Misfits 3.03 Review

A tv review article by: Kelvin Green, Paul Brian McCoy

Still trying to fulfill his destiny by becoming SuperHoodie, Simon saves Peter, a geeky comic-book nerd, from being mugged. Peter is in awe of SuperHoodie - at last he's found a real super-hero to idolise. Peter strikes up a friendship with Simon; a friendship that soon turns into obsession and threatens to destroy everything that Simon holds dear.

Finally, Simon discovers the true sacrifices that you must make to become a real super-hero.

Misfits airs Sundays at 10:00 on E4.

Kelvin: I don't know if I'm biased because Simon's my favourite character, and the mystery of SuperHoodie was by far my favourite plotline in series two, but this episode of Misfits seemed like it rescued the thus-far disappointing series three.

Paul: It most certainly did.

And before we go further, I need to correct a mistake from last week. I was operating under the impression that it was the first episode not written by Overman, and I was mis-remembering.

Oops.

Kelvin: Ah. Did you catch who wrote this one?

Paul: So far it's still all Overman, all the time.

Kelvin: I see.

All the more disappointing then that the previous episodes didn't capture that Misfits magic, but this one was back on form, although not without problems. The central story was more interesting and held together better than anything we've seen so far in the series.

But then, it might just be because Simon was centre stage.

Paul: No, I think this one was just better put together than the others so far. There was a strong central idea that played well with the relationships and personalities of the characters. Without relying too terribly much on clichés.

Kelvin: All the more surprising given how conventional a superhero story it was.

Paul: Yes, and we had a villain whose powers related directly to his unconscious desires, as in the beginning of the series, before all the power-swapping. I think the nature of the threat was made stronger by embracing those superhero conventions to a degree.

This one was all about being a superhero and what that demands from you.

Kelvin: Yes, you're quite right.

Paul: Plus, they didn't resolve it by just having our heroes kill the poor kid. He did that himself.

Kelvin: Yes, on one hand I liked how he manipulated things in order to make Simon a hero -- similar to how Samuel L Jackson's character in Unbreakable became a villain in order to create a hero -- but I'm not sure I liked the last sequence.

Paul: I'm not sure how the logic of that last bit works, honestly.

Kelvin: It seemed pretty straightforward -- although why the gang didn't think the villain would just go back to create more art I don't know -- but I think the ending robbed Simon of agency, and given the whole point of the episode was Simon making a choice, I'm not sure it worked.

It sort of undermined the whole thing a little.

Paul: I don't know. I kind of liked the fact that events are going to keep building from this. I don't think Simon would have been able to really give it all up anyway. He'd put the hoodie back on when it was necessary.

Kelvin: Yes, I agree, but the episode made a big deal of Simon making this choice, even if it meant throwing away his relationship with Alisha, but then it wasn't a choice in the end, because Peter made him do it.

Paul: I see what you mean, but it didn't really bother me for some reason. I just like the whole "super villain influencing things from beyond the grave" idea.

Kelvin: I think they would have been better off if Peter had just pre-written the big fight, and then left the final choice to Simon based on that. It would have still worked, but the essential point of the episode wouldn't have been weakened. Essentially, everything up to the burning of the body would be Peter, everything after would be SImon.

Paul: He scripted Alisha's behavior there too, though.

Kelvin: True.

Paul: This is probably leading up to a big moment where something horrible happens to her, which triggers Simon's travel to the past. And it may all stem from this one last "suggestion" from Peter.

My biggest question about Peter is if he had this power, why did he steal a girl's purse to play hero? Why not whip up a comic that makes him a hero? That seems a little poorly thought out by Overman.

Kelvin: Oh yes, good point. Also, as I mentioned above, why did the gang think destroying Peter's existing work would stop him doing it again in the future?

Paul: I don't know that they were thinking that far ahead. Planning isn't their strong suit.

But it was still kind of toothless and silly.

Kelvin: Yes, you'd think they'd know better by now. Oh well.

Paul: It's almost like with this episode and the last, Overman is actually trying to avoid the simple, "let's just kill the fucker" ending and give them some alternatives. Whether they're well thought-out or not.

Kelvin: Yes, you could be right there. Still, they could have broken his pencils or something!

Paul: Something.

If there was a real weakness to the episode it was surely in how Peter's power was utilized. I understand that the usage would be limited by the personality of the character. He was a decent guy, just not very experienced or all that bright, really.

But he could have been a much more serious threat.

Kelvin: Yes, it was a bit of a shame -- given the show's origins -- that we meet another comic fan and he's a socially maladjusted loser too.

Paul: His revenge for destroying his work could have been epic.

Kelvin: Yes, and probably beyond the show's budget!

Paul: True. Especially with all the Nazi memorabilia they needed for next week's episode. Giggle.

Kelvin: Do you think that's going to be a swipe at "Let's Kill Hitler"? It seems like such a coincidence.

Paul: I doubt it. They laid the groundwork for this in the Christmas episode, with what I figured would just be a one-off joke.

I guess the guy who went back in time to kill Hitler botched the job big-time.

Kelvin: You think it's connected? I suppose it could be!

Paul: I think so. But I have nothing to base that on. But it doesn't seem to be them time-traveling. It looked like an alternate present. You know. In the few seconds of preview we got.

Kelvin: Yes indeed, it did. They've never been big on continuity, so I wasn't expecting a one-line joke to come back as a whole episode. Still, that's next week.

Rudy got a fun scene this week, although it made the question of how his power works even more confusing.

Paul: It certainly did.

Kelvin: So the one without inhibitions can be browbeaten. That makes things all a bit murky.

Paul: I don't know. I guess he's normally not split, which explains the backsliding on obnoxious comments and all. He's just a wanker, but not a complete ass until he splits?

Then he's a wanker who's an ass, plus a wanker who's paranoid and weepy?

Kelvin: Yeah, I don't get it.

Paul: They really should make the distinctions between the two halves more distinct.

Kelvin: Yes, it really hasn't been handled well. One of them's super-confident... except when he's not. And the other is meek, although this aspect doesn't ever appear to be part of the combined Rudy. Er...

Paul: Well, I think most of the time we're seeing the normal, complete Rudy. I don't think we've really seen the split asshole Rudy except for a time or two.

Kelvin: Oh yes, but there seems to be little difference between confident Rudy and combined Rudy. It's weird.

Paul: Um, I should rephrase that whole "split asshole Rudy" line. Ick.

Kelvin: Yes, although British TV shows are often a bit more graphic than the US equivalent, Misfits isn't quite that graphic.

Paul: Ha!

It seems like Combined Rudy says rude things, but apologizes and hems and haws. Wanker Rudy just says rude things. Weepy Rudy just hems and haws.

I guess.

Kelvin: Maybe. At least Kelly's power is being developed further. I really like what they're doing with that.

Paul: Yes. Me too.

Kelvin: "You're a fucking rocket scientist."

"Yes I fucking am."

Paul: That was great. Too bad Alisha's been shunted off to Damsel in Distress mode every week.

Kelvin: Yes indeed. I can understand it in this episode, as they were dealing with an unrealistic superhero world, but generally she's not had a good series.

Paul: No she hasn't. And her power doesn't really open up a lot of storytelling opportunities that I can see.

Kelvin: No, although on the other hand, Kelly's seemed quite limited until they opened it up, so maybe they have something in mind.

Paul: Hopefully. Kelly's developing relationship with Seth is kind of spinning its wheels, ennit?

Kelvin: Yes, and to be honest I didn't recognise him in this episode, so I thought she was chatting up a random bloke, possibly as a result of Peter's power!

Paul: We rarely see him in his casual ensemble. He's usually such a snappy dresser.

Kelvin: Yes, and he's usually in his office, not out in the wild. They must be going somewhere with that plot, but it's hardly engaging. They just sort of bump into each other, say a few lines, then move on. It's a bit pointless.

Paul: Yeah, although it's an interesting change of approach for Overman. Usually this sort of thing would be the subplot for one episode and they'd move on.

Kelvin: Yes, SuperHoodie was the only real ongoing plot thread last time, and that worked, but the attempts this series aren't holding together.

Paul: It's almost like the additional episodes this series are throwing him off. He's trying to change up the approach, but not a lot is really working so far.

Kelvin: Yes, he does seem to have lost control of things with the move from writer to showrunner. Given that control is pretty important for a showrunner, that's a problem.

Paul: These are all his scripts, though. It just seems like he's trying to play a longer game, but...

Kelvin: Yes, it's difficult to figure out what's gone wrong.

Paul: We've had one episode that was way too traditional, one that seemed to be moving in a stronger direction but then fell back on clichés, and now one that embraces the genre and works the best this season.

And then next week we get an alternate reality?

The effort is there, but it's not gelling.

Kelvin: Yes, it's a bit haphazard. I wonder if there's been a change elsewhere. A new script editor, perhaps.

Paul: Dunno. But this episode would have been a much stronger premiere. Just work Rudy into the second episode and maybe it would have worked better for me. Keep them out of the orange for at least that first week back.

Kelvin: Yes, I agree with that. They should have started with something familiar in SuperHoodie, then moved on to the new stuff, although I understand the desire to introduce Rudy early on.

Paul: Especially after dropping him into the "Vegas, Baby!" short.

It couldn't have hurt to have in the background doing his community service for that first time out. Then bring him to the forefront.

Kelvin: Yes, and the splitting power might have been a more effective reveal too, if we didn't know which one of the two was in the background.

Paul: Oh well. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Kelvin: Yes indeed!

Paul: At least we can honestly say that this episode was pretty darned good. Finally.

Kelvin: Yes, I was losing hope.

Paul: Me too. Although I do have another nit to pick. Just not about this episode in particular.

Kelvin: Oh yes?

Paul: The opening credits.

They need to rework them. Just slotting Rudy into where Nathan used to be doesn't' really work.

Kelvin: Ah yes. I agree.

Paul: None of the little secret symbolisms even match the characters anymore, so why keep them?

Kelvin: I've noticed it too. Rudy's colours are more vibrant than everyone else's for some reason, and yes, the little shorthand graphics for the powers are out of date.

Paul: It bugs me. Especially when "Rudy's" silhouette drops over dead. Argh!

Kelvin: Ha! Yes, it's a bit cheap.

Paul: Okay, that's enough of my bitching. I can honestly say I'm excited for next week's episode! For the first time this season!

Kelvin: Yes, I'm intrigued. It's a bit overtly fantastic for this series, but I'm keen to see what's going on.

Paul: That's my only concern, actually. That this breaks the mold pretty spectacularly. And pretty early in the season.

Kelvin: Yes, although I must say that I was getting a bit bored of everything happening in the same locations all the time.

Paul: Now it'll be the same locations, but with Nazi flair!

Kelvin: I expect so, but one step at a time!

Paul: Hey! I just looked at the Misfits site and yes, next week is all about how an old Jewish man screws up trying to use the time travel power to assassinate Hitler.

Kelvin: SPOILERS!

Paul: Don't read the rest of the summary then. It gives away the whole plot.

Kelvin: Ha!

I don't mind, but our readers might. Be warned, readers!

Paul: The week after that doesn't look too promising.

They don't usually post the summaries this early. Weird.

Kelvin: Yes, that is a bit odd.

Paul: So did we forget anything? Or is it time to rate this puppy?

Kelvin: I think it might be. I'm happy to give this four stars. It wasn't a brilliant episode, but it's recaptured much of the quality of the series.

Paul: Yeah, three point five doesn't seem generous enough, but I'm a little hesitant for give it a four. Oh well, let's be generous, shall we? four it is.

Kelvin: Well, if you go three point five and I go four, then it evens out to three point seven five. That seems fair.

Paul: We don't have a graphic for that!

Kelvin: Web 2.0, you have failed us!

Paul: I think a is good. This was easily the best episode in a while, Christmas episode notwithstanding.

Kelvin: Yes indeed, I'm happy to give it a score.

SuperHoodie rescued the show!

Paul: From out of nowhere!

Kelvin: He's our hero!

 


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.

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