Misfits- Series 3.4
Well, we hit the half way stage with this series, and what tricks can Overman pull to try to distinguish Misfits from the crowd. Well, seeing as the whole concept and series is lifted from funny books, why not go all out and lift the “what if” premise? This, actually, is a good idea, and one that gives Misfits its best episode since the first series. In fact, this is one of the best episodes so far, a gleeful mix of comedy, violence, crass stupidity and a good use of the superpowers.
Last series, Curtis sold his time-turning ability to The Dealer. In this series, The Dealer, Seth (Matthew McNulty) has become much more of an important presence in the Estate, and there is a fledgling relationship developing between him and Lauren Socha’s Kelly. Episode 4 is about the disastrous consequences of an old jewish man getting hold of Curtis’ Time-Turning power and botching a Hitler Assassination. As a result, he drops his mobile phone, and the future gets fucked up because the Third Reich get their hands on technology they shouldn’t have. This gives them the advantage, and they win the war leading to modern Britain being ruled by the Nazis.
Leaving aside the astonishingly ill-thought out plot hole inherent in this (would a mobile phone from the 21st Century really be that easy to reverse engineer, and surely that doesn’t give an advantage?), what we’ve got here is an alternative present, where (in a straight lift from the X-men) all people with super powers are being rounded up. There’s a resistance of sorts featuring Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) prominently, Kelly works in the community centre/ detention centre, Alisha (Antonia Thomas) is Shaun’s (Probation worker in our time/ fascist in theirs- played by Craig Parkinson) secretary/ fuck toy, Rudy (Joe Gilgun) is in hiding, and Simon has been conscripted into the Nazis.
This is a more action-oriented episode. The characters aren’t friends here, with the exception of Kelly and Curtis, and as a result, what we’re watching is the mutant registration act play out. The Nazis have rounded up the dealer, and are forcing him to take powers off people and put them in high-ranking fascists (it was nice to see ice chick from series 2 back again). La Resistance break him out, before he’s bought back in, transfers the time-turning power to Kelly and dies in a gunfight. Kelly goes back in time and sticks the nut on Hitler before whaling on him lying on the ground while saying “Why do you have to be such a dick”.
This is a funny episode, but it’s not as relentlessly crude as Misfits usually is. Kelly’s first line in the alternative present is “fucking Nazis”, which is funny and precisely the sort of thing she’d say in the real present. However, the comic high point was Rudy preparing to run to his parents, and his actions when he opens the door to find the Nazis outside. Anyway, headbutting the leader of the Third Reich is intrinsically funny.
This episode also contains the best acting from the leads of any episode so far, because they have to be restrained. Antonia Thomas puts in her finest turn, being all soft looks of loathing and whatnot, and Iwan Rheon’s distress as Simon being forced to shoot someone was top drawer. Nevertheless, this is the Socha show now, and she was on fire here. Kelly is easily the most likeable and interesting character left, and Socha has a huge amount of both charm and presence. She’s getting heavy now, and isn’t a rival sex-symbol to Thomas, but she’s great fun nonetheless.
The action, particularly the jail break and Kelly’s attack on the community centre, are breathless and exciting even if the battle at the finale is a touch contrived. Nevertheless, it was nice to see Misfits focus on action and not wallow in the relationship stuff that’s been a mainstay of the plot for far too long. Socha in particular is highly adept at screen violence, there’s a savagery she gets that is quite incomprehensible- like the beating she took in the Conti episode last series, or the kicking dished out to Hitler here. So, writers, give her more of a chance to do it.
Then there’s the downside: it’s fucking with causality again, and if Misfits ever did a monster of the week episode, then this one is it. OK, writers, a fucking iPhone is not going to help the Nazis win World War 2. It’s not compatible with anything and as such they aren’t going to be able to work out what the hell it does. Even having said that, though, I could suspend disbelief for this one, as it isn’t fatal to the story. More importantly, though, the Commandant (or whatever he was) had about as much menace as a bowl of cold porridge. When he was threatening people it was like being savaged by a small sheep. This as a result made a lot of scenes flaccid where they should have been electrifying.
Overall, this was a very, very good episode of Misfits. Faith restored. However the quibbles are such that I’m going to dock it a Superhoodie out of 4. Next episode expands on the relationship between Kelly and the Dealer, which is a crying fucking shame, as this was much more Misfits does Dr. Who (except without the cockgobbling subtext). I’ve seen a lot of complaint about it on the internets in that it isn’t the usual Superskins, but ignore them. It’s something that Misfits hasn’t been in ages: fun. Personally, I’d rather it stayed like this than endless dreary will-they-won’t-they stuff with Simon and Alisha.
See you next week,