Friday, December 10, 2010

MISFITS 2.05 Review

We're moving quickly toward the season finale (and the Christmas Bonus Episode!), and visions from Curtis' little jaunt to the future are starting to occur.  Last week's hanging from meathooks was the first event, and this week Simon becomes a man and we get to see what was actually happening up on the rooftop between Curtis and Nikki. 

Here's a hint, it's not superheroic at all, but is pretty graphic.  She wasn't kidding about not wanting to get cum on her dress.

And she's not the only one with that concern as this week; everyone is getting busy.  Ironically, except for Alisha.  Oh!  And except for Nathan.  Poor Nathan.  At least he gets murdered again.  What's all that about a connection between Death and Sex?  I don't think I'll ever get tired of watching Nathan get murdered over and over again.  Is that wrong?

But how was the episode, you ask?  Put your spoiler shields on to find out!

One of the strengths of Misfits over other superhero shows, in my opinion, is the fact that on E4, they can get away with language and situations that wouldn't fly on anything but a pay channel on this side of the pond.  They're able to do and say things that still wouldn't really get aired on FX or AMC, even.  Not only does it allow for some steamy situations (and the occasional butt-shot), but it means that there's no dumbing down of situations and/or whitewashing language or events to make them "family-friendly".

Because, you know, only kids watch shows about superheroes, right?

Can you imagine a character with Alisha's power ever seeing the light of day on American television?  I can't.

And because the creators of this show know that appealing to the lowest common denominator isn't enough to make good TV, they throw some serious implications and psychological reactions to all the sex and violence.  This week is a pretty good example of that, when it comes to how sex is treated on the show.

As I said earlier, just about everyone gets laid this week.  Some with better results than others. 

The scene I've already mentioned, Curtis (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett) and Nikki (Ruth Negga) up on the roof, starts off with the dirty talk, proceeds with Curtis' bare behind seriously pounding Nikki on an old couch, and ends with Alisha (Antonia Thomas) busting in on them while looking for Simon (Iwan Rheon).  That's a pretty standard flow of action, and so far as the plotting goes, there are no surprises.  It could even border on cliche, having the ex-girlfriend walk in on them like that.

But it doesn't, really, thanks to the way the characters are written and the way the actors play the scene. 

I loved the little smile on Curtis' face when he realized that his future-vision was about to start becoming a present-reality.  And the frankness of the language between the two is perfectly natural for a pair of lovers who've just started exploring each other's sexual boundaries.  The sex itself is pretty enthusiastic, and is exactly the sort of psychological release one would expect from a person, an athlete, who's last sexual relationship was restrained to mutual masturbation sessions. 

It's explicit and maybe a little gratuitous, but it works.

And then, when Alisha walks in on them, we see that Curtis is more upset about being caught in the act than either Nikki or Alisha.  Nikki is bemused, and Alisha looks a little happy, actually.  There's a moment of shock, but none of the drama that Curtis is probably expecting, thanks to Alisha having actually already moved on.  So the cliche tension doesn't play out, disipating into more amusement than jealousy.

It's a nice way to end the scene.  And it sets up a nice contrast for the next sex scene that Alisha walks in on; that between Simon and Jessica (Zawe Ashton). 

This time there are emotional impacts, but Thomas plays Alisha very subtly and while we can see it hurts, it's hidden enough that we can believe the others don't notice.  But what's that?  Simon gets laid?  Not Future Simon, but our Simon?  Whaa?

Yup, it seems that a young lady named Jessica is organizing a charity run, using the community center as the base of operations, and she's taken a liking to our boy, Simon.  When Future Simon told Alisha that she wasn't the one he lost his virginity with, I was fearing the worst.  Especially given the sexual track-record of the show (which, in a hilarious scene, the gang goes through with him, while trying to warn him that Jessica might be a murderer).

This scene, however, plays out with an innocence and discretion that is in marked contrast to the other sex scenes this week.  It's actually pretty sweet.  Until Jessica's dad shows up, ready to kill Simon, like he killed Nathan for getting a peek at her in her knickers in the opening, and the nameless guy who tried to kiss her without her permission halfway through the episode.  But that's where Alisha comes in, knocking him out and then realizing that she was witnessing the afterglow of Simon and Jessica's mutual deflowering.

The third sexual situation this week is a weird one.  Maybe the weirdest one in the series so far, and part of me liked it, while another part of me thought it was a little too over-the-top.  It hit me a little like how the "peanut allergy" climax did; a little silly but understandable in the situation.  I know that the show doesn't take itself too seriously, but Kelly's new "boyfriend" Bruno was a little hard to swallow.

You see, Kelly (Lauren Socha) meets a guy, Bruno (Richard Riddell), who's on the run from the cops for beating the living crap out of someone.  She reads his mind and sees that he thinks she's beautiful and wants to be with her.  It's again, a cute and emotional moment, where Bruno is almost childlike in his affections for her.  She likes his attention, especially since he doesn't seem to be playing any games with her.  He says what he thinks and is pretty pure in his intentions (sort of).

So they get intimate.  And by intimate, I mean they have dirty, violent sex.  Really violent, but in a hot way, you know?  It's rough stuff and more primal than what we get with Curtis and Nikki.  And there's a reason for that.  After a second bout of sex nearly ends with Bruno hurting her, Kelly tells him to fuck off and move on.  He tries to explain, but she's having none of it.

But here's the thing.  It turns out, he has trouble controlling himself because when The Storm hit that gave everyone their powers, Bruno was a gorilla in the zoo who wanted to be human.

Yeah, Kelly was shagging a gorilla.  Sure, he was just a gorilla on the inside at that point, but her soft kiss on his dying lips after the police have shot him and he's TURNED BACK INTO A GORILLA was disturbing and weird and maybe a little much.  I think it worked in the moment and gave us some real insight into Kelly's psychology, but in the reality of the scene, it was a creepy distraction. 

I would have thought it would have disturbed her more than it did, but maybe that's just me.

Although it was pretty funny that he was a gorilla wearing a gorilla suit to the costume party.

Oh yeah.  The costume party.  That's why Curtis was in a superhero suit in his flash-forward.  They haven't been outed, or taken on new heroic roles.  The whole gang dressed like superheroes for the costume party to celebrate the end of the charity run.  This was a pretty clever way to introduce this visual element to the show and gave the creators the opportunity to close the episode with a funny final shot of the ASBO 5 up on a rooftop, popping open some beers and looking over the city, dressed like superheroes. 

That was the most entertaining moment of the show for me.  Well, that and Nathan (Robert Sheehan) and Alisha sharing a bonding moment over how they both like Simon more than they let on.  That was gold, it was.


  1. I thought the King Kong homage was getting a bit much, and Bruno's make up was pretty bad, but the whole thing was redeemed by the two comedic lines -- "Why is the gorilla wearing a gorilla costume?" and "I finally meet a bloke I like and he's a fucking monkey" -- as well as that nice moment when Kelly talked about how he was straightforward and lacking in deceit.