Sunday, December 19, 2010

MISFITS 2.07 Review

And with that, we say goodbye to our Misfits until next Fall sometime.  And from what I understand they're talking about extending the third season with more episodes and a variety of writers.

Which, I have to admit, I'm not very excited about.

On the one hand, I'd love to see more of our heroes, but on the other, it may spread the show out too thin.  It's impossible to tell at the moment, but I'm looking forward to the new season with a touch of hesitency.  Especially given how this season has wrapped.

But then again, maybe the way this season wrapped sets us up for a more extended approach next time.

We'll see, I guess.  But now, Spoiler Alert!

I hadn't recognized him in the preview after Episode 6, but the priest who declares himself to be Jesus this week was played by Edward Hogg, the co-star of the film, Bunny and the Bull.  I loved that film, not only because it was written and directed by Paul King, of The Mighty Boosh fame, but because it was a sweet and surreal comedy that proved to have a lot more heart than I was expecting.  Hogg's Stephen was the emotional center of the film, playing a shy, weird fellow who hasn't left his apartment since he and his pal, Bunny (Simon Farnaby) had a misadventure that ended poorly.

If you like The Boosh, I highly recommend Bunny and the Bull.  If you don't like The Boosh, your mileage may vary depending upon how you handle darkly sentimental comedy.

Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock to see nice-guy Hogg getting a blowjob while lecturing the Misfits on his justifications for using his powers to get sex and money at will.  I'm a little scarred by that scene.

But what's that?  A blowjob, you say?  What the?  You thought this was about Jesus coming back in time for Christmas?

Well it was.  Sort of.

You see, someone's started an underground business where he offers cash for your powers.  However, this fellow, Seth, can't use the powers himself.  Instead, he holds onto the power, and then can pass it on to someone else.  For a price.

It's a handy dandy little business, particularly when you've got a bizarre subculture of poor folk with powers they don't have the imagination or motivation to use for much.  Twenty Thousand Pounds sounds like a lot, when you've got nothing to look forward to.  Just ask our heroes.

Alisha is the first to take him up on his offer, which makes sense, given that her power is the most shit of the group, having no practical purpose and essentially crippling her emotionally.  So I understand when she sells her curse away.  The others, not so much.

I guess Nikki has some reasons, given that she seems to have no control over her teleportation.  And I suppose Kelly can be excused, since her power never really helped out much.  But the boys should be ashamed.

Anyway, this episode really served as a way to address some of the issues that have led to some of the problems of this second season.  Curtis' time travel has become a crutch that allows infinite do-overs.  That was the biggest problem with Episode 6.  That episode was solid until the murders started, and then you knew Curtis would just rewind time and they'd fix everything.

Which then led to some strange plot issues regarding the future that Simon returned from.  Was the erased future Simon's?  If so, then what was the point of the whole "Back From the Future" storyline?  By being able to rewind time and take second shots at things, Creator/Writer Howard Overman had a handy reset button, that allowed him to get a little sloppy with the storytelling.

This episode also has more than a few moments where characters just don't feel right.  This is most noticeable with Nathan's immediate interest and devotion to the pregnant Marnie.  Sure, it's nice to see Nathan find someone who can put up with him, but it came out of the blue, and his connection to her wasn't really fleshed out at all.  To be honest, I'm not sure what purpose she served in the story other than to provide a moment for a Christmas-themed musical number.

Yes, a musical number.  The whole cast, singing a Christmas carol to the newborn infant.  It was a little too saccharine for me, and even having the characters joke about it afterwards didn't help.

But what the removal of the gang's powers did allow, was an actual death.  Nikki takes a bullet to the chest, and without his ability to rewind time, Curtis just has to let her die in his arms and deal with it.  That was a nice touch that really made me think that Overman has realized that the time travel needed to be jettisoned.

I also think Overman realized that he'd painted himself into a corner with the gang's powers.  None of them were really pro-active.  They were appropriate for that first season and a half, where we were just dealing with the characters as ordinary people in extraordinary situations, but once we moved into a narrative world where more and more people have these powers, and our antagonists were setting themselves up as superheroes, their specialness began to dilute.

Episode 6 really drove home this point, as all of their powers were useless against someone with as shit a power as lacto-kinesis.  The passivity of our heroes powers was limiting what could be done with the overall story.  If we are going to have them assume more active roles in the next season, something needed to be done.  And the dealing of powers is a nice way of addressing this.

The real question now is what's going to happen next season.  We end with our heroes buying new powers for themselves.  Powers not associated with their personalities so much as their desires.  They have enough money to take their pick of Seth's collection, which means next season promises a major new direction.  Not only are we looking at an extended season with writers other than Overman, we're looking at new powers altogether.  Which means we're dealing with Misfits possibly turning into something much more like Heroes than we started with. 

I realize that this is all speculation, but that's where it looks like we're heading from my vantage point.

So, while I enjoyed this Christmas Special, and appreciate the fact that Overman is willing to tinker with everything that's been working (and not working) so far, it's dangerous.  When Season Three begins, we're dealing with what is essentially a reboot of the show, and experience dictates that this has more potential for bad things to happen than good.  But maybe we've hit the limit of what Overman felt he could accomplish with these characters with these powers at this point.  Maybe there are bigger and better ideas on the way.

I hope that's the case.  But the way this season ended has made me very nervous about where we're going next year.  I love this show and really don't want to lose it.

1 comment:

  1. So, I suppose the way they deal with undoing Simon's discovery of his future last episode was to just handle it off screen. I thought it was a bit of a cheat at first, but the more I think of it, the more I like it. We saw the dramatic scenes last time, so there's no need to do them again, or try to top them.

    Speaking of Simon, we never did see him sell his powers, and I'm not entirely sure he did. He didn't seem to be waving any money around, nor was his power mentioned by Seth as one that could be bought back. That said, Future Simon presumably didn't have invisibility powers, or the whole disguise thing would have been pointless.

    (Even though the disguise was there to conceal the stuntman, but I'm trying not to break the Fourth Wall.)

    It was a bit of a choppy episode, which I put down to it being commissioned late. Nathan's romance and Curtis' quick recovery after Nikki's death stood out, but I wonder if they both weren't deliberate.

    I think Nathan's plot was supposed to highlight that he had nothing to hold on to after the community service ended, and so threw himself into the first situation he could find. I wouldn't be surprised if there's something weird going on there though.

    And Curtis I can see picking up some kind of healing or resurrection power, as I can't believe they left Nikki's story dangling like that.