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Misfits: Series 4 Episode 4 Review

Reviewed by James Wynne.

Misfits’ sure but steady progress continues this week with an episode that hits every single note with its usual brilliance. It once again blends the show’s gritty, small-scale setting with the sort of scope and flair you expect from some of the biggest films out there – something that’s been a hallmark of the series since the very beginning. It’s utilised to absolute perfection here and the sense of grandiose it lends to the whole affair feels entirely fitting, given all that unfolds in the episode’s closing moments – so long, Curtis.

It was obvious from the nature of Lola’s introduction two episodes ago, and her following interactions with Curtis, that she was hiding something about herself. It transpires that she was also affected by the storm – the end result being one of the most innovative Misfit ‘powers’. It’s just another example of this show exploring the full spectrum of possibilities that the supernatural premise of the series allows – and it’s done to great effect. Lola, as it turns out, is a fictional creation – a character that was being acted out by someone, just as the storm hit. Instead of it granting her anything that could be classified as an actual power, or even beneficial in the slightest, she became the person she was pretending to be at that time, Lola, a damaged and dangerous psychopath. Lucy Gaskell completely owns the part, as she graduates from femme fatale to utter psycho – her unstable personality often conveyed with just a flicker of menace across the eyes.

Curtis’ attraction to Lola proves fatal in the end, as her power play leads him to kill a man he believed to be a danger to her. He brings the man back to life to find out what Lola’s angle is, pending the victim’s inevitable change in to a zombie. It’s during the pitch-black scuffle that follows where Curtis gets bitten – a moment that has the main narrative intertwine wonderfully with the subplot surrounding Rudy and Finn’s difficulties. It’s unfortunate that Rudy’s insistence for Finn to break his zombie-killing virginity causes Curtis’ eventual demise – a fact that adds much more emotional impact to the pair’s final exchange.

Curtis has been relegated to the background for the first few episodes, and his presence was beginning to feel a little out of place with the current gang – often seeming like the big changes just necessitated some sort of connection to the show’s previous guise. It’s a shame, but his following in the footsteps of all the other original Misfits has felt just around the corner since the fourth series started. It’s come at just the right time for it to have the desired effect – feeling like both a natural conclusion to his character’s tale and just soon enough that it still hurts a little to see the last one wave goodbye. Nathan Stewart-Jarrett deserves some solid plaudits for his small contribution to this series, even with his appearances being kept to a minimum for the most part; just his presence alone has eased the large transition from last series to this one, as well as his character providing some of the best moments of the series so far. Nathan’s proven that, as Curtis, he was able to deliver the comedic moments that weren’t often left to him in previous series – he will be missed. His brutal and tragic demise was fitting for a character that was often dealt the short straw in life.

Elsewhere in the episode, as would be expected, the episode doesn’t depend solely on the serious drama surrounding Curtis. No, Rudy and Finn’s sharing of the community centre doesn’t go on long before it begins to create a rift between the two – guess who’s causing all the trouble. Joe Gilgun’s performance this week sees a return to the focus on his character’s more comedic traits, with the momentum from last week’s instalment having a positive impact on this. Rudy simply sparkles throughout, with not even a single joke failing to hit the mark. His obsession with the female arse is a talking point once again – resulting in a moment of extreme hilarity as he quizzes Finn about whether or not he has any jelly on hand. It’s a bit of a shame that his sensitive alter ego doesn’t make his own separate appearance – given what a perfect opportunity it was for some more of their internal-made-external bickering – but Finn did a good enough job of being the disgusted witness to what living with Rudy entails. His own unique, awkward brand of humour also comes to the fore, as he, god help him, decides to act upon Rudy’s advice, attempting to dupe Jess with a tale about an arthritic dog having its rear legs amputated – the end result being a descent in to him questioning if the dog should be put down because the wheels that replaced its legs are squeaking too loudly. Finn’s complete social ineptitude is definitely to the benefit of his character and is currently being handled much better than it was at the beginning of the series – which is helping to mould him in to a much more sympathetic character.

It’s a shame, then, that Jess is still being sidelined and, at the moment, seems to be the most unremarkable and forgettable character the show has ever produced. She’s likeable, but the focus is just not there with her and it’s not clear if any drastic improvements will be made further down the line.

Shaun Dooley’s probation worker, after a faltering start, is coming in to his own. He had some of the funniest moments last week and continues his brilliant form in this episode – “Fuckin…Crack head.” We get more of an understanding in regards to his sociopathic antics during an exchange with Curtis, in which he reveals that a delicate soul is trapped within a gruff exterior – or was he just being a…sociopath, again?

Best Scene: “Are you sure we can’t manufacture some sort of happy ending?”

Curtis and Rudy’s friendship has never seemed to be of the most affectionate nature, but their mutual experiences and time together has obviously meant a great deal to both. Rudy’s sensitive side is obviously pulling the strings within, as he pleads with Curtis, tears and all, to let them help him find a way around his issue. Alas, it’s not to be, as both say a final, heartfelt goodbye to one another.

Verdict: 9.5/10

This episode is an amalgamation of everything Misfits does so well, executed to absolute perfection. It’s not clear if the series will suffer or benefit from Curtis’ departure just yet – but if this episode tells us anything, it’s that the show has the ability to be just as great as it always has been, because the onus is not just on the actors; it’s a combination of brilliance all across the board that makes it such delightful viewing.

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  • Cigs

    Loved it. And looks like we’ll see more of Jess next week sooooooo …..

    • http://cultfix.co.uk/misfits-series-4-episode-3-review-19835.htm James Wynne

      Yes, it does look like she’ll get some more attention. It still looks like the largest focus will be on Finn and Alex , though, so I don’t anticipate the next episode doing much to change my views on Jess – that she is being underused to the extreme.

      • TimeyWimey

        Hello, James. Fantastic review, by the way. But I’m wondering why you haven’t returned to DWTV…? You are greatly missed.

        • http://cultfix.co.uk/misfits-series-4-episode-4-review-20017.htm James Wynne

          Hello there. Cheers. Always means a lot. What are your thoughts on the series so far? I think, considering all that’s gone on, the series has suffered little, if at all.
          It’s a shame, but I just haven’t had the inclination to post comments on a regular basis anymore. I still will on occasion, so I haven’t left for good or anything like that.

          • TimeyWimey

            Are we referring to Misfits…? If so, I would say that the Series is starting to lose any dramatic core or centre. This must have something to do with the lack of Simon and Alisha. It’s more surreal comedy. It has its moments, and the characters are often interesting. But I’m no longer desperate to see the next Episode. I would agree that the themes and concepts of the Episode are often clever or funny. But it’s losing it’s ”must watch” factor very quickly.

            Finn is fantastic, and is probably the Series’ most likeable and hilarious character. But he’s still just a character. The Episodes have been based upon wacky ideas, but a lack of story-arc really lets it down. I also feel that the Superpowers have lost any interest now due to the fact EVERYONE has them. Perhaps I’ve always been fond of the idea that the Misfits gang have to battle with their powers, and try to consider how and why they should use them. (hence why they’re called Misfits.) But they hardly ever do use them, and usually only for gags or comic relief. Series 1 was driven by the possibilities and excitement of new powers. Series 2 – 3 had a satisfying and intriguing story-arc following Alisha and Simon.

          • http://cultfix.co.uk/misfits-series-4-episode-4-review-20017.htm James Wynne

            Interesting. I don’t think there’s a severe lack of drama, or at least a build up to some – a large part seems to be centred around Alex and his well kept secret, this also generating some dramatic interplay with Jess. So, I think there will be more in the series’ latter stages, but I also feel that the drama of Curtis’ death was quite hard-hitting and some of the show’s best. At first, I thought the whole Alex scenario would be the series’ arc that, I agree, has been an unwelcome absence thus far, but it seems all will be revealed about him in the next episode. I hope, if this is the case, that something else is introduced somewhere down the line, as the complete absence of a series-long narrative after the excellence of Simon and Alisha’s tale would be extremely disappointing.

            It’s worth pointing out, in regards to the use of powers, that it was often done alongside an exploration of the characters themselves (Curtis and his rewind episode…), so maybe the writers will introduce this to a larger extent following the death of Curtis – the last original Misfit. Perhaps these last four episodes will see Finn, Jess and Alex have the limelight in a single episode each, exploring both the characters and their abilities in equal measure.

            I won’t be off the site for too long, I shouldn’t think, and I’ll still be popping a comment or two on when I can, but it’s nice to know I’m missed!

            Oh, on a different note, since you’re a fan of it also, I thought I’d let you know that I’ll be doing reviews for the new series of Peep Show. It’s back in a couple of days and I can’t wait.

          • TimeyWimey

            I would agree that last Episode was particularly hard-hitting. But the ‘Rudy-fest’ served as a massive disappointment for me.

            Peep Show…?! You seem to be reviewing some of my favorite ‘Non-Who Shows’ a lot recently! Can’t wait to read them. I’ve been enjoying the Misfits reviews a lot. :D

          • http://cultfix.co.uk/misfits-series-4-episode-4-review-20017.htm James Wynne

            It’s strange, almost all the shows I want to review are free for me to do so. It’s great. I did do a single review for Arrow, but after the second episode, I lost all interest in the series and passed it to someone else, who is doing a fantastic job of it. I’m checking up on his reviews even though I don’t watch the series.

            Glad you’ve been enjoying the Misfits reviews as well, they’ve been so much fun to write – I’ll be even more gutted than usual when the series finishes.

          • TimeyWimey

            Anyway, I really hope you get back to DWTV. It’s a bit disheartening.

  • http://cultfix.co.uk/misfits-series-4-episode-3-review-19835.htm James Wynne

    Well, to be honest, I’ve never watched Being Human, so he wasn’t someone I paid anymore attention to than usual, but I enjoyed his character all the same, even if, as you say, he didn’t feature for too long.

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