much repetition. It helped that the story would occasionally retire to a neighbouring flat where people were attending a wake, if only for some light and shade. To be honest, it wasn't very clear why the wake had to exist beyond the initial joke (of Finn gate-crashing the mourners expecting a rave), but perhaps it was to emphasise stages of life? The house party represented life and sex; the rabbit-stalked corridors represented pain and death; and the neighbouring wake representing old age and the afterlife? I'm not sure.

The scary rabbit was a memorable and surprisingly effective visual, but I thought the story could have done more with the character of Saunders—who brought the creature to life, and perhaps could have dreamed up a few other crazy things, or proven instrumental in ending the nightmare. He just seemed to get forgotten about too quickly. Instead, peculiarly calm Abby was introduced in the manner of a throwaway guest-star (spent a chunk of time comatose in a bath tub), then woke up, had a wee, killed the rabbit, and has thus been promoted to regular status.

Overall, there were lots of missed opportunities and vague moments to be found here, but this episode was still a huge amount of fun--with a delightfully twisted explanation for barman Matt's guarded personality around Jess, and one of the show's more enjoyably out there ideas in a homicidal bunny.

2 December 2012 / E4