Misfits 3.02 ReviewA tv review article by: Kelvin Green, Paul Brian McCoy
Bored with the direction in which his life is heading and still banned from athletics, Curtis decides to use his new gender-swap power so that he can compete again. In true Misfits style, there's a complication when Curtis falls for Emma, one of the other athletes, while he's training as his female self. But Curtis is in a predicament, because he can't tell Emma the truth about his real identity. Meanwhile, a predatory figure turns his attention to female Curtis.
Misfits airs Sunday nights at 10:00 on E4.
Kelvin: So, did you go to bed half way through this week's Misfits?
Paul: No, but Dr. Girlfriend is done with it. She's hardcore that way.
Paul: She didn't even want to watch it this week.
Kelvin: Done and done.
Kelvin: But you're sticking with it?
Paul: Yeah, I'm sticking with it, but it's not doing itself any favors. I mean, this week was better than last week in some ways and worse in some ways.
Kelvin: I agree. In general, it was an improvement, but there were still a lot of things wrong with it.
Paul: I thought Rudy worked much better as a side character than as the focus of an episode. Even if he just seemed to be Wanker all the time with no Weepy at all.
Was that the real him?
Kelvin: Yes, it's still not clear how his character works. They've not done a good job with Rudy, I agree.
Paul: I just don't get it. Is Weepy locked up in a closet somewhere?
He's in the freezer where Simon keeps his girlfriends.
Paul: Now that would be interesting. Explore that.
Kelvin: Yes, I'd give them some credit if they killed Weepy off-screen and only came back to it later. Or vice versa.
Paul: Instead we get "Curtis Explores His Power" and his ideas about women.
The exploration bit was better than I thought it would be, to be honest, but there were a lot of attached bits that had me thinking twice about the series. The ideas about women, as you say.
Paul: And Kehinde Fadipe did a nice job as Melinda, mimicking Nathan Stewart-Jarrett's Curtis.
Kelvin: Yes, I liked her a lot, and I hope they keep her around. It will be interesting to see if she takes on a larger role.
Paul: I was torn on the actual subject matter, though. As you say, the exploration was better than expected, but it still fell a little too easily into the realm of cautionary tale clichés.
Kelvin: Yes, I wasn't fond of how they dangled rape as a threat every five minutes.
Paul: It's like the writers (our first episode by someone other than Overman) felt like they needed to stick every possible negative experience in there. Like they wouldn't get another chance.
Kelvin: Yes, exactly. Why does every man turn into a sex pest when Curtis changes gender?
Paul: Very strange. It's like there was a checklist of things that have to happen to the boy who's now a girl.
Kelvin: It wasn't this prominent when Alisha had her old powers, but now BAM!
Kelvin: Suddenly everyone's a rapist.
One could argue that Curtis fell into these situations because he's not grown up as a woman, so he doesn't know how to act to protect himself from such attentions, but if that's what they were going for, it didn't come through at all.
Paul: It was just like the worst After School Special ever made, at times.
Kelvin: Yes, yes it was.
Paul: But then it would do something nice, like really allow Curtis to see himself differently and maybe even change his life.
Kelvin: Yes, there were parts that worked. It was the "issues" bits that didn't. Like Curtis saving himself from rape by turning back into a man and punching out his attacker. The symbolism is all sorts of wonky there.
Paul: Yeah, Rapey and Emma both took his changing a bit too casually. I didn't really think the rest of the cast got a fair shake this time, either.
Kelvin: You're right about that. Aside from a couple of very short scenes with Simon and Alisha, the rest of the episode was wasted on what was essentially a mistaken identity based farce.
Paul: There was really no B-Plot this time out.
Kelvin: Yes, the half-hearted farce and then the odd subplot with the power broker guy.
Paul: I almost turned it off, though, when Kelly and Alisha are following him to the cemetery and Alisha keeps asking "What's he doing?" and Kelly is all, "I don't know."
He's in a fucking cemetery with flowers, leaving them on a grave.
What the fuck don't you understand about that?
Kelvin: Yeah, it was a bit rubbish. The writing, on occasion, seems like it's been written by adults for children, and that wasn't the case before.
Paul: Simon got to make some funny faces, though.
Kelvin: Yes, I enjoyed Simon's comedy turn this episode. But then Iwan Rheon's understated comedy has always been good.
Paul: Agreed, but I don't know if it was just my mood or what, but he seemed to be written as more of a buffoon than he should be. And it was the same with Kelly and Alisha.
In fact, I can't believe the whole mistaken identity thing even played out.
They know Curtis turns into a girl, but when they see a new girl hanging out in Curtis' clothes and in Curtis' locker, no one puts two and two together? Not even the rocket scientist?
Kelvin: Yes, it was half-hearted. When Kelly saw Simon zipping Curtis-as-Mel up, I groaned because I could see exactly where it was going, and Misfits is better than that.
Or was, anyway.
Paul: It was like we switched genres from Sci-fi Youth Drama to, as you've said, Farce.
Kelvin: Yes, there's always been humour in the show, and it wouldn't be half as good without it, but it's never been so broad and so inane.
Paul: I'm really not sure what they're trying to do so far.
Kelvin: Or when it is broad, it comes from the characters (Nathan) rather than the writers.
I can't believe I'm typing this, but Rudy was really a high point this week. His character seemed more natural and there weren't as many forced Nathan-isms. He's just a wanker.
Kelvin: Yes, but that may be because he didn't get much screen time.
Paul: And I think they kept him shaved this week. He looked younger.
For a while there I thought we might be moving toward a new narrative approach for the show, with a real focus on them living their lives with their powers and no overt criminal activity.
But then the date rapist appeared.
At least he didn't have a Rape Power.
Kelvin: Ye gods, yes. At least they had that much class.
Paul: Just one of the everyday threats that young women face, I guess.
Kelvin: The episode started with this promising angle of Curtis seeing a way out of his situation, but once he had a run in with Captain Rapist, he seemed to decide that no, he doesn't want to run any more, and no, he wouldn't much rather avoid community service by being Mel.
All the toys put back in the box again.
Paul: Well, the preview for next week seemed to promise some forward movement.
Kelvin: Yes, and it's a Simon episode, so that bodes well.
Kelvin: Save us Iwan Rheon, you're our only hope!
Paul: I have a feeling it may just be all bait and switch as he uses his powers to avert a bad decision. But we'll see.
Kelvin: Well, the Evil Fanboy angle looks interesting, at least.
Kelvin: It doesn't say much that we're talking about next week's already!
Paul: So how would you score this one?
Kelvin: I thought the episode as a whole was better, as there were some interesting facets to Curtis' new power, but the heavy-handed issues-based approach didn't work for me, and some of the implications were a bit unsettling, and not in a good way.
So, I think a for me.
But only just.
Paul: Yeah, they had an opportunity to break out of the mold and try something different, but instead let clichés and a lack of daring hold them back.
at best for me, as well.
Kelvin: Well, it's an improvement at least! They might make it to the fours and fives by the end of the series!
Paul: Maybe they're just pacing themselves with the new longer series.
Kelvin: Well, there's pacing yourself, and there's starting with a whimper. For all the problems of "Let's Kill Hitler" at least it opened things with a bang.
So far, Misfits series three has been a bit bland.
Paul: I haven't checked the internet reactions. Are we saying the same things the fans are saying, or are we missing something?
Kelvin: You know, I also haven't been keeping up with reaction, but I do know that there is none of the buzz around this that there was with The Fades.
That was in The Guardian pretty much for its entire run, for example, but I don't recall seeing anything about Misfits. I may not be looking in the right places.
Paul: Well, Bleeding Cool seems to think they're not missing any beats. Not sure what to think about that.
Kelvin: Bleeding Cool...
Paul: Of course, maybe they've got an emotional stake in it that I don't.
Kelvin: They're a bit over-excitable, I find.
Paul: They were spot on for the first two seasons, and with The Fades. It's hard to let go, maybe.
Kelvin: Perhaps. It's hard to admit when something you love turns rubbish. And to be fair, it's only been two episodes. Then again, last week's was poor.
Paul: Perhaps the best is yet to come.
Kelvin: Let's hope so!
Kelvin Green erupted fully formed from the grey shapeless mass of Ubbo Sathla in the dark days before humans walked the earth. He grew up on Judge Dredd, Transformers, Indiana Jones #12, the Avengers and Spider-Man, and thinks comics don't get much better than FLCL, Nextwave and Rocket Raccoon. Kelvin lives among garbage and seagulls and doesn't hate Marvel nearly as much as you all think he does.
Paul Brian McCoy is the writer of Mondo Marvel and a regular contributor to Shot for Shot. His first novel, The Unraveling: Damaged Inc. Book One is on sale now for Kindle US, Kindle UK, and Nook, or can be sampled and/or purchased at Smashwords. He is unnaturally preoccupied with zombie films, Asian cult cinema, and sci-fi television. He can also be found babbling on Twitter at @PBMcCoy and blogging occasionally at Infernal Desire Machines.