Misfits 4.04 TV REVIEW
Writer: Howard Overman
Director: Jonathan van Tulleken
THE ONE WHERE Curtis gets embroiled in a zombie noir, and pays the ultimate price.
VERDICT After three weeks of moaning about how Misfits isn’t what it used to be, Howard Overman and the gang pull off an episode that not only proves there’s still life left in orange boiler suits and superpowers yet (ironically, in an episode featuring the walking dead), but is up there with one of the show’s very best.
Straight man Curtis is a character we never really warmed to (you could probably count the number of times he smiled on one hand, after all) but here he gets a truly memorable send off. Even if you don’t like the moodiest man on Thamesmead, it’s hard not to care about his final moments because Rudy seems so damn cut up about it. We defy anyone not to feel a tinge in the back of their throat as he pleas with Curtis to come back and “manufacture” a happy ending or knock glasses one last time. *sniff*
The story riffs on classic film noir, in particular Double Indemnity , with a voluptuous femme fatale manipulating men into killing for her. It’s elegant, efficient storytelling that also puts a thoroughly modern, Misfits spin on an invincible formula. Unsurprisingly, Lola has a power (the power of extreme method acting, apparently), and is as much of a victim as Curtis and Jake, but more significantly Overman weaves zomboids into the story in a way which makes you wonder how John Huston or Raymond Chandler ever did without.
The scene where Jake comes back from the dead, only to have his head caved in by an over-enthusiastic Finn, is a perfect showcase for Misfits ’ deft ability to mesh genres and tones not only in a single episode, but in the space of a few minutes. It’s equal parts scary, tense, tragic, stomach-churningly gory and uproariously funny. The sight of Rudy cowering under the stairs as the blood flies, only to emerge a few seconds later, chuffed to bits with Finn’s handiwork had us in fits.
Individual scenes fizz and flow together in a way they failed to in the first three episodes of the series. There’s only one gag that falls flat (Rudy's dog-with-wheels-for-legs anecdote) and Jess doesn’t get a whole lot to do except eat cock toast, but otherwise Overman is at the top of his game on scripting duties.
Importantly, he finally finds a comfortable groove for Finn as a character – as part of a double act with Rudy. Their “domestic” troubles are among the highlights of the episode. Whether breaking up, making up, or shitting out a slug… whenever the pair are together we’re reminded just how good Misfits can be.
STAR TURN We’re probably starting to sound like a broken record, but Joe Gilgun is sensational once again as Rudy, so much so that he steals the spotlight from Nathan Stewart-Jarrett in his final moments on the show. Every quirky mannerism, every unexpected line delivery, every moment he’s on screen should be savoured. Top marks for Lucy Gaskell too, who plays up to Lola’s femme fatale qualities deliciously.
HEY, GOOD LOOKIN’ As well as telling a cracking tale, the episode is shot beautifully by director van Tulleken. The gorgeous black and white cinematography, with essential cigarette smoke wafting through the frame, the striking slow motion photography, the change in aspect ratio - all evoke a very specific mood that transcends pastiche. Arguably, it wears its film noir influences on its sleeve a little too clearly, but who cares when it looks this good?
JUST WRONG OF THE WEEK Rudy sticking his penis in Finn’s marmalade. Actually we’re not sure if that’s wrong or actually quite thoughtful.
NITPICK Finn complains about how his, er, Tiger hasn’t “fed” for a while. He got fellatio off his former step mum last week and spent part of the episode before as a sex slave to his ex. How much more does he need?
IT’S WOSSISNAME! Jake is played by Andrew Gower, who Being Human fans will recognise as Cutler from series four. He doesn’t get much to do here, but he still makes an impact.
THE POWER HOUR If Lola got a power while in class, does that mean everyone else in that room is now wandering around in character?
RUDY’S BEST LINE
“Reminds me of my dad’s parrot Bernie. Called my mum a c**t one year and they fell out big time, big row and they cancelled Christmas. Everything. I wet my bed for a year pal.”
BEST LINES BY ANYONE ELSE
Curtis: “There ain’t no happy endings. It’s zombie noir, innit.”
Misfits series 4 airs in the UK on E4, Sundays at 10pm.