This review contains spoilers.
Right from the start it’s obvious that this week’s Misfits is going to be the Simon-centric affair we’ve all been waiting for, and man, it doesn’t disappoint. With the past couple of week’s dedicated to new powers and new members of the group, it was about time we got back to the matter in hand, Superhoodie, and Simon’s journey to becoming a real-life superhero.
This is by far the closest the show has ever come to playing with the ideas of comic book lore, and the manic quirkiness of last week has largely been eradicated. In its place is the sort of throwback-with-a-twist that Misfits does so well, as Simon not only finds a sidekick, but finds a friend who’ll encourage his transition to the self-sacrificing Superhoodie of his future.
Of course, not everything is as it seems, and the nice and helpful Peter is revealed to be controlling Simon’s actions through his various comic book-style drawings.
That’s right, Peter is a uber-geek, and he’s terribly excited to have landed on the doorstep of a real hero. Obsessed with characters like Superman, he convinces himself that his new friend has to follow a certain path, and maps it out accordingly. This power has been seen in many different forms before, but it does seem to fit Misfits incredibly well.
Peter is a creepy prospect not unlike series one Simon, and he never seems like a clear-cut bad guy. You understand that Simon sees something of himself in the antisocial and loveless introvert so, when he asks to be best friends within five minutes, not many viewers would question it.
And, with Nathan gone, it falls to Simon to become the main character, and this demand allows the show to become a lot more focused on the mythology and less preoccupied with comedy or strictly standalone stories. I don’t know if this is a good thing overall, but weeks one and two proved that his rise to Superhoodie doesn’t have to be an episode’s main focus. As great a story as this turned out to be, I’m not sure many fans would want a super-serious outing every week.
Iwan Rheon has to be applauded for the way he plays the central character, flipping from shy and awkward geek to gosh darn hero in double-quick time. This is also the first week in which we’ve really gotten to explore the relationship between Alisha and present-day Simon, and its bizarre sweetness just serves to make it a more compelling watch. The pair are great together and maintain the chemistry set up last year, but having a less ‘developed’ Simon in the mix makes the relationship something quite unique to a program like this. Looking back to the beginning of series one, no one could have predicted the outcome for either character.
Side stories include another sketch with Rudy’s two sides, hilariously involving the probation worker in their shenanigans, and Kelly’s attempt at wooing Seth in her own straight-talking way. It’s nice for Kelly to have a love-interest after Nathan, as it gives the show a chance to introduce outsiders into the mix, and stops time with the ASBO-five from getting too much. Sadly, after a strong outing last week, Curtis has faded into the background again, and Rudy feels a little forced, but these are all omissions serving the story, and the extra space puts Simon and Alisha centre stage.
The plot of the episode, and the on-the-nose nature of Peter’s power, manages to bring the show back to its roots with questions about real-world heroes and how you should use your power, while also catapulting it into something new and fresh. Misfits has grown over time into something really special, not just the quirky dramedy known for its vulgar humour and off-the-wall characters, but arguably the best televised superhero story ever created. This episode not only reassures me that the people behind the show know what they’re doing, but it gets me excited for what they have in store.
And next week is the much anticipated Hitler episode, a prospect primed for a bit more comedy (Kelly head-butting a Nazi!) mixed in with the more serious tone they’ve developed. Even with the US getting their mitts on Misfits for their own version, there’s a hell of a lot of life in this yet, and I hope it goes on for a long, long time.