Misfits 4.03 TV REVIEW
Writer: Howard Overman
Director: Nirpal Bhogal
The One Where Rudy’s third, devilish doppelganger is released from prison, but soon gets a scissor shiv to the gut courtesy of Jess.
VERDICT Misfits has been a little bit off the boil of late, but if this week’s episode proves anything, it’s that Joe Gilgun continues to go from strength to strength. Rudy can usually be relied upon for comic relief, but here he drives the narrative while barely raising a titter. Almost the opposite in fact, Gilgun is utterly terrifying as the final slice of Rudy’s split personality pie.
The slow, deliberate walk, the way he spits his words through gritted teeth, the unnervingly perfect posture, the buttoned-up collar, the ukulele… it’s a complete transformation for a character we’ve already seen two distinct sides of. He’s aided, in part, by Vince Pope’s wonderfully sinister Dark Rudy theme, which haunts the soundtrack of this week’s episode, and Howard Overman’s astonishingly distressing dialogue, but the bulk of the credit belongs to Gilgun. What’s even more impressive is that on a couple of occasions he slips in and out of two personas mid-sentence, and you’re left in no doubt which Rudy is driving the meat wagon.
The scene where he confronts Jess outside the community centre, sucking on a lollipop in broad daylight, might be one of the most quietly upsetting things you’ll watch on TV all year. The contrast with a second confrontation later in the episode, outside the bar, couldn’t be greater. Dark Rudy seems sincere, passionate and to genuinely care for Jess, albeit not in a way anyone was expecting. Shame Dark Rudy goes full-psycho by the end of the episode really, they were getting along so well before the whole “I want to squeeze the life out of you” thing got in the way.
Speaking of Jess, this episode finally makes the frosty London lass a sympathetic presence. We learn why she acts the way she does, and even though the tragedy of her past can effectively be boiled down to “boy trouble”, thanks to Karla Crome’s genuinely moving performance you’re left in no doubt how profoundly the betrayal affected Jess, and why it has left her so untrusting of men.
These two five-star performances aside, the episode is let down by a predictable and slightly dull subplot. Finn once again proves himself the luckiest squat scouser on the planet, with yet another beautiful woman lusting after him, but the whole thing isn’t very funny and doesn’t serve much of a point until we find out the truth about Finn’s “father”. Also, after being told your father isn’t who you think he is, wouldn’t your first question be: “Well, who is then?” Odd that Finn never asks the obvious question.
Alex continues to be suspiciously evasive (*strokes chin*) and Curtis finally makes the first spirited decision he has all series (by, er, stealing a wedding cake), though we’ll reserve further judgement on the modern-day-necromancer until we’ve seen next week’s Curtis-centric tale. Ludicrous Lola, meanwhile, is a fun female presence in a show that’s now sorely lacking a sassy female side. More of her please.
An improvement on episodes one and two then, very nearly a four star episode in fact, but still some way off Misfits at the height of its, ahem, powers.
WTF? We’re all for a bit of surrealist comedy, but does probation worker Greg’s “what’s the magic word?” scene actually have a point beyond the “pleasure” of seeing him further torment Finn?
INSULT OF THE WEEK
Jess (to Finn): “You are a fucking idiot. And a total prick. Just a really big purple bell end.”
THE POWER HOUR Rudy’s power means that any Rudy on the inside isn’t affected by what happens to the Rudy on the outside. Still one spare life left then…
NITPICK How has the probation worker not realised Rudy and Finn are living in the Community centre yet? He doesn’t seem like the kind of person to miss something like that.
NITPICK 2 Given that the Curly Wurlys Dark Rudy bought for his “brothers” are branded with London 2012 logos that means he’s been in prison for two years, at most, because Cadbury didn’t start branding their packaging with Olympic logos until 2010. Seems quite a brief spell in the slammer for biting someone’s ears/nose off, no?
RUDY’S BEST LINE
Rudy One: “You bit his frigging ear off!”
Dark Rudy: “He should have listened to me. What’s the point in having ears if you’re not gonna use ‘em?”
BEST LINES BY ANYONE ELSE
Finn: "We forgot the remote for the TV, there’s no remote!"
Jess: “And to a guy that's like losing a testicle.”
Finn: “It's like losing three testicles.”
Misfits series 4 airs in the UK on E4, Sundays at 10pm.