Misfits Series Five Episode Six Review
Writer: Howard Overman
Director: Lewis Arnold
THE ONE WHERE Alex has a gypsy curse placed upon him, Finn nearly kills himself after having his lifeforce drained and Rudy has difficulties performing.
VERDICT In the last couple of weeks Misfits has really come into its own, and this fifth and final series has found a proper voice. There were passages in this excellent episode that reminded me of David Renwick's brilliant One Foot In The Grave at its best, where comedy and tragedy are effortlessly merged in a very clever way. But instead of, say, Victor Meldrew being buried in his garden with only his head showing and then his wife appearing and telling him that her mother has died, Misfits gives us Alex swilling on vodka while preparing to have sex with a tortoise while Finn, his lifeforce drained from him, tries to hang himself. That's just after Rudy has come up with his "sex bag" invention. It's fiendishly inspired, liberated writing: you can almost hear the feverish clatter of Howard Overman's hot keyboard.
This week's central idea - terminally ill young people visiting the community centre - is perfect, because it allows for both awkward comedy (Rudy's opening gambit to them is: "What's going on? You alright? (quieter) Obviously not...") and moving drama. Teenage cancer is, after all, nothing to laugh at, but Misfits nimbly walks the tightrope of tastelessness and comes out alright at the other side. There's no one more morally dubious than Finn (well, apart from Rudy quite often), pretending that he's terminally ill to get women, at first with Aids but then cancer because Aids "is a passion killer". He's not the only one who learns a lesson: this ep is about Alex's journey to redemption, on how to be a good samaritan, and by the end he's not only discovered virtue but has been snubbed by a woman immune to his charms. "The Raper", as Rudy brands him, much to his chagrin, now very much feels one of the gang, and Abby, at one point sweetly perusing tortoise-advice book What The Shell?, is properly welcome now too.
Subplots that have been growing for weeks like flowers start entwining and the result is sometimes glorious. I've said it before and I'll say it again, but Misfits has scenes that you just don't see anywhere else. This week's example: Alex is desperately trying to stop Finn from asphyxiating, Abby comes in and shouts out to tortoise Mike to "get help!" Obediently the tortoise shuffles off out the door. Wonderfully mad.
WHAT RUDY LEARNED THIS WEEK GCSEs aren't transferable.
PROBATION WORKER MOMENT OF WEEK Greg is furious at the death of the "attractive" young man and throws Finn's chair aside as his barely controlled fury erupts. The look on the Misfits' faces as they terrifyingly gaze at him is, as ever, priceless. And Greg is one of the best, most unusual characters on TV - his brief appearances leave you begging for more.
IT'S WOSSERNAME! Invisible girl Karen is played by Kate Bracken, who many of you will remember as Alex from Being Human .
MARMITE MOMENT The sort of line that will either have you turning the telly off or laughing like a horse: "Their knickers are hitting the floor faster than you can say 'six rounds of chemotherapy'."
MAGIC MOMENTS Rudy's tale about having sex with the doctor ("well, receptionist") as Peter the rabbit looked on; Abby taking Mark the tortoise to the cinema ("he's a big Tom Hanks fan"); us screaming "Don't do it, Finn!" as the cancer patient asks for a hug; the "emergence" of the invisible woman; Rudy's coining of the new word "decafecate", which is what he'd done that morning in Starbucks; Finn's sensitive last words to the bald cancer sufferer ("F**k you, you f**king loser!"); the discussion over whether Rudy's penis is sarcastic or ironic... oh, so many.
SWEET CHARITY If you'd like to learn more about teenage cancer, and to donate, click here .
Alex (discussing with Alex her idea for him to have sex with Mark the tortoise): "I'm ramming my cock up a turtle's arse and you don't want me to hurt him!"
Abby: "Maybe you could just get him drunk first."
Misfits airs on E4 on Wednesdays and some episodes are premiered on 4oD.