Friday, 6 December 2013

MISFITS, 5.7 – episode seven

Friday, 6 December 2013

written by Jon Brown (story by Jon Brown & Howard Overman) | directed by Lewis Arnold

It's the penultimate episode of the last ever Misfits series, and despite this week's story being a quasi-remake of an early classic (where the first generation of misfits encountered problems with their powers after taking drugs at a rave), this one was nevertheless very entertaining and pushed the show's arcs along in big ways ready for next week's finale.

It's the first anniversary of the infamous storm. (Funny, I always assumed the passage of time was much longer on Misfits, if only because it's now unthinkable anyone wouldn't investigate the death of about four probation workers over a 12-month period.) The gang are going to celebrate with a party at the community centre, that again seems to have been planned by someone with a big '80s pop collection. The influence of creator Howard Overman's age, or a statement that Misfits' heart still resides in a Thatcherite Britain? Or maybe '80s tunes are just a lot cheaper to use? Yeah, that sounds more likely.

Rudy (Joe Gilgun) is soon told that ecstasy pills reverse people's super-powers, leading to all manner of surprises, delights and shocks. But the big issues were Jess's (Karla Crome) x-ray vision morphing into blindness, and Alex (Matt Stokoe) suddenly being able to impart super-powers through sex. The latter proved to be particularly bothersome after he'd shagged new love-interest Sarah (Erin Richards) and unwittingly changer her into a super-villain. This was a potentially fantastic development that might have fed into next week's finale, so I must say I was disappointed it was resolved in an amusing but also underwhelming manner. After Sarah had brainwashed Rudy and Finn (Nathan McMullen) with her "hypnotic tits", then proceeded to turn someone inside-out (Matt the tortoise, finally in human form after taking a pill), she was undone by her Achilles Heel—being accident prone to the nth degree. Given the big drama of Alex creating a diabolical villain with accumulated super-powers skewed towards evil, and Abby (Natasha O'Keeffe) seeing her would-be boyfriend murdered in front of her, it would have been nice to see Evil Sarah's story given more time.

Still, this is the thing with Misfits: sometimes, in its efforts to be unpredictable, it occasionally rushes over things too quickly. Still, a few misjudgements here and there didn't weaken this episode too badly. It was good to see Finn realise his best-friend's dating the girl he loves, and for Rudy to contemplate life without Rudy Two now he's fallen in lover with janitor Helen (Ellie McKendrick) and become the self-proclaimed "mentor" of the Jumper Posse of superheroes. That latter development is perhaps the oddest thing about series 5 for me, as in some ways it's shifting focus away from the core characters and onto new faces we don't know as well. I'm wondering if what we're seeing it actually a back-door pilot for a Misfits spin-off, with a group of young characters who are inherently good. Maybe that's an option for E4, if they think Misfits' 'delinquent angle' is going stale but a youth-orientated superhero drama is still viable with some retuning.

Overall, this was my favourite episode of this final series, despite some faults towards the end (like a feeling we've wasted too much time on things like Matt the tortoise if that character in human form was only due two minutes of screen time). But there were lots of memorable moments; like the angry probation worker (Shaun Dingwall) embracing his homosexuality while cutting shapes on the dance floor, and Tim (Matt Cross) the ticking time-bomb finally exploding when his video-game fantasies blurred reality and Karen (Kate Bracken) was forced to kill him with scissors.

As with most Misfits instalments, it was ultimately a jumble of unusual shit happening concurrently, but it was handled in an enjoyable manner and made me keen to see the last episode. Will the so-called 'Jumper Posse' save the community centre from something important? Will one-year-old Rudy Two leave Rudy to be with Helen and lead some real-life superheroes? Is Jess going to become pregnant as a fresh item of knitwear predicts? Will the probation worker chill out now he's found gay love? Will Finn forgive Rudy for stealing Jess? Um, will Abby get over the death of her amphibious friend? Tune in next week!

4 December 2013 | E4