Misfits series 2 episode 7 review: Christmas Special

It's the festive season, and Misfits is treated to its very own Christmas Special. Here’s Jake’s review of a particularly irreverent Yuletide episode…

This review contains spoilers.

No more community service. It’s time for our favourite delinquents to settle back into regular life – well, as regular as it can be with superpowers. But they haven’t seen the last of trouble at the community centre.

Three months on, and it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And it’s certainly come early for Alisha, when she’s offered a way out from her power after seeing dealer Seth, a man with the ability to remove and give powers – for the right price, of course. Which itself answers the prayers of a disillusioned vicar, Elliott, who’s looking to become the second coming and convince his flock to part with their money… and other favours.

After last week’s slightly disappointing episode, Misfits series two redeems itself with a great finale, taking the idea of a Christmas special and giving it the unique Misfits treatment. There’s a lot of blasphemous intent this week, as the vicar indulges in some very un-religious behaviour.

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There’s a genuine tragedy, though, when after selling off their powers, Curtis is forced to realise what they’ve done when Nikki is shot dead by a devoted follower of Elliott. After despatching with the ungodly vicar though, they return to Seth, who offers them any power they choose, and in doing so, set up series three quite nicely.

Again, Misfits remains one of the edgiest shows currently on TV – far more so than the latest series from a certain angry comedian. It takes the nativity and turns it into an episode of Shameless with a hilarious birth sequence. And having Simon utter the immortal line “I’m going to kill Jesus” mere days before His birthday requires balls the size of planets. With the promise of new powers and possible answers to the Simon-future saga, any fans watching must be counting down the days until the next series!

When Misfits debuted last year, it quickly established itself as the witty small-scale alternative to Heroes. Proving itself far more adept at humanising feral youth then Skins, it skilfully mixed superpowered antics with convincing emotional drama grounded with Shameless-style comedy.

However, this series needs to shake things up a bit more if it’s to stay on top. Firstly, will everyone please STOP HAVING SEX. Underwear gets dropped with such alarming regularity that you wonder if there’s an elastic shortage. Curtis needs to have something to do, as all he was good for was bringing about a deus ex machina resolution last week.

There also needs to be fewer accidental deaths. Too often, episodes are resolved by a misplaced hook or a filing cabinet unexpectedly flying into someone’s face. Lastly there’s also the danger that this could turn into a lazy freak-of-the-week fest. Now we have heroes, we need an actual villain for them to fight against. Hopefully series three can bring in a longer arc.

Putting aside these tiny flaws, every aspect of this show screams first class. The stunning direction gives this show a unique look with some genuinely interesting, and minimal use of CGI. Misfits has always excelled with its soundtrack, with some brilliant choices used to underscore the emotion of its scenes. The closing moments of episode four are an obvious highlight for me, but the orchestrated scores and incidental music are beyond anything else currently on TV.

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The stunning work of Beetroot Music encompasses a wide range of genres from dirty bass driven dubstep to emotive and powerful orchestral movements. Simon’s transition from creep to hero is beautifully scored by Vince Pope who, if there’s any justice, should be awarded for his work here.

The casting has been superb throughout this series. Not only have the young protagonists managed to up their game and become even more watchable, the big surprise for me was the extended cast. Craig Parkinson as Shaun nearly stole every scene he was in. And as Nikki, Ruth Negga was a great regular addition to the group. Each and every character was flawlessly brought to life by their actor/actress. The creepy Lucy, the robotic Tim and the innocent turned serial dairy killer Brian – all were distinctive and memorable in their portrayals.

Finishing up this quick overview, series two was a confident leap ahead of series one, as it introduced bigger concepts into the mix. This series was very much Simon’s journey. From creepy weirdo to his super buff future self, Simon has really matured along this series, and I’m sure he’ll pick up quite a few more fans during series three!

The Simon-future saga was handled well and left as many questions as it did answers with regards to the future of the group. But it was the human drama that really left an impact. Nathan finding then losing not just his brother but his chance with Kelly. Curtis and Alisha splitting up then moving on. And Simon finally starting to find the hero within.

Basically, if you’re wondering how a genre show can successfully straddle both the cult and mainstream, then this is it. Smart, snappy, confident and tightly written, Misfits is the show that comic fans never knew they wanted. And for my money, the best thing (bar Doctor Who) to have happened to TV all year.

The Misfits Christmas Special airs again on Christmas Eve, Friday, December 24th on E4.

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You can read our review of episode 6 here.

All the series 2 reviews are here.

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