Friday, November 26, 2010

MISFITS 2.03 Review

Misfits is back for another week of wacky hi-jinks.  Before we jump into that, though, I just want to say how glad I am that their viewing numbers are up and staying pretty steady.  Season 2 has consistently scored a higher viewership than Season 1 did, and with a One-Hour Christmas Special on the schedule now, and word that Season 3 has already been green-lit, things are looking good for what is, without a doubt, my favorite television superhero program ever.

Yeah, I said it.  Ever.

Come on.  It's not like there's a huge field of contenders.

Of course, as I've mentioned before, having the short UK seasons helps to eliminate a lot of the meandering that tends to deflate enthusiasm and water down dramatic tension we see in most American productions.  We're seeing a bit of a shift toward the tighter, more streamlined seasons over here, but it's pretty much entirely on the cable networks like FX, AMC, SHOWTIME, and HBO, where they're committing to 12 or 13 episode seasons and don't have the content limitations that the Big Four have (i.e. swearing, sex, violence, and all that other good stuff).

I firmly believe that this shift is a big part of what makes the best shows on television these days practically all cable dramas.  With Sons of Anarchy, Justified, Terriers, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Rubicon, The Walking Dead, Dexter, Boardwalk Empire, all working on the shorter season model, all have consistently shattered boundaries and provided solid, ground-breaking quality programming (even when there's nobody watching - sorry Terriers and Rubicon).  And do I even have to mention shows like The Wire, Deadwood, and The Sopranos

This seems to be a no-brainer.

Cut the episode numbers, focus on tightly plotted, well-written stories, and don't worry about offending people with your content and language.  Is it any wonder that mainstream networks continue to pander to old people and children (or the psychological equivalents) with authority figure melodramas (cops, doctors, lawyers) and unscripted "reality" shows?  There's very little imagination or creativity in the vast majority of American network television, and the viewing numbers are showing just how creatively (and perhaps morally, but that's another discussion) bankrupt they really are.

But enough of my soapbox ranting/wanking.  What about this week's Misfits, you ask?

Well, it's not the strongest episode in terms of done-in-one plot, but there are huge revelations about what's going on and where it's all heading.  And we find out who Super-Hoodie is.

As always, Spoilers Ahoy!

 As per usual we've got two storylines running concurrently, with only casual interaction.  In the first, Kelly (Lauren Socha) is off to get a tattoo touched up, and she brings Nathan (Robert Sheehan) and Simon (Iwan Rheon) along with her.  As you can probably already guess, there's a mysterious new super-powered character introduced: Vince (Nathan Constance) the tattoo artist.

As you could probably also guess, his power involves tattoos.  Specifically, he can instantly create tattoos on anyone around him, and those tattoos can either control the victim's mind or physically interact with them (as in a tattoo knife can cut you up), as Nathan soon finds out. 

Like clockwork, smart-mouth Nathan pisses off Vince, commenting on the implied sexuality of his rose neck tattoo, so after a moment's concentration, Nathan finds himself with a tattoo of his own: a heart, with Simon's name on it.  This leads to the utterly expected, though fairly amusing, result of Nathan declaring his love for Simon throughout most of the rest of the episode.

Once Kelly confronts him, he mind-tattoos her with another heart, this time with his own name on it, and she's immediately declaring her love and devotion to him.  Simon's the only one who is even concerned about figuring out what's going on (granted, he does have a personal stake in the matter), so he convinces Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) to come along and confront the tattoo artist. 

With the help of a bag of peanuts (I shit thee not), our heroes defeat the, well, not really evil, but dickish tattoo artist.  I guess he veers towards evil when he makes Kelly love him, tries to kill Curtis with a knife tattoo, and nearly strangles Simon with a barbed-wire neck tattoo.

Okay, he's kind of evil.  But really he's more of a dick. 

What his character is, though, is a bit on the ridiculous side.  I mean, I know peanut allergies are nothing to laugh at, but it was very hard to take the final confrontation seriously at all with Simon threatening to tear open a bag of peanuts in Vince's presence and Vince shouting, ordering Simon to put his nuts on the floor. 

Really?  I suppose they were trying to go for a comedic element, but it didn't work for me.  Especially since we had two characters being threatened with murder at the same time.

All in all, it wasn't the series' best moment.

On the other hand, the second storyline kicked all sorts of ass, and has gotten me seriously interested in the back half of this season.

I know I put a spoiler warning up above, but I think I'm going to try and avoid some details here, mainly because of just how much I enjoyed this part of the story.

Alisha (Antonia Thomas) has realized that Super-Hoodie is around whenever she's in danger, after she's nearly mugged early in the episode.  Super-Hoodie shows up out of nowhere and saves her before bounding over a ledge, as is his wont.  Not only does he save her, though, he touches her hand with his own bare skin.  Instead of the seemingly inevitable rush of sexual frenzy, S-H has no reaction. 

This is huge for Alisha, who's been getting more and more depressed about the way her power is isolating her from the rest of the world.  So to find out more, she hangs around the place where she was mugged (or someplace almost identical) and provokes a passing fellow.  After pissing the guy off, she runs, trips, and falls down a flight of stairs, knocking herself out.  But it works.  Super-Hoodie shows up and takes her back to his secret lair.

Where she wakes up, looks around, discovers his clocks and photo walls, and then finds him in the shower.  And with that we find out who Super-Hoodie is.

We also find out that he is from the future, as has been speculated, and he's here to make sure things happen the way they're supposed to happen.  We don't really know why he's necessary to keep things on track, or even what track he's trying to keep things on.  However, he does have intricate knowledge of all our heroes and evidence from the future proving that things are going to be changing soon. 

At least one of the changes is going to be the "outing" of the ASBO 5 and their forthcoming celebrity.  Super-Hoodie also hints at some danger in the works, and that in the future a lot of things are different; for example, how Alisha's power works - at least on him.

Oh, and they're in love in the future, and he's here to keep her safe, so she can fall in love with him in the past (our present).

I have to admit, that I'm finding this line of motivation and action on Super-Hoodie's part to be a bit sketchy.  I don't know that I trust him on this. 

Once you know who Super-Hoodie is, you'll maybe see why.  It's a strong performance by the actor involved, as Super-Hoodie from the future is very different from the character we already know.  And that's entirely on the strength of the actor.  His nuances, expressions, and everything from the way he holds himself to the way he delivers his lines, makes him seem like an entirely different character.

So much so, that I don't really trust him. 

I guess we'll see next week if I'm just being paranoid or if something really is weird about his advances and manipulation of Alisha.  And next week, I'll go ahead and out him, since there'll have been time for people to get caught up who haven't.



  1. This episode won me over completely, and now I'm hooked. The tattoo guy plot was so-so, as you say, but the Super-Hoodie thread was pure gold. I like the hints that these kids do actually go on to be proper heroes in the future, albeit at cost, and the performance from Super-Hoodie's actor was great. The Radio Times compared it to Christopher Reeve's Superman/Clark Kent, and I definitely see it.

    And you know I agree about the series length. If this were Heroes or something, Super-Hoodie's identity would have been dragged out all season, only to be revealed in the finale. Blech.

  2. That Christopher Reeve comparison is a great one. I have to admit that I enjoyed this performance better, though.

    I was never a big fan of the Chris Reeve Superman films (although I loved parts of 2 when I was young).

    The only 22 episode show that I'm watching at the moment that finds a way to at least make every episode entertaining, even if it doesn't relate to the overall story arc, is Supernatural.