Misfits series 4 finale review

Review Caroline Preece 17 Dec 2012 - 12:36

The E4 show's fourth season bows out on an episode that is more Misfits than anything else we've seen this year...

This review contains spoilers.

With series five confirmed for next year, this series finale of Misfits ends with suggestion and promise rather than the emotional climax we were handed last year. There’s madness, death, romance and – finally – powers, and it all adds up to become an episode that is more ‘Misfits’ than anything else we’ve seen this year. The writers haven’t been shy about changing things, and many fans have become disillusioned, but there’s a comforting sense that we’re now settled in for next year’s action. What this episode proves overall, however, is that, without Joseph Gilgun, the show might have been lost forever.

As an episode, this is probably one of the strongest of the year but, might it be too little too late in coming when compared to the quality of previous series? None of the new characters are bad, exactly, but they’re just not as strong of those they're replacing, who were a big part of the reason Misfits connected with fans in the way it did. Rudy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but his stepping in for Nathan last year served to freshen up the dynamic, and replacing four regulars in the space of eight weeks has given series four a haphazard and chaotic feel that has sometimes overwhelmed what’s happening on-screen.

So it’s smart to have the last outing for 2012 a Rudy-centric adventure, as these episodes have proven to be the strongest and bravest since the reboot. He and Nadine are continuing with their complicated love affair, and it’s clear that Rudy cares more about this girl than he has anything, ever. It might be sudden, but completely in character, and there was never doubt in my mind that Rudy would come out of his ordeal a changed man. Let’s just hope the character development masterfully achieved in these forty minutes won’t be jettisoned by next year’s premiere.

This love story is by the far the most compelling and emotionally engaging element of series four, and the fact that it’s coming from such an ordinarily vulgar character just increases the effect. By association, Nadine’s fate somehow had more weight to it than the four new regulars, and the ultimate tragedy too easily distracted from Alex’s similarly bad fortune. The love triangle (now a square after Finn and Abbey’s awkward encounter) has been more miss than hit, just adding to the teen-drama feel that this year’s Misfits has captured, and it means much more to long-time viewers to see Rudy’s ET-ending ruined by power-fuelled misfortune.

The main issue many had with these episodes was the show’s apparent reluctance to remain a sci-fi show. Each week had an issue tied to the storm in some way, sure, but the regular characters rarely used their abilities. This week saw the welcome return of this element, as Jess, Finn and Rudy all used their respective powers in saving the day, and the hour just brought home how much the show had been missing them. Jess and Finn both have classic, simple, powers that are useful without being all-powerful, and the superhero-heavy second and third series are now a distance and much-missed memory.

But now we have to wonder what could happen to Alex, as his new transplanted lung suggests a much more interesting year ahead. We got used to all five central characters having powers, but we’re only three up right now. Abbey, who was more irritating than intriguing this week, probably has a doozy of a secret underneath her cloud of amnesia, and it looks like the fifth series could get back to this status quo quite easily. Finn and Rudy’s comment about using their powers more often felt like a throwaway line designed to quiet uppity viewers, and action speaks louder than words.

As a finale, this was a really good-looking (the four cyclists of the apocalypse looked great), pleasingly genre-infused outing that leads quite nicely into a, hopefully more confident, fifth series. The group are settled in now, even if some are better than others, and the writers have done a great job of transitioning into this soft-reboot without completely losing what made their show so special in the first place. If you abandoned Misfits after Simon and Alisha left, it was probably premature, and there’s still a lot to love about telly’s weirdest superhero show. 

Read Caroline's review of the previous episode, here.

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