Misfits: Series 4 Episode 5 Review
Reviewed by James Wynne.
The last original Misfit has departed and now it’s all up to the new bunch. After what was one of the best episodes of the series last week, it’s a shame to see quite a dramatic drop in form and an episode that suffers from the same problems as the last one that centred on Finn.
As we learned not so long ago, Finn’s dad isn’t really his dad and so he goes in search of his real one, aided by a photo of all the possible men it could be, and the knowledge that at least a couple of them knew his mum as ‘Anal Mary’. It doesn’t take him too long to track down the man that done the crime, but he’s hit with another emotional blow as he finds out his dad is in the latter stages of a battle with cancer – a battle he is losing.
Finn’s emotional response is difficult to detect, because there doesn’t seem to be one. Finn’s awkward interaction with his dying father follows the exact same pattern as all of his interactions, with everyone. His reaction to meeting his actual dad, his dad’s illness, and eventual death, is an unwelcome sense of nonchalance. He just doesn’t seem to care all that much, with him instead spending most his time focussing on, and trying to discourage, the romance blossoming between Jess and Alex. It’s a combination of Nathan McMullen’s seeming inability to have his character reflect these situations as would be expected, sticking to a single tone of behaviour throughout most of the episode, and the writing failing to give his character the moments he needs to create an emotional resonance with the audience. It’s the same thing that plagued his last centric episode and, as time goes on, it’s hurting his character more and more. I praised Finn’s social ineptitude last week, but when he becomes the focal point of an episode that hinges on a sympathetic premise, more needs to be done to show us what lies beyond his archetypical traits.
It’s even more disappointing that, with the drama failing to hit its marks, the comedic moments of the episode are so few and far between, and what laughs there are, are minimal at best. Rudy takes a step back this week, in more ways than one. He appears little and most of his moments are littered with irritation, as he becomes far too manic and one note. Jess gets the funniest moment this week, as, having been handed Finn’s phone through a toilet cubicle, she leaves it somewhere special – question is: what had she left in the toilet with it?
It’s another new power this week, and it’s Finn’s sister (half-sister) that’s got one. Once again, it’s a power that’s appropriately attuned to the recipient’s needs. It’s both brilliant and typically useless in the circumstances. Having the ability to prevent death might sound good, but when it’s capped by an inability to cure the actual problem and the effect it has is not permanent, it becomes just a little bit rubbish – but that’s Misfits for you. In an unsurprising twist, Finn’s dad decides that he wants to die, but reveals that his daughter won’t let him and keeps him alive in unendurable pain, because she doesn’t want to be without him; she doesn’t want to be alone. Well, she has Finn now, her brother (half-brother), but her reaction to Finn’s attempts to stop her from once again reviving her dad has me hoping, for Finn’s sakes, that she doesn’t put in a second appearance. I mean, even given the unique circumstances, almost throttling your brother (half-brother) to death is a little strong. Still, at least some attempt was made to convey an actual sense of emotion from her side.
Elsewhere, it seems Alex is hiding something quite dark. He’s denied being a homosexual, several times, but tracking men and then confronting them with an opening gambit of, “Show me your cock”, is a little contradicting. Still, it seems something much more dangerous is going on, and the beginnings of a series narrative are taking shape with it. How long will it be until Alex tells all, or is found out?
Best Scene: Greg’s Grief Counselling
I’m not sure who thought Greg would be a dab hand at grief counselling but, unsurprisingly, he’s awful at it. He fails to notice Rudy’s rather obvious grief and then, to top it off, threatens to skull-f*ck his brains. It’s all a bit amusing and, as Rudy puts it, quite intense.
It’s a shame that the weakest link in the series so far has come straight after the departure of Curtis. The dramatic premise was not reflected enough by Finn’s character and it’s arguable that it was the Alex and Jess scenario that detracted from it all. Too much time was spent on his attempts to sabotage the pair and so the impact of finding his father, and the death that followed, wasn’t felt as much as it should have been. The comedic areas of the narrative also fell more than a bit short – this culminating in to an episode that just felt flat from start to finish.