This review contains spoilers.
Misfits has become known over the years, to many people’s joy and to many people’s dismay, for pushing the boundaries of taste further than we ever thought they could go. This sixth episode of series five does this quite expertly, getting madder and madder as the hour progresses and, though there are still moments where you miss the old Misfits magic, it can’t be denied that this final series of the show is some of the strongest stuff they’ve done in a good long while. It’s as if, without anyone to please but the fans, the writing has even more freedom to experiment than before.
That means two things – that it’s incredibly funny and that it’s incredibly offensive. This week’s adventure, for example, uses teenage cancer sufferers as its base, and from there Finn decides that the best way to pick up girls is to pretend he’s terminally ill. Meanwhile, Rudy and Jess’s relationship is being ruined by his sarcastic/ironic penis, and Alex gets a twisted kind of redemption story that involves a gypsy curse and the not-undeserved moniker of “The Raper”. I complained last week about where they were going with Alex’s power and I’m even less happy with its treatment here.
But it’s nice to see the character actually get something to do other than act like a douche and mope about his crap powers. Just like Abbey’s storyline a couple of weeks ago was necessary to get her integrated into the core gang before the finale, something wouldn’t have felt right without this episode exploring Alex’s behaviour and motivations. There’s no time to delve into anyone’s past at this point, but the gang’s relationships with each other are presumably going to be important to our enjoyment of the last couple of episodes. I’ve always felt a bit indifferent towards Alex and, putting the power stuff aside, I’ve now warmed to him a lot more.
It’s also nice to see Finn more than we have done before, as he becomes the victim-of-the-week of a skin cancer patient who can pass his weariness for life (and possibly his illness – I couldn’t quite work it out) onto others by hugging them. There’s some dark stuff going on here that nicely contrasts with the top-notch comedy in the episode, and the sight of Finn hanging in the store cupboard as Alex shouts for Mark the tortoise to get help is one that I won’t forget in a hurry. When the elements of Misfits are mixed like this, it makes you realise how unique this show really is.
And it’s either going to get more or less unusual moving forwards as, with Rudy Two’s collection of the three knitted figures now complete, we’re heading into superhero territory. The third comes in the form of Kate Bracken (Alex from Being Human – nice to see you!) as Karen, who has a chameleon-sort of power. Now Rudy Two, who doesn’t actually have any powers, must figure out what’s going on in the jumper image, and that’s something I assume will form the epic set piece of the finale. Though I would have rather it involve our main cast and their neglected abilities, the concurrent mystery running in the background has worked really well.
Because this way, we’ve had time to develop a believable romance between Jess and Rudy, mould Finn, Alex and Abbey into people we don’t mind following to the end, and introduced three entirely new characters with their own powers and part to play in the story. That’s quite impressive in six hours, and that sense of control over where we’re heading is a far cry from the muddle we witnessed last year. The minor quibbles I have about this final series of Misfits are just that – minor – and I couldn’t be happier that Howard Overman has handed us six (so far) hours of quality entertainment to see the show off in style.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, here.
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