Misfits: Series 5 Episode 8 (Finale) Review
Reviewed by James Wynne
And with that, it’s time to get the shovels one last time. Misfits, like so many of its probation workers, is dead and the underpass of the dearly departed awaits it. The question is, was its final episode a flourish or a flounder? Well, in truth, it was a bit of both.
Howard Overman sparks the action quicker than Helen in a puddle of Rudy’s urine, with the post-credits skimming through the Jumper Posse being introduced to their new superhero digs (what became of the previous ‘support group’ occupants, I wonder?), and Jess, still infuriated about Rudy #1′s unchivalrous antics last week, in an uncharacteristically precipitous move, getting hitched with a complete stranger called Luke (Daniel Boyd – who does a stellar job, despite the transience of his role; primarily there to provide the starting point of the episode’s time-distorted plot, and then to serve as the denouement to it).
Luke isn’t all he seems to first appearances (even if what he seems, despite Jess’ peculiar obliviousness to the fact, is a total creep), as he is gifted with the power of time jumping. After being told that his and Jess’ hurried fling was…well, a fling, he turns the creep factor up to 11, and throws Jess a whole year into the future, to show her the bundled result of their night together in an attempt to coerce her into loving him.
Here’s where the problems begin to arise. We quickly learn that time has moved forward around Jess, but that she is none the older for it. She disappeared for the year that she was hurled forward, so how in the heck has she birthed a child within that period of time, if she wasn’t even there? In layman’s terms: the Jess that was impregnated by Luke has still only just been so a whole year later, so where’d the baby spring from? That’s a humdinger of a plot hole!
Luke’s meddling with time also telegraphs the predictable reset of affairs as the episode’s resolution, which is strange in the circumstances. Misfits has gone down the route of reversing the disastrous events of an episode before (see: the Series 2 ‘Grand Fromage’ finale), but in that instance, the series was still ongoing and so it was a reset born out of necessity. This is the last ever episode, so why the need to play things so safe?
Overman should have been revelling in the complete lack of consequence that this final episode afforded him, but the only moment of any calamitous significance was Rudy’s heroic demise, which, like everything else that followed Jess copping off with creepy Luke, was undone when Jess slit her wrists, and Luke threw her back a year, in order to save her life.
But not before Jess cannily recorded a message on her phone to alert her of all that was to come from her encounter with Luke, and relay specific instructions on how to prevent it. If the phone could retain data from the future, though, how come Jess’ memories of what transpired perished entirely?
The mechanics of Luke’s power were earlier demonstrated to have no time-relative effects on Jess; when she went forward, she was clothed the same, and had not correspondingly aged the year that she had been thrown forward. Luke remarks early in the episode that he can keep sending her back, and she’ll forget everything, but that implies a complete reversal of the forward time jump he’s throwing her back from, and doesn’t answer why the phone still contained a video from the events of a negated future.
If it wasn’t that, and Jess’ memories were just lost as a natural repercussion of the process of being sent back, then she should have arrived in the past with blood on her clothes and her wrists still slashed – unlike her phone, everything else was conveniently absent any effects from her experiences in the future.
There’s a definite lack of coherence and clarity with Luke’s power, and how it functions to resolve the plot comes off a tad contrived as a result.
Similarly, the notion of Rudy #2’s Jumper Posse going from apprehensive heroes to murderous fiends, all in the span of just a single year, really does strain credulity. Whilst their sanguinary method of “heroism” provided some great individual moments (in particular, Sam’s uproariously gruesome execution of the litterer), it was just too much of a departure from the characters’ respective personalities, and seemed to come about just to present our misfits with some superiorly, super-powered opposition for the climactic finale.
Amidst it all, Joe Gilgun turned in arguably the best performance of the lot (and that’s an accolade from a reviewer not as enamoured with him as most), especially as Rudy #2, enraged at what his band of superhero prodigies had become.
I’ve numerously criticised the buffoonery that overrides most of Rudy’s time onscreen, but the reconciliation between the two Rudys and Rudy’s sacrificial urination were accomplished so poignantly, ample credit must go to both Overman and Gilgun, and of course then be retracted from the former for frustratingly undoing it all. It was such an unerringly heroic and comedic end for the character; dying of sacrifice, covered in piss, having just won a quid, which he bequeathed to Jess with his final words. It’s a real shame it didn’t stick.
The rest of the cast weren’t best served, either. Abbey’s grief over Mark the Turtle/Tortoise’s death last week was cast aside, as has become custom with anything of significance that’s occured recently in Misfits. And all Alex did of note was to hijack Sam mid-flight and f*ck one last power out of someone, in what was a very poorly CGI’d, but hilarious for all the right and wrong reasons, sequence.
Finally, in a repeat of Finn’s telekinetic breakout during last series’ finale, flinging a piano at Karen to save Alex’s life in the aborted future was a fantastic moment, but the adage of ‘too little, too late’ springs to mind.
Misfits’ biggest problem these last two series has been a lack of continuum to developments, and Finn’s telekinesis is illustrative of how little his character has advanced. It’s just as feeble as it ever was, unless his use of it is borne out of an instinctive desperation (e.g. the two occasions where it’s saved someone’s life – Abbey and Alex – and the one occasion where it discouraged the sexual advances of Greg).
If this were just a normal, middle-of-the-run episode, its failings wouldn’t be quite so contentious, but as a finale, not just to for this series, but Misfits as a whole, the insubstantiality of what it provides as the series’ adieu is rather more disappointing.
In effect, all that transpires in this last ever episode is the end of the gang’s community service; Jess hooking up with, and subsequently killing, Luke, then informing everyone of their disquieting futures; Rudy #2 disbanding the Jumper Posse before they’ve even begun; and finally them all meeting up on the community centre’s rooftop and pledging to be proper superheroes from hereon in. Because all the action in between is undone, and therefore irrelevant, this episode lacks any sense of climax.
Oh, and if anyone figures out what the ‘lactating Rudy’ scene was all about, do please let me know.