The Skin I Live In
Writer: Jon Brown
Director: Will Sinclair
The One Where: Kelly has a Freaky Friday.
Verdict: Ah, the body swap episode. The old sci-fi staple is wheeled out for a spin on the Misfits ’ merry-go-round this week. But it’s alright, because in Howard Overman’s hands even the most tired of ideas can be turned into gold. Hang on, he didn’t write this episode? Uh-oh…
Fortunately, turns out there’s nothing to worry about, because even though Episode 5 isn’t up there with the show’s best, it’s an admirable first crack from writer Jon Brown. There are lines so perfectly Misfits (“At one point I was honestly considering shoving my cock in her mouth just to shut her up, mate.”) that we wouldn’t be surprised if many people watching even knew a different pen was behind the words; and the final third (from the moment where the gang decide to bust “Kelly” out of the hospital) is genuinely brilliant.
Unfortunately up till that point, it’s a disappointingly lifeless affair. The idea of body swapping with a coma-patient is horrifying and loaded with dramatic potential, but here it fails to spark until the emotional climax. Every plot beat is by the numbers body swap: Kelly gets trapped, drama of errors ensues. Perhaps if it were Seth’s girlfriend in the coma, we’d have been more invested in her fate, but as it stands Jen’s just another freak of the week waiting to be bumped off.
It’s left up to Rudy and his sweet/totally wrong relationship with anger management councillor Clare to keep the first half alive. There are also some nice character sketches sprinkled throughout, but the episode puts Superhoodie and the rest of the gang in a holding pattern, while placing a minor hurdle in front of Seth and Kelly. Their relationship blossomed with last week’s kiss. Even though that was in another timeline, it feels like the show’s covering different ground to reach the same destination by the end of this week’s episode.
It’s the story that lets the side down – arguably the first episode of Misfits that’s ever felt like filler, perhaps a consequence of this series’ extended episode run. That said Seth is becoming more and more likable by the week (not least because he’s got the worst shoes on TV) Lauren Socha does a great job with her dual role, and it has a surprisingly teary climax. Not so much Jen’s death (which is pretty sad) but the death of probation worker Shaun (which is Lassie-shot-behind-the-barn in comparison). He’s had a longer innings than any of the previous probation workers, and it’s a real loss to the show as he’s been one of the most consistently funny things about it for the past couple of years. Then again in the Misfits -verse anything could happen.
Fond Farewells: Shaun has a brilliant final line: “What the fuck. I can’t believe I never picked up on it. You bunch of dicks. Fucking superheroes.” But his death does make it painfully apparent that anyone could pop their clogs at any point, which leads us to…
Speculation: Anyone else get the feeling one of the gang might cop it this series? Not Simon though, that would be too easy.
LMAO: Joe Gilgun is a physical comedy genius. His attempt to distract Seth at the beginning is a sight to behold – and his feeble attempt at fighting had us in stitches.
LMAO 2: Wank humour never gets old. This week’s comedy of embarrassment finds Curtis caught mid-stroke by Alisha and Simon. At least Curtis is putting his power to good use.
Behind The Scenes: Jon Brown is the first person other than Howard Overman to write a Misfits script (though Howard Overman is also given a story credit here). He’s best known for creating the BBC3 show Mongrels and also wrote next week’s sixth episode.
The Small Details: Freeze frame on the sign behind light-Rudy when Claire leaves the community crying for some fun graffiti.
Bad Break-Up Lines: We’d rather get a text than be subjected to this: “Er, just so you know, I’ve been having a bit of a think about us, yeah, it’s not gonna happen, right, I mean listen, thanks for the hand job and the sex and all that, brilliant, but you are… you’re quite old. And you cry, a lot. Mmm. Bye then.”
Top Tune: “This is Not the End” by Clare Maguire is the heartbreaking piece of music which plays over the final few moments of Shaun and Jen’s lives . Plus does the music playing prior to the bodyswap remind anyone of the Milkman’s theme from episode six of series two?
Rudy “Oh my god, this is like that film, with Nicolas Cage in. Face/Off.”