written by Howard Overman | directed by William McGregor
Most series of Misfits include an episode focusing on one of the lead character's parents, and it was high time we met the two people responsible for a reprobate like Rudy (Joseph Gilgun). Implausibly, he's tricked them into believing he's made a success of himself, while actually being a delinquent on community service in their own neighbourhood. I didn't buy that for a second, although one of the few surprises was realising Rudy comes from a decent middle-class family.
Rudy started the episode ruminating on the outrageous genealogy of the ugliest girl he's ever slept with, foreshadowing a story all about family, perception, and genetic heritage. Rudy discovered his father Geoff (Phil Cornwell), whom he idolises, is actually a frightening bully who's abusing his mistress Tina (Liz May Brice). I'd be very surprised if most people didn't correctly guess the twist that Geoff shares Rudy's super-power (like father, like son) and is actually living a Jekyll & Hyde lifestyle.
The episode lost some of its power because the script's intended surprise fell flat, but I still appreciated many of the things this episode was doing. Joe Gilgun's performances can stray into outright annoying, but for the most part Rudy's an intriguing character. A child struggling to become a man. Towards the end it even becomes clear he's beginning to realise just how much Jess (Karla Crome) means to him, and that she's perfect girlfriend material. Knowing this is the final series, I was surprised to realise I'd actually like to see Jess and Rudy hookup romantically. Phil Cornwell was also very good as Rudy's dad. It helped that he resembles Gilgun in some ways, but he was also able to bring the two sides of Geoff's psyche to life: genial dad and monstrous parent.
In the sub-plots, Abby (Natasha O'Keeffe) still feels disconnected to the group, but at least some of that's by design. She's aloof. An outsider with amnesia. It's a tough character to make involving, but giving her a girlfriend feels like a good step forward. If the rest of the series focuses on solving the mystery of Abby's identity, that could be interesting if the answer's worth the wait.
I also had a chuckle at Finn's (Nathan McMullen) scenes this week; particularly when he was confronted in the shower, naked, by the unnerving probation worker (Shaun Dingwall). That guy is a few bricks short of a tower block, make no mistake about it.
Overall, this was a fun episode that provided a strong showcase for Gilgun and Cornwell, but it did lack a sense of surprise. Maybe that's asking too much after so many years on the air, but I want to feel that Misfits is always a few steps ahead and will swerve expectations more frequently. I was also disappointed the introduction of a youth called Sam (Michael Winer), who can fly, just feels like a variation on the "Superhoodie" from series 2 and 3. The enigmatic, lone interloper on the estate. I'm interested to see where this idea goes, because at least Sam's openly revealed to the "super support group" he can fly, but Misfits will need to do something fresh and different with him.