Saturday, December 18, 2010

MISFITS 2.06 Review

When is a finale not a finale?

When there's an extra Christmas episode later in the week, that's when.

But technically, this is the Series Two finale, and we get the wrap-up of the major storylines of the previous five episodes.  Most of it is pretty entertaining, but I must confess to having narrative problems with the way everything comes together in the end.

Spoiler Shields Up!

Before I complain, I want to reiterate what I've been saying all along.  Every one of the actors in this show are doing fantastic work.  They are these characters.  Sheehan, Rheon, and Thomas have taken their characters to new levels this season, thanks to Simon and Alisha's developing relationship and Nathan's constant claiming of the spotlight.  Hopefully, next season will give Socha, Stewart-Jarrett, and Negga the chance to really highlight their characters.  They all had nice moments this season, but never really got the attention that the others did.

This week, there's not really a strong focus on any of the ASBO 5 in particular, and instead the concentration is on plot.  And while that's not a bad thing, it does set up a situation where we get a lot of  interesting developments, some serious status changes, and then violent action, only to find the story written into a corner.  And the only way out of it, is the most obvious way.

So here's the deal.  A young nobody named Brian discovers that he has gained a superpower from out mysterious storm.  He calls it "Lacto-kinesis" - the ability to control dairy products with his mind.  Or, as Kelly puts it, "the shittest power ever."  He goes public, gets an agent, and starts becoming famous.  And with that, it's on.

People with powers start coming out of the woodwork and signing promotional deals with super-agent, Laura.

Our heroes debate whether or not to reveal themselves as well, when suddenly the spotlight is thrust upon them by their probation worker, who, overhearing their discussion of their powers, sells them out in a heartbeat.  Confronted by the press as they're getting ready to leave the community center, Laura shows up and offers to help them out and make them rich & famous.  After a quick negotiation amongst themselves, everybody agrees except Simon, who thinks it can only go wrong.

Guess who's right?

This is a pretty strong episode, up until the very end.  It's a lot of fun watching our heroes take advantage of their new-found fame.  Although to be honest, Nathan is really the only one who seems to be getting any benefits from their deal.  And that's mainly in the "bedding drunken fangirls" department.  The real focus this week is Brian, who's lame lacto-kinesis powers very quickly relegate him to the background (and then out of the picture entirely) when people with actual beneficial powers sign on; particularly Daisy, a nice girl with healing powers.

Granted, her powers make just about everyone feel second-rate.  Except for Nathan, of course, who's picked up a nasty case of V.D. from his exploits and needs her to fix his dripping wang.

Brian's control over dairy products, while seeming kind of shit in the beginning, becomes a pretty threatening ability once he goes mad and starts murdering people.  It's the first time this season that I've really liked one of the super-villains.  And he's actually got quite the talent for murder.  So long as people keep eating cheese and yogurt and such.

But then the problems with the episode begin to manifest.

And it all comes down to Curtis' time travel powers.

The ability to re-wind the action undermines all the dramatic tension, and unlike other times in the series, where there are repercussions to its use, all it does here is save our heroes (all of whom were either easily slaughtered or rendered brain-dead) and erase all of the interesting developments of the episode.

And there were some very interesting developments.  The most obvious being the fact that Simon discovers Alisha hanging out in Future Simon's hide-out, and learns the truth about his future both as a super hero and with her.  It was a great scene, and we got to see the start of the most satisfying relationship in the show.  We also saw Future Simon's "predictions" coming true, including the video of Alisha being interviewed on the news.

However, once Brian kills everyone and Curtis is forced to rewind time in order to save lives, all of this is erased.  Curtis doesn't just rewind to earlier in the day or week, he goes all the way back to before Brian went public with his power.  He tells the gang what's up, and they stop by Brian's house and, presumably, murder him.

That last part's not clear, but it seems like the only real action they could/would take.

If they did choose murder, it was a pretty casual approach to the choice and wasn't given the emotional or moral weight of their previous deathly choices.  In fact, it seemed more like an easy way out.  But an easy way out that screws up the already-established events that brought Future Simon back.  By erasing the entire outing and becoming of celebrities aspect of the season, it kind of makes the whole Future Simon storyline meaningless.  We don't have that future anymore.

And while that's an interesting approach to take, playing with the idea of alternate futures, it makes Future Simon's mission, and ultimate sacrifice, pointless.

I know, I know.  They can still get famous later, but that's not what we've been building toward.  This was the moment and instead it became a bait-and-switch.  I'd much rather have had Curtis rewind to just a few days earlier and force the characters to deal with killing, or even better, capturing Brian and getting famous for saving lives.  Then we still have the fame, we still have the Simon/Alisha reveal, and we move into the next season (coming in the Fall) with an actual status change that matters.

Hopefully, Sunday's Christmas special will make up for this stumble across the finish line.  Apparently, Jesus is back and Simon decides they need to kill him.  Sweet!

1 comment:

  1. Agreed. Lots of interesting and dramatic stuff in this episode, but all of it undone with the cosmic reset button.

    My hope is that all of this stuff -- particularly the beginnings of Simon's evolution into a real hero -- was just a teaser, in a "this is how it could happen, but we've got even bigger and better idea for when it happens for real" kind of way.

    Either that or they've made a conscious decision to change the future they set up for the gang, and they've got some good ideas in store for that.

    I just hope they haven't cocked it all up.