This review contains spoilers.
The final episode of Misfits was never going to be the satisfying, definitive farewell fans would have imagined playing out back in 2009. The original cast are gone, the mission statement has gotten muddled over the years and, frankly, fan excitement has been lowered for most to a tentative optimism. Those who stuck around after series four were rewarded with one of the strongest runs the show has ever produced but, though the series finale doesn’t exactly disappoint, it’s maybe not the explosive high a show like Misfits really should have bowed out with. This finale was good, not great, but maybe that’s all we could have asked for.
I had a couple of issues with the choice of plot, as it felt like something that really should have been kept for a Jess-centric penultimate episode, rather than the finale. It was a little too focused on one character and, because the Rudys have developed a tendency to steal every scene they’re a part of (partially by design, of course), Finn, Abbey and Alex barely get a look in. Time travel has been well-explored on Misfits back when Simon was still around and, as a superpower, creepy Luke’s ability to throw girls forward through time and present them with a baby just feels too convoluted.
It’s simple on the surface, and provides an economical way for the writers to push forward elements they’d already set in motion (before pushing the reset button), but once you get to the story’s resolution things begin to fall apart. How did Luke know that Jess would get pregnant? How did she leave herself a message? It even seems out of character for Jess to sleep with a stranger, and her solution of recreating the same child (slim chance) and then presumably letting Rudy raise it was a little hard to take. Didn’t anyone find Luke’s body in the bar toilets while she was having her epiphany?
A much more successful part of this episode was the corruption of the Jumper Posse and their descent into villainy. To have a group actually attempt to become ‘proper superheroes’ and fail miserably was a nice ‘what if’ scenario that was faithful to the show’s beginnings in its outright rejection of the traditional superhero narrative. Most of us have gone along assuming that the ASBO five would indeed become heroic, with community service as their secret identity and the iconic orange jumpsuits as their costumes, and I love the fact that the writers thought to play that out and then throw it straight away.
The jumper posse were eventually defeated by our gang (by another extremely objectionable use of Alex’s powers), but not without an instantly-erased tragedy for the audience to weep over. By the point that Rudy’s weak, infantile bladder had led to his demise, I had resigned myself to both scenarios – whether he had reconciled with Rudy Two and accidently saved the day, or if we were just going to go back to the present with lessons learned. We couldn’t really get upset over Rudy’s death, and it actually felt a little disappointing to have everyone survive until the end. It was a bit like how Twilight fans must have felt in that last movie – having their cake and eating it.
What most people will object to is the lack of any cameos – or any references to the past at all. This episode can’t really be thought of as a series finale at all, since what has gone on since the end of series three has been so vastly different to how the show began that you can easily imagine another continuation. The episode works fine as the last one we’re going to see, but never needed to be a finale that wraps things up and brings it full circle. They might have decided to try to be superheroes at the end of the episode, but everything else in the hour suggests that it might not be as easy as they think.
So long as the inconsequence of time travel plots doesn’t offend you, then this was the perfect farewell to a show that, against all odds, feels again like it’s going out on a high. Misfits was utterly unique, completely bonkers and, at its best, it was one of the best superhero shows ever made. It’s always been messy and resolute in its disregard for our expectations, so the mixture of closure and open-endedness in this finale feels true to the show’s spirit. We might not have been treated to returns from Nathan, Simon et al, but this episode was more about saying goodbye to the current cast along with the question posed in the first episode.
Could they be real superheroes? Will we get a movie? It doesn’t really matter now. This episode needed to finish off the show as we’ve known it for the past couple of years, and it did that adequately. It’s a shame that so many people have abandoned the series in its final hour but, for those true fans who knew there has to be something better waiting around the corner, this year’s run was a real treat. Proven by the show’s final line (“I can feel it in my nutsack”), there’s really nothing else like it on telly. Thank you, Misfits, for giving us five years inside your crazy madcap universe – you will be missed.
Read Caroline’s review of the previous episode, here.
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