Misfits series 2 episode 4 review

What happens when virtual reality becomes virtually real? We find out in the fourth episode of Misfits…

Misfits

This review contains spoilers.

Ever wondered what goes through the mind of the average Daily Mail writer? When not worrying over house prices or what causes cancer this week, they like nothing more than to vilify those who play videogames. Reams of column inches have been spent painting the average gamer as a dead-eyed, barely coherent buffoon whose only emotional outlet is stabbing a pensioner. After watching this week’s Misfits, though, they may well have a point.

There’s a new boy in town, Ollie the eco-warrior. Eager to impress the group, he reveals, dun dun dunn, that he has a power. The power of teleportation. Yes, Ollie can leap up to six feet away from his original position in the blink of an eye!

After being thoroughly underwhelmed, our superpowered ASBO crew get on with the big task of picking up rubbish. But they run into game-obsessive Tim, who sees the world as one big game of Grand Theft Auto.

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Unable to distinguish real life from his Xbox, he sees the world as a mass of polygons, dubstep, and random murder as a means of getting a new hi-score. He confuses our heroic street cleaners with the mob boss who double crossed him and aggressively questions them on the whereabouts of his loot.

But have no fear. Ollie’s got training in conflict resolution, which is swiftly resolved with a bullet to his head. Adding insult to injury, offing Ollie is only worth a measly 15 points when that should add at least two stars to your wanted level.

When Ollie meets his maker, Simon-future’s plan starts to click into place. Sick girl Nikki gets the new heart she desperately needs. But there’s an added bonus of a superpower and she’s far more adept with it than Ollie ever could be.

Which comes in rather handy, as Tim, playing the cold violent gangster as well as a Call Of Duty addict ,performs headshots in deathmatch. He kidnaps Kelly believing her to be Roxy, the woman who jilted him at the altar and ran off with rival gangster Conti, luring the others to his warehouse and hanging them up like dead meat. Which, in Nathan’s case, is about to become painfully accurate when Tim revs up the chainsaw.

Enter a surprised Nikki, who teleports in and manages to set Alisha free. As Tim gives chase, Simon-future isn’t far behind to save her from the same fate as Ollie, by becoming her human shield. As he lays dying in Alisha’s arms, he convinces Tim that he’s Conti, which in Tim’s mind unlocks the bonus level and takes the heat off of the others.

So, just when we’ve gotten used to Simon’s future self being all enigmatic and cool and stuff, he goes and dies on us. Great! Bad enough his time was short, but poor widowed Alisha has to set fire to him and watch as the eyes of her beloved pop like milk cartons under a steam roller in the heat. And to stand a chance of getting back with him, she has to fall in love with the awkward clumsy boy whose last girlfriend lived in a freezer.

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Misfits is firing on all levels in this episode. The effects sequences of Nikki’s power are nothing short of stunning. The locations used are suitably grimy and intimidating. And there must be a special mention to the soundtrack, in particular Simon-future’s theme, which sounds as if it came straight from the Spider-Man reboot, rather than a low budget TV show on a digital-only UK channel. The final few scenes are underscored perfectly by Massive Attack’s Paradise Circus, which makes a nice change from Teardrop.

Matt Cross as videogame-obsessed Tim cuts an intimidating figure, strutting around like the Terminator in a shell suit, smirking to himself as he runs over old ladies (25 points). His relentless robotic pursuit of the misfits recalls Robert Patrick in T2, a picture of calm as his target runs panicking, never able to break free.

However, you’ll be left thinking “Is that it?” when Simon-future gasps his last, leaving so many questions unanswered. It’s a bit of a cruel trick to play, teasing fans with the future only to snatch it away just as quickly. But maybe this is all part of the larger plan for Misfits.

Again I find myself gushing wildly about how fantastic this series is. There are gaping holes, such as Nikki’s instant recovery from a heart transplant. Ok, it’s a superpowered heart, but still. And the feeling of being robbed when Simon-future dies. But when you have a show that is this effortlessly smart and witty, yet able to shift tone and deliver an emotional gut punch, then it simply doesn’t matter.

As Alisha gets a further glimpse of a life to come, you’ll realise that this is possibly the best 45 minutes running time of TV you’ve seen all year.

You can read our review of episode 3 here.

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