Misfits: Series 4 Episode 3 Review
Reviewed by James Wynne.
Last night’s instalment of Misfits truly deserves to go down as a classic – it’s one of the series’ absolute best outings. After the first two episodes, which have felt a little less than expected, the third one sees the show getting firmly back in to its stride.
Rudy takes centre stage this week – or rather a part of him does. Specifically, it’s a part of him that has been under lock and key (literally) and a well kept secret. It turns out that the sensible alter ego and the far more prolific idiot are not all there is to his character. Like everyone, Rudy has some darkness within – unfortunately for him, this darkness is able to take on a separate physical form, thanks to his unique gift. Credit must go to Joe Gilgun for managing to bring three such distinct facets of the same character to life, while still conveying a sense of similarity between them all. During this episode, there are a couple of occasions where he sits too much in the middle of the sensible and simpleton versions, with the distinction between the two becoming a little blurred, but his psychotic side is kept at a much safer distance throughout.
It transpires that the duelling duo decided to get rid of the evil one by setting him up for an arrest (I’m betting Mr. Sensible did all the leg work). His violent tendencies left them no alternative option, but they didn’t foresee his eventual release from prison (or just forgot), nor his desire to exact revenge upon them for what they had done to him. It takes a while for it to be made clear what his exact motives are beyond his revenge tactics – what his reasons are for taking such a worrying interest in Jess. In true psychopathic tradition, it appears his infatuation with her is driven by nothing more than a twisted belief that she is special. He sees her for who she really is – he sees ‘right through her’ – and seeks to stop her from hiding it all beneath an act he doesn’t much appreciate.
He finally gets his wish for her to open up – during an exchange that blends tension and humour with such vivid method. As the two take turns in sharing their innermost secrets, each switch between them is punctuated by snippets of ‘Macarena’ playing in the hall beside them. It creates laughs and an uncomfortable sense of tension all at the same time – as the strings of Rudy’s mental ukulele snap one-by-one, each time it interrupts him. While this all culminates in to a fantastic climax for Rudy (more on that further down), it’s just disappointment in regards to Jess. It turns out that all she’s buried beneath this act is an eating disorder and a bad boyfriend – an admission that’s given more drama than it really deserves. It’s just not enough to create any sense of intrigue around her character. It’s also a shame that, being the only female presence in the gang, she’s turned out to be such a vulnerable person. It’s not too late for her just yet, but at present she is lacking any of the special qualities or strength that she so desperately needs going forward.
As for Rudy – well, he likes hurting people. His final moments have him beating the Macarena-obsessed DJ to a bloody pulp and revealing to Jess that she’s ‘the one’ – the one to give him an experience he’s been unhealthily craving for a very long time – the one that he is going to kill. Unfortunately for him, Jess sees right through his act just in time (or more literally, she saw him beating up the DJ through the decks), and hides some scissors up her sleeve. So, deranged Rudy is dead – though, not before requesting a final kiss – and the other two set free from his embrace. It’s yet another grave being dug by the miscreants – a fact not missed by Rudy, as he notes that he’ll get the shovels with an unmissable hint of exasperation.
Finn had his fair share of troubles last week, but it seems the awkward fool just can’t catch a break as he runs in to even more during this episode. His sort-of-but-not-really stepmother, following a recent split from his dad, reveals herself to be both infatuated with Finn and a bit crazy all in one go. In a scene that’s sure to remind Misfits fans of Simon’s indiscretion at the beginning or series two, Finn has a blowjob forced upon him by his stepmother. This all escalates rather quickly from Finn being called a ‘stepmother-fucker’ and ‘stepmother-sucker’ by Jess and Curtis, to his dad finding out and, in his rage, revealing to Finn that he is not his biological father and wants nothing more to do with him. This all manages to be what last week’s focus on Finn couldn’t – hilarious and tragic, all at the same time. It succeeds in landing a sympathetic blow for the poor scouse lad – like Nathan put it so well, the siren call of the blowjob renders all men helpless. In the space of two episodes, Finn has lost his girlfriend, her flat and what he thought was his father – at least Jess is showing a mild interest in him.
Right at the very conclusion of last week’s episode, we saw the introduction of ‘trainee probation worker’, Lola. We see more of her in this one, but other than partaking in a sexual power trip with Curtis, it’s not clear quite who she really is yet. Given the teaser for next week’s episode, though, it doesn’t look like we’ll be in the dark about her for too much longer. Alex is another mysterious character that was introduced last week and we’re still no closer to understanding him or his reasons for blowing off any girl that makes a move for him. Is it to do with a power? Is it just something more personal and less supernatural? Hopefully, we’ll be finding out soon enough.
Best Scene: The Ukulele Chase
It’s just another example of what Misfits does so well, one of the many littered throughout this episode – a perfect blend of comedy and horror. Sensible Rudy flees as he is pursued by his psychotic alter ego, playing the ukulele as a sort of predatory theme tune (Jaws, anyone?). Sensible Rudy is finally confronted by a Curly Wurly bar and a nice little ‘gotcha’ jingle from behind.
Howard’s been sprinkling his bag of magic dust on this one. It feels like proper, classic Misfits, whilst also feeling brand new. It’s barmy; it’s sick; it’s brilliant. The dialogue is sharp and the premise excellent. There’s never a dull moment and the drama is truly affecting. If you’ve had any doubts about the series so far, this episode should definitely dispel them.