Misfits Series Three Episode One Review

Double trouble

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Howard Overman
Wayne Yip and Alex Garcia Lopez

The One Where: A time-bending bunny boiler causes trouble for Rudy and the gang’s new powers are revealed.

Verdict: You’ve got to hand it to Howard Overman. Nathan’s departure could have signalled the death knell for Misfits , a show that felt like it was relying on the roguish pick’n’mix bandit perhaps a little too much in its second series. But in one majestically mad-cap pre-title sequence he almost makes us forget Nathan was ever around, so strong is Rudy’s introduction.

And make no mistake: this is Rudy’s episode, the Chorley chap leaving his mark on the Misfits -verse like Mr Creosote at an all-you-can-eat buffet. His power – the ability to split the “light” and “dark” sides of his personality into two separate physical entities – is another deceptively simple skill, albeit one filled with potential for the future. At the very least, more banter between Rudy’s two halves can only be thing for the laugh bank. It must also be a technical nightmare to shoot, kudos then to the special effects department and Gilgun, who pull off the effect flawlessly.

While true Rudy fulfils much the same function as Nathan (ie, the class clown), his crude, cruel humour is offset by the charm and innocence of his light side. “Loveable” is perhaps too strong a word, but he has the potential to be more likable than Nathan ever could. And if you were wondering whether Nathan’s departure would mean the show’s outrageous dialogue would shift down a gear, (Dark) Rudy has so many knuckle biting lines we feel for anyone watching this show with their parents in the room.

It still looks and sounds better than almost anything else on TV of course, but new directors Yip and Lopez tone down some of the more extreme (and distracting) uses of tilt shift lenses and extreme close-ups from the second series, settling for a more conventional shooting style with no harm to the aesthetic. The standout “bullet time” sequences are achieved with an effect seen many times before, but with occasional convention-breaking instances where the gang witness a frozen moment from the outside – it’s subtle and easily missed but exemplifies Misfits ’ practical approach to superpowers perfectly.

The episode’s freak-of-the-week format doesn’t attempt to reinvent the wheel in the way that other episodes have; in fact, it follows every familiar beat from the second series’ first episode. But this week isn’t about that. It’s about introducing a crucial new character. It succeeds, but if there’s one aspect to Rudy that feels a little underdeveloped, it’s his shared past with Alisha. It acts as a timely reminder of the man-eater Alisha once was, but it’s dealt with almost as quickly as its raised – and the freak-of-the-week herself is dispatched in the most perfunctory manner imaginable. Still, at least by the end of the episode the gang are back in the familiar orange, a neat gag the episode builds towards throughout with several cheeky false starts.

Powerhouse: Curtis can turn into a girl, Kelly’s a rocket scientist (brilliant), Alisha can “step into the shoes” of other people and Simon can see a short window into his future. Kelly’s comedy power aside they all seem useful (albeit not quite from the A-list) and in most cases say as much about their personalities as the previous powers. Just don’t expect them to stay put for too long with Seth still around.

Nitpick: Rudy’s girlfriend might not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, but you’d expect a little more of a reaction than what we get when a man literally splits in two in front of her.

Speculation: In the second shot of the episode, Seth is seen holding a picture of himself with a mystery woman. Maybe all this power dealing is really just a way for him to find his lost love.

Top tune: The song “It’s Getting Boring By The Sea” by Blood Red Shoes can be heard on the jukebox in the first bar scene. Fellow Scott Pilgrim Versus The World obsessives may recognise the song from that film’s soundtrack.

Title Trivia: In the new(ish) titles Rudy’s shadow is seen walking the opposite direction to himself – the implications of which are obvious. Oddly none of the other characters have had their power-symbolising title sequence appearances updated.

Where’s Nathan? If you’re that person who’s been living under the proverbial rock for the past year and just this minute picked up a wifi signal, yes, Nathan has left the gang. See where he ended up in the online short Vegas Baby! on 4oD.

Best Lines :
Alisha: “Can’t we just do what normal people do, like go for brunch?
Kelly: “What the fuck is brunch?”

Jordan Farley

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