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Misfits Review Episode 2.01

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With great power comes great irresponsibility. WARNING: CONTAINS DETAILED SPOILERS

Writer: Howard Overman
Director:
Tom Green

THE ONE WHERE Nathan is disinterred and a girl with a crush on Simon turns out to be a shapeshifting bunnyboiler.

VERDICT With the first line of its second series (“Oi, you f**cker!”) Misfits reassures you that it hasn’t gone soft in its months off air. The show returns with its infectious blend of sex, superpowers, violence, toilet humour and outrageous plotting intact, making Kick-Ass look like a Disney film.

There’s an element of the reset button in operation, but you really don’t mind, because the things that have been reset and the things you want reset. Within 10 minutes Nathan has been disinterred (“I’m immortal!” he announces, chuffed with his A-list power), and is back at the community centre where the latest probation officer is making the teens' life a pain. (To be honest, you'd have thought Nathan would be more than savvy enough to work out that death is a good excuse not to return to the Payback scheme, but hey, who cares when Nathan does a little dance instead?)

Also within 10 minutes we’ve had tons of sweating, wanking, un-PC attitudes towards mental illness and crap jokes (quite literally – it's typical of Misfits ’ attention to scatalogical detail that it addresses the fact that Nathan would need a poo while stuck in his coffin). It would all be intensely distasteful it it weren't so achingly funny and brilliantly acted. Season one was often described as a combination of Shameless , Skins and Smallville , but the way it makes you fall in love with a bunch of stroppy, maladjusted teenagers who you probably wouldn’t want to run into down the pub also brings to mind another, older, groundbreaking show – The Young Ones .

But while it’s largely business as usual, the show has progressed in small but significant ways, primarily with the intriguing addition of the “masked hero” – a Dark Knight of suburbia. Clearly, series writer Howard Overman has a twisty, turny arc plot in store, and the guy’s love of standing moodily on tall buildings surveying the landscape hints at a show embracing its superhero roots.

The surly new probation officer is great (“You’re obviously lying, but it's five o’clock and I couldn’t give a shit”), so thank God that after initially suffering the fate of Spinal Tap drummers he’s resurrected. But is there more to him than meets the eye? We reckon so.

The episode also boasts a great, creepy performance from its freak of the week, Lucy, whose eyes are every bit as billiard ball-like as Simon’s. She also has her denim jacket button right up to the neck, just like Simon. Nice touch. The first shape-shifting scene is very striking, not so much for the CG effects as the visceral way it’s acted and edited.

The episode’s not perfect, though. The third quarter becomes an extended chase scene that goes on just a little bit longer than necessary; the killing of the probation officer seems a little brutal even considering the circumstances; and the final scene between Lucy and Simon in the police cell doesn’t have the emotional clout it requires to convince you that Lucy would change her mind. Having said that Iwan is fantastic as Lucy-Simon.

Overall, though, it's a blistering return for the show. The worst thing is realising that, one episode in, there are so few episodes left to look forward to.

IN-JOKE The moment when Nathan drags his baseball bat along the floor of the locker room while on a mouse hunt is surely supposed to remind us of Highlander . After all, he is immortal now.

IT’S WOSSERNAME If Lucy looks familiar, the ’fess up – you’ve been watching Casualty . She’s Evelyn Hoskins, who played Charlie’s son’s dodgy girlfriend (mother of St Charlie’s granddaughter).

DID YOU SPOT? There were some instructions on how to fold a paper aeroplane during the opening montage sequence.

SPECULATION The digital numbers in the mysterious black-clad figure’s HQ appear to be counting down. But to what? Does the guy have some knowledge of the future? Does he come from the future? Is he actually Nathan, and Nathan’s gag at the end of the episode that he saved Curtis is, in fact, a massive double bluff?

MENTAL IMAGE BLEACH WON’T REMOVE A tie this week between, “Monkey slut is blown!” and “I want to ram my cock in your hairy armpit.”

BRAIN DRAIN Okay, Simon may have been too distracted to think straight, but when his blow job became public knowledge, surely one of the others would have wondered why Alisha’s powers hadn’t been working at the time.

STYLE COUNCIL Anyone else notice the show’s new signature visual style, with much of the picture in soft focus and areas picked out in sharp focus? Most of the time it works superbly to give Misfits a heightened reality, but occasionally you can see the director straining to work out what exactly should be in focus. And it does make you feel like you're a bit pissed.

BEST LINE
Alisha: “Were you having a wank in there?”
Nathan : “So what if I was? A man can't enjoy a quick shuffle in his own coffin?”


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