Ah, I feel all warm and fuzzy after episode 4 of Misfits, the message of which was very clearly that to change the past isn’t necessarily to improve the future. Things you think of as errors that have put you in a less than perfect situation aren’t necessarily things you should regret.
We all idealistically imagine that being able to turn back time would be of huge benefit to us. We could make sure we undo all our mistakes and re-pave the path back to a saintly version of who we are today. But what if changing one thing sets something else in motion that’s actually a much worse thing than the thing you ended up with?
Oh, crikey. The episode definitely had my mind in knots, which was unexpected in a supposedly ‘teen comedy drama’ that, so far, I have been enjoying mainly for the escapism and the sheer entertainment. I needed several cups of tea to soothe my brain as it followed this episode, which told the story of Curtis (Nathan Stewart Jarrett), the Misfit who has gained the power to time travel.
Curtis’ big thing in the series is that he was excelling in a career as an athlete when he got caught for possession of drugs in a nightclub. The lightning storm – which delivered a superpower to each person it struck, brilliantly tailoring each power to the wishes and needs of the person at that moment – recognised Curtis’ yearning to go back and stop himself having anything to do with the drugs and set himself back on track – literally to get back on the racing track, and emotionally, to avoid feeling like a ‘shamed’ young star.
So the episode saw him going back and forth, with a very cool close-up of his eye acting as a screen, flashing images of his life to help us travel with him, trying to work things out so that he ended up with a present he actually wanted to be in.
His main aims were to rescue his then-girlfriend Sam from a prison sentence, and to still be able to be going out with now-girlfriend Alisha. His first strategy – flush the drugs and pay the dealer – ended up with Sam getting killed. His second strategy – grab the drugs and run – ended up with him being a free man and never having entered community service. Good, eh? Well, no, actually. Since he didn’t go into community service, he also wasn’t there to turn back time when the other Misfits needed him to save them from the axe-wielding maniac probation worker. So, Alisha had been killed. He was a free man, but he had nothing he wanted.
It was all thoroughly noble in the end, with Curtis going back for a third time and making sure that he did get arrested, taking the blame entirely, which freed Sam and kept alive Alisha. He’s an all-round good egg, is Curtis, and his relationship with Alisha is lovely, if a little bizarre, what with them having to stare at each other and masturbate in place of actual sex, or risk Alisha’s monstrous sex-inducing superpower that doesn’t provide a real, emotional connection since the man never remembers it afterwards.
Oh, it was so nearly all completely fixed! Curtis had made peace with his regrets about the past, recognising the brilliant things that his mistakes led him to – namely his new love Alisha. But Curtis, in all the going back and forth, forgot to sort out the small problem of Sam who, due to having avoided prison and being all in love with him for taking full responsibility for the drugs, is, in Curtis’ new present, still his girlfriend. It should be interesting when Alisha finds out.
In light relief this week – we needed a bit of it – we also saw first-hand that Nathan did, indeed, get arrested for eating some pick ‘n’ mix he hadn’t paid for at a bowling alley, and also causing general anarchy involving food, staplers, and the alley’s manager named Beverley, a man.
Helpfully, when Curtis went back in time he bumped into Nathan, so we were able to then follow his action in the past, too. It was slightly trite and implausible that Nathan was hanging out in the same bowling alley as Tony and Sally the probation workers, and also just round the corner from the nightclub in which Curtis, Alisha and even Simon were hanging out, not yet knowing each other. Oh, who cares? It’s such a tedious criticism to make in a programme that’s this much fun.
Read our review of episode 3 here.
Misfits airs in the UK on Thursdays at 10pm on E4 and 11pm on E4+1, with repeat showings the following Wednesday at 11 and 12pm.